The death toll is now 38. The number of infected or positive cases, as on September 5 is 6883. These are the statistics, the number of deaths and the number of infection, but what is worrying is the growing number of those with no travel history getting infected. On September 5 of the 160 civilians who tested positive, 154 had no travel history, meaning they have all been staying put at Manipur and are not amongst those who returned from different parts of the country or from abroad when the first phase of the Nationwide lockdown came into force from March 24. The script has been running along this line for the last many days and while the State Health Department do break up the infected cases into general population, CAPF personnel and those with no travel history, no overall record, such as those who have been infected via local transmission, those who have come back with the virus from other parts of the country can be found anywhere. This is what is disturbing and vital information such as the history of those infected ought to be there at the click of the mouse. Probably there will be no answer as to why this is the state, but one do understand the immense pressure under which those managing the outbreak must be going through. The question however is whether this is the way to go about dealing with a pandemic as contagious and crippling as COVID-19. It was on August 11 this year that the State Technical Expert Committee on COVID-19 had gone on record to inform The Sangai Express that the 1st phase of community transmission is on and that a report on this would be submitted to the State Government. It is now more than 20 days since then and no follow up story could be obtained, except some verbal observation that there has been no response from the side of the Government.
Is this the way to go about dealing with the matter is the natural question that follows. If the State Government does not agree with the observation of the State Technical Expert Committee on COVID-19, then at least it should have given its version. No such thing. It is this chalta hain attitude that is hard to understand even as the virus continues to take a stranglehold on the lives of the people. The August 11 observation was followed by yet another articulation from 8 senior doctors who called for a total community survey and topped this off with their observation that Manipur is in the early stage of community transmission from as early as July 20. This observation from the 8 senior doctors was made on August 20. Typically there has been no response from the Government. The State Government may not be the final authority to say whether community transmission has set in or not, but at least one expects a response and their stand on the question. Community transmission may not be much more than a technical term and the authority to announce this may not rest with the State Government, but there should be no harm in airing its opinion on the matter in the backdrop of the observations made by professionals. Here it is significant to note that the Deputy Chief Minister of Meghalaya Prestone Tynsong had the forthrightness to announce that community transmission is already on in that State. And the number of positive cases in Meghalaya is way lower than in Manipur ! On July 17 too, the Chief Minister of Kerala had claimed that community transmission is on in the coastal areas of Poonthura and Pullivila and remember Kerala is known as one of the States which have handled the pandemic better than others.