Fighting the new wave of COVID-19!
By: Er.Ishfaq Khaliq
The second wave of COVID-19 has been more damaging and detrimental to India than the first wave as the number of infections is souring up every passing second while several are dying due to the virus as well as due to the shortage of life saving systems. Several cities in India are facing acute shortage of oxygen, key drugs, vaccines and the hospital beds are fully occupied leaving no room for the new patients to find space. India, it seems, is in the middle of a great health crisis with more than 20.65 lakh new COVID positive cases reported only in the month of April. The virus is spreading in India at the fastest rate compared to any other country and those who are affected this time have more complications than the first covid wave which, some experts have said, was affecting younger people compared to the wave seen in 2020.
The second wave of covid 19 has brought India’s health care system to its knees. The county is exhausting its hospitals, beds, oxygen, medicines etc and yet the crisis seems unmanageable. The country is struggling badly with its health care system and every day we see crowds outside the hospitals in major metropolitan cities waiting for a bed- several people, reports said, died while waiting for the oxygen cylinders!
While pandemics aren’t easy to coup up with and even the most advanced countries including USA suffered massively when the virus hit for the first time, but better health policies, strategies and investment in health sector immediately after the crisis literary brought several countries out of the clutches of this deadly virus. Other countries have also suffered heavily but they have advanced health care system and most of the countries have succeeded in controlling the pandemic or atleast keeping it under proper check.
In India, the situation is totally different- it is a country of superstitions, myths and folklore. Here, even if the government had banned large gatherings, thousands and thousands of people gather at the Kumb Mela and perform their religious rituals without giving a damn about covid protocols and SOP’s. Similarly, other such gathering including elections rallies in West Bengal are a testimony to the fact that a country like India will have a very tough and long fight against COVID 19 and nobody can really predict the winner here.
However, as is said that tragedies unite people and countries- something of the same sort is unfolding between India and Pakistan, the otherwise arch rivals. Pakistan’s noted organisation Edhi Foundation has offered to help India by sending a fleet of ambulances. Human rights activist Faisal Edhi, the head of the Pakistan-based Edhi Foundation, has offered to help India fight the Covid-19 pandemic and has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi offering help in India’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
In his letter, Faisal Edhi said that he seeks to lead the team himself.
“We are very sorry to hear about the exceptionally heavy impact that the pandemic has had on your country, where a tremendous number of people are suffering immensely…. we would like to extend our help in the form of a fleet of 50 ambulances along with our services to assist you in addressing, and further circumventing, the current health conditions,” the letter addressed to PM Modi said.
Faisal Edhi said that he only seeks permission from the Indian government to enter with the ambulances and a team, including emergency medical technicians, office staff, drivers and supporting staff.
“We will arrange all the necessary supplies that our team needs to assist the people of India. Importantly, we are not requesting any other assistance from you, as we are providing the fuel, food, and necessary amenities that our team will require,” he said.
The Edhi Foundation has been leading Covid-19 relief operations in Pakistan where its ambulance services are often said to be more efficient than those provided by the state. Speaking to Hindustan Times, Faisal Edhi said that they did not want to cause any inconvenience to India. The teams from Edhi Foundation would be carrying their own food, fuel and other supplies so as to cause no hindrance to Indian authorities.
Similar to this, United States recently said that it would start export of raw materials essential for the production of vaccines in India while UK announced that it was rushing ventilators and other critical equipment to help cope with an unprecedented surge in covid-19 infections in the country.
Other countries too mobilized support for India in its fight against the new wave of covid-19 infections that has brought the health infrastructure to breaking point in many parts of the country.
On Sunday, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and conveyed that “the US has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India,” a statement from the US administration said.
New Delhi has been urging the US to lift restrictions on the export of 37 critical elements needed for the manufacture of vaccines, including the Oxford-AstraZeneca-developed Covishield in the country. The export of these elements is barred under the 1950 US Defence Production Act that authorizes the US President to direct firms to prioritize domestic needs.
India should, without any hesitation, accept the offer as the hundreds are dying badly for the lack of facilities. Social media is flooded by videos showing clips of burning piers to slipping of a dead body from the ambulance due to overload of dead bodies- the country has suffered badly and deserves some respite.