Signing off August with lowest TPR The virus is still out there

Manipur signed off August, 2021 with a seemingly massive improvement when compared with the day it stepped into the  8th month of the year. On August 1, 2021, Manipur saw 832 new positive cases and 10 deaths with a daily positivity rate of 14.9 percent. Fast forward to August 31 and the number came down to 384 new cases, one death and a daily positivity rate of 8.8 percent, which was by far the lowest in the whole of last month. The next day a further improvement was seen, with 270 people returning positive results, 2 deaths and a positivity rate of 8.2 percent. For two consecutive days Manipur has seen the daily positivity rate dropping below the 10 percent mark and while this is a welcome change, utmost care should be taken to ensure that the people and the State do not see a repeat of the days when the spread of the virus was at its peak. This is all that more important with many experts predicting that the world will see a third wave and with many countries reporting a spike in new cases, Manipur just cannot afford to let her guards down. Correspondingly Imphal appears to be trudging back to normalcy, but it is still questionable whether all those out on the roads come out because it is absolutely necessary. Remember the Covid dial tune which continues to greet anyone as soon as the mobile phone is activated to contact anyone and herein lies the reality. The virus is still out there and this is a fact that no one should overlook, particularly the different political parties who do not seem to think twice before flouting the Covid Appropriate Behaviour.
New cases have come down, this is fine, but it should not be forgotten that the daily positivity rate as on September 1 is still 8.2 percent, which is way above the 5 percent mark advocated by the World Health Organisation for any Government to even entertain the idea of opening up. Lest people forget, Imphal has opened up not because the virus has been tamed but because of compelling economic factors. This is the bare fact. On the other hand, it is good to see the IDSP now coming out with districtwise details on the number of test conducted and detection of fresh cases. Now is not the time to solely rely on absolute numbers for while the overall positivity rate has come down, it is still a matter of concern to note that districts like Chandel returned a daily positivity rate of 19.7 percent on September 1 with 12 people returning positive results out of 61 samples tested. It is also disturbing to note that some districts such as Noney and Pherzawl tested only 52 and 16 samples each. Ramping up testing in the far flung districts is the need of the hour and one wonders what steps the Government will take in the coming days on this point.