Precautionary measures - GulfToday

Precautionary measures


People walk past a closed shop during lockdown in Leicester, Britain. File/Reuters

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is posing a severe threat to mankind again. It brings back memories of the draconian lockdown days, when all of us were immensely inconvenienced.

The Netherlands is going into strict lockdown from 19 December 2021, to 14 January 2022, to contain Omicron. London city reported 26,000 cases of infection on a single day on 17 December. The UK Government is under pressure to impose more restrictions during the Christmas holidays to control the virus. It is better to be prudent, rather than face illness during or after the festive holidays. In the UAE, Abu Dhabi has introduced scanning at the borders to prevent the spread of the disease. This is immensely sensible.

India should not be lulled into indifference to the new variant, just because the daily number of infections are on the lower side, at less than 10,000 cases per day. India is a large, crowded country. Enforcing wearing of masks and social distancing have proved difficult. Like many other developing countries, India too has faced serious issues in arranging ICU beds, oxygen, medicines, etc., when the virus attacked the population viciously in 2020-2021. Crowded countries like India should be preparing to fight Omicron right away.

India should also authorise the third booster shot for health workers and senior citizens. The CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII), has said that they may have to take a production cut of 50 per cent, due to weak demand from the Government of India. The SII has now boosted exports to African countries. So, if India has the vaccines, the third booster jab should be authorised at the earliest. The third booster shot can be made voluntary to begin with, so that those who wish to take should be free to do so.

Rajendra Aneja,
Mumbai, India

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