Coronavirus in Manipur: Why is positive number decreasing?

IFP Editorial: There is no one from the Health department to explain why the number of tests are coming down in recent times or whether the state’s policy of aggressive testing is still going on.


(PHOTO: IFP)

Day in day out, like most newspapers we have been writing about the pandemic and its impact on public lifestyle. We sometimes wonder whether the old normal is ever going to come back, as the virus keeps mutating and producing new variants deadlier than the earlier versions. One feels, it is not just going away and everyone has to continue with precautions and safety measures. Now, masks and face-shields have become a booming business. For those with deeper pockets, branded masks are becoming a fashion while the poor makes do with the cheaper surgical masks that too the same mask for days. Sadly, in the awareness campaign and messages there is not enough instructions on the right and proper way of wearing masks and for how long. As one steps out from home in the streets, 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.

In the last few days,the daily number of Covid-19 positives and deaths have come down drastically so also the number of persons tested daily. And, there is no one from the Health department to explain as to why the number of tests are coming down in recent times. Even though the daily number of Covid positive persons have come down, the percentage remain well above 10 everyday.

The state government seems to have forgotten that the deputation of central teams from the Union Health Ministry is in itself a sharp rebuke of the way the state is handling the fight against the Covid 19 pandemic. Last time, it was a monitoring visit. But, this time the Centre has taken a serious view of the matter and sent a central team with instructions to remain stationed in Imphal to directly monitor the situation. And yet, the state government is still to wake up to the gravity of the situation. Well, daytime curfew in districts including, Imphal West and Imphal East had been lifted while night-time curfew still remains.

The 10-day total curfew extended further by a week was imposed in the whole state of Manipur in an effort to break the chain of transmission and contain the unabated second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state witnessed peaceful response as all establishments and markets remained closed and normal life was brought to a complete halt. The streets in all districts wore a deserted look as all shops and establishments remained closed and vehicles kept away from the streets. Before the curfew, Manipur has been witnessing daily surge of Covid-19 cases above the 1000-mark daily. The total number of Covid-19 confirmed cases had crossed the 1,00,000. We had hoped that, the total curfew except for a few relaxations would bear fruit.

Watch: Was the total curfew an effective strategy to curb COVID-19 surge in Manipur?

This time, the civil society organisations and local clubs seems supportive of the state government move to impose total curfew and we see local clubs collaborating with the law enforcing agencies in imposing the curfew restrictions. Earlier, Health Director Dr K Rajo used to explain that there is no cause for alarm as the surge in positive numbers is due to aggressive house to house testing which have successfully resulted in flushing out the hidden positives. Our question is whether the state’s policy of aggressive testing is still going on? If the basic policy of ‘trace, test and treat’ is still followed there should not be any cause of the number of tests coming down. Or is it because of an intent to show low positive figures?

-Editorial

First Published:Aug. 17, 2021, 1:20 a.m.

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