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We Cannot Afford Irresponsible Behaviour From Our Officers

Pallavi Jain dodges test

In a span of few days, Principal Health Secretary Pallavi Jain Govil has gone from being a corona warrior to someone who may have compromised health of many officers working on the frontline of coronavirus outbreak. According to the state’s Human Rights Commission in Madhya Pradesh, the IAS officer continued to work and conduct meetings despite showing symptoms of COVID-19. Her hospitalisation was not only delayed but Jain allegedly also dodged getting tested. This is the state of the educated well-aware section of the society in India, which is trusted with the responsibility to contain this pandemic. How badly is the frontline against coronavirus in the state of Madhya Pradesh fractured? How can you dodge tests? Is there no protocol to override VIP culture in our country which lets higher officers get away with doing as they please?

SOME TAKEAWAYS:

  • IAS officer Pallavi Jain Govil allegedly “dodged taking COVID-19 tests despite having symptoms.
  • What could be the reason for such behaviour among the educated class, that is responsible to aid work at the frontline?
  • Don’t such officers know that such a behaviour can weaken our frontier against coronavirus from within?
  • In this situation, heroes aren’t those who continue to work despite being infected, but those who self-isolate and notify authorities.

How badly is the frontline against coronavirus in the state of Madhya Pradesh fractured? How can one even manage to get away with dodging tests?

These past few days, two separate incidences have been in the news, that have spiked the fear of rapid spread of coronavirus in India. One is that of the mass migration of immigrants from cities back to their villages, and second is of the infamous Tablighi Jamat. Then there were covidiots who took out rallies to celebrate the “defeat” of coronavirus after observing one day of junta curfew. We read about these people, we shook our heads in unison. We blamed ignorance, stupidity and desperation (not in this order) when they threw social distancing to the wind.

Also Read: IAS Officer Pallavi Jain Govil accused of Dodging COVID-19 Checks

But this is crème-de-la crème of Indian bureaucracy. These are the most intelligent lot of the country, who cracked civil services exams to be where they are today. Where does the blame lie when officers in charge, who very well know the severity of the situation, hide travel history and symptoms? This isn’t ignorance. Can it be entitlement then? Or misplaced heroism? A result of the romanisation of being a wounded soldier at the frontline who will fight till their last breath?

The biggest heroes, apart from frontline health care workers, in the battle are those who self-isolate once they identify COVID-19 symptoms in themselves.

Alas, even if it is a noble intent that is motivating officers to hide their symptoms, they need to understand, this is not your regular war. Pandemics are  merciless. Diseases like coronavirus are blind to sentiments, logic, bravery, intent, etc. You do not follow the rules, you not only risk your own life, but that of many others around you as well. The biggest heroes, apart from frontline health care workers, in the battle are those who self-isolate once they identify COVID-19 symptoms in themselves. Who realise how infections coronavirus is and how there is simply no margin to cut corners. You have to self-isolate. You have to let authorities know. You have stop working and stepping out of your house. No matter who you are.

Also Read: COVID-19 Positive? Ten Steps To Manage The Infection At Home

The test reports of a lot of officers and people who were working are apparently still due. Perhaps we will know the extent of the damage caused and how compromised the coronavirus frontline is from within, only when this crisis is fully over and if ever there is a thorough analysis of the situation.  But as cases continue to spike across the country, one can only request everyone, irrespective of their status or position, to not take the situation lightly or to try and be a hero. The stakes are too high and the cost won’t just be born by you, but many others. No one is immune to coronavirus, which in a way also means that we are all accountable for each other’s safety.

Picture Credit: https://legendofficers.com/

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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