Be extra vigil


As it gets closer the fear starts gripping one and all. What started from Wuhan, China, is now a thing next door for all the countries in the world. The spread of this virus across continents has made it global emergency. It is no longer China. Coronavirus has crossed the land and water barriers and sounded alarm in all the corners of the world. In India, as reports suggest, at least 75 people are infected while one has died. That means it is now real and immediate. As a response to this the central government has already announced a slew of measures, but at the same time urged people not to panic. Here in Nagaland, the authorities have been working non-stop monitoring the situation. So far no positive case has been found in the State, but as it looks like, it is any time expected. So the government, particularly the concerned departments, cannot lower the guard. They have to be in a state of readiness. In this situation government should undertake a huge public awareness campaign to prepare people for any eventuality. It also needs to educate people on what to do, what not to do, and how not to fall for any wrong information on this count. The decisions taken so far – like screening of passengers at airport, use of masks and hand sanitizers in public places, monitoring train passengers as well as bus passengers coming from Guwahati (as was notified by DC Mokokchung), ban on hunting, etc – may not suffice. If this virus could upend the systems in the developed countries where do we stand in the face of this threat? So if there is some time at hand, utilize it fully to keep the danger at bay. Without creating panic, government should do all with a sense of urgency, and on war footing. While it is true that the panic that ensue such things is sometimes more dangerous than the thing itself, but it is no wisdom to look the other way, just to give a sense of everything being fine. As the virus spreads to more and more countries, and people in numbers get affected, the level of alarm is unstoppably going high and high. This is becoming a problem of global spread, and everywhere there is a scare. In Nagaland we have a good number of people studying in other parts of the country as well as traveler from other countries coming here. It is good that the Government is keeping a close eye on whoever is coming to the State from anywhere in the world, especially the affected areas. There are also some advisories that have been issued to the people. Globally also governments and inter-governmental organisations are trying to fight it out. It is true that medical science has developed to a degree that would be unimaginable a century back, but then nature always holds surprises. Plagues, spread of unknown diseases, and natural catastrophes have always exposed the vulnerabilities of the human made systems. Though each time humans have, using the God given capacity to unravel the mysteries of nature, discovered remedies, and moved ahead. But on all such occasions one thing is underlined very boldly; whenever we fiddle with the balance of things – be it natural, societal, economic – we have paid a heavy price. In this case of coronavirus humans need to rethink about the vulnerabilities that can suddenly surface up and send our mega systems crashing down. After all the cities that were abuzz with commercial activities are now looking deserted. The public spaces that would burst with people are now getting emptied. This is a frightful scene. Although it is a direct challenge to the medical institutions to find out some defense against this virus, but it is a lesson for mankind beyond just being a medical catastrophe. Back home, the concerned departments need to take a minute to minute stock of the situation. It is time to be on an extra vigil, and make people very sensitive towards this challenge. At the same time we need to ensure that there are no panic reactions, and things are confirmed from the relevant quarters before spreading them forward.