Are we ready for the 'Second Coming'
IFP EDITORIAL: The public leaders frequently remind everyone to maintain appropriate behaviour in their appeals, but SOPs are observed more in violation even by those leaders making the appeal.
India detected 115,736 cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, the highest daily increase so far.
Nearly 55,000 cases were detected in Maharashtra, while Chhattisgarh scaled a new peak of 9,921 cases. Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi reported more than 5,000 cases each. Of India’s total Covid-19 caseload (1,28,01,785), there are now 8,43,473 active cases. At least 630 deaths were reported on Tuesday, taking the toll to 1,66,177. About a half of these were from Maharashtra.
Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka were the other states which reported a large number of deaths. Back home in the state, the number of Covid 19 positive cases is rising steadily after a lull with 12 positive cases registering on Wednesday. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi had conferred with his top advisors on the escalating number of cases taking time away from the campaign for state elections, the state Chief Minister N Biren Singh was also closeted with his advisor and top officials. The active number of positive cases so far is 75, while the cumulative number of positives is steadily inching towards the 30,000 mark. The origin of steady increase in Covid numbers seems to be mostly persons returning from outside by air.
As the state Disaster Management Authority braces itself to deal with a likely second wave in the state, it has ordered mandatory testing of persons arriving at Mao Gate and Jiribam from high prevalence states besides the arrangement at the Imphal airport. Meanwhile, restrictions have been stepped up in the high prevalence states with Delhi and Mumbai opting for night curfew. The Centre on Wednesday allowed Covid-19 vaccination at public, private workplaces having about 100 eligible beneficiaries from April 11. The Karnataka government had imposed Section 144 of CrPC in city limits in the wake of a rise in Covid-19 cases in the neighbouring state. The administration has also prohibited the use of swimming pools, gyms, party halls in residential complexes in the limit of Bengaluru city. In Chhattisgarh, Raipur district is being declared a containment zone from 6 pm on 9th April till 6 am on 19th April. All the borders of the district will remain sealed during this period.
Maharashtra said that the state was running short of Covid vaccines, especially in urban centres, and urged the Centre to send in additional stocks. The state has 13 lakh doses of Covaxin and Covishield in stock, which according to its estimates will be exhausted in three days. On the occasion of World Health Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to focus on fighting Covid-19 by taking precautions, and reaffirm our gratitude and appreciation to those who work to keep our planet healthy. Dr Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist of the World Health Organisation, has cautioned against a full lockdown. Dr Swaminathan said “We have to manage the second wave before thinking of a third wave and till enough people are vaccinated, there definitely can be more waves in the pandemic.”
The future is in indeed bleak and it is time for the state government to roll up its sleeves to adequately meet the situation. The three mantras of Covid appropriate behaviour are not going to hold out. The public leaders frequently remind everyone to maintain appropriate behaviour in their appeals, but SOPs are observed more in violation even by those leaders making the appeal. First, one has to understand that the state is not financially well equipped to handle a second wave. In the last financial year, the state has had to scrape through its meagre savings. Even as a new financial year is starting, all is not well. Yet, it can somehow be managed by hook or crook, or by begging to the Centre and generous donors. What matters more is will power of the state bureaucracy and mettle of the health bureaucracy. As long as the state health machinery continue to be headed by professionals serving on borrowed time, be it at the directorate or JNIMs, the response would always be defensive and unimaginative.