Have you ever sanitize your mind ?

Kapsiam Hangshing *

Being everyone called to stay indoors, the bustling cities and towns switched into silent mode. All activities have come to a grinding halt. How awful life is, to live with the deadly, invisible virus that encompass around us. Everyone was crumbling but life has been continuing in a different way, converting schools and offices into home to embark the virtual world.

Covid-19 illustrate an insidious nature and a catastrophic potential of a biological weapon. A severe threat to human existence, highly transmissible that spread deep throughout the entire geographies, stretching to all segments of society. It expose multiple challenges as it continues to stir up with the rise of many new cases each day. The vanity of human wishes have stripped off.

The series of lockdown sharply hit the livelihood of many people and as it progress to reverse the glut of the global market, a stark debates have been going on time to time between the twin words 'lives' vs 'livelihoods'. The future is uncertain and scattered as the country is battling against two fold; Infection and Starvation. The length of the battle will decide the actual cost.

While we scared stepping out of home, someone has to step out from home. Frontline warriors ran pillars to post, subjected to contracting the virus as they confront the invisible killer on the battlefield, that too being carried out without a proper protective armour. The sacrifice at the cost of lives have warmed up many hearts. Their profession gives them a high social status.

In Manipur, the parlous state of our public health system has come to the limelight with the explosion of Coronavirus. The state hospital face formidable challenges from basic medical supply to workforce to infrastructure.

Needless to say, any means of shortage or disruption of the health service would endanger a patient under severe strain. Thankfully, the state is fortunate enough so far, for being held hostage by only two cases, which was doable. Considering how feeble the existing healthcare is, I often ask myself 'What if not'

For a state with a large number of poverty, many people left out of choice, remain at stake with the state's hospital. On the contrary, there is a tendency of favouring private hospital or better-facilitated hospital outside the state, than risking life with the state's government hospital. The rich could go ahead with their choice but not the poor.

Is this one of the reason why the government is not taking full measure so far? What is the state priority over health? The Covid-19, which is contagious in nature, taught us that even the health of the poor matters too. Surprisingly, everyone is paying close attention to each other with the outbreak of the virus. But how long would this humanity last?

Now, the future survival of the state health will rest upon how well we prepared for the next unknown. The Coronavirus is just one aspect, a brief trailer for what is to come. The state has to focus more on medical research institution with well-equipped labs to study and experiment different nature of pathology, diseases and its treatment.

We cannot always rely on other states. Let this pandemic be a wake-up call for the government to relook the state budget and reallocate more resources in healthcare.

Every dawn of the day wakes up with new challenges. Human-environment interaction via ingestion, inhalation, and absorption affect human in one way or another. A growing trend of emotional support furnished by animals from animal herding to household pets like dogs for stress antidote, become part of human needs. This human-animal attachment foster high chances of infecting zoonotic disease regardless of benefits.

With the rise of human population, the day is experiencing rapid environmental degradation in the form of climate changes, deforestation, floods, melting glaciers etc. The health disruptions that can take place as a result of such changes will aggravate human fatalities.

This is a very critical time for all CMs of the country to face the ultimate test of their competence and commitment, and CM Biren is no exception. Some claims that the virus is less virulent in Manipur as compared to other states. In fact, it is the collective efforts of the state authorities for their prompt action.

Manipur is one of the swiftest state to respond the pandemic Covid-19 from screening passenger at airport and Moa gate border to contact tracing, the state has been scaling up well ahead of time. Subsequently, the state became 'green zone'. However, as the war is still raging, the status could always overturn in the days to come.

Under the leadership of CM Biren, the government takes all possible effort to deliver relief in the form of cash, food or accommodation to desperate persons inside and outside the state. The current crisis also uncover the abundance of ration supply from the government through Public distribution system.

Meantime, the state reaffirms the existence of humanitarian services from generous donors, NGOs and community-based philanthropic associations. The heart of benevolence brings a ray of hope to many people in distress.

More than a month of lockdown dried up the sources of many people, especially those under non-permanent job including private employees across the state. One way to acknowledge the share they contributed towards the state economy is to keep them safe. In light of that, the government has started inter-state evacuation of stranded people.

While we appreciate the initiative, it is important for the remaining aspirants to think beyond the lockdown and take up a clear discretion. Of course, this storm will pass eventually and human will survive. People have to resume work in order to live. But, new start-up likely to cost double. At the same time, reviving the economy is the state's next obligation.

As the state geared up to receive more, the onus is upon the state-district authorities to facilitate their safe return. Being orphaned by the lockdown, home is the last resort of hope. So, the home coming of our dear ones must be embraced with a smirk by the society, in cordial relation with the district administrator.

With thousands of inmates in a home captive, abided by certain norms, call for perseverance and adaptability. If not, imposing 14 days confinement within a limited facility may pose a great risk as huddling of crowd in a congested space often ends up with unprecedented miseries.

It is important to bear in mind that even a quarantine centre could turn into a virus hotspot centre since undetected cases may still be there. Even a slight negligence could lead to unmanageable situation. So, adherence to comply with the SOP is utmost important.

In its truest sense, it appears unrealistic to enforce the norms unless sufficient manpower gets deployed for the task. Taking into account how daunting it may seems, we needs to prepare for the worst but never lose hope.

In fact, the government has the resources but implementation is always lacking. Therefore, It is quite essential to work with each local authority in cohesion to bring out an ideal strategy. Let me leave this to the field expert.

In case, if any returnee is detected with coronavirus, will the people feel hostile and chase away? Do we choose solidarity or suspicion? The typical way we inflict fear and anger upon the infected person will not only stigmatise the individual but it will intensify hesitation to people with symptoms and discourage them to get tested.

As a result, people tend to conceal their background. Instead, the public should run a public campaign to motivate people with symptoms and bridge them to reach out to the concern health workers.

This relate to the days when Manipur recorded the first positive case in the state. Within minutes, after the test result was out, her identity attached with her picture was publicly revealed and shared extensively.

Netizens start trolling her on social media like a demon and a video clip showing her gasping for breath in an isolation ward went viral. She continued to face severe backlash. She showed no signs of sickness except anxiety and shame.

What keeps me boggling after a week of home confinement is, while the nation salute and clap for our warriors, there are people who dare to obstruct burying the dead body of their warrior who died due to Corona. Why do people pelted stones on doctors who came to rescue them. The answer is simple. It is the stigma attached to them due to lack of awareness or ignorance.

This is a very disgusting scene resulting from the toxic trait and taboos that have been deep rooted in our mind for years. Such act of social ostracism are very arrogant and fierce. Nothing could be more ludicrous and insane.

If you take a closer look, all this bear the same stereotype of discrimination. The same reason is also suitable to the people of North East origin being called as 'Chinki' 'Nepali' and now 'Corona' in our own country by the mainlanders.

Lockdown has taught us numerous life lessons. But how long will this last? Will it disappear in a puff of dust with the virus? The world is full of complications. Tragedies after tragedies. Do not wait idle for the world to recover. The world will matter to you as long as you are alive.

The pandemic Covid-19 is reminding us the significance of hygienic life, from hand cleansing to distance keeping to covering mouth and nose. Most importantly, cleansing mind or mind sanitizing from all dirt and dust.

* Kapsiam Hangshing wrote this article for
The writer is a resident of Delhi and can be contacted at kapshangshing(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on May 16 2020.

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