‘PM Suffers From Overconfidence’: Global Media on India’s 2nd Wave

The international media is not holding back from calling out the lack of leadership in India amid the second wave.

4 min read
COVID-19 victims being cremated at Bhairav Ghat Hindu Crematory, as coronavirus cases surge in record numbers across the country, in Kanpur, Thursday, 22 April 2021.

The world is watching as India’s healthcare sector chokes under the second COVID wave in the country, with top hospitals in the capital losing critical patients to an acute oxygen shortage.

SOS calls are pouring in from Delhi’s hospitals daily, as 20 lives were lost in Jaipur Golden Hospital’s critical care unit, on 24 April.

'Nightmare on Repeat'

BBC, in a piece titled ‘A nightmare on repeat – India is running out of oxygen again’, pointed to the government’s lack of planning that has now led authorities to scramble for new supply points.

“Doctors and virologists who spoke to the BBC said the oxygen shortfall was more a symptom than a cause of the crisis – effective safety protocols and strong public messaging could have kept more people at home, and the virus at bay. But a sharp drop in cases by January lulled the country into a false sense of safety, they said, creating the conditions for a terrible second wave,” the report said.
‘PM Suffers From Overconfidence’: Global Media on India’s 2nd Wave

‘Unfolding Disaster’

Another video reporting by the BBC showed a harrowing glimpse inside a COVID ward calling it an “unfolding disaster”.

A news segment on India’s second wave that aired on BBC pointed to a serious lack of government regulations, as officials blamed citizens for not adhering to COVID guidelines.

Unlike the country’s mainstream media, which has failed to question the state over its lack of leadership in these dire circumstances, the international media is not holding back from calling out the Indian government’s decision making that allowed large gatherings in election rallies and Kumbh Mela even as the country was grappling with the second wave.

'PM Continued to Hold Rallies'

‘PM Suffers From Overconfidence’: Global Media on India’s 2nd Wave

“Even as cases have climbed, Mr Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party and other parties have continued to hold mass rallies with thousands of people unmasked. The government has also allowed an enormous Hindu festival to draw millions of pilgrims despite signs that it has accelerated the spread of the virus,” a report on The New York Times read.

‘Descended Into Tragedy’

Alarmingly, the second wave is touching new records everyday with a large number of mounting cases, which indicates a high positivity rate.

As even crematoriums are now running out of space, a scathing piece in The Guardian read, “The country has descended into a tragedy of unprecedented proportions.”

‘PM Suffers From Overconfidence’: Global Media on India’s 2nd Wave

It pointed out how the government refused to curtail gatherings even in the middle of rising cases.

“While the unprecedented spread of the virus has been partly blamed on a more contagious variant that has emerged in India, Modi’s government has also been accused of failures of political leadership from the top, with lax attitudes emulated by state and local leaders from all parties and even health officials across the country, which led many to falsely believe in recent months that India had defeated COVID.”
The Guardian

'PM Suffers From Overconfidence'

In a critical editorial piece which listed the mistakes made by PM Modi’s government amid this crisis, The Guardian wrote, “The Indian prime minister suffers from overconfidence in his own instincts and pooh-poohs expert advice. His ministers turned on a former Congress prime minister for daring to offer them counsel just before he was admitted to hospital with COVID this week.”

‘PM Suffers From Overconfidence’: Global Media on India’s 2nd Wave
“Mr Modi has put the onus on state governments to clear up his mess. The buck stops with him. He should acknowledge and make amends for mistakes that have caused enormous suffering. He needs to engage with experts on how to uphold restrictions; ensure government delivery matches promises; and drop the sectarian ideology that divides when unity is required. Future historians will judge Mr Modi harshly if he continues with the exceptionalist views that have led to a disastrous public health outcome.”

Beyond oxygen supply and hospital beds, India is also short of vaccines even as the government announced vaccination for all above 18 years of age post 1 May. Currently, less than 10 percent of the population has received the first dose.

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