On Monday, 532 flights after over two months soared high on the Indian skies, leaving an unmistakable proof that no challenge can overwhelm the Indian resolve to prevail over any adversity. Airports and passengers demonstrated that India is well prepared to contain the deadly Covid-19, as they minimized the scope for the virus to find hosts to multiply.
A five year old boy, wearing a mask, flew alone from New Delhi to Bengaluru, illustrating people’s confidence that life can soon return to normalcy. In the course of over two months of the lockdown, India has arguably sensitized citizens and agencies on ways to deny the scope of transmission to the virus. That the passengers complied with social distancing norms at the airports and took benefits of the ‘Aarogya Setu’ Application would truly further ease operations of flights.
The air transport mode indeed followed the government allowing special trains to operate to connect scores of destinations. Lakhs of people availed the services of the railways to reach their destinations. From June 1, 200 trains will commence their operations in another affirmation that life in India will no more be on standstill. Movement of the people is undeniably the sign of normalcy returning to the country.
That the Covid-19 challenge still looms over India is, however, a reality. The number of positive cases has touched 1,51,767. That 64,426 patients have recovered from the virus is equally reassuring. But the loss of precious 4337 lives, including the frontline warriors, is sadly a reminder of the fierce battle that India is waging against the virus. Yet, it’s truly comforting that India has reported only about three per cent fatality rate. Also, majority of positive cases aren’t requiring intensive care facilities is also comforting. Almost half of railway assets reserved for isolation wards for the Covid-19 patients would within a few day be taken back for passenger train services is another testimony to the fact that quantum of critical patients is much less.
In fact, India wisely utilized the lockdown period to ramp up the health infrastructure, besides manufacturing testing kits and protective gears, including masks, PPEs and ventilators. Indian technical institutions rose to the occasion to design and produce affordable ventilators, considered critical in the Covid-19 treatment since the virus is dreaded to suck oxygen from the lungs. The availability of dedicated hospital beds and isolation wards in all the states saw manifold jump during the lockdown period. Alongside, research institutions continue to march ahead with their topmost challenge to develop a vaccine against Covid-19. The Serum Institute in the country is said to have developed a vaccine, which currently is being tested in Pune. Parallel researches are also underway within the country and also with international collaboration.
The over two month old lockdown indeed shut down the economic activities, leaving trails of hardship. India was no exception; since world over, the lockdown has been resorted to as the principal measure to break the chain of the virus transmission. Economic contraction is an unmistakable consequence of it is truly known by all. Yet, the Indian government has shown the resolve to turn this challenge into an opportunity at the same time. Packing reforms to attract investments, the government rolled out Rs. 20 lakh crore economic relief packages, which touch all sectors to stimulate them. The poor did sadly bear the brunt of the economic contraction the most. The government has rightly accorded top priority to the poor in providing relief measures. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi giving clarion call to the people to go vocal about local products, the government is seeking to extend helping hands to the sectors, which employ a large number of people, while also making the country self-reliant.
With states opening up large parts for normalcy, India will surely triumph over the Covid-19, pandemic while also protecting the economy.
Script: Manish Anand, Sr Spl Correspondent, The New Indian Express