Fast spreading COVID-19, critical days ahead


Only a few days back through these columns , we had opined that it was advisable to be frightened than feeling any complacent about the dreaded COVID19 virus while commenting upon the casual approach parking at near recklessness in matters of wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance. Even many from those who had taken the first jab of the vaccine had tested positive and had even to be hospitalised indicating and as the Prime Minister too repeatedly cautions, that precautionary protocol had to be followed meticulously even after getting vaccinated. Corona virus infection cases hitting a record since its outbreak a year ago with as many as 1.27 lakh new cases during the last 24 hours across the country must make us feel concerned and again, even frightened thinking of the consequences of ”playing with” or taking just casually the precautionary guidelines which are simple and inexpensive but breaching them very costly and even irretrievable in heavy losses. Conditions in Jammu , Kashmir and Ladakh on the front of COVID-19 virus pandemic are alarming as not only has an unprecedented surge compared to previous months taken place in fresh infections but casualties too taking place are all indications, as experts too have forewarned that next four weeks or a month exactly , were very crucial . A young engineer from Talab Tillo Jammu with no co- morbidity history who had been working in New Delhi succumbed to the frightful virus. Three women and one person too had the same fate, thus as many as five deaths taking place in 24 hours in Jammu, is a cause of concern . As many as 347 new cases of infections in Jammu region were reported .In Kashmir, again with two deaths , 465 persons were reported to be infected and even fresh spike in Ladakh resulted in 59 fresh cases of infections . We need not go in the details as to wherefrom cases were reported but overall position is not only worrying but giving credence to the apprehensions of this position having reached in the country only and only due to swarming crowds around vegetable and grocery markets especially during peak morning and evening hours and that too, with half worn masks or casually worn (to escape fine etc) or not worn at all. Likewise in malls, wedding and social gatherings etc, the same laxity was seen in treating the shudder-some virus as if having been quietened to be shortly completely subdued. That being not the case ,therefore, in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir being a tourist destination and people from all parts of the country keep on visiting here , even the foreign tourists , it becomes bounden duty to adopt measures of safety. However, Divisional Commissioner Jammu has urged the people to follow the SOPs to control further spread of the virus. On the other hand, to accommodate more cases in the hospitals , all preparations including extra bedding and oxygen facilities have been made as per the Principal GMC , Jammu. It may be noted with all concern it deserves that Maharashtra state alone had a whopping number of 50000 cases of infections from out of 1.27 lakh followed by Delhi, Punjab, Kerala etc . Night curfews in Maharashtra , Delhi and Punjab have been imposed and even in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, certain restrictions and caps on social gatherings have been imposed. If conditions do not improve , the UT too may have to go in for movement restrictions like curfews followed by more of such restrictions should the situation not show improvement. It should be our endeavour to avoid as far as possible, any re-imposition of lockdown restrictions as that being the ultimate remedy towards containment measures , would mean economic distress in a situation where otherwise more money , resources and infrastructure were needed to fight the pandemic. Revival process of the battered economy had barely started and the fresh onslaught of the elusive and treacherous virus has cast its evil shadows again which has prompted the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India Shaktikanta Das to say that growth outlook seemed to be ”uncertain”. Even consumer price inflation was feared to go up though good production of food grains would keep it under control. In other words, any dent in or suspension of economic activities as a result of lockdown phases would mean a blow to the economy which the people should, by their meticulously following the precautionary norms , try to avoid. We also know that in whole of the world, if any country has fared very well in the area of vaccination, it is India . Despite a record of over 82 million doses of the vaccination given so far , mostly to frontline warriors and to the people above 60 years of age and now age group of above 45 years , there are states like Maharashtra making a demand for doing it even to those aged over 25 years or vouching for an expansive vaccination drive . That could be the demand from other states too fearing a spike in cases but that was going to upset the entire applecart of planning of vaccination drive and go against the official stand of priority being given to protect more and more people falling in vulnerable age groups. Wisdom demands and the strategy to fight the virus would mean nothing to be done or created that would unnecessarily create an artificial shortage of vaccination doses or the demand for more . Towards a step in respect of walk-in- vaccination drive , however, the government allowing vaccination at public and private workplaces having about 100 eligible beneficiaries across the country is yet another commendable step. The age group of around 45 years is substantial in number in organised sector working in offices and departments . This drive was going to rid the eligible ones of unnecessary botheration of time , tension and energy. It has to be borne in mind that the 2nd dose of jab too having fallen due , the workload on the existing medical infrastructure was bound to increase. Now that wearing a mask even while driving alone during the current pandemic having now been made compulsory would bring in encouraging results . Let all of us be strict in the COVID -19 precautions protocol to prove wrong all predictions of coming 4 weeks to be critic