In retrospect when all the warning bells were sounding in Jan.,that a poss. pandemic was round the corner,the sealing off of India from the world should've started.Unfortunately, the CAA,Shaheen Bagh,Delhi riots consumed almost everyone's attention and even when the intl. lockdown came, there was inadequate protocol at airports for ALL incoming passengers,who should've all been subjected to domestic self-quarantine. The incubation/ dormant period of a couple of weeks was known to all earlier. The media says that in the Punjab,over 40K NRIs who entered the state did not bother to undergo any self quarantine,in TNadu says a friend 2 lakh entered with minimum checking and no self-quarantine.
This foreign invasion of the virus into India mainly by air travellers who have now travelled all across the country is the nightmare facing the govt. and the people.We are woefully unprepared for an Italian or Spanish style catastrophe. We saw how one singer from the UK caused panic amongst the VIP pack.In SoKo,just one patient,no.31 was responsible for 60% of the cases! We haven't the ICUs,ventilators,medical staff,etc. to handle lakhs of cases.Mass testing in Italy helped one village handle the situation,but we have inadequate testing facilities.It's a race against time to equip ourselves for the same. We HAVE to protect our medical staff and essential service staff and volunteers who will be handling the extreme cases.Abroad many of them have died too.
So has this 3 week exercise in action is too little ,too late? Only time will tell.There was NO other alternative.In Russia,which has not too many cases ,but growing, Putin is considering bringing in the military .A former IA Lt.Gen., Gen.Panag says that we may have to call upon the military to assist and maintain discipline.Here are a few essentials required.
Getting field hospitals to handle cases in every metro,city,town in each district to be set up by any reliable contractor like L&T,etc. The modular structures used for industries can be built in a jiffy and could be replicated en masse. We need hundreds of such dedicated new centres apart from established govt. and private hospitals in ciries, as cases in city hospitals may spread the disease further.These centres/ hospitals will need to bd furnished with beds,eqpt. like ventilators, drugs,,etc. A huge challenge and opportunity for Indian industry.
Medical needs like drugs,ventilators,masks,sanitisers, clothing- we saw Putin visit cases wearing a special ( Hasmat?) suit.etc.,are required in huge quantities.Indian industry must be assisted by the GOI to produce this at hyper speed.Abroad distilleries are producing sanitisers at some of their units. In Italy the army is bring used to transport the dead for burial/ cremation,no religious ceremonies allowed too! The worry amongst the Indian population is how do they obtain their bare neccessities without violating the " lakshman rekha" during the lockdown? How many can afford home deliveries from Big Basket,Swiggy,etc.The poor are hugely affected and this is where state govts. and the PDS have to step in with easy methods of delivering essentials to family card holders,etc. How those at the bottom layer ,like daily wage earners,will get govt. subsidies,etc. is the Q. Neighbourhood food canteens will have to be set up for the poor to prevent them travelling outside their residential zone and transmitting or catching the bug.Villages in Britain and Europe that isolated themselves survived better than yhose that didn't.
These are just a few points.The challenge is enormous,a situation that comes once in several centuries.The European Black Death ,the bubonic plague, 670 years ago lasting around 5 years killed an estimated upto 200M people in Eurasia ! Unless critically required industries are allowed to function,workers given special passes,etc., immediately, we will run short of essentials fast. The NY governor this evening gave out stats of beds,ventilators reqd. and what existed. Woefully inadequate. We have to get even more pro-active.Social distancing alone won't defeat the bug,we need all sectors of industry and the economy assisting the govt. to over 100% in effort to make their vital conttibution to defeat this demon from China.
Last edited by Philip
on 25 Mar 2020 23:43, edited 3 times in total.