Keeping people informed is key Six more Omicron cases !
The commandments from the World Health Organisation (WHO) are-Avoid huge crowds (maintain physical distancing of at least three feet), Always mask up, Wash one’s hands with soap and water thoroughly and yes get vaccinated. Not from WHO but which is indispensable in taking the fight to the virus is keeping the people informed of every development and there is a reason why there is a daily update on the status of the disease and the deaths and why the media is given a briefing every now and then by the Health Department. However going against this grain is the grim announcement by the Health Director on January 14 that six more Omicron cases have been detected and making this announcement sound all that more bombastic was the addendum that the six persons have been discharged after recovery (on being tested negative via RT-PCR). This was the first time that the newspapers of Manipur had to carry a report which carried the news of six more infection detected along with the information that all have been discharged after recovery under the same heading. No plausible reason has been given nor sought till date, but it stands that till the time the new Omicron cases were detected and till the time the patients were discharged on recovery, Manipur had no clue that more cases of the highly infectious variant had been detected ! This could mean so many things. For one, this could have created more room for people to come into contact with the infected persons and no one knows how keeping such a vital information away from the public could have helped in taking the fight to the virus. The same statement which gave the information of six more Omicron cases detected and the discharge of the six persons after recovery, offered no explanation on why the report of the infection was not given to the public on time. Whether this is acceptable to the people and the Government is perhaps best left to the numerous experts who appear to be a dime a dozen in Manipur.
By all account, Manipur appears to be caught up in the third wave of the pandemic with the COVID-19 Common Control Room reporting fresh infections in three digits in the last few days. This is starkly reminiscent of the days when the second wave started wreaking havoc all over, after a brief lull. Manipur appears to be revisiting the same route and with election campaign at its most intense in all the Assembly Constituencies, the coming days can only get worse. This is where one would need to appreciate and understand the unstated but audibly loud reason behind the decision of the Election Commission of India to extend the ban on physical rallies and road shows till January 22. In more than one way, this is a gentle reminder to all the political parties that they cannot be trusted to abide by the Covid Appropriate Behaviour in the din kicked up during the poll campaigns. A point which the people should acknowledge and accordingly come to the realisation that the prime responsibility of ensuring that the poll activities do not become super spreaders rest on their shoulders.