by: Madhav Gupta,16
As the nation stares at a possible outbreak of the coronavirus, the question of whether and how the nation will be able to cope with it arises. India was hit by the pandemic later than most countries but it was struck at the time that the virus was exploding in places such as Italy and the United States; this made the government’s rapid response even more vital. As India’s graph now continues to grow at an ever-increasing rate, the lockdown ironically enough gives one some relief.
With India frantically closing every loose end to prevent an outbreak, one questions whether we missed something in the beginning. Were travel advisories, minimal restrictions and awareness programs merely sufficient? The answer seems rather simple, a resounding no. With India contracting its first cases from Italian tourists and middle eastern nationals, a general travel ban was to be exercised against countries that had reported a significant number of cases if this ‘first contact’ was to be delayed or at least its extent minimised. These countries were complacent in implementing the first steps and are now bereft with the consequences; this very complacency is what brought the disease to our doorstep. The lockdown that has been implemented is an action that has been requested by the medical community at large and remains much rejoiced. However, was this timed rightly as well? With Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in partial lockdowns one again questions, why? With Uttar Pradesh reporting the number of the affected to be north of thirty, what are these states waiting for?
The government seems to have botched this up at every stage, but the number in Indians despite its mind-boggling population and fragile, yet dedicated, health infrastructure seems to be ‘under control’. It would be far too simple to call it a coincidence and find reason in public caution to explain this number; India’s record when it comes to civil etiquette and social responsibility is better left alone. Indian nationals who’ve travelled overseas are reporting multiple visits by health officials while applauding the quarantine measures exercised for flights from high-risk zones is an indication that the government simply hasn’t botched it up at every stage. These steps coupled with multiple evacuation flights flown majorly by Air India and the Indian Air Force have helped not only Indian citizens overseas but also played a major role in the prevention of the rapid spread of the virus in India.
Passing judgement of any sort on the actions of the government seems easy and as India’s socially responsible figures falter, their opinion and judgements lose gravity with every action in the dark. The opposition seems to have made their mind that the government could not care less about the nation; its actions inadequate and its attention diverted. They fail to recognise that the Government of India has been one of the fastest-acting entities in the world and take into account the population that it serves and the task seems fitting only for the Gods. They question the thought that went into the government’s actions, once again failing to see that the modern world has never seen a task such as this; and that with this pandemic all conventional knowledge and wisdom has been thrown out the window in the blink of an eye. The nation’s actions and plans including their implementation have been surpassed only by a handful of countries. That too at a scale which isn’t even comparable to India’s and with a society far more responsible, far more disciplined. The opposition and the anti-right find every opportunity to undermine the efforts of the Prime Minister and the government, including applauding the nation’s frontline workers.
This tyrannical disease poses an incomprehensible threat to the world and as the nation struggles to prevent the onset of stage three (local transmission of the disease), the government must enforce its lockdowns with an iron fist; the nation knows what will become of it if we fail at this grave hour.