[ M Doley ]
The onslaught unleashed by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) upon the humanity is overwhelming and unprecedented. Every country, irrespective of rich and poor, has been rendered absolutely helpless by this pandemic.
India took the pandemic seriously only when the confirmed positive cases had risen to approximately 500 on 22 March. The first case was detected on 30 January in Kerala.
Since then, the Covid-19 positive cases in the country has been on a sharp upward trend with the count nearing 63000 mark after new cases topped 3000 for the third consecutive day on Sunday. The death toll has gone past 2000.
The good news is, five northeastern states, barring Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya are free from the virus now, even as Sikkim has not reported a single case till date.
Union DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh heaped praise on the people of the North East for following the lockdown related guidelines in ‘letter and spirit.’
He said the people of the region have traditionally been disciplined and civilized, and that is why there has been no problem in ensuring implementation of the lockdown-related guidelines in the North East states. His statement may be true to some extent. However, the Covid-19 norms and guidelines have been ignored by many unruly people ever since the lockdown has been relaxed. Traces of boxes, which were drawn to ensure social distancing, can be seen nowhere. There is always a mad rush in the fish and vegetable markets of Itanagar, defying the social distance norms.
The relaxation in certain zones/ states does not mean that the pandemic is over and people should venture out of the homes leisurely. The people should shun any complacency that they will not be infected by the virus because it has not affected the places where they live. Rather, the people should be more cautious and take all preventive measures to avoid contracting the virus during this crucial period.
Detection of positive cases would mean the area where the cases are detected will lose the green zone tag immediately.
A moment of negligence or carelessness on our part could land us in a precarious situation given the limited health facilities in Arunachal.
We should learn lessons from many other states, including neighboring Assam, where Covid-19 positive cases have started to rise sharply since the stranded people started arriving in their home states.
Since we cannot expect this virus to disappear very soon, we have to learn to live with it until a vaccine is developed. We have no other options but to adhere to norms and guidelines prescribed by the health department, like staying indoors, maintaining social distance and wearing facemasks to avoid the virus infection.
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said India’s battle against the pandemic is people-driven, cooperation between the public and administration can only help beat Covid-19.