THE coronavirus pandemic has engulfed us from all sides and the unprecedented situation it has created in India is a grave concern that should worry us. The numbers are rising, dead bodies are piling, and mourning is what you hear the most these days. It is like a war zone with burning and burial of corpses surroundings us from all sides.
The virus originated in China in December 2019 and travelled via people to countries and forced the entire world to review the facilities that could hinder its growth and development, and that in particular was related to the healthcare facilities. Right from December 2019, it was clear that the virus will have grave consequences in the developing world, and in particular where the health facilities are inadequate and people are poor. India was red-flagged very early, but the steps taken by the government were not sufficient to stop the pandemic from turning into a living hell. Now, India has emerged as the main virus spreading centre, which was envisaged much earlier by the experts but largely overlooked by the administration and people in general.
So, what are the choices with us now? Should we wait for the dead bodies to pile in front of us or should we learn lessons and start fighting back?
We have no time left to watch or complain about the lack of facilities, poor role of administration and so on. These things ought to be done later and through a proper legal and formal route. Now, is the time for all of us to unite and fight the virus. That ought to be our priority. Here are a few immediate steps that I suggest could help prevent the catastrophe from spilling out of control.
It is time to demonstrate how religious institutions help humanity in the crisis. Mosques need to play a proactive role and be ready to transform into community centers for the assistance of covid-19 patients. These can be turned into covid-19 facilities if need be. Similarly, auditoriums and stadiums are perfect places to transform into a COVID-19 facility. It can hold a large number of patients in one place. Community-level arrangements should also be made for availability of oxygen and responsibilities like the burial of the dead bodies so that the sanctity of the deceased is maintained.Public and private gatherings must be stopped immediately. Hospital visits must be avoided if possible. Mask wearing, social distancing, ventilation and all hand hygiene must be followed strictly. Help each other in this crisis: some may need monetary help as well.
Kashmir is also at a critical juncture where things can turn ugly anytime, and it may be too late to turn, and we may find ourselves in the position similar to other states presently. Therefore, we ought to stop everything and help the healthcare professionals by following Covid-19 appropriate behaviour. And if such behaviour is delayed further, it will only worsen the situation on the ground and will definitely plunge the region into a major coronavirus infection crisis where people and our vital healthcare staff will be infected on a large scale, which is what seems to be the case currently in most of India. Therefore, it is important that the concerned administration should look into this immediately and make quick arrangements regarding the shortage of medical supplies, human resources, and hospitals.
People have a special responsibility by helping healthcare workers to deal with the present crisis and in a concerned manner. They are fighting on multiple fronts and not just the virus but also the lack of facilities, shortage of staff, poor condition of hospitals. We should work together to avert the current crisis and we hopefully will.
Views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer
The author is Assistant Professor, Structural Geology at the Department of Geosciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam
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