Rulers, stop being frivolous, pandemic is here

Rulers, stop being frivolous, pandemic is here

When there is a national crisis or emergency situation, leaders in other countries tend to bury their hatchet and stand united in fighting it.

When there is a national crisis or emergency situation, leaders in other countries tend to bury their hatchet and stand united in fighting it. But in India, under the guise of democracy, our leaders keep mocking at each other and in the process blink at the real issues that would arise out the emergency situation.

The fact is that coronavirus has been declared a pandemic. While hundreds died in China, deaths have been reported from Italy and other countries. Even in India, the situation is causing concern.

Whether any leader including those in power and out of power agree or not, this virus cannot be taken lightly. The Director General of World Health Organisation Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there was a possibility of multiplier spread. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that up to 70% of the country's population - some 58 million people - could contract coronavirus.

Local and mayoral elections in England have been postponed for a year to May 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak. Downing Street said it would be impractical to hold the elections as planned, as they would come during the peak of the spread of the virus.

Polls were due in 118 English councils, the London Assembly and for seven English regional mayors. While this is the kind of seriousness that is being exhibited by various major countries, our leaders here are making a mockery of it saying that there was no threat in India since the virus will not survive in temperatures above 27 degrees or that it can be cured by paracetamol.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao who made such comments a few days ago, after realising the seriousness of it, retracted from it by blaming the scientists saying that it was they who gave him such information.

On Sunday, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy also took similar line and said it can be cured by paracetamol and it mostly affects those above 60 or those suffering from kidney ailments or asthma etc.

It is unfortunate that these leaders fail to look beyond politics. Many States have announced shutdown of educational institutes, theatres, museums, gyms, resorts, marriage halls etc and they talk about the impact of this on State revenue.

No doubt shutdown as preventive measure is understandable but none of them has focussed attention on the impact of shutdown on the employees who are working directly or indirectly in these sectors.

A shutdown even of 15 days could spell doom for them. But no one has any plan or proposal on how to come to their rescue and see that they are at least not deprived of their two meals. Reports indicate that Chinese in informal work are struggling to make ends meet as coronavirus empties streets and shuts down businesses.

The government should ensure low-income groups and jobless people enjoy a stable level of livelihood without being impacted by the outbreak. It is also the government's responsibility to prepare for the possible social instability as a result of the economic hardships.

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