Slow and steady wins the race
IFP Editorial: Even with the opening of the main market we are now witnessing a substantial increase in the number of street vendors on the peripheral roads of the Core Bazar area. This increase is a direct fallout of the pandemic and its restrictions, and it must be viewed as a humanitarian crisis.
For the first time since the coming of the second wave of the pandemic, the daily number of positive figures went below the 100 mark at 69 positives out of 2,780 tested, which is 2.5 percent. Except for Kamjong district, the positivity rate in all other districts has gone down under six per cent. Health authorities are breathing a sigh of relief and we are all optimistic of finally opening up in the coming days. Yet, we cannot afford to be complacent and have to be always on guard as the condition in neighbouring state of Mizoram is worsening with 1,224 positive cases on Tuesday. It is worth mentioning here that Churachandpur district which borders Mizoram has the highest number of cumulative positive figures and deaths among the hill districts of Manipur. Perhaps, it is time for us to contemplate on whether to close the border and ban inter-state travel between the two states or not. Yet, it would be difficult as people living on either side have close ethnic ties and neighbourly relations are not that good between Assam and Mizoram. The recent clashes at the border between the two states leading to the deaths of some policemen had worsened the situation.
As the state continues to register low number of positive figures and a dip in percentage, the State Disaster Management Authority has already begun the Unlock process and the three Main markets in Khwairamband Keithel have been allowed to conduct business on rooster basis while shops and establishments in both Paona Bazar and Thangal are conducting business. Banks are back to normal. Surprisingly, even with the opening of the main market we are now witnessing a substantial increase in the number of street vendors on the peripheral roads of the Core Bazar area. This increase is a direct fallout of the pandemic and its restrictions, and it must be viewed as a humanitarian crisis. Well, traffic congestion on these roads have worsened with the advent of this new crop of street vendors. But, one must learn to deal with them with a humane approach and regulate them in such a way that they continue to hawk their wares while also ensuring smooth traffic flow. On the other hand, we must ensure that Covid appropriate behaviour is strictly followed. As one steps out from home in the streets, the majority of the people wear masks on the chin or by covering the mouth while leaving the nose free. There are also many people who come out in the streets with no particular reason with masks on the chin and loitering aimlessly without rhyme or reason.
Besides widespread testing, the state is engaged in a drive to up the vaccination scale. The chief minister had said that, once the daily positivity rate goes below 5 pc the state government will begin considering the question of whether to open the schools or not. However, we should wait for the daily percentage to stabilise for a few more weeks. In a bid to achieve 100 per cent vaccination in Manipur at the earliest, Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Monday launched COVID Vaccination Express in the state, although the state has already achieved more than 50 per cent vaccination status. He flagged off the COVID Vaccination Express for Imphal West District from the CM Secretariat. As many as 15 COVID Vaccination Express vans will cover every household and neighbourhood to vaccinate people at their doorsteps. This is a good step. Yet, we must consider all options before finally opening up full throttle. After all, slow and steady wins the race.