Extending curfew by another week Need to revisit HI model
A different approach has to be adopted. A hybrid approach if one may add. The extension of the total curfew by yet another week should be understood in the backdrop of the rising graph of positive cases and number of deaths daily. The daily positivity rate too is deeply worrying. The need of the hour however calls for the Government to take up other steps along with the curfew. The curfew alone, without any tangible difference in the approach to the pandemic, has not worked and this is a point which should be acknowledged. Has the Government minutely studied why cases continue to climb despite the restrictions on the movement of people since April 29 and why despite the total curfew since July 18, the virus continues to run riot ? What has happened to the earlier announcement that the suitability of a house would be studied to see if it is appropriate for an infected person to go in for home isolation there ? So far no one has heard of any such follow up action taken or if such actions have been taken up it would help for the public to know. But first thing first. The Government should seriously take another long, fresh look at the home isolation option that is being followed. As repeatedly pointed out here and which is to the knowledge of everyone in Manipur, majority of the houses cannot be suited to go in for home isolation. Remember the Delta variant of the coronavirus is highly contagious and Manipur has already had many cases confirmed of this variant so much so that experts have advised that all family members should wear the face mask even inside one’s own house, if anyone in the family tests positive. This is the reality and continuing with the home isolation model even at this stage would not be exactly what the doctor prescribed.
In short do away with the home isolation model. Secondly how many of those who test negative during a mass testing session at any of the containment zones actually stay cut off from the others ? The Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) is known to return false negatives and it is this possibility which the Government should be on guard against. For example if during a mass testing session of 20 persons in a containment zone, 11 are found positive while the rest 9 return negative, would it be correct to let off the nine suspected cases with the negative tag with no follow up action, save for the advice that they stay isolated for a certain number of days ? Why not study the option of subjecting them to a further round of test, via the RT-PCR which is understood to be the gold standard for testing the coronavirus ? Till the 28th of this month, July alone has accounted for 26,034 positive cases out of a total of 95,824. The positivity rate for the month alone that is till the 28th is 14.81 percent, which is high, very high by any standard. And July has been under one form of restrictions or the other all the way through and this is where the need arises for the Government to study other possible means along with the curfew that has been extended for another week.