Crossing the two lakh barrier
Impose heavy fines
The State Government will have to think out of the box, before things get out of hand. Heavier fines on those who violate the Covid SOPs will be more acceptable than a lockdown, given that the people have just emerged from one such lockdown. The present Rs 200 or so fine for violating the SOPs seems like pouring a glass of water into the Imphal River to draw an analogy that comes to mind just now and the Government will have to think of a fine that will really pinch the wallet of the violators hard. Putting them bars may be out of the question at the moment, for afterall social distancing needs to be maintained, but yes hefty fines should be imposed, so much so that people will think twice before moving around non-chalantly putting the others to risk. Apart from hefty fines that will pinch their pockets really hard, impound their driving license, that is if they have a driving license and if they happen to be children of Government employees then freeze the salaries of the parents for some months. This should jolt their senses awake. This observation is not an over reaction, not even a reaction, but a response to how insensitive some people are, despite the ugly reality staring them straight in the face. Take a look at some hard statistics. The second wave of the virus has already broken the ‘highest’ record of the first, with 1,03,558 people testing positive all over the country on April 5. This rose to 1.26 lakh on April 8, to 1.31 lakh on April 9, 1.68 lakh on April 12 to 1.84 lakh on April 14 to be capped off by 2.07 lakh on April 15. As stated many times in this column, the virus cannot be bounded by geography and as such no one should take smug comfort under the illusion that the spread of the virus is not so rampant in Manipur. Rewind to March 26, 2020 and one can recollect how from a single case, the number of positives has touched the 29,561 mark of positive cases in just a little over one year. Regular newspaper readers must also be in the know that the death tally in just a little over a year is 376. This works out to over one death per day in a year !
All these are reminders to all that the virus has been spreading and is infecting at will. This is where it becomes incumbent on everyone to strictly follow the Covid appropriate behaviour in the knowledge that the virus is not bound by geography and if it is rampant in other parts of the country, Manipur cannot remain immune. Corresponding with the rapid rise in other parts of the country, Manipur too has been witnessing double digit spike in the last couple of days, after a lull. On April 7 the number of new cases was 12, 16 on April 8, 12 on April 9, 11 on April 10, 10 on April 11, 18 on April 12, 26 on April 13-the highest surge in 2021 till now. And returnees, those who have returned from other parts of the country, make a fair share of the total tally and this is what is worrying, especially as India has reported mutated strains of the virus. Appropriate Covid behaviour-this seems to be the best mantra to flatten the curve and if this mantra is not heeded then one can well imagine the situation. The health system will be strained to its limits and so will the resources of the Government and everyone. It is to avoid such a situation that everyone should wake up to the significance of the call for a new normal. Situation looks grim and one just has to remember that Assam is one of the five States which saw a doubling of Covid cases in just two weeks, in the face of the recent Assembly elections and Assam is a neighbour and within shaking hands distance.