Manipur on the map of CovidOmicron now in town
A variant of concern. Still substantial uncertainty and hectic research underway to determine its transmissibility, severity and re-infection risk-This is the UNICEF, a United Nations agency on the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Substantial uncertainty, but what is certain is the fact that the latest variant of the virus has landed at Manipur sparking apprehension and in some cases, alarm. Not surprising, for it was never a question of If but When and now that the virus strain has been confirmed in one patient in Manipur, a person who has returned from abroad, the onus is now on everyone to up their guard and not take things easy. What is also certain, as spelt out by the World Health Organisation, is that the Omicron variant is spreading much faster than the Delta variant and is infecting even people who have received their vaccinations or who have recovered from COVID-19. Again according to WHO, it would be unwise at this point of time to conclude that the Omicron variant is a milder variant. Spreads faster than Delta and this could mean that the health systems across the world can come under severe strain. Rewind to the days when the Delta variant of the virus ran havoc here and one can still recollect the immense strain that was put on the health system, so much so that the BJP led Government at Imphal had to put its best foot forward to equip all major health centres across the State with the life giving oxygen. What is more worrying is also the declaration that the Omicron variant can infect vaccinated and or people who have recovered from the virus infection. As noted many times here in this column, the virus is tricky and it should be more than obvious now that it has always been one step ahead of the world of science, mutating with the passage of time and managing to give the slip to the vaccine which has been developed after much medical research and at huge cost.
That the Omicron variant would land here one day or the other was a foregone conclusion for the world is today a global village and no place or country can be an island. The important question is, what steps the State Government has taken up ahead of the new strain making a landing here. Surely important lessons must have been learnt from the second wave of the pandemic and one hopes that the State is well prepared ahead of the predicted third wave. More than likely that the third wave will descend on Manipur and the world riding on the shoulder of the Omicron variant, that is if the virus does not mutate earlier than the predicted third wave. Equally important to question whether the people can afford to let their guards down at this point of time. Take a look around and it is more than obvious that the present low count, the lull, has led many to take things more easily and one can see many taking to the roads without proper face mask. Mask up is a one line statement that will stand through the ongoing pandemic. Other than this, it is also important for all to come to the realisation that the call for the new normal still stands and avoiding large crowd, keeping a distance of six feet from each other, washing one’s hand with soap and water thoroughly are the callings of the new normal, the new order of life.