Why is political class silent on the grim Covid scenario?

| JANUARY 11, 2022, 10:53 PM IST

The health bulletin of Tuesday reported four Covid-related deaths, a count of 2476 new infections, 24 new patients hospitalised and a total of 12,019 active cases, taking the positivity rate to a whopping 30.36 per cent. Against this grim situation, picture this: Normal life in full flow, no restrictions enforced, markets and public places remain crowded and campaigning continuing at full steam.

Ever since the restrictions were announced last week, the political class has gone about flagrantly disregarding the rules, and ignoring basic protocols of face masks and social distancing. Nobody talks about the virus anymore.

Ironically, a couple of days back expert committee member Dr Shekar Salkar suggested the government should consider hospitalisation and not positivity rate while imposing restrictions, contrary to the graded action plan which was unveiled earlier. The question here is why should the government take chances with the lives of people.

Now picture this. On Tuesday, all political parties held meetings and carried out group photo ops in complete violation of protocol. Sadly, the long hands of enforcement and the State Election Commission fail to reach here. The Election Commission machinery was seen in full swing 'blacking-out' hoardings of political parties across the State. Also, there has been a vigilance on the timings of business establishments, especially liquor outlets. But political gatherings have been conveniently overlooked. Why? Is it because the flying squad only acts on complaints registered with them? If we may recall, the returning officer for Bardez Gurudas Desai has come on record stating that action can be taken against offenders only when a complaint is lodged with them.

And where are the political leaders who were crying hoarse about Covid mismanagement and the failure of the government in handling the situation during the first two phases? What happened to the leaders who took the initiative of imposing village-wise restrictions, where have they disappeared? We have seen three political leaders testing Covid positive so far -- Luizinho Faleiro, Girish Chodankar and Manohar Ajgaonkar. Is the political clan silent because they are part and parcel of those violating the rules? Why is a 30 per cent positivity rate not a matter of concern for any of the political leaders?

The Covid scenario across the world is getting scary by the day. On Tuesday, the US reported 1.13 million new cases, the highest single-day rise by any country in the world. France had the highest hospitalisations since April 2021 with figures of those admitted rising from 767 to an unprecedented 22,747. Hospitals in both these countries, and also the UK, are overwhelmed and governments are forced to rope in private health companies to provide crucial treatments.

The Assembly elections are a month away, and at the current rate, it appears that Goans will have to endure a lot of pain and hardships given the background that politics has become a priority subject in the State. By treating the fresh outbreak as 'mild' much against the WHO advisory, a devious attempt is being made to dispel fears and keep the campaign going.

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