[ Ranjit Sinha ]
It was mid-February this year when I had to face an unexpected situation during my journey home to Assam. When I had boarded a night bus from Naharlagun, I found that most of my co-passengers wore masks as I did. I felt safe.
However, after landing at the Guwahati ISBT, I discovered a different scenario. It looked as if Covid-19 disease is a thing of the past.
When I boarded another bus from Guwahati and landed in my native district, I was really taken aback. It seemed as if wearing a mask was a crime.
I travelled throughout my home state and did not find a single person with a mask. At times, I felt, wearing a mask was like wearing warm clothes on a scorching hot day.
I came back after a month to Itanagar and I found that not many people in the capital region wore masks.
Should I restart wearing a mask or wait for strict orders from the government regarding Covid-19 guidelines?
I do not wait for the government’s advisories; apply my common sense and am wearing a face mask whenever I step outdoors. Should I expect the same thing from everyone?
According to scientist from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, Manindra Agrawal, the ongoing second wave of Covid-19 disease could peak by mid-April. He said, “For the last several days, we have found that there is a reasonable chance that the cases in India could peak sometime between 15-20 April.”
According to a senior public health researcher at the George Institute for Global Health, Oommen John, the second wave of Covid-19 “has the potential to overwhelm the health care facilities in many districts.” He emphasized on augmentation of health system capacity to tackle the situation.
The irony is that India had already exported nearly six crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines to 70 countries, almost twice the number of doses it has used for its own. But it is seemingly failing to convince its own people to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
However, in recent times, both the centre and state governments are doing their best to cover large number of people under Covid-19 vaccination drive.
We should remind ourselves that the coronavirus is imported from foreign countries and in the same way, it is being imported to several states of the country including Arunachal Pradesh, while the state government is waiting for instructions from the central government to tackle the pandemic.
Since the state government cannot take major decisions of its own (like cancellation of train service) to tackle the Covid-19 situation, it should, at least, start rigorous ILP checks and Covid-19 tests in every check gate of the state.
At the same time, the people should also follow all the Covid-19 guidelines which are already in place.
Together we can fight again and claim victory against the Covid-19 pandemic.