India is experiencing a deadly wave of coronavirus deaths, and hospitals are unable to meet the demand for treatment.
People, desperate for medical care, are struggling to pay for oxygen and medication, and most of them when they reach the hospital, are turned back because of lack of space.
India’s crematoriums and burial grounds are being overwhelmed by the devastating surge of infections. What is happening in that country is sad. One can only hope and pray that the country will get out of this danger, even though huge damage has already been done.
While the world sympathises with India and its people, world leaders elsewhere have made hard decisions to ensure that the Covid-19 variant that is ravaging India does not crossover to their countries. While some countries have banned flights between India and theirs, others have taken quite some hard stance, such as fining or jailing those who deliberately sneak out to India or out of India. Tough times require tough measures.
Regrettably, back home, it is business as usual as the country continues to let truckloads of Indians, disguised as expatriates, into the country with no due diligence. One would have thought that our leaders learnt big lessons during the second wave that hit Malawi hard.
We were in almost a similar situation to India. Our health facilities and workers were overwhelmed, there were inadequate medical supplies, and patients were left gasping for air, with no oxygen supplies in sight. Some patients sent SOS from their hospital beds. That was one of the most traumatic times we have faced as a country.
It is not even a year ago that this happened—it is just four months ago that every day we woke up to the news of deaths due to Covid-19. It is not long ago that Malawians took it upon themselves to source medical supplies to complement the meager medical supplies that government had. If there was ever a time that even doubting Thomases believed that Covid-19 is real, that was the time.
However, here we are again. While other countries have made hard decisions to ban travels between India and their countries, our government freely opens up its doors to travellers from India, knowing fully well what this means. The country is deliberately importing Covid-19, similar to what they did by allowing busloads of Malawians from South Africa into the country just when a new Covid-19 variant was detected in the Rainbow Nation. The number of Covid-19 cases has started rising again, thanks to the Salima Sugar Company expatriates. Our leaders love playing with fire, and they never learn.
As if the Salima Sugar Company case isn’t enough, the President has lined up a number of whistle-stop tours to address people. Are we serious? Does the President have the right advisers? Is this really the time for rallies? Surely, at such events, there will be very few people who will wear face masks or observe social distance. We are not yet out of the woods, and there is a need to tread carefully, lest we find ourselves in the situation we were in four months ago.
These political gatherings only serve to put Malawians in harm’s way. This can be avoided, though.
I would urge the President to ban any travel between India and Malawi, unless it is essential travel. We will rue this moment when, as a country, we could have made the right decisions to save Malawians from the deadly Covid-19 variant that is being experienced in India. And, also, cancel these whistle-stop tours.