Wild goose chase

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 7/31/2020 1:12:34 PM IST

 It was not entirely unexpected for the state’s High Power Committee(HPC) to conclude that there was a need to extend the current the currently ‘partial lockdown’ as COVID-19 cases began sprouting up in several colonies in Kohima and Dimapur. The decision appears to be based on the premise that lockdown will halt or break the chain of transmission. This has not happened throughout India, yet the physical act of imposing movement appears to convey the message that it will stop the virus from spreading. What should be understood is that merely imposing lockdown without vigorous contact tracing and testing will be as futile as imposing curfew without identifying hot spots, identifying and booking miscreants. As commented earlier in this column, the concept of lockdown to break the transmission chain has been adopted without understanding its main purpose. The district task forces in Dimapur and Kohima, where, presently, total lockdown are in place, have taken their respective decisions based on their analysis of the ground realities. Vigorous contact tracing or testing is not being done either in Dimapur or Kohima. This requires trained manpower driven by dedication. The fight against coronavirus is not a theoretical nor a war room scenario; it is about real battle taking place. The ‘frontline workers’ or the soldiers up front are not well prepared nor equipped nor led. It is unfortunate, that while much attention is being focussed on the daily reports or the photo ops of politicians; there is no worthwhile and informative enlightenment from those who matter in the particular field. That is not a Nagaland-centric issue but a ‘political virus’ that began from the Centre where, initially Modi was the all-in-all. In the early times of the pandemic, the government took over the daily briefings and the Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR) had to be cautious about making statements that could put the rulers in poor light. In this regard, the Delhi-based Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum(PMSF) had maintained and rightly so, that coronavirus is a disease that should be dealt with by epidemiologists. However, the government was shying away from epidemiologists, virologists and immunologist, since they had challenged the ‘so-called experts’ claim of no community transmission despite the tell-tale evidence. PMSF slam¬m¬ed the fallacious claims of ICMR chief Dr Balram Bhargava and NITI Aayog member V K Paul, heading one of the anti-COVID-19 groups of the government, on the ‘low incidence’ of the disease, pointing out that Dr Bhargava has nothing to do with contagious diseases as he is a cardiologist. This had led to speculation about civil servants being the real drivers of the Covid strategy, which is also backed by the fact that the Cabinet Secretary’s review meetings have continued, with one happening almost every week. One fact which the government and later the ICMR had refused to entertain was on community transmission. Eminent epidemiologist Dr.Ramanan Laxminarayan had said it was clear that community transmission had taken place in India and the rampant spread of the virus indicates that India was gradually moving towards herd immunity. Asked why government refused to accept that community transmission has taken place, Dr.Laxminarayan said the term was not important as it has been defined arbitrarily by some. He however added that community transmission has already taken place as defined by international standard since March 2020. Therefore, lockdown is not an option anymore but it will take more effort and time to convince the bureaucrats and politicians.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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