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Counting on our collective responsibilities

by Jeet Akoijam
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The count is increasing from a trickle to a steady flow and the trend is more than likely to increase in the coming days with thousands more coming back from various places across the country most of which are already the most affected zones of Covid-19 pandemic.  Many in the state are getting vocal of their growing concern for the efficiency and stringency of the quarantine centres being set up in different places to accommodate the thousands who are returning home.
The concern seem legitimate given the reports of mismanagements and lack of coordination in a number of these designated quarantine centres ranging from wining and dining by outsiders inside these centres to reports of quarantined persons roaming outside the designated centres. There are also repeated reports of returnees who are made to wait for hours and shuffling between centres before assigning one to them. Reports of inadequate facilities are also getting to a frequent event. These unfolding unfortunate events points to a flaw in the overall system of managing and running the centres and also an evident lack of coordination by the authorities.
The state government and those entrusted with the administration of these centres must immediately draw up and implement a standard procedure and practice for all the centres across the state including diet and hygiene. While the task is admittedly challenging and humans make mistakes even with the best laid plans, this is one time anything less than perfection will mean the difference between life and death. It would, however, be irresponsible on our part to dump everything on the state government and wash our hands off. Everybody in the state is in this fight as much as any government official or frontline health workers and any lack of cooperation or disregard of social protocol will certainly put everybody’s efforts to waste. We should not hesitate to remind anyone who does not follow protocol of the dangers and risks to their lives and others. And for those who are quarantined at the designated centres across the state, it would prove more productive if their stay is considered a social responsibility rather than a favour to the society and bear the insignificant hiccups in management or facilities which are bound to happen from time to time. One other dilemma the public is facing during the present lockdown is that of the state security forces imposing penalty or ‘fine’ on ‘curfew violators’ while shops are allowed to remain open for specific period. The habit of bunching up even during waiting in queues is another issue we need to address ourselves.
These social norms are implemented for the benefit of the public in that these social obligations may become  habit over time and will definitely help save lives- our own and that of others. We need to have this concept clear. Meanwhile, shops, petrol pumps and other public utility places should enforce social norms on the customers without which their service should be denied. Cooperation, coordination and a mindful approach can certainly save us from the scourge of Covid-19 pandemic.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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