COVID 2nd Wave: Govt Urged Not To Repeat Mistakes

This deathly second wave of COVID-19 is truly upon us. Already, the health systems in several States like Maharasthra, UP, MP and Gujarat are reeling under massive shortages of hospital beds, critical drugs and medical personnel and are rapidly running short of oxygen. Capacities in hospitals seem to be fast crumbling. There are reports of space shortages at cremation grounds and a feeling of all-round desperation.

Yet, we seem to have learnt little from the suffering of last year. We are daily witness to the horrifying and extremely disturbing visuals from the mammoth Kumbh mela gathering at Hardwar. And a few days ago, we saw the ‘Ugadi cow dung fight’ spectacle in Kurnool district in brazen violation of Covid protocols and directives of the Disaster Management Act. It makes one wonder if we are possessed by a collective death wish.

We seem to be at the point of a national emergency but the response from governments has not matched the crisis on hand. The Human Rights Forum (HRF) appeals to the AP government not to be complacent but to step in decisively before it is too late. We have sufficient experience from last year and must not commit the same mistakes.

We urge the State government to prohibit and put an effective stop to huge religious congregations, big assemblies and gatherings and election rallies. Adhering to social distancing norms and compulsory wearing of face masks in public places must be strictly ensured. The issue of vaccine scarcity must be urgently resolved. All COVID facilities that functioned earlier ought to be immediately reopened and thrown open to those in need. Public health infrastructure must be geared up to meet the eventuality of a viral sweep and people must not be left to the mercy of private hospitals. This has happened during the first wave and taken a heavy toll on the lives of the poor. We strongly urge the government to step up before the situation worsens.

HRF calls upon the government to initiate measures to ensure that unorganised migrant labour do not undergo the appalling suffering they were subjected to last summer. On no account must they be harassed or left to fend for themselves. They should be provided all basic amenities and their economic well-being and safety suitably addressed and assured.

VS Krishna 
(HRF TS & AP Coordination Committee member)

K Sudha
(HRF AP State general secretary)


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