New Delhi: In a hard-hitting editorial published in the medical journal, The Lancet claimed that India “squandered” its early success in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic and PM Modi’s government had not met the required task force even till the month of April.
It said that the success of India overcoming this crisis is completely dependent on the PM’s administration owing up to its ‘inexcusable’ mistakes.
The widely respected publication mentioned how India dissipated its early success in controlling the Covid-19 situation. It was only in April that the news of the government’s task force not meeting up in months came out. India must now restructure its response before the crisis takes rage.
The Lancet editorial said that it was possible if the government owns up to its mistakes and provide responsible leadership and transparency to implement a public health response with science as the only possible solution.
The journal called out the government for allowing religious festivals and gatherings, political rallies to go ahead, attracting millions of people from around the country despite warnings about the super spreader events. The impression that India had beaten COVID-19 after several months of low case counts was made even before the second wave swept away the country again.
The Lancer also criticized India’s vaccination policy calling it “botched” and “falling apart” at the central level. It pointed out that even without discussing the change in policy with states, the government shifted course and was able to vaccinate less than 2 percent of the population. Talking of the federal level, the plan soon fell apart and rather led to mass confusion and drained supplies.
It further added the evaluation estimate by The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that India could witness a staggering 1 million deaths from COVID-19 by Aug 1. Also, in case of such an outcome, PM Modi’s government should be responsible for declaring over self-incited national calamity.
While noting the problems, the editorial further suggested a two-pronged strategy for the government. Firstly, to rationalize and implement a botched vaccination campaign with all due speed. The distribution campaign must cover not just urban but rural and underprivileged classes of the economy, which constitute more than 65% of India’s population.
Also, the government must work with local and primary health care centers in creating an equal distribution system for the vaccination drive. Accurate data must be published in a timely manner and make the public aware of the happenings and the possible measures to bend the epidemic curve. It also suggested a new federal lockdown.
Meanwhile, India on Saturday reported its highest ever single-day COVID-19 deaths, as active cases continued to rise and state-imposed stricter lockdowns.
The Health Ministry of India in its latest data reported 4,187 fatalities over the past 24 hours, taking the overall death count to around 2.4 lakh. The number of active cases rose by 4,01,078, increasing the total tally to 2.19 crore.