SET amidst still blue water and with clear blue sky above, Karang Island in Loktak lake lies serene and green, untouched by the pandemic. While the rest of Manipur is reeling under the impact of the Covid-19 second wave, life here in the floating village is calm and easy and free from the virus infection.
Located at a distance of around 54 km from the state capital city, Imphal, Loktak Lake has kept the island shielded away from the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic which has ravaged billions of lives across the globe.
Karang Island covers a geographical area of two-and-half square kilometres and it has a population of 3,400 people while the number of electorate is 1,450 till date.
Of the existing total population, around 100 have moved to Imphal and other places, either pursuing their studies or working. For the rest of the population still living in the island, their main source of livelihood is fishing.
During the first wave, barely 14 people from the island contracted the infection but there were no reports of any COVID-related deaths.
However, as the locals in the island remain vulnerable to the pandemic which has spread to almost all corners of the world, around 100 of them were administered the COVID-19 vaccine at the Primary Health Centre (PHC) Thanga which is located at the adjacent village.
As travelling to the PHC on motor boats posed several inconveniences to the villagers, their vaccination has now been arranged at the Primary Health Centre (PHC) Karang by the Karang Island Board Association (KIBA) and the Karang Island Development Organisation (KIDO) under the supervision of general secretary (Administration) Manipur People's Party (MPP) H Gitajen Meetei.
After around 100 villagers were vaccinated at Thanga PHC, around 200 people were further vaccinated at Karang PHC, said member of Karang Ward No III, Thanga Part I GP Haobijam Iboyaima.
The nationwide COVID vaccination drive at PHC Karang has been going on since May 28, he said.
The vaccination is carried out on every alternating two-three days and the target is set to vaccinate 600 persons who fall under the age group of 18 -44, Iboyaima further said, adding that those above 44 years of age will be vaccinated on Friday.
Taking precautionary and preventive measures against the second wave of the pandemic, KIDO on Wednesday announced that outsiders are prohibited from entering the Karang Island.
However, people from the neighbouring village of Thanga, except those living under the containment zone, are reportedly still allowed to enter through identification. The entry of the villagers to the island is being strictly monitored.
Meanwhile the surge in daily new cases in Manipur continued as 621 more people tested positive for the virus infection on Thursday, according to the latest update by the state health department. However, the number of daily COVID-19 cases in Manipur dipped from Wednesday’s tally of 729. The number of fatalities also decreased to 10 on Thursday, taking the death toll to 849.
With the new positive cases, the state's COVID-19 caseload reached 52,899 as of Thursday evening. The total number of Covid-19 active cases rose to 8863, while the cumulative number of recovered cases reached 43,187. With it, the recovery rate stood at 81.74 per cent.
While the second wave continues to spread in villages of the state, it is hoped that authorities concerned and the villagers continue to keep Karang Island free from COVID-19 in the days to come.