The state government is handling the incoming natives who were stranded at different places around the country quite remarkably despite the initial apprehensions and uncertainties. For the last few days, thousands of natives are being received by the state with respect and care, and inspite of the few reported issues of hygiene in a few designated quarantine centres, the overall performance is still laudable. The number of Covid-19 positive cases in the state, contrary to initial estimates, remains at a very manageable level as of now and hopefully does not spike out of control. This is where the most precaution needs to be taken, for if recent turn of events is any indications, the initial positive response and developments as a result of the nationwide lockdown imposed in an effort to curb the spread of the pandemic has been laid to waste due to a lack of coordinated and prudent follow-up plan. With more state natives coming back in the next few days, the question of the level of preparedness and proactive action laid down by the state government- if any, has gained momentum. There are times when being good is just not good enough and nothing but perfection matters, as in the case of sporting competitions of the highest order like the Olympics. This present fight against Covid-19 virus is one such instance. The state government should take the good and the bad and build an impenetrable defense without delay as stopping the inflow of state natives can never be the final solution nor a permanent plan. There were reports of people returning from other states flaunting SOPs and endangering the local populace along the way home. There had been instances when the state authority failing to receive the returnees and directing them to quarantine centres as per protocol resulting in confusion and much consternation. Such incidents must not be allowed to repeat ever again.
All it takes is a single slip of concentration or oversight for all the efforts and good works done so far to go down the drain. And in this present situation, such a lapse would mean the threat to the lives of uncountable people as the virus has proven to be adaptive, elusive and asymptomatic in the majority of cases. For a state with limited resources and challenging geo-political settings, this would mean a threat to the very existence of the state as a whole. Another cause for concern is the increasing sense of frustration and bureaucratic intervention being increasingly felt by the doctors and other frontline healthcare workers in the state, especially in rural and hilly areas. In a bid to politicize and gain personal mileage, the elected representatives often forcibly tag around the frontline medical workers along their ‘inspection tours’ overstretching the schedule of the already overstretched staffs and thereby increasing the chance of burn-out of these health workers as well as taking them away from their schedule. The issue of limited PPEs and other equipment and instruments is another sore point pointed out by a number of healthcare workers posted especially in the interior parts of the state. the storm is just beginning in the state, and the state authorities should coordinate and make preparations so that everybody can feel safe and we can all weather the storm for as long as it takes.
Jeet Akoijam, Resident Editor of Imphal Times hails from Singjamei Liwa Road. Has been with Imphal Times since its start. A National level Rugby player and a regular Trekker and Nature Lover, loves spending time in lap of Mother Nature. Jeet is the father of two lovely kids. Jeet can be contacted at [email protected]