As local transmission of Covid-19 in Tamenglong district of Manipur started about a month ago, the fear of being infected by novel coronavirus mounts among the people, especially in the town area. For fear of contracting the disease, people have stopped venturing out of their homes to the main market area unless necessitated by exigencies. The streets in the containment zones wear a deserted look. The only vehicles one can see frequently zooming past are ambulances transporting Covid-19 positive patients to a quarantine facility.
“If am tested, I will be found COVID-19 positive,” said one person residing in Tamenglong town. Such is the self-suspect that many locals have about themselves amid the surge in the Covid-19 positive cases in the district. The fear and suspect is prompted by the recent surging trend in Covid spread in the district
Recently, Covid-19 claimed its first victim in Tamenglong, a 94-year-old man. Soon after, a medical report came that a whole family was tested positive at one Ward of the town. The next day's report stated that Tamenglong has seen another eight or 10 more positive patients. Even those wards that were guarded strictly by the Women Society began to report positive cases. If someone dies, Covid-19 as the reason is always suspected!
The media and social networking platforms, including Facebook and WhatsApp groups, are flooded with information about the ‘positive’ cases in the town. And, The district administration is stretched to the limit while dealing with this pandemic. The cumulative Covid-19 confirmed cases till Friday was 532, including 137 active cases, according to the state health department. In view of the rapidly rising cases, the district administration has been issuing containment orders from time to time. Several areas in Tamenglong HQ have been declared a containment zone by the district administration.
It may be pointed out that the unique features of Covid-19 spread in Tamenglong district where whole family members often get infected can, perhaps, be attributed to the tribal lifestyle of strong family bonding and community gathering which signifies togetherness and belongingness prevalent even during Covid times and the practice of joint family system.
Prevention, never too late
Prevention is better than cure, but a hard lesson to learn. Yet, it’s never too late to do the needful and prevent the scourge from spreading further.
Driven by fear of being infected, the general public has started taking precautions for themselves by consuming various fitness juices and fruits that are available locally. Many are taking to steaming, preparing juices of lemon, ginger, turmeric, tulsi, gooseberry, or ‘nungmaikha’, ‘lingtu’ and ‘majengluan’ (local traditional herbs) or consume daily bits of garlic to keep their immunity strong.
The demand for medicines such as Zincovit, Limcee Vitamins and multi Vitamin tablets are on the rise, as people can be seen queuing up in front of pharmacies to buy them in the effort to boost their immune system.
The healthcare professionals and workers of the district hospital at Duigailong and other health facilities are working round the clock in transporting, checking, testing and caring for the Covid patients.
Each ward in the town has hit headlines in the local newspapers that there shall be no sojourners in their own area, or that any activity going against the resolutions will be dealt with very firmly.
Mini churches cropping up
Church services have been cancelled, but mini churches began to crop up at homes. Every head of the family is now their pastor or catechist. Even the worst sinner has a chance of hearing the scripture now. The religious institutions and schools are now floated online.
Autumn has arrived, but there is still no news of the arrival of Covid vaccine. Educated leaders console the people, saying, ‘We should now learn to live with Covid.’ However, a bit of ‘indifference’ towards the pandemic has crept in among the general public. When someone is sick with fever he is looked upon with suspicion. However, the infected person will say, ‘This time of the year it’s a routine kind of thing for me!’ True, autumn months and the changing season often brings with it cold and flu. But some bravely declare, “I have this flu now. If, I for one, am tested for Covid 19, I will be positive"!