The coronavirus situation in our neigbouring country has turned rather severe. India is in the grip of a rampaging wave of the pandemic with one death every four minutes. The country has been witnessing the global record for COVID-19 cases for the third consecutive day, hospitals are facing oxygen shortages and even crematoriums are running out of space.
It has exposed the underfunded healthcare system as hospitals ran out of oxygen supplies and patients are sharing beds. The Indian government deployed military planes and trains to bring oxygen from every nook and corner of the country which received armed escorts due to the urgency. Indian PM Modi is under fire for his handling of the pandemic and not prioritizing the health of his people.
India surpassed the record of highest single day infections anywhere in the world. It recorded over 300,000 cases daily since the past three days. There have been 16.6 million cases and 190,000 deaths so far. The dangerous second wave is being blamed on ‘double mutant’ of the virus spreading in India. The country was exporting vaccines but is now turning into an importer due to the gravity of the situation.
The situation began to worsen during the winters when the cases dropped to below 10,000 and the people believed the situation was under control. The government soon lifted restrictions and allowed holding large gatherings. Even during the crisis, the Hindu festival of Kumbh Mela was held which saw the movement of 40-60 million people without any safety measures. Many states continue holding election rallies and campaigns without realizing its devastating consequences. India is a densely-populated country where people live in close proximity but the laxity in enforcing precautions aggravated the situation.
This has a lesson for the world that the pandemic is still ongoing and could worsen. India is now the epicentre of the crisis, shifting from the US which has vaccinated a quarter of its population. Regional countries like Pakistan should heed warnings and observe precautions before we face similar situation. Adversity brings the best in us as Pakistanis have expressed their sympathies and prayers. Edhi’s gesture to send a humanitarian mission shows how we remained connected by humanity, though divided by borders. It still remains an uphill task before Indian and rest of the world can beat the pandemic.