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Opinion | As second wave of Covid pandemic looms, caution is the need of the hour

The number of daily Covid-19 cases in India rose to 14,059 on Friday, the highest in last 27 days. It crossed the 14,000 mark for the first time since January 23.

Rajat Sharma Rajat Sharma @RajatSharmaLive
New Delhi Updated on: February 21, 2021 22:40 IST
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Opinion | As second wave of Covid pandemic looms, Ramdev’s Coronil gains acceptance from WHO

The number of daily Covid-19 cases in India rose to 14,059 on Friday, the highest in last 27 days. It crossed the 14,000 mark for the first time since January 23. The hardest hit state is Maharashtra, which reported 6,112 cases on Friday. Already district collectors in Maharashtra have imposed 36-hour lockdown from Saturday night till Monday morning in Akola, Wardha and Amrawati,  to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Among the districts, Pune topped with 1,005 new cases, Amravati with 755, Nagpur with 752 and Mumbai with 823 new cases. Maharashtra had recorded 5,427 new cases on Thursday and 4,787 on Wednesday.

 
There has been a spike in the number of new cases in Kerala (4,505), Punjab and Madhya Pradesh. On Friday, the Maharashtra health department claimed that no foreign variant of Coronavirus has so far been found in the new Covid hotspots in Amravati and Yavatmal districts. Four ministers in Maharashtra have been reported Covid positive. They include Health Minister Rajesh Tope, Jayant Patil, Rajendra Shingne and Bacchu Kadu. State Congress chief Nana Patole is in home quarantine after one of his house staff was found positive.
 
Negligence by common people and complacency among authorities have led to the second wave of this pandemic. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has deployed marshals on roads who fine Rs 200 from people moving around without masks. On Friday, a video showing a man in Juhu Chowpatty bashing up a marshal for questioning him about mask, was viral. Partial lockdown has been imposed in Yavatmal where schools, colleges, offices, places of worship and markets will remain closed after 9 pm till  early morning. Fines ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 750 and Rs 1000 are being imposed for first, second and third offence for moving without masks.
 
The world has praised India for controlling the pandemic with remarkable precision, by timely imposing lockdown and Covid restrictions. Till Friday, India has vaccinated more than 1 crore people in 34 days, second fastest after the USA. Already, plans are afoot to give vaccinations to 40 to 50,000 people daily, up from  the current daily average of roughly 10,000. Till now, 62.3 lakh health workers have been given the first dose, and 7.6 lakh have taken the second dose.
 
These are positive signals, but there must be no complacency in enforcing social distancing. In a village in Karimnagar district of Telangana, 33 people who take part in the funeral of a cancer patient, were later found Covid positive. Local authorities have now started testing all the 1,600 people living the village for Covid virus.
 
One significant and positive news is that Coronil, a mix of Ayurvedic medications to prevent Coronavirus infection, manufactured by Swami Ramdev’s Patanjali group, has received AYUSH certification from the government of India. Coronil tablets were launched by Patanjali Research Institute in June last year. It has now received certification from AYUSH ministry, as a drug that can be “used as supporting measure in Covid-19” and as immune-booster. “Coronil has received the Certificate of Pharmaceutical Product (CoPP) from the Ayush section of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization”, a statement from Patanjali said. This announcement was made at a press meet attended by Swami Ramdev, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday.
 
Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that Rs 30,000 crore industry for Ayurvedic products, which used to grow at 15-20 per cent annually, is now growing at 50 to 90 per cent after Covid. Australia, New Zealand, Cuba, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and China have accepted Ayurvedic medicinal products, he said.
 
I have this to say about Swami Ramdev. As a yoga guru, he has spread yoga to every nook and corner of India in a very simple manner. He never opposed use of allopathic system of medicine. On the contrary, he used Allopathic system for correct diagnosis of diseases. He never discouraged patients from undergoing surgeries. Allopathic doctors gave recognition to Ayurvedic products, but pharma companies, who dominate the world trade in medicines, never liked the importance being given to Ayurveda. Swami Ramdev made Ayurveda therapies research-based and made them acceptable to the world.  Swami Ramdev and his researchers have done a tremendous job and they deserve laurels.

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