With a number of employees of AOD of IOC Digboi getting infected with coronavirus and a couple of persons succumbing to the disease, the Covid-19 scare has resurfaced in the State and it would be foolhardy to dismiss the possibility of a major spread. Unfortunately, both the public and the Government have been found to be too casual in responding to the needs warranted by the situation. Notwithstanding the fact that very few Covid-19 patients have been detected in the past two-three months and the fatalities have come down drastically, there can still be no room for complacency in view of the reality that several other States in the country continue to grapple with a serious Covid-19 situation. The curbs have been lifted on train and air travel and apparently, the screening at airports and rail stations have been slack. In the latest case, it is being reported that there were Covid-19-positive people among the large number of workers and officials who had arrived in the State from Gujarat recently in connection with an overhauling operation of IOC and are suspected to have caused a major spread. According to news reports, the workers from outside were not made to follow even the basic safety protocols of wearing of masks and hand gloves besides hand sanitization during work. This reflects poorly on all the authorities concerned, especially the IOC authorities, and amount to a serious breach of public safety.
The Government of Assam had done a good job of containing the pandemic earlier but its task is far from over yet. With the Assembly elections scheduled from late this month, the situation can turn worse if basic precautions are not adhered to during election campaign and polling. Regrettably, all our political leaders including responsible ministers of the Government have been exhibiting blatant disregard for the safety norms during poll time. This is most irresponsible to say the least and being public representatives, it is all the more imperative that they lead by example in these trying times. The common man, too, should desist from breaching Covid-19 protocols in public spaces. There are advisories by the Central Government, WHO, UNICEF, etc., for the current situation and those must be respected to restrict the spread of the epidemic. The district administrations in particular as also the Health Department have a lot to do in this regard. The ongoing vaccination drive needs to be streamlined and made to cover the vulnerable segments of elderly people and people with comorbidities at the earliest. The Government would also do well to disseminate enough information regarding the dos and don’ts of the immunization drive. The precautions and contraindications for vaccination in particular need to be known to one and all, together with a comparative factsheet for both the vaccines. While the vaccination exercise is a centrally-sponsored one, its streamlined delivery and success depends on the execution of the programme by the State governments.