Manipur steps into Year 2022 Baggage from 2021, 2020

Tough or even impossible to say why, but there is always that something when the world steps into a New Year. And it is with this same feeling that Manipur must have stepped into 2022, bidding goodbye to 2021 with some looking back at the year gone by wistfully and many more wishing and praying that the experience of 2021 is not repeated. It must have been more or less the same sentiment, when the world stepped into 2021 from 2020 and the common thread that runs through such a sentiment is the global pandemic. If 2020 was about COVID-19, then 2021 was more about the deadly Delta variant of the same virus, which exacted a heavy toll from the people. The world seems set to carry the baggage of 2021 into 2022 and pushing this baggage is the Omicron variant, which is spreading fast and which the World Health Organisation has dubbed as variant of concern. For Manipur, the step into 2022 is all that more special given the fact that in a few months from now the place would be going to polls and it is not only the political parties which have started flexing their muscles but the people too, especially the people who are eligible to vote and those who are actively engaged in poll related activities. Such activities will intensify as Manipur steps closer to voting day but it should not be forgotten that the virus is still out there and the detection of the latest ‘variant’ the Florona, a cocktail of infection of COVID-19 and influenza has only made things more uncertain. For the moment it is all about the coming Assembly elections and given the hectic campaigning in some Assembly Constituencies, coronavirus seem to exist only in the pages of a book of an exceptionally gifted ‘fiction writer.’ Florona is yet to be a matter of concern to India and more so Manipur, for the strain has just been reported and yet to be detected in the country, but be sure it will arrive here one day. When is the question, not if.
Like the rest of the world, Manipur too has stepped into a new year, but still carrying the baggage of 2021 and by all indications it should be more than clear that the virus is here to stay for some more time. The important question is, how do people live with the virus ? No easy answer, but the mantra is not to get infected and not to spread. At the moment, the only way out is to follow the Covid Appropriate Behaviour-Always wear a face mask while stepping out, Maintain social distancing, Frequently wash one’s hand with soap and water or with a hand sanitiser, Avoid large crowd, Do away with socialising and very importantly get vaccinated. This is about the new normal. Not such a tall order to follow and the only thing needed is for the people to follow the simple steps which have been laid down by WHO and backed by the Indian Council of Medical Research. The question is how well the commandments will be followed as poll related activities intensify in the coming days. This is where the primary responsibilities lie with the different political parties and the intending candidates. The people too should bear in mind that they have a responsibility to take the fight to the virus. Let it be very clear-It is not only a question of one individual getting infected, but also about the potential of how many others the infected individual can spread the virus to. Omicron is understood to spread very fast and this is a fact which should not be dismissed. The responsibility of 2022 starts now with the baggage of 2020 and 2021.