Updated 22 May 2022, 7:06 pm
In the last one week, Manipur had been registering zero Covid-19 positive rate consecutively and at present there are no active cases either in home isolation or hospitals. Many among the general population are no longer donning masks in public while careful ones still use the mask. However, it must be remembered that masks are still required not only because of Covid-19 precaution but for the sake of pollution even though the level of air pollution in Imphal city and the towns of Manipur as compared to other cities of the country.
In retrospect, as the pandemic swept the state in successive waves we are seeing changes in lifestyle, economic activity and a quantum jump in healthcare facilities. People are becoming more careful and health conscious. New vegetable markets which sprang up during the pandemic are here to stay and market activity has shifted from the main Bazar area to the peripheral roads of Imphal and we are seeing a phenomenal jump in the number of street vendors. It is like the vegetable market has come to the Leikais and people no longer go to the main Khwairamband Bazar as everything is almost available near the locality. Other commercial activity would naturally follow suit and a change is coming in the urban landscape.
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On the health front, the state government is still careful. Manipur Health Minister Dr Sapam Ranjan has stated that the government has not let its guard down and is prepared to meet any eventuality in spite of the zero positivity continuously for a week. He said that the government is still on its toes with experts having already predicted that the country may experience the Covid fourth wave in June. We are indeed glad that, the state is still maintaining an alert status.
However, one is also concerned of the upkeep and maintenance of the newly added infrastructure in hospitals and other health facilities with the slowing down of the pandemic. For example, many oxygen plants were opened to meet the heavy demand of medical oxygen during the pandemic. But, now the demand has greatly come down and some of the oxygen plants have become non-operational. So, it has become necessary both to keep the plants operational and manage the output to other areas so that the capital invested in these plants are not wasted and to be prepared for any future outbreak or wave of new variants of Covid-19.
Now, the basic question is how prepared are we for the next onslaught. The Health minister admitted that the vaccination coverage in the state is still low and informed that the Health department is reviewing the status. According to the latest update from the COVID-19 Common Control Room, 61.83 per cent and 51.94 per cent of the eligible population of Manipur have been administered with the first dose and second dose of vaccine respectively.
Interestingly, the vaccination coverage is lowest in Kangpokpi district with only 22.73 per cent having inoculated with the first dose, while 17.22 per cent have been administered with the second dose. The rate of immunisation was reportedly low in most of the hill districts of Manipur. Health Director Dr K Rajo Singh said that despite putting in a lot of efforts for vaccinations, the rate of immunisation was low in almost all the hill districts as it was below 50 per cent. Now, the state needs to come up with new innovative ideas to increase the rate of vaccination.
First published:22 May 2022, 6:51 pm
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