EDITORIAL | Of festivals and rising COVID cases in India
FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK:
A festival is a period of celebration, typically for religious reasons and is important as it usually centres on some characteristic aspect of a community, its religion or culture.
But in a country like India, people still fail to realise the dangers of mass gatherings even with the rising COVID-19 cases.
For example, around 6,50,000 devout Hindus gathered to bathe in the Ganges on the third day of the week-long Kumbh Mela on Wednesday, April 14.
Last year, the Jamaat was singled out for being a superspreader event, but even though the situation is far from ideal now, the government came up with COVID-19 protocols to contain the virus.
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But are these protocols foolproof?
We need to remind ourselves that social gatherings and political rallies are very much a contributive factor towards the rise of some cases in India today.
We have seen it with our own eyes. Not everyone who attends a festival or gathering adheres to COVID-19 guidelines.
In most cases, social distancing goes out the window as all sense of preservation is lost either in a spiritual ecstasy or just pure stubbornness.
In the northeastern state of Assam, Bihu (one of the most important Assamese festivals) was put on hold last year to contain the virus.
But now, festivals, religious gatherings and political campaigns are going on in full swing.
What we need to do right now is limit ourselves from going out unnecessarily or coming in contact with people. But the exact opposite is happening.
What is needed in a country like ours is robust and intelligent leadership as we still have a long way to go.
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How long can COVID-19 protocols and SOPs keep us safe?
It has to start at the grass-root level by spreading awareness about the dangers of going out unnecessarily.