Needed new approach to tackle new variant
Frightening surge of cases
It is a new variant, that is the L452R mutation found in the variant B1.671 and the impact of this variant can be seen on the heavy toll it is taking across the country. The new variant too has taken its toll on Manipur and it has ensured that new records are being scripted too. On May 4, Manipur saw the highest surge on a single day with 433 people, including one personnel of the Central Paramilitary Force, testing positive. The number of deaths too equalled the previous record of 10 deaths on May 5. The previous record was set on November 29, 2020. New variant and perhaps this is where the time calls for a new approach and the Government would need to put on its thinking cap and seriously deliberate on the issue at hand. Why are so many people still continuing to flout the SOPs laid down by the State Government ? A fact which is evidenced by the number of people pulled up every day and the fines collected from them. Would it help more if professionals, those who are directly engaged with the task of attending to the sick and studied how epidemics spread, are asked to address the people directly to follow the SOPs laid down ? Wouldn’t it also help more if the Government comes clean and tell the people that the vaccines to inoculate those in the age group of 18 to 44 are yet to arrive and the only way forward is for everyone to strictly follow the SOPs. Why can’t doctors be asked to ‘educate’ the people on how wearing face masks, not only in the public domain but also inside their own houses, helps in keeping the virus at bay ? These are steps that may be seriously considered. Given that the behaviour of the virus is yet to be fully understood, it would help much more if the Government listens to all possible suggestions and accordingly see what more steps may be taken up.
The Government will also need to study how the nature of infection and the rate of infection differs from the first wave. Are the contact tracing process being followed meticulously ? How about testing kits ? Are the district headquarters, other than Imphal, equipped with the necessary testing kits, particularly the RT-PCR testing kit, which is considered to be the gold standard of testing for the virus ? Are enough measures being taken up in containment zones ? What are the steps that need to be taken up in areas which have been designated as containment zones or is it now a question of just declaring a homestead as a containment zone ? Things certainly don’t look good and apart from revisiting the measures taken up so far, with the knowledge that a new approach with more punch need to be taken to tackle the new variant of the virus, the Government will also need to ensure that the State does not run out of vaccines. Vaccine appears to be the best option before the people and the Government for it is a given that even if one tests positive after receiving the two doses, the severity of the infection is much lesser and this would automatically mean less strain on the health infrastructure which must be under heavy pressure with each day witnessing a rise in the number of positive cases in the three figure mark.