COVID On Rampage

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Increasing jabs and following rules will help control virus

India has been recording more than 90,000 fresh COVID-19 cases since Saturday last. On Sunday the country recorded the highest ever tally of 1.03 lakh new coronavirus cases since the pandemic-causing disease arrived in the country last year. India has recorded close to 1.27 crore COVID-19 cases and given the present trend the country could reach 1.5-crore mark by the end of this month. While the cases are on the rise it is heartening to note that the recovery rate is well over 92 per cent. The country has close to 79 lakh active coronavirus cases. Unfortunately, 1,65,577 people have succumbed to the disease. The big spurt over the last week has sent the alarm bells ringing for the authorities, who apparently are struggling to find ways and means to keep the situation under check. While the authorities have blamed the people for defying the directives issued by the government to control the spread of the disease across the country, it is also a fact that the authorities have been lax in enforcing COVID-appropriate behaviour in public places.

Goa too has been witnessing a sharp rise in COVID cases for weeks altogether now. The number of active cases in the state crossed 2,100-mark on Monday. Despite the big rise in fresh cases the authorities have somehow shied away from announcing stricter standard operating procedures, let alone enforcing lockdown. The authorities have ruled out the possibility of increase in fresh cases due to the arrival of tourists saying that the tourists have been coming since October but have not contributed to an increase in coronavirus cases. It will be in the interest of the state, its citizens and economy that the authorities wake up to reality and ensure that Goa too has its SOPs in place to deal with the increase in COVID cases. It has been almost two weeks that the government said it would come up with stricter SOPs to deal with the re-emergence of the virus in a big way. The authorities have to realise that timely action will help in controlling the damage that the virus can cause to the people and the economy of the state.

It is apparent that the people took the threat from coronavirus casually after witnessing a big fall in fresh daily cases across the country. The arrival of anti-COVID vaccines also emboldened them. The people started ignoring the importance of maintaining COVID-appropriate behaviour and started participating in religious and social events in large numbers despite the fact that the threat from the pandemic-causing virus was still looming large. Perhaps tired of prolonged enforcement the authorities too took things casually and did not enforce the COVID code leading to a free-for-all. It was only after the fresh cases started shooting up that the authorities realised the gravity of the situation and started scurrying to arrest the increase. By the time the authorities realized the damage was already done with fresh cases reaching an all-time high. The counter measures to deal with the big increase by the central and state governments announced recently will take some time to yield results. It is necessary that the COVID-appropriate behaviour is enforced vigorously across the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi while reviewing the sudden surge of coronavirus cases on Sunday reiterated the importance of the five-fold strategy of testing, tracing, treatment, COVID-appropriate behaviour and vaccination as an effective way to fight the pandemic. India prides itself of being the largest manufacturer of vaccines, including that of COVID. Over 8.31 crore Indians have been vaccinated as on April 5. However, vaccines are being administered to people who are over 45 years of age. Given the fact that younger people have been most affected in recent days, it would be better if the age limit is withdrawn and all people made eligible to get the vaccines. The authorities need to increase the manufacturing capacity of the two vaccines now under production and ensure that the vaccination drive is also spruced up so that a larger population is covered within the shortest possible time. Mass vaccination drives across all ages and observance of the COVID-appropriate behaviour by the people would go a long way in controlling the pandemic and ensuring safety of people.