DESPITE the surge in Covid cases, seeing people openly flout all sops is a common sight now. The pandemic fatigue has has made people downplay the perilousness that coronavirus poses and this non-compliance of covid appropriate behaviour can be disastrous. Most of the countries in Europe have recorded a dramatic uptick of covid cases and therefore are gearing for another lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus and these are deemed necessary despite the inoculation of a significant section of their population. This makes us wonder what south Asian countries should do as we are far behind the west in the vaccination programmes and do not have a robust health infrastructure. The response in South Asian countries has been starkly different this time than it was a year ago when most of these countries went into a total lockdown. Although several efforts are being made to ramp up the vaccination programme in India as well but vaccine hesitancy has deterred the efforts to speed up the vaccination drive and even if the vaccination programme is hastened it is a lengthy process which could take an entire year or more to acquire herd immunity. To address the fears regarding vaccines, government should engage public personalities and religious preachers to assuage the apprehensions regarding the vaccine so that more and more people come forward and get vaccinated. The alarming rise in cases and emergence of new variants has raised skepticism about the existing vaccines, it is being said that the new variants are more transmissible and more lethal, this situation necessitates strict rules as it seems to be the only way to combat the virus. Efforts should be taken to tackle the rising cases before the situation escalates further and overwhelms the hospitals. The upcoming elections season in India makes the possibility of a complete lockdown highly unlikely and this is a matter of serious concern as disregarding covid protocols could transport us back to where we were a year ago.
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