Increasing number of positives The 3 commandments

The number of positives is climbing and so is the number of deaths. Till late into the evening of August 20, the number of positive cases stood at 4996, just four short of reaching the milestone of 5000 and even as this commentary is being penned down the number of deaths had reached 21, with two more falling prey to the virus on August 21. This is the statistical data, plain and simple. That this data should stand side by side with more and more extension of the lockdowns is a pointer that the Government would need to look beyond lockdowns, a point which has already been raised many times in this column. The focus of the Government now should be on how to move ahead. Telling the people to adapt to a new lifestyle and come to grips with the fact that they have to learn to live with the virus is but just one point for there are other pressing points which need the undivided attention of the Government. Okay people will learn to live with the virus, but why is it that the people themselves are still not able to  follow the three simple guidelines laid down by the World Health Organisation and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) ? This is a question which should have goaded the Government into more action much earlier. The fact should tell its own story. Local transmission is rife today with even the State Technical Committee on COVID-19 going ahead and proclaiming that the first phase of community transmission is on. Close on the heels of the Committee coming out with this bombshell are eight senior doctors who have gone ahead and proclaimed that Manipur entered the first stage of community transmission as early as July 20 and rounded off this observation with the assertion that 55 percent people who have tested positive have had no travel history.
What is the way forward ? This again is a question which the Government should be breaking its head over but nothing much to substantiate that any new strategy has been chalked out. On the other hand, the people need to be told that there is no way forward until and unless they strictly stick to the guidelines laid down by WHO and ICMR. Maintain social or physical distancing is a call that was rung out much earlier, but like water running off the back of a duck, this too has flown over the heads of everyone. Wear face mask and too wear it in the right way while stepping out is another call but then again this has failed to sink into the consciousness of the people. Wash one’s hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and water is another call that does not seem to have registered in the consciousness of anyone. The increasing number of infection amongst people with no travel history is a clear pointer that these three commandments are not being followed at all. A look at the number of people pulled up daily and fined for violating the SOP laid down should tell its own story. The tragedy is, while no one is willing to adhere to the guidelines laid down by WHO and ICMR, people do not think twice about coming out and enforcing their own version of leikai lockdowns in total violation of the call to maintain physical distancing in the process. The people need to wake up and the Government too need to look beyond the lockdown to tackle the pandemic at hand. Else Manipur will continue to witness double and triple digit increase  of positive cases everyday.