Not a question of If but When Lessons from the past
Let it be very clear. It is not a question of If but When. This is a point which should not be lost on anyone, particularly the Government at Imphal and the people. It should also be clear to everyone that the virus appears to be always one or two steps ahead of mankind or Science, with the world still grappling with how the virus behaves. Even as the scientific world and experts have put their best foot forward to understand the latest strain of the virus, the Omicron variant has been spreading at will, leading many experts to predict that the third wave will ride on the back of Omicron with some experts even having gone to predict that the full impact of the third wave will be felt by February/March. Still hazy the picture is but what the scientific community has been able to establish is that the latest variant spreads much faster than the Delta variant and herein lies the worrying part. What is also worrying is the report that vaccinated people and those who have recovered from the virus could be infected or re-infected. All pointers to the fact that the virus is tricky, agile and has always been one or two steps ahead of mankind despite all the knowledge at its disposal. Equally worrying is also the report that there is as yet no sign that the Omicron variant may be milder than the earlier avatars, such as the Delta variant. All the more reason why Manipur cannot afford to let her guards down. And this is where the State Government will need to study how to avoid the shortfalls that were witnessed when the virus ran riot during the second wave. True, steps have been taken up to equip all the hospitals with oxygen plants, but surely some other equally important lessons ought to have been learnt from the past and the first point that comes to mind is how to put more teeth to the contact tracing exercise. This is where the Health Department and the State Government would need to seriously study if there are any loopholes that need to be plugged, a point which should be now clear by just looking back at the second wave of the pandemic.
Given that the new strain of the virus is at least three times more contagious than the Delta variant, has the Government taken a relook at its home isolation model ? The Sangai Express has been consistently stating that home isolation cannot be a model here, for majority of the households in Manipur have a common toilet, two or three brothers share the same room, a common entrance or exit way etc. Given that the latest variant is three times more contagious, can Manipur afford to continue with the home isolation model ? This calls for some serious introspection. It is in line with the discovery of the new variant that the Chief Secretary of Manipur has again reiterated the dos and don’ts during any public function or event. This is fine and one hopes the crux of the matter is not lost on anyone. One also hopes that the implications of the discovery of the new variant and its detection in different States of the country is not lost in the din of election campaigning, which is already underway in many Assembly Constituencies. Elections will have to be held and this is all the more reason for everyone to continue to stick to the SOPs and the commandments from WHO.