The Central government has warned that covid-19 is increasing at a faster pace than last year and that the next four weeks are very critical.
NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr V K Paul said the pandemic situation in the country has worsened with a “sharp rise” in cases and a large part of the population is still “susceptible” to contract the disease.
While Maharashtra continues to remain the worst-hit state with more than half of country’s total cases daily, the state has now been forced to imposed night curfew and announce weekend lockdowns to get a handle on the runaway infection. More states have followed the suit as pathogen is also spreading through states like Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
While the economy is hardly emerging from the slump, the government can hardly afford to undermine the recovery. From economical point of view, one more lockdown will thus be disastrous. However, in comparison, saving life is more precious than anything else. While situation is moving to such a pass quickly, the way forward for the government in contemporary times is to strict implement the Standard Operating Procedure in public places, something that has started to happen but the pace with which it ought to be taken remains abysmally slow. One expects Prime Minister Nadrenda Modi to stress the enforcement of the SOPs by the governments during his meeting with CMs on Thursday. Times also demands governments themselves have to lead by example and can’t be selective about enforcing the rules, much like in Jammu and Kashmir where gardens are open and more counters are being open to cater crowds while schools have shut and indoor sports halted.
It is pertinent to note that while Serosurveys indicated lesser immunity amongst large population, the vaccination drive remained slow. In between containment methods such as testing, monitoring and contact tracing was also given a miss. At the same time, there is absolutely no time to lose in reining in the virus that is threatening to rip open the social and economic scars of last year. The synergies between policymakers, medical experts and the public at large, built last year must be renewed with vigor.
The contemporary situation is a reminder that the battle against the raving virus will have to be fought on multiple fronts and complacency has proved only detrimental. The vaccination drive must be intensified along with SOPs strict implementation to arrest the spread of the virus.