Following the first case in December 2019, the world continues to battle against the deadly coronavirus. As of October 2020, there are over 44 million confirmed cases and over 1 million deaths (WHO) owing to the ongoing modern pandemic.
While India put up a bold front to barricade the spread of the virus, it inevitably penetrated the northeastern corners of the country. The first case of COVID19 in the NE states was detected in Manipur on March 24, 2020. A 23-year-old female returning home from the United Kingdom brought along the virus with her. Now with just two months away from the new year, there are almost three lakhs confirmed cases in the northeast states of India (exclusive of recovery & death variations).
Table 1: NE India COVID19 update as on October 29, 2020
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus slipped in like a whisper in a storm only to cause a hurricane of damage. It brought with it monumental challenges and difficulties, shaking the lives of millions in unspeakable ways. To patrol the spread of the v i rus, the Government of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a nation-lockdown on March 24, 2020 (till M a y 2 0 2 0 ) . As a result of the sudden lockdown, the country witnessed employment poverty, loss in market shares & industries, inflamed economy, etc.
Table 2: Covid19 Recap
|First case of COVID-19:||31st December 2019, Wuhan city, China.|
|World Health Organisation declared the outbreak of Coronavirus as pandemic:||30 January 2020|
|Announced the name of the disease caused by the new outbreak of corona virus as COVID -19:||11 February 2020|
|First case of COVID-19 outside China:||13 January 2020, Thailand|
COVID-19 Situation in North East India
The management of Novel Coronavirus in the northeastern states of India highlights the protective measures fitting with the new normal that the world is experiencing globally – the ongoing pandemic. As part of preventative measures, the NE states of India has resolved to steps like normalising the wearing of masks & gloves, sanitising hands, social distancing, restricting unnecessary movements, collaborative participation of the societies/ communities, the supply of essentials, sealing borders, and more, for protection against the threatening elements of COVID19. Such initiatives are reflective of the proactively growing concerns surrounding safety & prevention in the Seven Sisters States and Sikkim. In an attempt to help understand better the impact of COVID19 in the NE states, the following are orchestrated.
The impact of COVID-19:
- The pandemic coupled with lockdown agonised the country’s economy leading to the shutting of educational institutions and commercial institutions like offices, market places, restaurants, shopping malls, The sudden tragedy of India’s economy resulted in loss of jobs for millions of employees throughout the entire country including the north-eastern states.
- The nation-wide lockdown also impacted the agriculture sector and tourism The handicapped transport system due to the lockdown led to a fractured supply of crops. The NE states known for tourism such as Sikkim
(and its scenic beauty) suffered losses. All in all, the country’s tourism industry witnessed a sharp decline.
- The impact of the pandemic further caused damages in the tea
According to the NETA (North East Tea Association), Assam tea industry, one of the most significant tea industry in the world faced a harsh pandemic blow resulting in a production loss of more than 50%.
- The pandemic caused the activities of the petroleum industry to dissolve. As the lockdown began, the fuel consumption throughout the county declined causing a revenue loss in terms of 1000s of
- The unpredictable outbreak of COVID19 did not just leave its mark in the commercial It left inflammatory impacts on the mental health of the people. The pandemic brought about unpleasant feelings, anxiety, frustration, and more in the minds of the residents living in the north-east states along with the rest of the country. The fear of the virus spreading took to the streets and distress scattered into every corner. However, it was during such times that the NE states also saw thousands of volunteer stepping up for disaster management responsibilities.
Dealing with COVID19:
Amidst the ongoing terror, the people of northeast states are stepping up to make the best of the challenging times. While there are the commercial losses the country has/is facing, we are seeing the rise of technology usage. The government guidelines of frequent hand-washing, maintaining social distance, e-commerce, e-transaction, e-health tracking, etc., has effectively, in a direct/ indirect fashion, improved the citizens’ efficiency of using technology. More people have begun to work from home, attend classes virtually, etc. Embracing the rush of technology, long overdue, is now becoming a very crucial part of daily existence. The encouragement of switching to e-activities so to avoid physical contact has significantly improved the use of technology in the north-east states of India.
The closing of schools and colleges enables the students with the ability
to extract knowledge through e-platforms such as Door-Darshan Kendra Aizawl, SEBA Assam, etc. We see how schools in the north-east states took the initiative to organise online events to celebrate the 150th birthday anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2, 2020.
Table 3: Stay safe, save lives
|Maintain safe distance.|
|Avoid hand shaking.|
|Wear masks & gloves.|
|Wash hands frequently|
|Keep sanitisers handy|
|Stay indoors, keep safe.|
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus has deafened everything but its roaring. Like the rest of the world, the old normal in the NE regions of India is jarred by the collisions caused by the ongoing pandemic.
Despite the end of the lockdown, people must continue to respect and follow the government’s guidelines with disciplined sincerity. It is imperative to persist in the practice of hygiene and social distancing. Until means are devised for an obsolete defeat of the virus, the knowledge we have as to the hour at which the virus can best be intercepted must remain and practised religiously.