Not the time to let the guards down
Second wave. This is the reality in some States of the country, notably in Maharashtra, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh Chhatisgarh, Gujarat and Punjab too and there is a reason why the State Government has made it mandatory that anyone returning home from the named first five States should undergo compulsory Covid testing on arrival at the BT International Airport. Very much like the earlier days when all returnees and all those who had arrived on a visit had to undergo the compulsory testing. With the drop in the rate of infection and the number of deaths, the compulsory testing was done away with, but with reports coming in that some States across the country are witnessing a second wave of the infection, the compulsory testing on arrival has been reintroduced. This is how it is at present and if things get worse or if things don’t improve then it will also be a question of going back to square one. And there is every reason to fear that such a situation may become a reality if one takes a look around. With situation improving, it is not uncommon to see many moving around without the mandatory face mask, much less talk about maintaining physical distancing. The roads of Imphal are already choc-a-bloc with traffic and there has been a surge in marriage ceremony, get togethers, feasting etc and the script seems to be just right to roll out the red carpet for the virus to make a smooth landing. Apparent that the understanding of the New Normal has been hit for a big six and with the infection rate dropping to the single digit mark and active cases down below the fifty mark, everyone seems to have forgotten that the virus is still out there, ready to strike out at any given opportunity.
This is the reality that everyone should acknowledge, else all the days of lockdown, the restrictions put on the movement of the people and the dos and don’ts that have been followed will not serve any purpose. This is where it becomes important to remind everyone that till date, the virus has claimed over 300 lives and infected many more impacting on the lives of the people. Global pandemic is more than just a term, but a reality which has come to stalk mankind and with reports of a second wave sweeping across some States in the country, this is all the more reason for the people to be wary. Don’t merely look at what is happening in one’s immediate environs but across the world and across the country. It is after nearly a year that the Ima Keithels have been opened and the past should not be forgotten in a hurry. Cut down on unnecessary travel and movement as much as possible. Drop the plan to fly or go by road outside the State. For those who are returning home, especially from the States where the second wave has been reported, take much more care and family members too should extend whatever co-operation they can to the measures being taken up by the State Government to avert a second wave. Manipur cannot afford a second wave of the virus at any cost. This is a point which can be overlooked only at the peril of the people themselves. Let the Government also speed up the vaccination drive and the figure of 41 thousand people having received the vaccine shot should be improved. Is it a case of people reluctant to come forward to take the vaccine or is it a question of the Government unable to meet the need of the time ?