OM(G)icron….no not again

In Goa, only last week were the schools re-opened after a break of almost 20 months. The businesses were just getting back as domestic tourists had begun flocking the State again.
The international charter season was about to begin. The taxi owners, the motorcycle pilots, the auto-rickshaws, the shopkeepers were finally happy that the Acche Din were back again.
But here we are again; the peak tourist season is just ahead of us, and so is the Omicron scare.
The hotel bookings are almost full for the Christmas week and New year; flights and buses are practically booked to Goa.
SURAJ NANDREKAR
Editor, Goemkarponn

 

Just when the State of Goa and the country, battered by the first and second wave of COVID19, was limping back on its feet yet again, here we are back to square again.
The deadly variant of COVID19, the Omicron – also known as the South African variant, has sent shivers down the spine of every human being.
In Goa, only last week were the schools re-opened after a break of almost 20 months. The businesses were just getting back as domestic tourists had begun flocking the State again.
The international charter season was about to begin. The taxi owners, the motorcycle pilots, the auto-rickshaws, the shopkeepers were finally happy that the Acche Din were back again.
But here we are again; the peak tourist season is just ahead of us, and so is the Omicron scare.
The hotel bookings are almost full for the Christmas week and New year; flights and buses are practically booked to Goa.
One question that is everyone’s mind today is, are we staring at yet another lockdown?
Though it is too early for anyone to anticipate such a knee-jerk reaction from the government, the possibility cannot be ruled out if Omicron cases are found and increase.
After a long gap, Monday brought another shocking news of seven inmates of Apna Ghar testing positive for COVID19. This has been the first such case after a long gap of almost three months.
This is teh time teh authorities need to take strict action and put things in place and not repeat the mistakes committed during the second wave.
Imagine what could be going at the minds of the students at the crossroads of their career selection (10th and 12th std).
Though the economy and people’s livelihood have been hit during COVID19, the students, we believe, have been the worst hit. They have lost their two precious years of schooling and education, and today, they do not know what is storing them in future.
Barring a handful, no students who want to achieve a good future would want exam cancellation again this year.
Though it is early days for Omicron, one has to see how the whole thing shapes up.
Will this lead to the third wave in India and Goa?
While we have successfully controlled the third wave in Goa, after the Black May, wherein 1700 lives were lost, we need to be vigilant yet again.
If we want our businesses and schools to continue the way it is now, we all need to contribute by following the COVID-appropriate norms. The authorities also need to keep a strict vigil on the tourist who is.
We cannot let the guard down.
While the government will continue its infrastructure preparation once again, We The People, who are more experienced with two COVID19 waves, need to stand up and tackle any other wave by acting responsibly.
While the tourists will continue to pour in, we, the locals, need to consider avoiding unnecessarily moving out and, if necessary, moving out wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and using sanitisers.
Another impediment is the Assembly polls in 2022, which could be a super-spreader with several leaders scheduled to visit Goa for campaigning.
Here, the Election Commission must learn what happened after the West Bengal polls and step in and ask political parties and candidates to keep rallies and meetings low key.
However, as voters and parents and responsible citizens, the onus lies on us whether we choose to go out in the crowd for political campaigning or secure the future of Goa and our children from COVID19.
According to CM Dr Pramod Sawant, we may be approaching 100 p.c vaccination, but there is no evidence that it will protect us from the deadly Omicron.
So Stay Home, Stay Safe…

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