Steady climb of new Covid cases Statistics don’t lie
Statistics don’t lie though they may not tell the whole story. This is how one must view the upsurge in the new cases updated daily by the Covid-19 Common Control Room. Probably not the whole picture but the recent surge in the detection of new cases is cause for concern. From July 4 to July 11, Manipur logged a total of 187 new cases and break it up on a daily basis and one comes face to face with the fact that the upward tick has been consistent. On July 4, Manipur logged 9 new cases and this went up to 17 on July 5. On July 6, the number of new cases was 22, on July 7 it was 22 and on July 8 it was again 22. On July 9 the number spiked up to 23, then 27 on July 10 and on July 11 it was 45 ! The upward tick has been sure and gradual and it is in taking cognizance of this disturbing surge that Chief Minister N Biren is understood to have announced that the Cabinet will meet soon to review the situation and see what steps ought to be taken up. Again it was in line with the latest surge in the number of new cases that Health Director Dr K Rajo had notified that screening centres would be reactivated at the entry points of the State. The preventive measures taken up are understandable for Manipur would not want to be caught on the wrong foot in the next wave. Given the gradual upward climb in the number of new cases, Manipur may soon see new cases in three digits anytime and one hopes the State Government is geared up to meet any eventuality. No chances should be taken. It is also a matter of concern that the Covid-19 Common Control Room in its daily update has till now not given any information on whether the new cases are from people who have had any travel history in the recent past or not. This information could be crucial to the people for then one may get a fair idea of the potential threat posed by the virus in the present surge of new cases. Asymptomatic. This was one term which was used widely during the first and second wave and one wonders whether there could be any asymptomatic persons who could be responsible for the spread of the virus. If this is the case then the Government may seriously consider the idea of bringing back the earlier restrictions such as making face masks compulsory, a ceiling on the number of people who may gather in one place, restrictions on crowded places and even opening the market places on rotational basis. Taking up precautionary measures is the best step given that no one knows how the virus behaves and whether it will evolve further or not.
Voices of concern have also been raised on the re-opening of schools, specially for children. There are reasons for this and the Government would do well to give it the merit it deserves. A look at the school vans, the classrooms etc will give a fair idea on how social distancing can go for a big toss and this is where the Government would do well to seriously think about the pros of re-opening schools, especially for children. Now with the Board of Secondary Education, Manipur having announced the Class X exam results, one can see parents, guardians and students themselves crowding the better known schools for admission and in the process forgetting that the virus is still out there and beginning to infect at will. This is where serious thoughts may be given to online admission processes. The virus is tricky and the world is yet to fully understand how it behaves, changing its colour with each mutation and everyone need to be on their toes. Another serious look may also be taken at the vaccination rate in the State. Launched more than a year back and it is still worrying to note that the overall vaccination rate in the State is still low with only 53.38 percent of the eligible population having received their second dose. This is despite the fact that precautionary dose or booster shot is now available. The Government ought to have conducted a special study to understand why vaccination rate is so low in the hill districts. Kangpokpi, Noney, Pherzawl, Senapati, Tamenglong, Teng-noupal, Ukhrul, Kamjong continue to come way down the ladder in the vaccination chart and this is what is disturbing. Why not reach out to the civil society organisations in these districts to give more teeth to the vaccination drive ?