New Delhi: Not to panic is the golden message at these challenging times. These are also moments to act. The Government of India has plunged into quick actions to checkmate the oxygen shortage crisis and taken steps like running of ‘Oxygen Express’ trains and also procure oxygen procuring plants from Germany to start with. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with leading oxygen manufacturers across the country via video conferencing on Friday. Modi said this time is not only to deal with the challenges but also to provide solutions in a very short time. He stressed the need to maintain good coordination between the government and the oxygen producers.
For a long, Brazil was the global Covid disaster zone as the pandemic was raging out of control, but lately, the focus has now zeroed in on India. The vast sub-continent now faces a tsunami of infection. The Indian story of the ‘second wave’ of the pandemic revolves around some vital pillars. People’s negligence and indifference, socializing in large numbers without masks, and not maintaining the minimum social distance.
Stakeholders also perhaps ignored warnings of a second wave. World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “The situation in India is a devastating reminder of what the virus can do”. Bhutan Foreign Minister, Tandi Dorji tweeted to extend solidarity to India.
“Our deepest prayers and complete solidarity to the government and people of India in this most difficult period of the pandemic. Praying and hoping for quick relief and recovery,” he tweeted.
India reported 3,46,786 new Covid19 cases and 2,624 deaths between Friday and Saturday. The Health Ministry says 2,19,838 people were discharged in the last 24 hours. Would it be wrong to suggest that a sharp drop in cases by January had made the people indifferent and virtually lulled the national conscience into a false sense of safety?
Or the second wave is actually a ‘UK Variant’ virus and its magnitude was not anticipated?
Delhi experienced 24,331 new COVID19 cases and 348 deaths in 24 hours on Friday evening. There were 23,572 recoveries as well. In Maharashtra, Pune district alone reported 9,810 fresh cases and 137 fatalities.
Defence Ministry sources said Indian Air Force will airlift 23 mobile oxygen generating plants from Germany to deal with the challenge as several states including the national capital Delhi reeled under an acute shortage of medical oxygen.
Each plant will have a capacity to produce 40 litres of oxygen per minute and 2,400 litres every hour. Meanwhile, experts say Delhi has landed into such a difficult spot as the surge in Covid19 cases in the capital is due to prevalence of the “UK variant”.
Sujeet Singh, director of the National Centre for Disease Control, said on Friday that the UK Variant virus and its prevalence in genomes sequenced in the city nearly doubled to 50 per cent from the second to the last week of March. Besides, 415 cases of the UK strain of coronavirus found in genomes sequenced in Delhi, there were over 20 cases of the South African variant too.
The UK variant was found in 28 percent of samples in the second week of March. In the last week of the month, 50 per cent of samples had this variant. In Delhi, there are primarily two types of variants — B.1.617 and the UK strain.
The B.1.617 variant of coronavirus is also known as the double mutant strain. Several states are recording a high number of cases and fatalities too.
Madhya Pradesh reported 13,590 fresh positive cases, 10,833 recoveries, and 74 deaths on April 23.
Assam reported 2,384 new Covid19 cases and 12 deaths in a day on Friday. Haryana recorded 11,854 new cases, 60 deaths and 6,334 recoveries in the last 24 hours. Maharashtra so far has recorded 4.09 million cases and 62,479 deaths.
In Delhi, at least 25 Covid-19 patients at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital died and the lives of several others were in risk zones as the demand for oxygen got more frantic. It is understood that “low-pressure oxygen” was the likely cause of the deaths in Ganga Ram Hospital,a high-profile hospital in the city.
How much the common people who grew indifferent to the seriousness of the problem are actually responsible? Or it’s the massive crowd gathering election rallies?
What about the state governments, Health is a state subject after all?