[avatar user=”Rajkumar Bobichand” size=”thumbnail” align=”left” link=”file” target=”_blank”]RAJKUMAR BOBICHAND[/avatar]
Manipur’s fight against COVID-19 has intensified even as an attendee of the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz in Delhi’s Nizamuddin from the state tested positive. The intensification followed an alert from New Delhi that many persons who attended the Tablighi Jamaat were reported to have contracted the virus and some among them have died in many states of India.
Meanwhile, in an encouraging development, the first person who tested positive on March 24, a girl who returned from her studies in London, has recovered and tested negative 13 days after her internment, an official statement from JNIMS Hospital where she was undergoing treatment, said.
In the Tablighi attendee case, nine other followers of the faith who also attended the Nizamuddin congregation fortunately tested negative. The family of the victim too tested negative.
In addition, all 31 high risks co-passengers of the COVID-19 positive person of Air India flight from Delhi to Imphal on March 11 are now traced and found to be free of symptoms. However, they are quarantined at their respective homes and put under surveillance as per protocol, Manipur COVID-19 Common Control Room sources said.
Subsequent to the confirmation this COVID-19 positive case at Lilong, Turel Ahanbi, Salam Makha, Darul Uloom Mathak an active search of symptomatic cases by Thoubal District Surveillance Team as per micro plan has been conducted. No symptomatic case has been detected in the locality of the positive case.
Since the COVID-19 positive person had undergone earlier treatment at Peace Hospital located at Porompat, 18 close contact persons at the hospital were sent for testing at JNIMS. Fortunately again, all 18 tested negative. However, they continue to stay at the Quarantine Centre.
On March 31, Manipur Government had notified Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Imphal West and Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) in Imphal East as Hospitals with dedicated COVID-19 treatment blocks of 50 beds each.
Sources from Manipur Health Services Department said that RIMS has 58 beds at COVID Ward, 10 beds at COVID ICU, 8 beds at COVID Isolation altogether 76 beds while JNIMS has 57 beds consisting of 40 beds at COVID Ward, 10 beds at COVID ICU, 7 beds at COVID Isolation.
The total numbers of beds available in 16 government quarantine centres are 809 of which 266 are occupied by 176 males and 90 females. There are altogether 117 isolation beds in 3 hospitals 57 at JNIMS, 50 at RIMS and 10 at District Hospital Churachandpur. 3525 persons are home quarantined in the entire state and under the surveillance of the authorities concerned.
Sources from the State Health Services Department further said that the doctors, nurses and paramedics of the government hospitals and quarantine centres who are fighting against COVID-19 in Manipur are provided with sufficient numbers of personal protective gears and other consumables. Health Services Department has 847 Personal Protection Equipments (PPE), 43,490 hand gloves, 1,489 hand sanitizers, 12,340 N-95 masks, 63,210 triple layer masks and 34 non-contact thermometers for allocation to the 16 districts of Manipur. So far 6 CMOs and 5 Quarantine Centres are allotted with required equipments.
|ALLOCATION OF PPE AND CONSUMABLES AS ON APRIL 3, 2020|
|Sl. No||Name of the district||PPE||Hand Gloves||Hand Sanitizer||N-95 mask||Triple layer mask||Non contact thermometer|
While preparation of the state for fighting COVID-19 has been intensified, the struggle for survival ration still continues. Though Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren has assured the people of the state that every person would get 4 kg of rice per head for a month irrespective of NFSA card holder, three MLAs of Wangkhei, Keirao and Naoria Pakhanglakpa Assembly Constituencies told the media that the quantity of rice allocated to them is not sufficient for distribution of 4 kg of rice per head. In many assembly constituencies politicians, social activists and local bodies complain that the distribution of rice is not done as per Chief Minister’s assurance of 4 kg per head. In Keishamthong Constituency one politician from the ruling BJP alleged that the MLA of the constituency who is also Health Minister does not distribute rice. There are claims and counter claims between them even in social media. This help deepens the crisis of survival ration amidst the fight against COVID-19.
Reports from the ground reaffirms that the quantity of rice being distributed to the public is not uniform. In some places 2.5 kg of rice per voter is given while 3 kg of rice per head is given in other places. In some places 5 kg per voter and its multiples according to the numbers of the voters in the household is given while 5 kg of rice is the share of family in some other places. 4 kg per person and its multiples according to the list of the members of the family in the ration card in some places. In some places, lump sum 7 to 10 kg of rice is given to every household irrespective of card holders and non-card holders.
According to Food Corporation of India (FCI) sources, the allocation of rice under NFSA for the month of March is about 13,500 MT. The monthly allocation comes in and around this amount of rice. Therefore, distribution of 4 kg of rice per person for 28 lakhs of people is considered possible.
However, the question is – can a person of Manipur survive only on 4 kg of rice a month? On average by Indian standard a person requires 75 grams to 85 grams of rice per meal depending on whether he lives in urban or rural. In Manipur, a person consumes on an average at least 180 grams of rice per meal. Generally in Manipur, one kilogram of rice is estimated for only 3 adults.
When total lockdown is on, daily wage earners cannot earn and low income families cannot afford to buy foods. Manipur has been effectively on lockdown for the last fifteen days since March 21. Now, the lives of daily wage earning and low income families are at stake.
Despite preparedness for fighting COVID-19 medically is evident, there is lack of preparedness for survival ration of the daily wage earning families, low income families and those who don’t have foods stocked for months. The fight against COVID-19 continues with intensification. But the fight for survival ration continues without preparation.
Senior Editor: Imphal Review of Arts and Politics