WITH the raging second Covid-19 wave showing no signs of abating anytime soon, Jammu and Kashmir administration has extended the lockdown in all 20 districts in a bid to tackle the surge in Covid-19 cases. The curfew will remain in force till May 17. Essential services have been exempted from the lockdown. The fresh infections, meanwhile, are posting a new record everyday. The Union Territory witnesses over 5000 cases and over 50 deaths on a daily basis. This is taking a massive toll on the healthcare infrastructure. The facilities at the hospitals are already at a breaking point. Any further increase in the cases could trigger chaos. Hospitals are already running short of beds and patients scrambling for oxygen cylinders, medicines and medical equipment such as oxygen concentrators.
This calls for awareness and sensitization of the people about the grave situation. The government has to take a lead in this, so also the media. People need to be cautioned, even made to fear what’s coming. Only a strict observance of the Standard Operating Procedure by the people could see us through this crisis. But this has not been the case, at least not to the extent that is required to get a grip on the runaway spike.
The administration itself hasn’t helped the matters by passing orders like barring doctors from speaking to media and directing the oxygen manufacturing units to stop supplies to the NGOs and private users. The government has also diverted its energy towards setting up a State Task Force that scrutinizes the alleged anti national employees and dismisses them arbitrarily.
That said, getting vaccinated in the shortest period possible is the only long-term solution to the current crisis, as also underlined by the top US public health expert Dr Anthony Fauci. He has advised the Indian government to scale up manufacturing of coronavirus vaccines both domestically and globally to fight the deadly contagion. This shouldn’t be a problem given India is the largest vaccine producing country and any shortfall within the country could be made up by imports. But the vaccination of all has to now be the priority of this government. And the sooner it accomplishes this stupendous task, the better for the country. There will be a corresponding decline in the number of daily infections and in turn the hospitalizations. We should take a lesson from some western countries which by prioritising vaccination are already on way towards normalcy.
Much is at stake in India. The economy that was battered last year can’t afford one more year of disruption. In Kashmir too, the vaccination should be pursued on a war footing to get the situation back on rails. Other than some brief periods of normalcy now and then, the Valley has been shut down for nearly two years.
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