Pandemic Shows The Weaknesses…

The initial response of the Government of India for covid19 pandemic aligned closely with the BDM guidelines, as reflected in the lockdown and social distancing guidelines, many of its provisions were not implemented optimally. The most important among them were those specifically related to disease surveillance guidelines and provision of essential supplies and services to ensure successful social distancing. Both these measures were important in early containment of the disease outbreak, an objective that India failed to achieve. The parameters of disease surveillance and the key agency to coordinate it have remained mired in controversy and ambiguity throughout the crisis. The provision of essential supplies and services was not ensured from the beginning and suffered from inadequacy later as well, which resulted in the massive exodus of migrant workers from cities to their hometowns and villages. Even with so many hardships, the number of infected people has rapidly increased and the healthcare facilities have been overwhelmed resulting in nearabout 70000 COVID-19 deaths till September 5. interestingly, as many as 971 non-Covid deaths were recorded between March 14 and July 4, which include fatalities due to starvation, duress due to long distance travel, or accidents, according to the independent database. The crisis borne out of the response to the disaster has still not subsided with economic uncertainty and struggles for sustenance still being reported from both urban and rural areas, especially among the migrant workers. Transparency in both the decision-making process and the disaster response has been an important feature of some of the most successful strategies adopted worldwide in handling of the pandemic. Free flow of information and accountability are of utmost importance to ensure course-correction where desired objectives have not been achieved, besides being prepared in case of re-emergence of the disease in the near future.

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