Suddenly things are changing on ground and governments everywhere are gasping for breath and especially in India which recently overtook Brazil as the second most impacted country after US and is presently reporting maximum SARS COV-2 cases in the world which is more than two lakhs presently. The situation is bound to turn “uglier” by the day if not handled well.
In many states in India with sudden emergence of the virulent mutated variants selective lockdowns have already been imposed with the capital New Delhi witnessing a thorough weekend lockdown being imposed. And in down south even Flag Marches were carried out to enforce the lockdown in enterity.
The country is falling short of emergency medical oxygen to cater to the increased patient rush. With the Prime Minister himself directing for stocking of emergency medical oxygen supplies as reserves were seen depleting fast.
How far the country’s health sector shall cope with the mutated and virulent form of this respiratory illness remains to be seen.
Already OPDs and other routine procedures have been put on hold sine die in many healthcare centers.
As only medical emergencies are taken care of and medical rosters are being rescheduled in all the public healthcare systems to cater to the emergent rush of covid patients.
With schools already shut and increasingly examinations being postponed it’s learnt that there may arise a short stint of another countrywide “lockdown” in the near future in order to break the chain.
But still congregations aren’t being stalled fully as Kumbh and other religious gatherings may further prove “deterrimental” in future spread of the highly contagious variant.
And in such a scenario what’s the fun of carrying on with the Indian Premier League when even ICC T-20 World Cup is under the cloud. Also the PSL had to be wound up when many players were reported positive.
Setting the alarm bells ringing too may not be right at the moment yet steps towards a better management regime this time is inexcusable.
It’s reported that numerous funerals are taking place especially in the capital city where even space for cremation and burials are equally falling short.
Even though there has not been any final word spoken regarding this year’s Hajj pilgrimage to the holy cities of Mecca and Madina. Although the intending pilgrims have been advised for strict initial and booster doses of the vaccine to remain eligible for possible travel.
And at the highest levels the country has cleared Russian Sputnik-V as the third variant of the vaccine for emergency usage in case of heightened need.
Moreover the exports of vaccine to other countries have been stopped already to fight the surge back home. As already it was looked down by the WHO as a selective race for ‘vaccine nationalism” amongst select nations were access to vaccine had remained selective.
Further it has been learnt that the new mutated versions of the SARS COV-2 are increasingly destructive and asymptomatic where the visceral organs have been found to get involved with no visible external signs.
The patient may look normal but still may test positive for the virus. Researchers worldwide continue to remain puzzled of the mutated variants.
Therefore in this backdrop situation continues to remain alarming and hence a much stringent lockdown may be an immediate “possibility”. The numbers are counting as we are nearer to reach the two lakh fatality mark if the trend doesn’t subside here.
In Kashmir the situation too may turn ugly with the administration already on “toes” as by now many areas have been declared as “mini-containment zones” for the surge in cases atleast in the capital Srinagar.
The situation is no different in Jammu division where positive cases have seen an upward trend though still lower than the reported cases in Kashmir valley.
Gauging the situation the LG government has already postponed the Bi-Annual Darbar move though the administration is boasting of it’s e-Durbar programme announced a short while ago. The concept of “paperless offices” is fine but the access to administration cannot be “hijacked”.
Further in the Union Territory of J&K by 18th of this month we have already witnessed 2051 covid related deaths; of which 761 fatalities were reported in Jammu and 1290 deaths here in the valley.
Srinagar district has been the worst hit amongst all districts in the UT with 482 reported deaths already.
Even Ladakh has seen an upsurge recently with 131 reported Covid fatalities. And an alarmingly rising trend.
Already today the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) has closed down it’s Out Patient Department (OPD) and all other routine procedures which are not of “emergency” in nature.
Increasingly wards are being made available to cater to the patient rush with increased dedicated beds and oxygen availability for covid patients.
This scenario may “worsen” further as there has been little “control” demonstrated on the gatherings here and be it social or religious.
But till date it has been predominantly social gatherings which have been questioned.
And with the early “influx” of tourists this season the more positive cases have been reported amongst the travellers and certainly this can have more wider “ramifications” for the containment measures.
Already here too schools are off and now for an extended period of the end of this month and following suit the coaching Institutes too have been belatedly shut down as many positive cases were being reported from these centres where there is always little availiblities of space and “elbow room” for the students to operate. And now even kids have been declared as one of the vulnerable groups vis a viz the “second wave of covid” as per the statement issued to the press by the Doctor’s Association Kashmir (DAK) on 17th of this month.
Even wiser decisions will ensure covid relevant behavior at the ground levels.
Although people are seen thronging the markets without wearing masks and not maintaining even little distance and with very little care of being infected or furthering the spread.
What is needed is the enforcement of strict prohibitory protocol amongst the masses and especially in the gatherings especially religious.
People are complaining that although compulsory distance protocol is being maintained now in the religious gatherings in this holy month of Ramadhan yet there are many worshippers who don’t care to wear a face mask inside the mosque premises while offering salah.
Therefore Imaams, religious heads and other intizamia members be kept in loop and advised to enforce wearing of masks mandatory inside religious gatherings in this holy month as the number of worshippers is comparatively large.
Also strict protocol needs to enforced in places like haircutting saloons, gmnaeciums, parks, hospitals, etc where it has been reported that the chances of catching up the infection is relatively higher.
And for such professsions as barber shops, local bakers, butchers, chicken shop owners, milk vendors, etc the covid vaccination be made madatory.
The situation may not be out of hands yet but if similar trends are allowed to continue were daily in J&K more than a thousand cases are reported and on an average thirty to forty covid patients are being received only in SMHS hospital situation may certainly turn “ugly” if not proactively dealt with.
(The author a gold medalist can be reached at email@example.com)