Another spell of total curfew Show seriousness
Not the time to take things casually and this was first witnessed in the order issued by the State Government to enforce a 10 day total curfew in the face of the rising Covid infections and deaths. The media, both print and electronic, was nowhere mentioned in the list of ‘essential services’ exempted from the purview of the curfew. In the first order issued, 14 activities/services including those related to vaccination, Covid testing, water supply, power supply, police, telecom/internet services, air travel, agriculture/horticulture subject to the condition that no crowding, eating together shall be allowed, petrol pumps, LPG distributors, goods trucks, district officials/staff managing COVID-19 were exempted from the purview of the total curfew. This left the media houses in a state of confusion as such restrictions imposed earlier to flatten the curve did not cover the print and electronic media. However, sense seemed to dawn on the consciousness of the babudom and another order was issued, which exempted the print and electronic media from the purview of the curfew. An example quoted just to show that the Government cannot afford to take things so casually so much so that it is confused as to which activities ought to be relaxed from the purview of the curfew ! Such a casual approach is not what the doctor would prescribe to deal with the pandemic. This is not so much about whether the media is exempted or not from the purview of the curfew but about how serious is the Government about making the curfew effective. Remember making the curfew effective will be much more than deploying policemen and even para-military personnel such as the CRPF and the first step towards this is for the Government to show that it is serious.
The Government too should not forget that the daily count of more than 1000 in the last three days has come even as restrictions, under different terms, have been in force since April 29. A more than enough indication that the Government would need to look at things from a different angle. Is the total curfew then an admission that the earlier restrictions put in place have not been effective at all in checking the movement of people ? Or does it merit another approach ? Such as how effective is the contact tracing process taken up after an individual tests positive ? How effective is the containment measures taken up by the Government ? These are all questions which may need a fresh look from a different perspective. What is the testing method used during the mass testing conducted at different localities ? This question is raised in the backdrop of the fact that the Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) is known to return false negative results. In such a case, wouldn’t a false negative give ample room for an infected person to spread the virus more easily ? And remember Manipur is high up there on the R-factor count with a reading of 1.07 which indicates the speed in which the infection spreads. People too need to come to the realisation that they have been taking the spread of the pandemic far too casually and a look at any road of Imphal on any day will testify this. Stay home. This is not such a tall order.