Covid-19 battle should be collective, not political


The sudden spurt in the Covid-19 cases in the national capital is indeed a cause of immense concern and all agencies, whether belonging to the Centre or Delhi government, must gear up to face the challenge collectively. The short point is that in this war against the pandemic, there should be no politics but a concentrated effort to deal with the unfolding situation that is going to affect all the citizens including politicians. The number of deaths reported in the last few days indicates that the disease is on the rise and greater precautions need to be taken on a war footing.

It is a well-documented fact that despite tall claims by some pharmaceutical giants, the anti-Covid vaccine is still not available, and till that happens, prevention is the only cure that is on hand. The rise in cases has occurred following the festive season, where people in tens of thousands turned up at various markets to do their shopping. In fact, Sarojini Nagar, Karol Bagh, Lajpat Nagar and Kamla Nagar, in particular, saw so many people out in the open without even masks, considered the most elementary step to keep the virus away. The entire activity also coincided with the rise in pollution levels due to various factors such as stubble burning in adjoining states of Punjab and Haryana.

The Delhi government has ramped up its testing and has hiked the fine for not wearing a mask. But these initiatives are not sufficient till there is realisation amongst the people to keep themselves safe and secure. Detractors of the Delhi government have accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of not acting on time and spending more money on his own publicity rather than on the prevention of the disease. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has also stepped in, and teams from the Centre have visited several hospitals to make their own assessment. The real issue in the capital is that multiple agencies are stakeholders and due to this multiplicity, accountability cannot be fixed. There are hospitals that are run by the Union government as well as those run by the Delhi administration and the municipal bodies. The monitoring mechanism is not as strong as it should be and becomes the principal reason why the blame game begins whenever a crisis happens.

Delhi is more vulnerable than many other cities since it attracts the maximum number of visitors, both internally and internationally. The health infrastructure, though far better than other places in the country, is not adequate to take care of a pandemic-type situation. Therefore, it is paramount that people cooperate and follow the advice of medical experts and the authorities. There have been cases that have gone unreported, and in many instances, people have got cured on their own. However, this is not the reason why caution should be thrown to the winds. It is not possible to enforce a lockdown since life has to concurrently go on. It is high time when people act responsibly, and politicians on their part, stop putting each other down to score brownie points. This is a fight that has to be collectively fought and won.