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Travelling during COVID-19

My confirmed air tickets felt quite surreal. I had to pinch myself that I'm going to see my family after one and half years. My excitement was cut short. The COVID-19 cases in India began skyrocketing. UAE acted quickly by suspending flights from India to the UAE. It wasn't long before the airline sent me an email with the subject "Your flight cancelled". However, I had already made up my mind to bin my travel plans before the email came through. My home country is battling the deadly second wave three hours away while I'm safely spectating from my safe haven. The feeling of helplessness and anxiety grows day by day. My brother is in one city, and my mom in another. All displaced. I'd completed my vaccine dosage in January 2021, the very initial stage. I'm thankful to the UAE for making that happen with such ease. The new year 2021 looked promising. I thought the worst was behind; A fresh start! And guess I was wrong. I got off a distress call with my best friend who lives in Goa, India; who spent long hours, if not days, driving with his ailing mother in the passenger's side, trying to find an oxygenated bed so she could breathe with ease. It's as if there are two battles to be fought. My fear for COVID-19 is par with my fear concerning the reliability of the health care system in my home country. Has the second wave found an accomplice with the health care system? Well, COVID-19 is real, and so is the inadequate health care system. Just not seeing my family had taken such a drastic toll on me, but it's a minor inconvenience compared to the plight of others' battling eye to eye with the deadly virus. No longer do I long to see my family as much as I long for their safety. We will meet when the time is right. Till then, I'll urge them to stay home and stay safe.

From Ms Jessica Mendes


Strict action against COVID -19 profiteers

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a massive toll on the life and health of the people. The healthcare system in the country has not collapsed, but it is high time for the authority to realise what went wrong with the administration. Medical professionals are doing their best against all odds to serve humanity. People are not finding beds in hospitals, fewer ambulance, medicines like Remdesivir are sold in the black market, oxygen cylinders are difficult to get unless we pay several times more than the regular price. People want to make huge profits during this tough time, and I don't understand the purpose of all this. When people are grieving due to the loss of their dear ones, profiteering during this period has gone high. The need of the hour is the Indian government should not be a mute spectator to this tragedy and take strict action against these profiteers.

From Mr Ramesh G Jethwani

Bangalore, India

India’s pace of COVID-19 infection slows

It is heartening to know that India's national-level COVID-19 cases have shown a declining trend during the past week. At the same time, it is painful to see an increasing trend in the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal and Kerala. Probably we are reaping the fruits of seeds sown by our political leaders before the elections in Tamil Nadu, Bengal and Kerala. If only the leaders, who now preach to follow the COVID-19 norms, followed the same during their meetings, such an increase in cases could have been avoided. Anyway, better late than never, as good sense has prevailed upon our leaders to follow the norms. Since oxygen and vaccination are the most needed to cure the victims, the government should ensure availability. The party leaders should not focus on political mileage and concentrate on bringing the cases down in the country.

From Mr N Mahadevan

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