Karnataka Health Minister recently raised a storm when he said “Only God can save us.” Of course, no one bothered with the other part of his statement where he said “Awareness among the people is the only way.” Probably what he meant was, how can a Government protect its people if the people don’t want to protect themselves?
True, the Health Minister cannot hide behind “God” to save people. As a Health Minister during a health crisis he must make sure the State’s health infrastructure is ready to serve the people, but shouldn’t people too co-operate for the system to deliver?
During this Covid-19 crisis, many members of the public have been an impediment to efficient delivery of health care services. In spite of repeated warning about the infectivity and dangers of Coronavirus, numerous people can be seen walking around without masks and not maintaining social distance.
Worse, they have made life difficult for the frontline workers. Members of the public have chased and stoned doctors and nurses who have tried to help them. They have boycotted and even thrown out doctors and nurses from their homes for treating Covid patients. How long can the frontline workers risk their lives to save ours when we don’t respect theirs? Why should they care for our lives if we don’t care for our own?
How many times can the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Mysuru and Police Commissioner request the public to help the system work efficiently by the simple act of wearing a mask?
The Police have even gone beyond their call of duty and turned themselves into comical characters, wearing Coronavirus costumes and making scary sounds to educate and instil fear of the Coronavirus among the public. How much more should they stoop to convince the public to protect themselves?
We have a culture where we have complete disregard for our own safety and others’ too — from getting up before a flight comes to a complete halt to not wearing a seat belt; from driving up a one-way street to riding a bullock cart down the wrong side of a highway; from not wearing helmets, to protect one’s own head, to now not wearing a mask to protect oneself and their family from Coronavirus! We just don’t care.
Even a simple act of keeping one’s own head safe is a hard sell for our people. Most helmets are never on the head of a rider. Instead, it’s half-way above their forehead or dangling off their arms like it were a handbag — meant only to protect one from a fine, rather than a head injury! Now mask is the new helmet. It’s tucked below our chins or it is left dangling off one ear only to be pulled up if a cop is around.
Not wearing a helmet or seatbelt may be a danger to the rider, but not wearing a mask and not maintaining social distance endangers others’ lives. These ‘mask-less’ people are a threat to the health of the society, which means Indian Penal Code 336 can be applied. This code about “endangering life or personal safety of others” states that “Whoever acts negligently as to endanger human life or the personal safety of others, shall be punished with imprisonment of three months.” But then does Police have the bandwidth to implement this? Absolutely not. So, it is imperative that the public co-operates, especially now as the cases in Mysuru are spiking.
Just this morning it has been reported that hundreds of COVID positive patients in the State have given wrong contact addresses and numbers to escape tracing! In Mysuru too, the DC has said that they do not know the whereabouts of nearly 30 patients!
One person was even audacious enough to give the DC’s phone number as his contact and the Control Room ended up calling the DC himself, warning him that he was breaking quarantine rules!
To stop this, now IDs are mandatory for swab test, making it harder for frontline workers.
It is ironic that the Government has to hunt down citizens to protect them!
When we are headless enough not to keep our own heads safe by wearing a helmet; When we don’t have the basic common sense to wear a mask and maintain social distance when a pandemic is snuffing out lives, all one can say is that, either we have a Death Wish or a Superman Complex. Or, like everything else, we just leave it to Destiny and God.
And that is why our Health Minister said, “Only God can save us.” In the end, why would our Government CARE for our lives if we don’t? And let’s not forget the old adage — “God helps those who help themselves” — God can give you a mask, if you don’t wear it, what can God do?
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