IT IS heartwarming to know that Dr. Roderico Ofrin, Director of Regional Emergencies, South-East Asia, of the World Health Organisation (WHO), has described India’s efforts to contain coronavirus as “comprehensive and robust response”. Thanks to the promptness and no-nonsense approach of the Government, India’s fightback against the deadly virus is being appreciated the world over. When the world is engaged in a serious war against the disease, such appreciation comes as a genuine encouragement to a nation who is confronting the challenge squarely.
Compared with the measures taken by other countries in which number of deaths and affected persons is very high, India’s showing on those counts has been quite low and in control. Though this is not a point of celebration, it surely is an aspect about which India should have reason to feel good about its systematic response to the challenge that is threatening the health of the global human community. Of course, as Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has warned of a long battle ahead and also has batted for innovative approaches to tackling the coronavirus scare, the scare is far from over. In fact, some doomsayers also predict that in the next stages of the advent of the deadly virus, India will have to face much worse conditions.
May there be no misgivings about such possibilities. Yet, may there also be no need to harbour panic in our hearts that the Government would not be able to tackle the challenge in its advanced stages. In fact, now is the time for all the Indian people to tell themselves and one another that if the nation confronts the challenge with confidence and unity and integrity, the war against the deadly disease can be won fairly comfortably. In the Prime Minister’s address to the nation a few days when he announced ‘Janata Curfew’, the confidence was clearly evident that no challenge was beyond mastering. The common people must now think positively about the good outcome of the Indian efforts and act unitedly to attain and maintain high standards of individual and social hygiene and also of cooperation with the Government and its agencies.
If this is done in total seriousness, then India will emerge is the least-scathed nation out of the coronavirus scare. At this stage, it is important for the people to note in all seriousness that they have a very major and good role to play in this war against the virus. Even as the people engage themselves in protecting personal and collective hygiene and keeping up social distancing, they will also have to become very alert against any kind of rumour-mongering so that no misgivings are spread in the society. This word of caution has become necessary at this stage because social media is agog with nonsense about coronavirus. So deadly is this rumour-mongering and doomsaying that a good percentage of the Indian population is now living under the scare not just of the virus but also of other consequences of social distancing and restricted movements.
It is high time the people gave up such practices on the social media so that the component of scare is reduced. If the people -- common as well as VIPs -- stop indulging in loose talk and also loose conduct (like going out without valid reasons and risking their health unnecessarily), then they will be joining hands with the Government is this combat the like of which the country -- and the world -- has not seen for over a century. Such a partnership between the Government and the people would fetch for India many more plaudits from WHO and other countries than it has got until now. The question, however, is not about the plaudits; it is about the effectiveness of the measures we, as India. take in the next some weeks in a “comprehensive and robust” manner.