The Prime Minister needs to re-do his homework as the virus hits back with a vengeance

As COVID-19 cases surge in the country, much beyond the peak recorded in the last one year, the best the Government can do seems to be to blame people and the opposition

The Prime Minister needs to re-do his homework as the virus hits back with a vengeance
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Sushil Kutty

The alarming spike in Covid-19 cases has spooked the Modi Government. It has asked its employees aged 45+ to get themselves vaccinated to "effectively contain the spread of Covid-19.” A year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked people to bang thalis to ward off the coronavirus, has he admitted defeat? The coronavirus hasn't gone anywhere. If anything the critter is back for venomous revenge.

The Government is asking all and sundry to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour "even after vaccination." Wash hands frequently with soap; wear the mask and observe social distancing. A year later and it's clear nothing that the Government did worked. We're once again under virus-assault, and it's a force-multiplier. But this time, Modi is not calling for s repeat of "bang the thalis." At least, that's lesson learnt.

Reports are the Government is monitoring the situation. But it's partially deaf, refusing to hear calls to expand scope of vaccinations, i.e., permit everybody over age 18 to get vaccinations. Limiting vaccinations to only those over age 45 is giving Covid-19 space to plague the vast majority, those in the age group 18-45, the most active segment in every way; the most visible, as also the most reckless, maybe the most vulnerable!

So what's happening is two-pronged. One, the coronavirus is pissed off. It doesn't fancy the vaccination drive. It's hitting back with venom. Two, India administered 43 lakh Covid-19 vaccine doses in a day the other day, the highest single day coverage so far. What did the virus do? It infected over 100,000 a day for two days in succession. The question is, for how long will this tit-for-tat continue? The Ministry of Health says total vaccinations exceeded 8 crore by April 6. And total Covid-19 tests conducted surpassed 25 crore.

But 8 crore is a drop in the ocean. Even if 25 crore is semblance of respect. The sad and angry part is India is exporting and gifting more vaccine doses than it's administering to its citizens. At least that's the accusation doing the rounds. No surprises there. It's known far and wide that Prime Minister Narendra Modi craves international stardom. His entire 'hug the leader' syndrome was predicated on that strategy till the coronavirus struck and put paid to close quarters.

Raj Thackeray, who anyday can give Modi a run for his money, says Covid-19 is back only because migrant workers from "bimaru states" are thronging "industrialised" Maharashtra. He told this to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray via videoconference call, and if migrants get pummeled anywhere in Maharashtra, you know who to pin the blame on!

The long and short of the story is that after lockdown everybody, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Government, did not take proper lessons. The seriousness was gone, the stringency lost. The mask slipped and the hands went unwashed. Things got so open that people thronged in closed proximity. Once the liquor lines got reestablished, there was no looking back. The last vestiges of Covid-19 seriousness went with the election rallies and the elections, when angry spittle flew in all directions, from all directions.

And, now, with the number of cases breaching the 1-lakh mark for the second time in three days, the Centre is saying that the next four weeks will be "very very critical." Bravo! Are the people, the voters listening? Did the voters who voted in Puducherry, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam vote on Covid-19, or was only Hindu-Muslim an election issue? Will the Modi Government now at least take a serious look at the Covid-19 pandemic and treat it accordingly? Will Prime Minister Narendra Modi forget "Vasudevakutumbakam" for a while and think of only Hindustan... Vaccinate India and Indians first, only then look to other shores.!

Indians are dying in all parts of the country, but mostly in 11 states, where people got lax towards Covid-19. Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan. According to reports, the Centre, reacting to calls to unblind vaccinations, said the aim was to protect those who were most vulnerable, and not to "administer the vaccine to those who want it but to those who need it."

This after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level review meeting to take stock of the rise in coronavirus cases and the vaccination drive. Modi still believes that a 'test, track, treat' strategy will curb the Covid spread. Well, he's been proven wrong.

The "alarming rate of growth" in infections and deaths, with 10 states contributing to more than 91 percent of them, is proof of the pudding. Modi ought to pay more attention to his coronavirus homework! (IPA Service. Views are personal)

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