Why AP needs to wake up to COVID reality before it is too late

The Andhra Pradesh government has ruled out a lockdown as it gears up to face the second wave of the Covid pandemic that is spreading fast in the state. The current situation doesn’t call for a lockdown but it surely demands extreme caution — something that has been thrown to the winds by politicians and the public alike. 
Whether it was during the campaign for the recently concluded Tirupati Lok Sabha bypoll or the Ugadi celebrations in Kurnool district or for that matter the local elections last month, it looks like people believe they are COVID-proof and are still roaming without masks. No wonder the positivity rate is rapidly increasing by the day. 
Currently, it stands at 6.08% with the state recording 6,096 cases, its highest one-day spike in six months and has crossed the 7,000-mark on Sunday. The number of active cases is at a manageable 35,592 as is the mortality rate of 0.78%. However, the state, which was aggressive in testing, tracing and treating last year, needs to ramp up the same now.
The vaccination drive, on the other hand, was conducted admirably by administering 6.2 lakh doses on a single day, but the problem is the state has run out of stocks while even frontline workers are yet to be completely covered. The onus is on the Centre to supply states with adequate stocks at this critical hour. 
Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy needs to galvanise the state apparatus to contain the virus spread for which steps must be taken to not only put in place the requisite infrastructure to deal with a further surge in cases but also ensure strict enforcement of Covid norms. But, what is appealing about the current government is its lackadaisical approach to the pandemic and its focus only on the Byelection results. This has been a serious cause of concern for the state’s citizens.
What is also inexplicable is the government’s intention to go ahead with Intermediate examinations as per schedule. Class 10 exams are almost a couple of months away but the Inter exams are scheduled to begin in the first week of May. It makes sense to defer if not cancel the exams and follow in the footsteps of neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
Looks like the state itself wants to tread a destructive path while its current government seems to be in its own election trance for sometime. Going by the current situation, it looks like Andhra Pradesh not only needs a financial bail out but its healthcare infrastructure is also very likely to collapse, calling for an urgent action.

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