Sunday, 2 May 2021

COVID-19 Pandemic India 2021: an object lesson for unfocussed or complacent world leaders such as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison


Makeshift funeral pyres in a public park in Delhi
IMAGE: Yahoo!News, 29 April 2021

This was Indian Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi speaking at the Virtual World Economic Forum on 28 January 2021: 

Friends, I have brought the message of confidence, positivity and hope from 1.3 billion Indians amidst these times of apprehension. There were no less difficulties before India when Corona happened. I remember what many reputed experts and top institutions in the world said in February-March-April last year. It was predicted that India would be the most affected country from corona all over the world. It was said that there would be a tsunami of corona infections in India, somebody said 700-800 million Indians would get infected while others said 2 million Indians would die. 

The world's concern for a developing country like India was also natural given the state of affairs in the world’s greatest countries with modern health infrastructure. You can imagine our frame of mind. But India did not allow itself to be demoralized. Rather India moved ahead with a proactive approach with public participation...... 

 Friends, It would not be advisable to judge India's success with that of another country. In a country which is home to 18 percent of the world population, that country has saved humanity from a big disaster by containing corona effectively. 

In the initial period of Corona, we were importing masks, PPE kits and test kits. Today, we are not only taking care of our domestic needs, but also serving the citizens of other countries by exporting these items. And today it is India which has also launched the world's largest corona vaccination program. 

 In the first phase, we are vaccinating our 30 million health and frontline workers. You can imagine the speed with which India is vaccinating its people. In just 12 days, India has vaccinated more than 2.3 million health workers. In the next few months, we will meet the vaccination target of about 300 million elderly and co-morbidity patients..... 

At the point in time that Modi made that speech India's cumulative total number of COVID-19 cases was est. 10,720,048 nationally, with 18,855 new cases recorded on the day

At 6:20pm on 29 April 2021 the Indian COVID-19 cumulative case total had reached 18,376,421 persons nationally, of which at least 204,832 had died and on that day 379,259 new infections were recorded. 

By 1 May the COVID-19 death toll has reached at least 208,330 in India.

Mainstream media is reporting that the Indian health system has broken down, its COVID-19 statistics are no longer reliable, the vaccination rate has fallen, people are dying in hospital corridors, on roads and in their homes and, there are so many dead that bodies are now being cremated on city streets and in public parks. 

To an outsider looking in, it appears both the Indian national and state governments took their eyes off the predicted risk of another COVID-19 infection wave. 

Since January Indian politicians appear to have focussed instead on multiple elections scheduled for March through to April 2021, and on the political party campaigning involved. 

Indian citizens on Twitter have accused Modi of being more interested in holding large political rallies and of letting pandemic health infrastructure slide. He has insisted that Twitter remove from view in India all posts critical of his government and the party he leads

There is an eerie similarity between the political situation in India and the lack of sustained focus on the national COVID-19 vaccination program shown by the Morrison Government since the beginning of what is mooted to be a federal election year here in Australia. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison's personal style of governing - being in continuous election campaign mode since August 2018 - is so similar to Narendra Modi's style of governing as to raise concerns. If Morrison continues to campaign rather than govern as the global pandemic escalates he risks further spread of the highly infectious COVID-19 variants - all three of which have already entered an Australia which has only est. 2 per cent of the population partially vaccinated courtesy of his government's mismanagement.

Morrison's failure to take federal responsibility for human quarantine during a global pandemic, his refusal to create dedicated Commonwealth quarantine stations and provide air transport to repatriate Australian citizens to such stations, has (over the 16 months since the pandemic first reached our shores) left more than 36,000 Australians still stranded overseas with around 4,860 considered to be vulnerable as coronavirus travel restrictions continue.

Because Morrison has never made safe and permanent provision for national quarantine, this week he refused to allow 9,000 Australians stranded in India to return home and criminalised any attempt by them to re-enter the country. This clearly demonstrates a cold ruthlessness in his ongoing determination to force the states and territories to bear the major burden, responsibility and blame with regard to the progress of the pandemic within Australian borders - while he continues with his highly stage-managed election mode campaigning. 


As of 2:20am on 1 May 2021 John Hopkins University had recorded 3,169,492 deaths from COVID-19 infection world wide. While the last weekly update from the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 27 April stated that globally COVID-19 cases had increase for the 9th consecutive week and deaths for the 6th consecutive week. WHO also reported that highly infectious variants of the virus continue to spread and, as of 27 April 139 countries have reported the infectious UK variant of the virus, 87 countries the infectious South African variant and 54 countries the infectious Brazil & Japan variant. WHO reports that all these variants were confirmed as entering Australia.

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