Days of restrictions since Apr 29 Double whammy
A double whammy it is, but then extraordinary time calls for extraordinary measures and so even as Manipur has been under restrictions, coming under different names and terms, since April 29, the first day of the 10 days total curfew has just passed off. The statistics say it all. Far from checking the spread of the virus, the various restrictions imposed on the movements of the people, the daily count of new cases continues in huge number. For four successive days, Manipur recorded new cases in the four figure mark, with July 17 recording the single day highest spike with 1171 cases. It is not just the absolute number that is of concern but also the daily positivity rate which has always been above the 10 percent mark, with July 8 recording the highest at 19.1 percent. The average daily positivity rate from July 1 to July 17 stood at a disturbingly high of 14.9 percent and making the current month probably the worst till now is the record that the month alone has accounted for 14,069 new cases in the same period of time. This works out to 16.78 percent of the total of 83,859 cases that Manipur has logged till July 17. High positivity rate, four days of reporting 1000 plus new cases, and double digit death count and clearly something, somewhere is wrong. This is all that more palpable given that the disturbingly high numbers have come even as Manipur has been under restrictions since April 29. The matter must have been deliberated minutely before the Government decided to clamp the 10 days total clamp down from July 18 and while the steps taken up by the Government can be understood in the context of the heavy toll the virus has exacted from the people and the place, it can also be taken to mean that all the restrictive measures taken up earlier had fallen flat on its face. This is the reason why there is the compelling need for the Government to look beyond lockdowns or total curfew to contain the spread of the virus. The Government should be searching for an answer to the question, ‘Where is the missing link ? Why aren’t all the Is dotted and all the Ts crossed ?’.
The spread of the virus is easy enough to understand. Humans are the carriers and spreaders of the virus that causes the coronavirus. So the mantra, stay home, don’t move outside, maintain social distancing, avoid huge crowd, always wear a face masks and wash one’s hands frequently and thoroughly, is important. The fact that the days of restrictions since April 29 has not flattened the curve should also point to the fact that people have been moving around and in the process spreading the virus, which has led to the burgeoning number of new cases each day. In other words, the earlier efforts of the Government to curtail the movement of people have not worked. Apart from this, the Government will also need to look beyond lockdowns and total curfew and study how effective its containment measures and contact tracing exercise have been. As repeatedly pointed out in this column, ask anyone who has had the infection and one will get a far idea of how conscientiously the contact tracing exercise has been taken up by the authority concerned. And how sincerely is the earlier announcement of the Government that houses would be studied to see if they are suited for home isolation model, being followed ? Has any such inspection exercise been taken up ? If the answer is in the affirmative then it would help if the authority concerned can give a brief report on it during its daily Covid update. Information is one way of taking the fight to the virus, is a point that should not be forgotten.