It is no surprise that the second wave of COVID-19 has started and is even more dangerous than the first one. India has to see a significant rise in the caseload and recorded over 1.8 lakh cases in a single day for the very first time on Tuesday. Many factors have contributed to this surge and we cannot take it lightly anymore. According to data released by the Modi administration, 16 states and Union territories show an upward trajectory in the COVID graph and the worrisome part is that negligence still prevails across the country. Many states are considering stricter guidelines with some even implementing them already. With the board exams already cancelled, the state governments now have to take some rather serious steps to stop this contagious virus.
Punjab is on its way to becoming one of the hotspots of the country. Punjab had relaxed guidelines after the first wave and things were going smooth. In March, CM Captain Amarinder Singh announced partial lockdowns in some cities but that did not do the trick. Now, with over 3400 cases, the state saw a spike with 52 deaths reported. Punjab is one of the states that is showing a steep rise in the cases. On the 8th of April, Punjab recorded a shocking 9000 cases (approx) which increased the 7-day average to almost 4000. Despite this critical caseload, the health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu was seen without a mask and breaking the COVID protocols. Oh, the irony. On Baisakhi, lakhs of devotees went to offer prayers in the Golden Temple for the welfare of society and to celebrate their faith. The problem was that they failed to follow COVID norms and this can prove detrimental to the tally of Punjab. Currently, no fresh guidelines have been issued, but the cases are still on the rise.
(Source: The Tribune)
Moving south to poll-bound Kerala, the past week has been a rollercoaster ride. With all the political parties scrambling to rally against each other, the state has seen a steep rise in the cases. The Vijayan government has issued new guidelines amid the rising cases in the state. Guests in functions have been capped at 100 for indoor and 200 for outdoor. Shops are ordered to close by 9 PM and entry into the malls will be regulated and controlled. Door-to-door delivery is also being promoted in the state.
Moreover, a negative RT-PCR report or the first dose of vaccination is mandatory to attend any kind of function in the state. Two hours have been set as the maximum limit of a function to control the number of people coming in. Takeaway and delivery of food instead of dine-in options are being preferred all across the state and the government is emphasizing social distancing norms. The administration also appealed to the people to stay indoors as much as possible. Important meetings should be held online just like the procurement of medicines at home by using the government portal E- Sanjeevani. Common air-conditioned places have to use proper thermal screening along with the districts given a free hand to impose section 144, only if needed. The government also confirmed that there are no restrictions on intra-state and inter-state travels for trade or the common population and no special permissions are required to indulge in the aforementioned activities. It also said that Ramadan celebrations should not be done in a gathering but individually.
The central premise here should not be the rise in cases, but our negligence towards these challenging times. The one thing we need to stop is being apologists for any religious or social gathering. In times like these, we need to be rational, not egoistic. Be it the Kumbh Mela, Baisakhi, or the Tablighi Jamaat, any gathering in a pandemic is unacceptable and unjustifiable. The selective outrage of the so-called secular people is what the Kumbh apologists are using to defend their stance. The point here is that two wrongs do not make a right. We need to stop dividing ourselves into right or left-wing and start recognizing and conditioning ourselves to be better Indians and most importantly, responsible citizens of a country that is humane at its core.
DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author.