As there is no letup in the Covid-19 surge, many are speculating that the total curfew might be extended. This time, the state is really serious about enforcing the curfew restrictions. Police patrols have intensified and few people or vehicles are seen in the streets on Sunday. The 10-day total curfew 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 is inching closer and closer to 1,00,000, while the total number of active cases has crossed 10,000 and the death toll touched 1,487. We had hoped that, the total curfew except for a few relaxations would bear fruit. When the decision for enforcing a 10-day total curfew was announced on July 17, the streets were clogged with heavy traffic with people coming out in large numbers for buying stocks for the ten day lockdown or for some other business. And police had a very difficult time in controlling it.Luckily, the streets wore a deserted look on the first of the curfew and it had been so for the last nine days.
This time, the civil society organizations 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. On the other hand, the opposition Congress seems to be questioning the wisdom of imposing total curfew towards controlling the spread of the pandemic while remaining silent on any other alternative other than curfew. We agree that, it is wrong of the state not to take into confidence the opposition in the consultation process of combatting the pandemic. But, it should not become a cause of criticising the government move for the sake of criticism and it should act as a responsible opposition.
Meanwhile, even with the imposition of total curfew the daily increase of Covid-19 positive numbers still refuse to budge from the four figure mark plus minus on the a few days. The Monday figure is 989 cases with nine deaths. The total curfew was intended to break the chain of transmission and clearly, we are not getting the desired result. How do one explain this?
Earlier Health Director Dr K Rajo explained 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. If there is no cause for panic among the general public about the surge as Dr Rajo says, where was the need for imposing total curfew. If curfew was the real solution, why is it not having the desired effect? Maybe, the state officials failed to see the real cause of the unrelenting surge in Covid-19 figures. Now, we earnestly feel there is a need to review the workings of the State Covid-19 Common Control Room. As the nerve centre of the state’s response to the pandemic it should be monitoring the pandemic in a scientific way, not just counting the numbers, but the scientific explanation behind the numbers. For example, does it have an interactive display board with district-wise data even to the level of villages of the spread, testing and vaccination etc. One should be incorporating the Remote Sensing technicians and collating satellite data so as to develop a technological response to the pandemic. And yes, by now it should be clear that furthering the total curfew is not a solution.