Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Forward Together

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 11, 2020 9:00 pm

Covid-19 positive cases spiked exponentially across India over the last few weeks after the lockdown restrictions were relaxed, especially inter-state movement to allow the stranded people return to their respective home states and to provide a window for trade to limp back to normalcy. With it, a new wave of fear appears to have gripped many people. After the initial fear that was chiefly caused by disinformation, rumours and lack of knowledge about the deadly virus, relative calm followed, thanks to massive awareness campaigns by government agencies, civil societies and the media. This breather gave governments – Centre and states – time to improve healthcare infrastructure and take up all necessary steps to combat the unprecedented pandemic more effectively. Nagaland government too started working on war footing; it was like starting from scratch due to the almost non-existent healthcare system in the state, reflecting a grim picture of prolonged neglect by successive governments since the attainment of statehood more than five decades ago. The incumbent government managed to procure sophisticated medical equipment, including the virology laboratory which is vital in fighting the coronavirus. Revamping healthcare facilities across the state amid fear and confusion was commendable. The people too did a good job by pressuring the government to equip the state with necessary medical equipment. The state’s healthcare system is still likely to be overwhelmed if community transmission of the disease occurs but it surely is in a better position to take on the pandemic now than a month ago.

Yes, there were mismanagements and mishandlings on the part of the government during the process of containing and fighting the pandemic. Some departments stumbled when the real challenge was thrown at them; the classic example being the sending of returnees from Red zones to other districts before their Covid-19 test results were confirmed. The public too didn’t help when they objected to setting up of quarantine centres in their vicinity or restricting the movement of frontline workers. So, what can we draw from these episodes? Errors are bound to happen and there is perhaps no society in this world that has handled the crisis perfectly. The countries and states that learned from the mistakes and worked collectively were the ones that fared better. So, it is pertinent for the government functionaries to learn from the past mistakes, rectify and involve the common people in combating the disease. Public too should not try to obstruct the government departments from performing its duties during this crucial time. If healthcare workers refuse to work over some grievances; if organisations call for bandh or strike; and if government efforts during this crisis are affected, everybody stands to lose. There is a reason why we see a relative peace even in war-torn regions. While positive criticisms and suggestions are vital and should be welcomed, any act that will distract and slow down officials from performing their duties should be avoided. At the moment, all the positive cases recorded in the state so far are the returnees. The real battle will begin when the lockdown is completely lifted, people are on their own and the disease starts spreading to the local population. We will pay a huge price if we let smaller issues distract the impending crisis that lies ahead of us. The choice is between working together to defeat this virus or fighting amongst ourselves and witnessing disaster.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 11, 2020 9:00:11 pm