Climbing numbers despite restrictionsRamp up the three Ts
Nearly a month of restricting people’s movement, yet the numbers continue to grow, both in terms of deaths as well as in the number of infected persons. Should then this be taken to mean that the restrictions have not worked ? To say yes would be jumping the gun and mistaking the trees for the woods, for it also stands that if there were no restrictions and life was allowed to go on as earlier, the possibility of the situation being worse is very, very high. However the Government should be also open to the idea or fact that something is still very wrong, despite the restrictions or lockdown or as the term the Government has used, ‘containment zone.’ The Sangai Express has already had its say on how it sees the idea of home isolation and had even gone to the extent of quoting the examples of Maharashtra where home isolation has been done away with in 18 districts and Meghalaya which has mooted the idea of doing away with this model. The Government needs to look beyond the measures being taken up right now. What could be the factors for the virus to spread so swiftly and with such lethality ? Not clear if any high level meeting has been held to minutely discuss this issue, but it stands that the Government will need to minutely study the steps that have been taken up so far. In the beginning Manipur did well in going ahead and announcing the closure of the three Ima Keithels, earlier than the Nationwide lockdown, and was also quick to rise to the challenge posed by the second wave and was earlier than its immediate neighbouring States in restricting the free movement of people. Yet the number continues to rise and this should more than make it clear, that the Government has a virus with a somewhat different character from the earlier one. Apart from lockdown or containment zone what other steps should the Government take up ? First step is obviously to ramp up the vaccination drive and see how to throw the testing process wider. Testing around 3000-4000 people obviously falls short in view of the speed in which the virus is spreading. The tagline-test, trace and treat still stands and this is something the Government cannot afford to overlook.
Along with the three magic words-test, trace and treat-the Government should seriously study how its contact tracing process is working. A talk with anyone who has recovered from the virus will give anyone a fair idea of how seriously the magic word ‘trace’ has been taken. This is one big loophole that needs to be taken into consideration and the Government need to study the wide spread of the disease from this angle immediately. This is also the time for the Government to ensure that family members of a person who has turned out positive voluntarily come forward to get tested. If the answer is yes, then fine, but if the answer is no, then what may be done ? The present spread of the virus is also a clear indication that the spread has come mostly from asymptomatic persons. This is where the process of test, trace and treat becomes imperative. It is also important for everyone to understand the crucial importance of a containment zone and it goes much more than just sticking a piece of paper with the word, ‘containment zone’ when the house of an infected person is marked as such. It is also important that family members of the infected person should understand what is expected of them when their residence is tagged a containment zone. The responsibility lies with all, is the point.