Proverbial lull before the storm ? Drop in new cases

A lull and this is the best time for everyone to be on the alert to ward off or be in a position to fight back when the third wave comes. This is not being alarmist, but this is the ideal time for everyone, particularly the Government to be on their toes and see what steps may be taken up to take the fight to the virus when the third wave comes, with experts having already sounded the word of caution a long time back. With restrictions being lifted slowly and gradually, the roads and streets of Imphal are today back to ‘normal’. This is a good sign but lest it be forgotten it should be more than clear that the present lull is more like the virus lying low to strike back with a vengeance when its time comes and certainly Manipur cannot afford to be caught on the wrong foot. The call to be more careful during this ‘lean period’ should be understood in the context of what happened before the second wave struck Manipur with such intensity at the beginning of this year and with the Government having already given the green signal to open the Khwairamband Keithel on September 27, the need to stick to the call of the new normal should be understood in its correct perspectives. The logic in the call of the Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health should be understood. ‘The next three months are very important, very crucial for India. We cannot afford to let our guards down’ was the call of the Joint  Secretary, Luv Agarwal and the crux of the matter lies here. That the call of the official has come even as Manipur was caught up with Durga Puja festivities with more lined up is what has made it all that more crucial. After Durga Puja,  there will be Ningol Chakkouba, Christmas and a host of other festivals, which may just turn out to be hot spots and add the lull in the spread of the virus and there is every opportunity for the virus to strike back with greater intensity in the third wave. Markets opening up, restrictions being slowly and gradually eased, festivals lined up and the ground seems set for people to mingle and throw caution to the wind. The catch is whether Manipur can afford to throw caution to the wind.
Congregate, socialise and mix around and this goes against the very call of the World Health Organisation to avoid large crowd. The lull in the spread and fresh infections may just lull the people into a false sense of complacency and this is where the Government will need to give more teeth to its drive against those who violate Covid protocol in public places. And when one says this, it should not be forgotten that it is the bounden duty of the Government to ensure that it sets the right example. This is all that more so given that the next Assembly election is fast approaching and canvassing has picked up across many Assembly Constituencies. Apart from sticking to the Covid appropriate behaviour and sticking to the commandments laid down by the World Health Organisation and Indian Council of Medical Research, it would help if extra efforts are made to give more teeth to the vaccination drive. It was on September 29 that Mission Director Dr N Shyamjai announced to the media that vaccination drive would be launched in the remote areas of Manipur within a week’s time in collaboration with USAID-NISHTHA. One wonders whether the drive has been launched or not, and if yes, it would help if this is given the needed publicity. Vaccination, sticking to Covid appropriate behaviour, in short adapting to the call of the new normal are necessary ahead of the third wave.