The “Unprecedented: 2020

INDIA has been in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic for the past about nine months. The two-month-long nationwide lockdown foisted on the masses at a few hours’ notice, proved to be disruptive rather than preventive as millions lost their livelihoods and had to trudge back jobless and penniless to their native states.
 The unlocking that followed the world’s most stringent curbs opened the floodgates for the virus and exposed the inadequacy of the healthcare set-up. Though the nation’s daily caseload has come down of late, states such as Delhi are grappling with a fresh surge amid the festive season and the onset of winter. In its guidelines for ‘Surveillance, Containment and Caution’ for December, the Centre has allowed states and union territories to impose local restrictions such as night curfew and weekend lockdown, but has restrained them from resorting to these measures outside the containment zones without its approval.
September was the peak of COVID-19 in India. The number of positive cases, hospital admissions and deaths were splashed all over newspapers. India's caseload of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) stands at 9,266,706 after 44,489 infections were registered between Wednesday and Thursday, according to data released by the Union health ministry. On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who earlier this week chaired a meet with states over the Covid-19 situation and to discuss distribution plan of a potential COVID-19 vaccine will visit vaccine development centres in Ahmedabad, Pune and Hyderabad.
At a time when the economy is making a steady recovery, the laxity of the law enforcement agencies and the irresponsible behaviour of the people are threatening to undo the gains. In Delhi, which recently quadrupled the fine for not wearing a mask in public, the police are issuing 1,000-1,500 challans daily — a paltry number considering that the Capital is reporting over 5,000 cases and 100-odd fatalities every day. Most of the other states are not even doing this much to deter violators. The vaccine will arrive sooner or later. But there’s not a minute to lose for abiding by the protocol — in letter and spirit. So, please wear a mask and stay safe.

- Prabhakar Purandare

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