TODAY -

Threat from new variant
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: November 29, 2021 -



IF at all the new Covid variant detected in southern Africa and classified by the World Health Organisation as 'Variant of Concern' reaches the state, then it needs no reminding that the semblance of normalcy being enjoyed at the moment would come to a grinding halt.

Regardless of government authorities claiming that adequate measures have been put in place to prevent resurgence of the viral disease, the first two waves that derailed normal chores for nearly two years are hard evidences that sans effective implementation of the preventive steps containing the pandemic wouldn't be possible.

The new variant named as Omicron has already set the alarm bell ringing across the world with many countries imposing travel restrictions to and from the affected regions.

In view of a WHO panel cautioning that Omicron is a highly transmissible virus of concern, the same category that includes the predominant delta variant and which is still a scourge driving higher cases of sickness and death in Europe and parts of the United States, it is obvious that the general aspiration of seeing the end of the pandemic and the sense that normal life was coming back at least for the vaccinated population would be dashed in case of failure to enforce the tightest of measures.

In view of the rapid expansion in the aviation sector, stopping import or export of the new highly transmissible variant of the coronavirus would be tough for primary focus of all the countries is to aid revival of economic activities that the pandemic disrupted since outbreak of the first wave.

As per the WHO report, the first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on November 9, 2021 which suggests possibility of spread of the Omicron variant to different parts of the world from its place of mutation.

Moreover, the WHO asking countries to enhance surveillance and sequencing efforts to better understand circulating SARS-C0V-2 variants and submit complete genome sequences and associated metadata to a publicly available database, indicates that tackling the contagion will entail contribution from the most advanced to the least developed countries.

What should be of worry to every nation is that WHO's words of caution that the new variant has a large number of mutations and an increased risk of re-infection as compared to other variants of concern for governments had" been pinning hope on mass vaccination to tame the virus.

Having faced the wrath of two waves of the pandemic, how the people of Manipur would respond to the latest threat will be crucial in prolonging the gradual return to normal life.

With every phase of easing the Covid-19 induced restrictions, the masses have been displaying complacency in adhering to Covid appropriate behaviour with the government agencies too not showing any interest in enforcing the existing measures to reduce risk of infection including proven public health and social measures such as wearing well-fitting masks, maintaining physical distancing, checking overcrowding at public spaces, improving the rate of testing and vaccination. Thus, one can only hope that the government not only adopts measures to contain the new variant but also enforces them effectively.



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