Engage celebrities - GulfToday

Engage celebrities


Picture used for illustrative purpose only.

COVID-19 cases are mounting in India at the rate of 90,000 to 100,000 daily. This is the highest number of daily new cases globally, in any country. With 5.6 million infections, India will exceed the US’s  6.9 million cases, in a few weeks. India will become the global COVID-19 hotspot. Vietnam, Pakistan and China have a lower death rate than India. So, it is important that India continues to test, trace and treat aggressively. It should be the Number One priority for the country.

Despite all the tutoring, many citizens do not wash hands regularly, do not wear masks and do not maintain social distancing. These are elementary preventive measures. Ignoring them, will prove to be very expensive and fatal. There are many instances in India, of entire families getting infected and then getting traumatised searching for hospitals, beds and ventilators. The disease has spread to the villages where about two-thirds of India’s 1.4 bn. people live, making the tracking and treatment of cases more difficult.

Hitherto, governments have relied on the police to enforce safety measures. It is time to deploy celebrities like movie stars, singers and famous writers to make appeals to the people to wash hands, wear masks and maintain distances. Top actors like Al Pacino, Robert de Niro, Sean Connery, Tom Cruise, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Meryl Streep, Scarlett Johansson, Kareena Kapoor, should make short films for about two minutes, educating people on fighting COVID-19. These films can then be shown across TV channels. We may then get some change in people’s behaviour. The entire effort should be pro bono, the actors should not charge any fees and the TV channels should not charge for airing these educative clips.

Perhaps, appeals from global celebrities may work, where police batons have not delivered the desired changes in people’s behaviour. The carrot may work, where the stick has failed. At stake is the survival of many families and perhaps, of the human race itself. So, we cannot fail.

Rajendra Aneja — Mumbai, India

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