Impudent violations of SOPs
Interesting developments in Assam and Meghalaya. There was a reason why the English edition of The Sangai Express ran the news story of the number of SOP violators being pulled up in Manipur within a box under the main heading “‘Attempt to murder’ case against SOP violators : Assam DGP,’ datelined Guwahati May 12. One can understand the circumstances under which the DGP of Assam went to the extent of stating that ‘attempt to murder’ case would be lodged against all those found violating the Covid SOPs and the line ‘attempt to murder’ is literally true for those who flout the Covid appropriate behaviour with impunity. Refusing to abide by the SOP can be literally taken to mean posing a threat to the lives of others and the Assam DGP cannot be faulted for taking such a strong stand. Here too there are still many who just refuse to listen to reasoning and continue to flout the Covid appropriate behaviour with impunity, best seen in the manner in which so many move around with the face mask under their chin, three riding on a two wheeler and crowding shops and other outlets etc. It was to discourage this irresponsible behaviour that the State Government heftily increased the fines to be collected from the SOP violators and that the decision of the Government came a few days after The Sangai Express had called for heftier penalties in this very column is acknowledged. The number of fresh cases continue to rise and so too the number of deaths. From an all time high of 600 new cases recorded on May 7, the record today is 660 as per the figure on May 12. The number of deaths too has been increasing and all these should point to the bare fact that the new variant of the virus spreads much faster and is more lethal. Despite this, news continue to pour in of so much fines collected from SOP violators on a daily basis and this should tell something significant about the mentality of the people. This is one reason why The Sangai Express has been continuing to adorn its headlines with the number of deaths and infected just so to drill sense into the heads of the people that they need to stick to the SOPs laid down by the Government, issued on the advice of the World Health Organisation and the Indian Council of Medical Research.
SOP violators on the one side and the deafening silence of the Government on when the State would be in a position to actually kick off the vacination drive of those in the age group of 18 to 44 is the reality here right now. This is despite the fact that 7,500 doses have been earmarked for people in the said age group. Marked but still left unsaid on when the drive will kick off, that is. A grand scheme announced by the Centre in view of the fact that the new strain of the virus has also begun to infect the younger lot and the Nationwide drive started on May 1 is yet to see the light of day here even two weeks into May. On the other hand, the Government of Meghalaya has announced that vaccination drive for those in the said age group will start from May 14, according to a report received from Newmai News Network. The virus has hit Manipur much more than Meghalaya, in terms of fatality and positive cases, yet it appears that Meghalaya is set to go ahead with the vaccination drive of people in the said age group while nothing is known about Manipur, save for the information that 7,500 vials have been earmarked for the said drive. The point is, vaccination is the best way forward to take the fight to the virus apart from observing the three commandments of, always wear a face mask that too correctly, maintain social distancing and wash one’s hand thoroughly with soap and water or with a hand sanitiser.