INSIDE VIEW | Is COVID-19 Norms Only Meant For Public

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JUTHIKA BARUAH

At the time when the first innings of coronavirus have given some relief to the Indian citizens with the cases being dropped day-by-day, the new strain of the UK variant genome has again created chaos amongst the masses as on Tuesday, six cases of the new variant have been detected in the country.

The six cases have been reported from Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune. A total of 33,000 passengers disembarked at various Indian airports from the UK from November 25 to December 23 midnight. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also banned flights to and from UK in order to prevent the spread of the new variant of mutated coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Pakistan on Monday extended ban on flights from the United Kingdom for another week. The year 2020 will be remembered for the emergence of the new virus- one the COVID-19 pandemic and the other SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2). With few more days when the year will come to an end, 2020 is projected to close out with about 84 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 1.8 million deaths across the globe.

Despite this gloom, it is expected that there will be some hope with the development, testing and approval of vaccines at remarkable speed. For the first time ever, a pandemic of human disease would be controlled by vaccines in real time.

The COVID-19 lockdown in the country since March till June when the first Unlock started has affected the people of the country leading to suicide for some while thousand others have become jobless.

With the time when the time flies away so fast, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic will complete a year and as the New Year is nearby, the Indian citizens are expecting that they will start a new beginning but the new strain of the virus from UK has emerged like the spoil game of the people.

Although the government has come up with new guidelines for the Unlock phases, people were leading a normal life. From election to celebrations of different festivals, people have not moved backward but are looking forward with a new ray of hope.

Along with the rest of the country, the state of Assam also geared up to conduct the upcoming assembly polls in 2021 and the state which has 215997 positive cases of COVID-19 has shown a decline in the positivity rate.

Now the question aroused as when the country has started to fight the new strain of coronavirus with Centre issuing new guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus, the state of Assam is all set to conduct the election.

The Center which always praised the Assam government for controlling the COVID-19 situation has witnessed that the same people are now participating or attending the public rally without following the COVID-19 protocols.  

Notably, three passengers who returned from the UK have tested positive for COVID-19 although it has not yet confirmed whether they carried the new mutated coronavirus. With these cases reported from the state, the Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma when asked about if any lockdown would be imposed in the state, said that no lockdown will be imposed and that the people will start leading new life from January 1 with the beginning of the New Year.

The question here aroused as why the government has not taken any step to prevent the spread of the virus. Is it a political move for which the common people have to suffer or is it something else?

The Center while issuing the new guidelines said that the COVID-19 restrictions on various activities will stay, noting that while there has been a continuous decline in active cases in India, there is a need for surveillance, containment and caution due to a surge globally and the emergence of a new variant of the virus in the UK. The Ministry of Home Affairs in its guidelines for surveillance with regard to COVID-19 said that it will remain in force till January 31 and asked the states and union territories to keep a strict vigil to prevent any rise in cases during the New Year celebrations and the winter season.

Here aroused another question as the Assam government who issued guidelines for New Year celebration was seen that during the visit of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the top leaders had themselves seen violating the norms of COVID-19. Are the rules and regulations only for public? Are the public who will be infected with COVID and not the politicians is the big question.

The public will be fined for violating the norms but who will fine the political leaders who attend public meetings among thousands of people without masks and without social distancing?

Speculations are on amongst the public as is the Assam government hiding the actual fact of COVID-19 or will the government impose any lockdown after the election or will it bring the real scenario again before the people only after the poll gets over. The question here raised in the minds of the people as the government has become silent on the pandemic with the election knocking at the door.

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