Up until a couple of months ago, India was praised for being the world’s largest producer of Covid -19 vaccinations. Not only that, India seemed to have the pandemic under control. Unfortunately while Prime Minister Modi had been boasting about the successful handling of the virus in his country and the amazing vaccination production which ‘will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis’, he seemed unaware that India had racked up global statistics of a different kind. By late- April India had ranked first in the world with the highest number of new daily cases. Over 410,000 infections were recorded in a single day with a seven-day average of 391,008. They are only the ones we know about.
Has Modi lost the plot?
As the virus was reaching catastrophic levels, it was still business as usual in many parts of India. Festivals, religious gatherings in and out of the Ganges, weddings, political rallies for the upcoming elections. Nothing seemed to be off the table. Except a lockdown. Despite advice and pressure from the Supreme Court of India, members of the government and top infectious disease experts, Mr Modi has refused to mandate a lockdown. He announced he will generously consider it as ‘the last option’. I wonder when that will be. Doesn’t he like his own citizens?
Is Australia over the top?
In Australia we only need one or two cases to go into a full lockdown. We have never experienced infection rates of catastrophic proportions. However, it was looking likely that the state of Victoria was heading that way late last year. Fortunately, a very long lockdown and the mandatory wearing of masks contributed to reversing the trend. Australians could not even begin to imagine the catastrophic situation in India as we sit in our ivory towers listening to the statistics and watching the news footage. Thousands of people in India are dying from asphyxiation caused by this hideous virus. Without sufficient staff and medical equipment, people are being turned away from hospitals in droves. People are choking to death outside hospitals, in the streets, in their own homes. This is happening while we Australians are breathing easily and complaining about the pathetic vaccine rollout in this country.
How great is Australia??
Prime Minister Modi is no different to our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison. It must be in the job selection criteria. They both enjoy a good boast about how well things are going even if they clearly are not. In the Australian government, there has been a lot of boasting, not just by the PM but by your average politicians too. The boasting about how well Australia has dealt with COVID-19 compared to other countries is getting a bit tiresome I must admit. But it’s true. Australia has done well and I’m sure we’re all grateful for that.
In my view I think it’s only fair to point out that Australia is one of the largest countries but with one of the lowest population densities in the world. That’s got to make social distancing easier for starters than most other countries. And having less people surely facilitates the organisation of lockdowns. Let’s also take a closer look at the numbers. Australia is a country that is 135 percent larger than India. Australia has a population of 25 million whilst India’s population is just under 1.4 billion. It’s no wonder the hospital system is going under and thousands are dying every day. So the question remains. How much more can India take?
Part one of two – How much more can India take?
Image: Reuters BBC News – 2 May 2021