Covid surge

An alarming second wave demands adult vaccination

Covid surge

April is all set to be a challenging month for the people and government alike with Covid-19 restrictions getting expanded and lockdown measures reintroduced in some states. - File photo

April is all set to be a challenging month for the people and government alike with Covid-19 restrictions getting expanded and lockdown measures reintroduced in some states. A sudden surge in coronavirus cases, the steepest since September 16 last year, with the country recording over one lakh cases on Monday, has meant that a return to normalcy is going to take a while longer, ironically when the trajectory was expected to head south aided by vaccine optimism. But with only 10 states accounting for a majority of the cases, the government has preferred instead a national campaign beginning today to ensure community participation, Covid-appropriate behaviour, personal hygiene and sanitation to check the spike even as some countries like France and Bangladesh have seen a weeklong lockdown being implemented. The rise in infections itself has been attributed to a severe decline in Covid protocol, pandemic fatigue and lack of effective containment measures. The impact on employment in business and industry will also unfold gradually, with restrictions impacting the workforce and output. Railway stations in states like Maharashtra have witnessed a rush of migrant workers bound for their home states.

The government, unwilling to fritter away the gains of managing the pandemic, has deputed health teams to visit the states witnessing a surge, with directives to curb the mortality rate and ramp up healthcare infrastructure. Faced with the task of rejuvenating the economy, emphasis is being laid on testing, tracing, treatment and vaccination to prevent the situation from getting out of hand that makes the task of protecting the economically vulnerable groups even more onerous.

The health authorities should get down to micro-managing the vaccination, zeroing in on regions witnessing the spike and taking steps that are required to avoid disruption to life. While the Centre has delegated to the states the discretion to take decisions based on local conditions in this case, frequent resort to restrictive measures will call for scrutiny. A fair bit of responsibility will also lie with the people by ensuring that they abide by the desired norms.

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