[ Tongam Rina ]
A virus has exposed many facets of our society – some disturbing revelations, some ugly, and some heartwarming.
Our first reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic was to ignore it, followed by confusion, which created panic and fear. When panic and fear combine, one rarely is in a position to make sound decisions.
Now that we have realized the enormity of the situation, I guess we are now in the phase of anxious wait and hope. Waiting and hoping that all this will pass, with a prayer that there is no second case in the state.
The state cabinet is set to decide on 13 April what steps have to be taken next for the state. The fact remains that healthcare facility is nonexistent; therefore our only solution is preventive measures. Before taking any decision, the government needs to consult and listen to the advice of the public health experts, who have been asking for an extension of the lockdown.
Though it is unlikely, if at all the government is planning to bring back the people who are stranded outside, it should ensure that they undergo 28 days of strict quarantine at government facilities. There should be no negotiation on that. Home quarantine did not work in so many places. Other states with healthcare facilities can afford to ignore such things, but not this state.
The financial implication is huge, and there are many who are unsure where their next meal will come from. Many are now directly dependent on the government for food. The statistics are numbing. So far, the identified ones are being provided with food by the government, but there are many more who have not been reached. As tribal communities that have always shared resources and food, it is unacceptable that so many people, including migrant workers, are left on their own.
Now it is time for the privileged ones in Arunachal to step in and help the government feed those who do not have enough. Chief Minister Pema Khandu has so far shown remarkable leadership quality during this crisis. He knows that the state has no health facility, so he did the next best thing: initiating preventive measures and ensuring that food reaches the poorest. There still are gaps to be filled and more people, particularly poor tribal people, need to be reached. I hope they are reached soonest.
I don’t know what’s in store and how the people of the state are going to cope with the mental, physical and financial crises. But I take heart in the fact that so many are putting their best effort.
The health professionals, the state and district administrations, the police, the press, the essential food delivery people, several organizations, particularly women self-help groups, and many individuals are out their putting their best effort. As they say, adversity does not build your character, it reveals it. It has revealed the character of this state in so many ways. Not everyone can afford a home to stay in; but those of us who can, let us stay home.