Till now the state government has taken up good measures to deal with the ongoing crisis which is unfolding. In order to stop the spread of the disease in the state, it has closed down all the gates of the international borders, malls, cinema halls, tourist spots, public transportation and all the market places. It has imposed restrictions on the gathering of more than four people. The private and government are closed down except the essential services such as Health Department, GAD, District Administration, Health, Fire Services, Prisons, Power, PHED, Municipalities, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, NIC, both State and District Units. It has also stated that banks and ATM will remain open. Print and electronic media, IT and ITes including postal and internet services, hospital, Optical stores, Diagnostic Centres, Pharmacies, takeaway and home delivery restaurants are also allowed during this lockdown. The order mentions that any person found violating will be persecuted under section 188, 269, 27O, 271 IPC. These sections are on violation of order promulgated by the government, negligently doing any act known to be likely to spread infection of any disease and knowingly disobeying any quarantine rules. The order will remain in force till March 31. The governor has issued an order reiterating these restrictions yesterday. She reiterates the “all persons who were abroad during January or February, 2O2O shall furnish their particulars and travel history to the notified agencies on or before March 24.”
The spokesperson of the government Thongam Biswajit also stated that the cabinet has decided that the lockdown will continue till March 31. The cabinet decision taken after due deliberation on the matter stated that “the medical department will overlook home quarantine system.” And, JNIMS and RIMS will be utilized for isolation ward. In a good move, which will provide due relief to the poor and needy of this state, the cabinet decided “to distribute rice meant for April under the National Food Security Act this month free of cost” and “beneficiaries of Chief Minister’s Hakshel gi Tengbang who do not possess NFSA card will also avail free rice.” These measures imposed by the government till now are commendable.
While all these measures were taken up, a case was discovered today. The person now is in the isolation ward of JNIMS where the state doctors are conducting her treatment. This should trigger a chain of strict quarantine measures for those who came in contact with the person during her travel and her stay up till now. After this development, district magistrates have announced curfew and people have been instructed to stay indoors. Now all forms of public movement and public assembly is restricted as ordered in the state. Given this development, the preparation must change given that our earlier assumption was that there are no cases given that we have not discovered any case up till now. Now that we have discovered a case, more testing is now required. The slogan “test, test and test” that most countries which are fighting this disease have must also be implemented in Manipur. Further, it is our collective responsibility the aged people and young ones of this society, who are the most vulnerable, must be cared for. For them, we need to follow these strict regulations so that we can overcome the spread of this deadly virus in this state.