Staring at second wave of the virus
Responsibility of all
Avoid statements that may create panic. This was Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the Chief Ministers during the COVID-19 meet on March 17. This however should not be taken to mean that the respective Chief Ministers should shy away from sounding the word of caution. Take steps to avoid the second peak. This was again the Prime Minister and it should be noted here that the gist of this line is to avoid the second peak. This could mean a tacit acknowledgment that some cities in the country are already facing a second wave of the virus and the next best step is to obviously avoid the peak, that is put in all efforts to stop further spread, especially to the smaller towns and places which are located far away from the cities which are already experiencing the second wave. This should wake up the Government at Imphal and the people of Manipur. While experts are still out there deliberating on whether the surge in infection can exactly be called a second wave, the fact is the virus is spreading at a faster pace, best exemplified by the rapid rise in the number of infection after a lull of some time. This is what is disturbing. Underlines the point that the virus is still out there and infecting at will. A point which has been stressed here on more than one occasion and with some State Governments having gone ahead and imposed local lockdowns, this is all the more reason for the people here and the State Government to roll up their sleeves and put in their best effort to ensure that Manipur does not see a second wave of the infection. Infection rate has seen a sharp drop in the last couple of days recording single digit rise and no deaths, but this should be no reason to let the guards down. Let the Government once again go on a publicity blitzkrieg to let the people live by the commandments to keep the virus at bay-maintain social distancing, always wear a face mask and wash one’s hands thoroughly with soap and water or with a hand sanitiser.
Words of caution. All the more needed since Yaoshang is fast approaching and while the Government has already gone ahead and banned Thabal Chongba and Shumang Lila during the festival, it should be kept in mind that the restrictions put in place are in the best interest of the people. The virus has already claimed more than 300 lives and it continues to infect each day, which means that the virus is still out there ready to infect at any given moment. It should also be kept in mind that when the first phase of the Nationwide lockdown was imposed in March last year, the country was in a relatively robust health. India in 2020 was different from 2021 in the sense that the country is still recovering from the blows dealt by Covid and facing the second wave can prove to be much tougher than the first time round. This is the reason why the people need to be more careful this time around. Remember too, travel restrictions have been lifted and the virus spreads through people who come into close contacts. Small time business houses have reopened giving more opportunity for people to people contact. The responsibility on the people is all that more greater now than before and the relaxation given should not in any way mean that the people can let their guards down. Manipur certainly cannot afford to see a second surge of the virus when the infection went up to as high as more than 400 a day. No one should forget the immense strain that was put on the health care workers and the hospitals. The onus is on the people and the Government.