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Living with the virus – What next

‘What next’ - a short question that needs a comprehensive answer, one that will determine the future of the state and mankind. With the rapid increase in the number of returnees, the number of Covid-19 positive cases in the state is on the rise correspondingly. No surprise there, but the growing concern is the increasingly frequent reports of inadequacies and mismanagement in a number of designated quarantine centres across the state save a few which are situated in and around the city. Regardless of the government decision on the lockdown, a new social norm is in the making, and the sooner we all adapt and embrace these norms, the safer we all will be as from now onwards, our social conducts and behavior will determine not only our own safety but that of others. Social change is the significant alteration of social structure and cultural patterns through time and the present situation is definitely proving to be a turning point- the beginning of an era if one may put it.
And as with any change, there will always be accompanying sociological and psychological impact which needs to be discussed and analysed in detail. There definitely will also be consequences of these changes which may be beneficial or detrimental to the society, and the outcome will depend to a large degree on the awareness and eagerness of the authorities to influence it. Social change is conceived mostly as an autonomously controlled and unidirectional process toward group change; these conceptualizations do not account for social changes that are outside of human control, such as natural disasters of which we are experiencing one. This is certainly a time of great opportunities and challenges depending on how one perceives the developments. We are indeed experiencing these changes in the way we conduct business to the way government departments and institutions are functioning. Another major change we are witnessing right now is in the education sector with almost every educational institution resorting to the internet to conduct online classes or distributing assignments and lessons through WhatsApp and other applications, an opportunity for children to take up other useful hobbies and pursuits which were difficult during the school going days.
Hygiene has become a big social concern and with the increase in social awareness, our collective outlook towards nature has taken a positive turn which is a very encouraging sign. We are also witnessing a positive change in the environment which is becoming more vibrant. The unfolding changes will run its due course and it would be impossible to revert back to our old ways, not that everyone is eager for it, but the change is certainly proving uncertain and unsettling for a few. The government needs to anticipate and prepare for the developments which will make an impact on the society as a whole and as well as on the different communities of the state on a broad spectrum ranging from business to health and education, among others. Verbal assurances must be replaced with concrete actions and sustainable plans must be implemented in time if we are to make the best of the unfolding change.      

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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