New Delhi: The second terrible wave of epidemic can prove destructive not only for India but also for the world. Uncontrollable spread of the virus increases the risk of the emergence of dangerous new strains. For the first time in India, a new type of virus identified – double mutants has been found in many other countries including the US, UK. The second wave of India has had an immediate impact on the supply of vaccines in the rest of the world. The government has banned the export of vaccines as the infection progresses.
It is not easy to control any contagious disease in India due to crowded cities and weak health services. Nevertheless, the number of deaths in the first wave that reached the summit in September 2020 was surprisingly low. The Government of India did not have a poor record in dealing with the epidemic till this year, like many other governments. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s neglect and complacency allowed the situation to get out of control. In January, Modi boasted that we have not only solved our problems but have helped the world in dealing with the epidemic. On the other hand, in the beginning of March when matters started increasing in opposition-ruled Maharashtra, the Modi government attacked him instead of helping him in the hope of toppling the state government.
The glimpses of Modi’s continued campaign to gain political advantage are visible during the assembly elections in West Bengal this month. They, their warlords and leaders of rival political parties have held many huge rallies. The rules of wearing masks and social distancing were not followed at all. Due to this, there is a danger of outbreak of epidemic among the ten crore people of the state, but due to this, the focus of the government was not on fighting the disease.
Modi’s right-handed home minister Amit Shah was busy campaigning for 12 of the first 18 days of April. It may help to understand how Modi’s vaccine policy is so messed up. By mid-February, the government had ordered dosages for only 3% of the population. The government regulatory agency had approved the indigenous vaccine – cocaine, without completing all the necessary trials. On the other hand additional barriers were created for foreign vaccines.
Meanwhile, there have been signs of improvement in the government’s decisions. The government cleared the rapid import of vaccines. The government has given three thousand crores rupees to the serum institute to increase production. The Bharatiya Janata Party has canceled major election rallies in Bengal. From next month, it has been decided to apply the vaccine to people above 18 years of age. However, given the lack of vaccine in most parts of the country, this decision will have limited benefit.
The official figure of people affected by the virus in India is similar to the upper reaches of the iceberg. Epidemics say, due to less testing in large cities, the number of infected people can be ten to thirty times greater. In December, the National Serological Survey found that 21% of Indians had Kovid-19 antibodies, while only 1% were infected at the time.