Open House: Should authorities enforce preventive measures to keep Covid-19 infection rate in check ?

Sensitise people to looming threat, maximise vax coverage

Open House:  Should authorities enforce preventive measures to keep Covid-19 infection rate in check ?

A crowded Sunday Bazar near Jyoti Chowk in Jalandhar

Increase testing, tracking & treatment

No doubt, India has achieved a milestone of administering 200- crore doses and vaccination drive is still on, but many states, including Punjab, are again witnessing a steady rise in Covid-19 cases. It is the collective responsibility of the government and the public to make concerted, collective efforts to keep the infection in check. Besides shunning Covid-management fatigue and complacency, and updating the rickety public healthcare infrastructure, the government should increase testing, tracking and treatment. It should enforce strict implementation of health and safety protocols at market places, cinema houses, educational institutions and other crowded places. If anyone is found violating the mandatory precautions, stern action should be taken against him/her. The government should develop the capacity for genetic sequencing in order to achieve herd immunity. People should shed vaccine hesitancy and visit nearest health centres for getting jabs and help the administration achieve the target of hundred per cent vaccination. They should adopt Covid-appropriate behaviour, wear masks, maintain social distance and hand hygiene, and avoid indoor gatherings to stave off the spread of the deadly virus. Responsive and responsible human beings will ultimately learn to live safely in the foreseeable future. Simran & Tajpreet S Kang

A youngster receives the dose of Covid-19 vaccine

Act responsibly to keep covid spread in check

Despite several constraints, India has succeeded in reaching the 200-crore vaccination mark, courtesy coordinated efforts by the Central and state governments, healthcare and frontline workers, scientists and responsible citizens. However, the emergence of fresh cases of viral infection in the state in the past week has raised serious concern. While the government is fully prepared to tackle any emergency, the general public should cooperate with the official efforts to keep the virus at bay. The state has already suffered a severe loss of lives during the earlier Covid-19 waves, primarily due to vaccine hesitancy, non-availability of doses and their wastage. Though hospitalisation and fatality rates are comparatively low, there is still no room for complacency or laxity. The government is giving booster doses to senior citizens with waning immunity and inoculating adolescents and 18-59 age groups. Moreover, it should implement the precautionary protocols strictly to check the further spread of the virus. The public should also understand the gravity and magnitude of the disease, shed vaccine hesitancy and adopt Covid-appropriate behaviour — wearing masks, sanitising hands, maintaining physical and social distancing and avoiding crowded places — to ultimately eradicate the pandemic. DS Kang

A health worker collects a swab sample at a testing facility. File photos

It’s Time to implement preventive measures

Undoubtedly, with Covid-19 cases again on the rise, the state government must spring into action and enforce the preventive measure to stop the spread of the deadly virus. The authorities should not waste even a single second to keep the spiralling rate in check. The Covid-appropriate behaviour like maintaining a 6-foot distance, sanitising hands, wearing a mask should be followed religiously. Those who don’t adhere and abide by the guidelines must be dealt with sternly. Moreover, the people must adopt a healthy lifestyle comprising physical exercise, yoga, meditation, etc. The state government can encourage the people to take advantage of gyms opened in the community parks, of course without throwing caution to the wind. The awareness programmes can be initiated to guide people of all ages to take up preventive measures for their own safety. The vulnerable groups like the senior citizens above the age of 60 and children below 18 need to be extremely careful and should not ignore the Covid-appropriate norms in order to safeguard themselves from any dangers. As an adage goes, prevention is better than cure, we all should support our chosen representatives and work in sync with them for a better and safer tomorrow. Simranjeet Singh Saini

Make masks mandatory for all at public places

No doubt that Covid-19 is raising its ugly head again, with the steady rise in cases in Maharashtra, Kerala and other states. Similar is the situation in Punjab, too, especially in Jalandhar and Kapurthala. Streets and markets are crowded with people, who seem to have thrown the caution to the wind and are seen without wearing masks. Even though the government has vaccinated a large chunk of population against Covid-19, and even asked everyone to get another booster dose, the deadly virus has not been totally eliminated. Since the virus mutates, the infection, too, rises. Going by the experts’ advice, we have to learn to live with this virus. So, the government should make it mandatory for people to wear masks while going out of their homes. Those who don’t comply with these orders should be fined or even jailed. Such strong measures will certainly make public aware of the dangerous virus and force them not to let their guard down. The best thing would be to make school and college students aware of the dangers of spreading this disease. The police should be actively involved in this work, the way they were at the outbreak of Covid-19. Dr JS Wadhwa

Can’t let our guard down as cases rising

India’s cumulative vaccination drive against Covid-19 has crossed the milestone of administering 200 crore doses. It is a great feat and positive step towards curbing the menace of Covid. Those vaccinated with the mandatory two doses are feeling safe. Now the government has announced free booster doses to make us feel even more secure. But that doesn’t mean that we, the citizens, should relax and shun Covid-appropriate behavior. Besides, the authorities need to once again vigorously involve non-governmental organisations and hold mega vaccination drives daily at railway station, bus stands and other prominent public places. Also, the administration must take a conscious call on enforcing preventive measures against Covid-19. It’s also time to carry out fogging in streets residential areas to curb the menace of dengue. Rajat Kumar Mohindru

Govt must Ensure all are fully vaccinated

The Covid-19 cases are again increasing, indicating that the pandemic is going to stay in our lives and we have to quickly accept this uncomfortable fact. Consequently, the government also needs to upgrade the existing health infrastructure to meet any emerging situation. The people, in their own interest, will have to adapt to changing circumstances and take all preventive measures as a way of life. The government should continue making the public aware of all Covid-control measures, such as wearing of masks, avoiding public gatherings, maintaining general cleanliness and personal hygiene in particular. The vaccination coverage should also continue to expand and all eligible groups must be administered required two doses. The recent decision of making the booster dose available free of cost at the government centres up to certain period was welcome. The administration must ensure that the facility is property utilised by all eligible persons. Jagdish Chander

Stringent guidelines must be brougt back

Surprisingly, after a little respite from the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of positive cases in the last few weeks has shown upward trend once again, drawing the attention of the authorities for an urgent review. Whenever it seems the things are getting under control, the deadly virus gets the better of us. After a long lockdown and stringent restrictions, the nation got back to the normal and people returned to pre-Covid life. The decision to relax strict curbs was taken in the larger public interest and to get the economy back running. Schools and colleges, which were shut and forced to adopt online curriculum under the pandemic scare, were allowed to be opened for offline studies. In the meantime, the government also made an all-out effort to get vaccinated as many citizens as possible against the Covid-19, even if that meant lowering the inoculation age. Consequently, the government recently attained the milestone of administering over 200 crore doses to keep the infection in check. Even then the virus threat looms. It seems we all have to learn to live with the virus.

While the government may not take the risk of imposing the stringent measures, such as the lockdown, it can surely force people to return to Covid-appropriate behviour, like wearing of masks, following social distancing norms, etc. Alongside, it can continue to vaccinate more and more people and upgrade health infrastructure to ward off the constant threat from Covid’s new variants. Nirmaljit Singh Chatrath

Authorities should be ready for next wave

Seeing the overall pattern of the Covid-19 pandemic we should always be prepared for the next one. The disease is becoming more of an endemic. The National Institute of Disaster Management’s report on next wave preparedness is quite worrying, but the biggest concern is unvaccinated children. This report also refers to specific general projections such as the one that India can witness 6 lakh cases per day, compared to the peak of around 1 lakh in first wave and around 4 lakh in the second wave. The report also reminds that how the second wave caused havoc in the country. The government shouldn’t repeat these mistakes. Advance preparation on multiple fronts, from masking and social distancing to oxygen and medicines can make all the difference when the next expected wave infections surge again. If we do things rightly the direst warnings for September-October will not come to pass, so let us do things right. Also the reality to be faced is that there are and will be too many people unmasked in public spaces, especially in the festive season. As such there is no real alternative to rapid vaccination to stay ahead of virus resurgence in any of the next Covid-19 waves. It is also crucial that the Centre and state/district administrations play a coordinating role to ensure interstate movements of medically needed goods aren’t affected. There is a dire need for preventive measures like social distancing, washing of hands, keeping unwashed hands away from the face and strict use of mask in public places. All such measures can minimise the risk of transmission. LJ Singh


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