Defeat the deadly virus
While the vaccination campaign for coronavirus is in full swing across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the alarming positivity rate in Srinagar district is an indication that unless people follow the SOPs strictly, the deadly sting of the virus is not getting blunted. The administration here has already cautioned people and the concerned officials about the possibility of a third wave of the pandemic. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, on August 7, citing experts’ reports had cautioned that the “next 100 days are crucial”, and “We need to be alert, vigilant and must adhere to Covid protocols to prevent the third wave”. Though the numbers in Srinagar are worrisome, however in rest of the districts thankfully, are in a comfortable zone as of now. But this timely comfort should not make people complacent and they should follow the SOPs in letter and spirit to ensure that the region remains safe from the predicted third wave.
The officials are of the view that the UT administration has been actively working to raise the infrastructure, manpower, and augmentation of the services in the health sector across Kashmir, since the day the Covid pandemic hit the area for the first time early last year. They claim that presently, there is more than three thousand bed capacity for the Covid patients across the Valley while as the oxygen generation capacity in terms of the installation of new plants has been enhanced to a comfortable level during the past one and a half year. As per the data available, when Covid hit the region last year, there were only two oxygen generation plants available with the health department – one at JLNM Hospital in Srinagar and second at District Hospital, Pulwama. These two plants produced a meagre amount of some 300 LPM Oxygen but now the oxygen generation plants ar installed at every major hospital in every district. Similarly, as far as the manpower is concerned, the government has hired some professionals on a contractual basis to ensure ample staff to deal with the pandemic when needed. The government has also created Defence Research and Development Organisations (DRDO) in the hospitals to ramp up the healthcare infrastructure to effectively deal with the Covid.
However, despite the fact that UT administration is fully prepared to tackle any such wave, the peoples’ cooperation is the key to the success. As the third wave reportedly may impact children too, people have to remain extra vigilant. While administration should speed up the vaccination process, the people have to understand that they are the only ones who can defeat the spread of virus. They have to follow the SOPs and realize that wearing face masks, avoiding crowded places and maintaining hand hygiene is a new norm and also understand that Coronavirus is going to stay and it can be made ineffective only by taking all prescribed precautions.