Doing away with day curfew Positivity rate in hill dists
It is again back to the pandemic. The Government has slightly eased the restrictions, doing away with the day curfew and the night curfew coming into force from 6 pm which will be in force till 5 am the next day. Restrictions eased, but then normal day to day trading is still restricted with shops allowed to open under certain conditions such as on alternate days, one in three or four or five shops allowed to open for a certain period of time on a day, only local vegetable stalls allowed to open, meaning the main markets are yet to open etc. The preventive measures taken up by the Government is understandable for there is no sign that the chain of transmission has been reined in or has been broken. On August 9, Manipur detected 467 new positive cases which is way lower than the 700 plus daily cases that the current month has been logging each day, but as repeated many times earlier in this column, one should not be blinded by the absolute number. Only 467 new cases it was but remember the daily positivity rate was a high of 15.5 percent. This is what is worrying, for this means that for every 100 samples tested, 15.5 people tested positive. Make it 200 samples and this means 31 people returned positive results. This is what is worrying and it has been like this for days now and a double digit daily positivity rate means that this figure is much higher than the below 5 percent rate recommended by the World Health Organisation to lift the lockdown or ease restrictions placed on the movement of people. And talking about daily positivity rate, it would be so much better if the COVID-19 Common Control Room or any other related organisation can furnish the daily positivity rate for each district too while handing out the daily statement to the media. Such a move will also help clear doubts in the minds of the people. For example, Noney district reported 20 new cases on July 31, but this number went drastically down in the subsequent days with August 1 recording 5 in the said district, 6 on August 2 and 8 on August 3. Now if the test conducted on the said days can be spelt out for public consumption then it would help all to exactly know whether the spread of the virus is on the wane or not.
By absolute numbers, Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur, Kakching, Thoubal, Churachandpur and to an extent Kangpokpi are districts of concern at the moment for these districts make up the bulk of the daily surge of positive cases. Ukhrul, Chandel, Tamenglong, Tengnoupal, Noney, Pherzawl and Kamjong contribute the least in the daily number of cases. The seemingly low spread of the virus in these hill districts can be understood and appreciated taking the population ratio and other factors into consideration, but it would help so much more if the number of tests conducted in each district can be given in the daily statement issued to the media. Calculating the positivity rate is important to have an understanding of the spread of the virus and bringing to light the number of tests conducted can go a long way in establishing how widely spread is the virus in each district. This is one primary reason why not much was read into the 467 number of cases on August 9 for the positivity rate was still very high with 15.5 percent. Likewise should the people be happy with the report of 1 new case detected at Kamjong on August 10 without knowing the number of tests conducted ? Something as basic as this should not be brushed aside and the Government should make public the number of tests conducted in each district for public consumption. This is one way of taking the fight to the virus for information is strength and an informed people will be an asset in the fight against the virus which has taken a heavy toll.