According to the NCOC, the government will lift the additional restrictions put in place to reduce the transmission of Covid-19 during the fourth wave. Given that progress has been marginal in the last few weeks—with the number of cases remaining close to the 3000 mark—there has not been a significant enough improvement to justify side-lining additional precautionary measures.
Currently, the NCOC reported 2988 cases in the last 24 hours. Furthermore, the positivity ratio now stands at 5.62 percent–still a relatively concerning rate. The non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) helped limit transmission but not at the rate at which they should have. The reality remains that more than 50 percent of the country’s ventilators are occupied, 60 percent of oxygen beds are being used for critical patients and over 90,000 cases are active. These are figures that are hard to stomach when we understand that behind them, there is the suffering of countless patients and their family members. It does not make sense to lift the precautionary measures merely ten days after implementation; each policy needs time to have an effect and by fast-forwarding ahead, we are depriving ourselves of the progress we had the potential to make.
As intercity transport, outdoor dining and school reopening resumes, the risk of digression is very real. It was vital to limit the public’s activity considering that people now seem to have gotten comfortable with the idea of living in a pandemic. Precautions are not adhered to with the same diligence as before and while once there was a time when the masses displayed concern over the prevailing circumstances, now they are met with absolute apathy. A false sense of security is being indulged in after the success of the vaccination campaign. Currently, we have only vaccinated 15.8 percent of our population and that means the task of immunisation is still monumental.
It is too early to deem our performance as a success story given that the situation can turn anytime, as evidenced by the sudden yet extreme fourth wave. As the numbers slowly decline, the authorities must reinvigorate the public through awareness campaigns and reiterating their social responsibilities.
Source: Published in The Nation