TODAY -

In the event of resurrection of corona

SK Singh *



During these COVID-19 days, the world over, the most critical concern is centered on how to prepare for facing a re-emergence of COVID-19 this winter fall. In and around the three months of November to January, when the wintery cold days outcast with high level of humidity set in, common ailments like influenza, cold and cough, generally respiratory viruses are known to thrive. And such an environment where by and large, people kind of pass days of sneezing and coughing is considered favorable for SARS COV 2 Virus to strike.

European countries, in particular, Italy, France, England among others were the first to be infected in the most severe format in the beginning of March. Things got stabilized in the subsequent months to the extent that Italy so devastatingly affected in the beginning recovered reasonably well and this day it is ranked down to 14 or so among the countries, with daily death rate at half of India's.

During the last few months when wintery cold months set in, the entire Europe is facing the brunt of second wave of the pandemic in a more terrifying scale particularly the old and those with medical conditions facing more intensity. The British government has already imposed restrictions, some format of lockdown after 5 pm when pubs, restaurants, eating joints and such congregating centres have to close down for the day.

Turning to our country, India, the overall position is nothing to be rejoiced about, if the prevailing rate of spike of new cases, the death in 24 hours or for that matter, the number of active cases at 6.56 lakh. It is almost double that of Russia though far lower than in USA which stands at a terrifying 18.76 lakh. Of late the trend has tapered down recently though nowhere to be comfortable.

National worries apart a major concern is, like in other states, Manipur has a case load of 17,000, nearly double of Meghalaya though far less than Tripura at 30,000. The daily infection though tapering these few days around 240, a week or so earlier it surged to above 400, certainly an alarming situation. The overall situation is nothing short of terrifying and strict measures need to be in place before it explodes unmanageably.

The usual 'Mantra' of 3T, Trace, Test and Treat, the implementation of it religiously is another area of concern. Appealing as it sounds; the ground reality of executing it is far less impressive. 'Tracing' is the greatest casualty with 'Testing' far more casual and in such a scenario; 'Treatment' is a big miss as it stands this day.

I know of a family in Churachandpur where a father of around 50 years working in the Medical department, got +ve and shifted to Covid-care centre. His one daughter and a son who too should be put to test immediately are yet to be done; the stated reason, shortage of test kits.

Doesn't this sound ridiculous where in a family of 3 members, when one is confirmed +ve, the other two members have yet to be tested, at a time when community transmission has set in? More so, when a member of a family got positive, the remaining members are kept in waiting for days for want of testing kits.

Not only his family members, even the neighbors and his close contacts should be put to test that too, instantaneously. The ground reality is that this is not happening. Doesn't it sound ridiculous that members of a Covid-19 patient have to wait for days to get tested on the face of the 'slogan' of 3T sponsored by authorities of the imminence of the PM of the country?

But this is reality, not a reality show. It's high time that the mismatch between action and preface be curbed when the question is life and death. Such complacence would cost dearly as the wintry days approach. The season of weddings, festivities including religious fervors, social gatherings that include indoor-gatherings and social-crowding are for sure, fertile space for this highly contagious virus.

On the top of that by-polls in 5 Assembly Segments are in the thick of it throwing open more opportunities for the spread of the disease. For Manipuries easily attracted to free wining and dining in the course of electioneering, when scores of proclaimed workers gather till late in the night, corona is set to reach nook and corners in those ACs. Thereafter, the passage to the families and the locals would be wide open for the virus to catch hold of.

People in the state are known for their attitude of complacence, laxity and willful defiance of standard protocols. These airs of placid attitude are visible across in the public places, the roads and the markets. They use masks for sure but the other essential component, maintaining a safe space, the social distancing, is hardly observed.

The third most important component is that of 'sanitizing' or even washing hands is a great casualty. The rapid rise in daily infection in recent days could be an indication of the wide scale social transmission; a situation unless curbed straightaway could pose serious threat to the common man. With cold days approaching fast, the trend unless tamed, hard days are in store for the state.

The GOM has as of now appears to be not keen on locking down as in the past months. They are instead relying on its approach of educating the masses, reawakening consciousness of the perils of undermining the SOP.

These measures where the Police organization is tasked with the responsibility of bringing awareness among the people, engaging CSOs and other local institutions in arousing consciousness of the perils of neglect of prescribed code of behavior or practice among the masses is far too less an option.

Look around the places. While usual market places have been clamped down, other nearby several places are virtually turned into floating-markets where vendors take hold of the space in their twenties or thirties ready to move away at short notice. Worst still, marketers in groups swarm upon these outlets, jostle for their items.

In doing so, they come too close to each other and also with the vendor. Where is the social distancing, where is the scope for hand sanitizing; masks are there but certainly cannot safeguard a sufficient protection.

What could be the option if the few observations in the foregoing paras are the reality? During a COVID-19 awareness program at different locations only the other day, there was an anonymous call for the government to increase surveillance activities to curb spread of the infectious disease without further laxity.


* SK Singh wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at kunjabiharis(AT)rediffmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on 28 October 2020.



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