In the last three weeks, there has been an addition of more than 7000 covid-19 cases in Jammu and Kashmir. In the last two days alone, there have been more than 800 daily cases reported. The deaths have already crossed 2000-mark with fatalities also registering a surge of late. India has also registered the highest spike recently. Beyond doubt, the Covid-19’s second wave may be even stronger than the first. The existing data also point to its disturbing potency. During the first wave of the pandemic, it had taken 61 days for the caseload to rise from 25,000 to 92,000. The corresponding time is merely 22 days this time around.
The pandemic’s second coming can be attributed to a number of factors and as has been admitted at official levels, there is institutional failure as well as public apathy.
While people and administration has been jolted a bit recently, in the last four months, a sense of smugness engulfed this part of the globe while large parts of the world continued to battle fresh assaults by the pathogen. The complacency was instrumental in laxities creeping into testing and surveillance mechanisms as well as complete go by given to the covid-19 appropriate behavior by the public.
There have been various measures announced by the administration as the cascading effects of the second wave started to be felt.
In a welcome development, the administration has ordered mandatory testing of all incoming travelers coming by road at Lower Munda in district Kulgam. Also the government has ordered mass vaccination of hotel staff, drivers, houseboat staff and others concerned with the tourism sector as frontline workers across all tourist destinations.
The government has also stressed on strict following of Covid-19 related SOPs with each stakeholder asked to work with the concerned department as a team to ensure effective dealing with the pandemic.
Late on April 8, the government also announced night curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., beginning April 9. While the government has found it appropriate, one wonders if the measure was at all demanding given the fact that there is negligible movement of people in Kashmir valley as well as most districts in Jammu division during the night. The usefulness seems to be restricted to jolting the people from a state of indifference towards the covid-19 appropriate behavior. Beyond it, the measure is not worth as the situation demands. To prevent Jammu and Kashmir from going under this wave, there is need for strict surveillance, testing and tracing mechanisms . There is also a need to widen vaccine cover to as many vulnerable constituencies as possible. At the same time, there is a need to dispel doubts about the vaccine.