Updated 13 Jul 2022, 6:52 pm
Tuesday saw an increase of 15.6 per cent in the daily positivity rate with 59 COVID-19 positive cases and the state government seems to be really concerned about the surge. In the last few days, there has been a quantum jump in figures after a brief lull even sometimes going a week without any positives. What may have been the cause of this sudden surge is for experts to review and evaluate.
Yet, the mood among the general population then was such that everyone seems to be relaxed with the zero positivity rate and many had done away with Covid-19 appropriate behaviour despite several advisories from health authorities. Many among the general population are no longer donning masks in public while careful ones still use the mask.
The Health Minister Dr Sapam Ranjan had then 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 also had warned that the country may experience the fourth wave and now it has come as predicted.
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The concern among health authorities is not only about the low vaccination rate in some of the hill districts, but also in terms of the impact the fourth wave would cause among children below 12 years as vaccination is yet to be introduced for them, besides general non-adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour.
In view of the surge, the state government has ordered the shutdown of schools till July 24, besides the Anganwadi centres and Child Care centres. Perhaps, this is a prelude to many more restrictions on the anvil. What we would suggest is that the state government should consider all angles and discuss alternatives before taking any kind of decision.
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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. Even more alarming is the impact of the pandemic on mental health of the general population.
Experts are expecting a five-fold increase in mental health cases in the coming days. Life had suddenly become very difficult with the lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions. It is not the fear of contracting the Covid-19 virus alone, but the worry and stress associated with it and the monotony of life as well which is affecting us every day.
The one common denominator is that social life has changed drastically at the individual level as well as at the family and community level, either for a better or bleaker future. In the education front, long spells of lockdown and online classes had taken its toll on the student community during the pandemic and a massive behavioural change had taken place affecting general attitude and aptitude while desperation and disillusion had begun to replace the energy and imaginative nature of youths.
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All these factors must be taken into account and analysed before embarking upon a new scheme of restrictions in view of the fourth wave. Well we must agree 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.
On the vaccination front, low vaccination in some of the hill districts is of great concern. However, the recent surge in positive cases is mostly happening in districts with high vaccination rates also. Yes, there are some numbers in the hill districts with low vaccination rate also.
First published:13 Jul 2022, 6:52 pm
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