Chinks in tackling COVID

The genie is out of the bottle with a vengeance; the new wave of Covid has proved all predictions wrong. Equally, it has brought out the chinks in tackling Covid.

May 01, 2021

By Dr Suresh Mathew OFM Cap
The genie is out of the bottle with a vengeance; the new wave of Covid has proved all predictions wrong. Equally, it has brought out the chinks in tackling Covid. After the first wave flattened to some extend towards the end of last year, people let their guard down. The authorities too did the same.

Look at the way large gatherings were allowed to be held, be it Kumbh Mela or election rallies. The government that took people to task for moving around without mask conveniently turned its back on the lakhs of people who converged in the name of religion.

The government, which did not bother to arrange for any mode of traffic for migrant labourers to go back to their villages during the first lockdown, provided special trains for lakhs of people to travel to Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to take a dip in the Ganges.

Though there is no clarity on the number of people who tested Covid positive after attending the Kumbh, reports suggest that it could run into thousands. After a head of one of the Akhadas died of Covid, a couple of Akhadas decided to withdraw from the Kumbh. Still there is no clarity on the stand of others. 

There is one slogan the Prime Minister repeats without fail: Do gaz ki duri, mask zaroori (keep a distance of two yards, wear mask compulsorily). But he failed to see the blatant violation of his own slogan in each and every rally he participated; he turned a blind eye to the milling crowds without masks at the public meetings he addressed.

He permitted hugely attended roadshows taken out by his own party leaders. The Opposition leaders and their parties too indulged in the same violations without batting an eyelid.

The Election Commission’s decision to stretch the elections in West Bengal to eight phases had its deleterious result. When polls to two States and one Union Territory, comprising 404 seats, some of which contained sensitive booths, could be held in one day, there is no logic in holding election to Bengal Assembly with 294 seats in 33 days. Some of the phases could have been clubbed, thereby reducing the election period.

The road to vaccination is potholed with alleged discrimination in its vaccine distribution. While the government takes credit for sending vaccines to over 90 countries, many State governments are not getting even 10 per cent of the requirement they placed with the Centre.

However, it has now been changed and the State governments are free to buy directly from the manufacturer. There are also problems in making oxygen cylinders and crucial medicines available to States.

There is more to it than meets the eye in the incident of a huge quantity of Remdesiver being recovered reportedly from a BJP leader in Maharashtra and former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis pleading for the accused.

Earlier, reports had appeared in the Press regarding distribution of this medicine through BJP offices in Gujarat.   

It is only with horror and shock one can look at the long queues of people at the hospitals, mortuaries, crematoriums, testing and vaccination centres. The sense of uncertainty and lack of medical facilities leave people numb.

If the Modi government does not feel the panic writ large on their faces, if winning elections is its priority, it has forfeited its right to rule. ––Indian Currents 

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