Getting back to the basicsTest, trace, treat
Getting back to the basics and this is exactly what the State Government is doing in going ahead with the mass testing programme at Imphal West. Couple this with the test conducted on those pulled up for violating the SOPs and defying the curfew call and these are measures that the severity of the second wave of the pandemic demands. Test, Treat and Trace. These are the three magic words which the Government should stick to and should be the thumb rule to take the fight to the virus. It is still not very clear how many have tested positive during the mass testing programme taken up in Imphal West, and it would do well for the Health Department and the line departments concerned to work out the modalities and furnish information on how many have tested positive during this special drive. The objective of the mass testing drive should not only be to detect those who have been infected, but should also be able to indicate the probability of how many asymptomatic people could be out there moving around freely and in the process infecting others who come into close contacts with them. The first spell of the epidemic as well as the second wave have more than made it clear that it is the asymptomatic individuals who are the super spreaders. As pointed out here earlier, no one would go near a person who shows symptoms or has been declared positive, but it is the asymptomatic persons who will be moving about freely and interacting with others and herein lies the wisdom of the call to widen the testing process. Test, test and more test. This is one way of going forward in the effort to flatten the curve. Apart from the mass testing, random testing may also be conducted at suspected hotspots and in Ukhrul district headquarters, Manipur has a fine example of how the asymptomatic folks may be living and co-mingling with others and in the process exposing them to the threat of being infected.
Another point which merits the attention of the Government and all concerned was the report that there are no food arrangements at many of the Covid Care Centres being set up across the States. This is one sure way of convincing many to opt for Home Isolation, which is not advisable at all for a place like Manipur. This is a point which has been stressed here many times for such an arrangement could be one way of increasing asymptomatic persons to mingle around with others. A sure shot formula to let the virus spread at will. As pointed out here many times earlier, rope in the service of all the 60 MLAs. Let them look after the necessary arrangements for the Covid Care Centres in their respective ACs. A minimum fee may be charged from those in the Covid Care Centres for food and other necessities. This can go a long way in convincing the infected persons not to opt for Home Isolation and in the process minimise the risk of infecting others. Test and more test, this should be the mantra in the efforts to fight the spread of the virus and now with mass testing on in many localities, it would also help if the Health Department and others work out the modalities of keeping the people updated on the number of people found infected during the mass testing process.