Now is not the time for vilification: HERICOUN

IMPHAL, 21st May: Stating that it is inevitable for some of the people returning to Manipur to be a carrier of coronavirus, Ethno Heritage Council (HERICOUN) secretary (Publicity & Propaganda) Yumlembam Yaiphaba has contended that all of us should also understand that the returnees had no choice other than to return home.
In a statement, Yaiphaba said that following the return of many natives, who were stranded in other states, the number of active Covid cases in the state has shot up after remaining Covid-free for over three weeks since the full recovery of the first two patients. It is inevitable for some of the returnees to test positive for Covid, who have been left with no other option than to return home after facing racial abuse, discrimination and financial constraints. Thus, as people of the state, we must assist the government and authorities concerned in helping them return to the state, he asserted.
Although the return of many stranded natives to the state increases the risks of an uncontrollable outbreak of the disease, it would be wrong to shift all responsibility of preventing the same to the government. Collective efforts and co-ordination between the government, CSOs and the general public would be vital if we are to stay a step ahead of the coronavirus outbreak.
For now, the first and foremost step should be to ensure the safe return of all natives in strict adherence to the safety guidelines; shifting them to institutional and community quarantine centres; proper screening and testing, apart from proper management of quarantine centres, and lastly, preventing the managing persons from facing any inconveniences, the secretary asserted. “Now is not the time to vilify anyone including the government, organisations or the people, but to help one another to overcome this pandemic”, he exhorted.
Yaiphaba then urged the government to assign quarantine guards as volunteers and extend assistance wherever possible. In addition, the government should try resuming economic activities in areas where lockdown has been relaxed; provide essential commodities to people at reasonable prices; award punishments to traders involved in illegal activities and people involved in anti-social acts.
Furthermore, returnees from red zone, orange zone and green zone should be quarantined separately considering the rise in number of positive cases. It was a good decision on the part of the state government to segregate old and new returnees. In addition, the assurance by the spokesperson of the state health directorate on availability of adequate treatment facilities is encouraging. Nonetheless, it would be much better if the capacity in the isolation wards were to be increased to up to 1000 beds.
Moreover, the public need not panic over the rise in the number of positive cases but instead should adopt stringent protective measures.
We also need to consider whether it is appropriate for us to engage labourers/workers for our personal works without permitting social distancing and providing protective mechanisms, he added.
Meanwhile, there have been reports of army and para-military personnel not following Covid-19 upon their return from holidays. There have also been reports of people escaping from quarantine centres. As such, the authorities need to look into the matter and be more vigilant, apart from providing counselling to the inmates staying in the centres, the secretary conveyed.

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