One nation, two planets

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The morale of the nation is at its lowest for years. People falling sick, some folk dying and their relatives and close ones are going through grief and the saddest moments of their lives. The rest of us are living in fear. Not only the fear of becoming a statistic in the tragedy of an increasing number of people succumbing to Covid-19 but also fear of the agony we and our families might go through during sad hospitalisations where chaos, amateurism and alleged negligence reign supreme.

Our colleagues from l’express took the risk of visiting Covid-infested hospitals to reveal a very sad reality. That of people agonising inside our Covid wards fighting for their lives, many of whom are hungry while the food brought by their relatives, who are waiting in distress in the hospital yards, is rotting outside with no means of reaching their empty stomachs. Lack of information and absence of communication have turned a tragic situation into a living disaster.

We have also heard the poignant testimony of our colleague Jean-François Leckning, who describes the ENT as the “Mauritian Chernobyl”, where patients’ relatives are told everything is well until they receive a cold phone call in the middle of the night announcing that "Ou fami finn mort; bizin vinn rod lekor". (Your relative has passed. Come and pick up the body)

As sadness mingles with helplessness, grief, a deep sense of loss and anger, the authorities seem to live in a bubble of their own. When they wake up, it is with a delay that can’t be justified in these times of crisis.  

It is never easy to deal with a pandemic anywhere in the world. We should all agree on that. We should also concede that trial and error characterised the policy of governments at the beginning of the pandemic. So I am prepared to cut ours some slack in trying and failing. However, we are now dealing with the third and fourth waves. So, there are two things the authorities here have to carry the can for:

1. First, their intellectual laziness and lack of diligence, combined with an arrogant deafness to well-informed, respected professionals, who have been offering information and advice. This deafness in particular has really cut them off reality.

As far back as Aug 4, serious studies had already concluded that “There is no significant difference in fatality rate and mechanical ventilation requirement between Favipiravir treatment and the standard of care in moderate and severe COVID-19 patients.” 

Also, in an article published on Jun 07 this year in the Hindustan Times, “The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Monday revised the Covid-19 treatment guidelines and removed the use of Ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine and the antiviral drug Favipiravir from its list of advised treatment.”2

On the other hand, Molnupiravir was approved by the UK at the beginning of the month and became the first oral antiviral medication to be approved for the treatment of Covid-19.

In spite of all this information, our luminaries are still ordering Fabiflu, also known as Favipiravir, and were late in ordering Molnupiravir, which according to many doctors, would have saved lives.

2. Secondly, their exceptionalism. Everything done in this country is a success and all thanks to “our young and dynamic leader”. This has resulted in a denial of everything going on. It really seems that the government and the people are living on two distinct planets. Take our deputy prime minister, Steven Obeegadoo, for example. While people are mourning relatives, hospitals are choking and the health staff are on the verge of a burnout; while the young and the elderly are spending hours roasting in the snarling queues at the vaccination centres; while we are cadging oxygen from Reunion at the 11th hour, Obeegadoo is calling on more tourists to visit our island and promising them, hold your breath, that “There are few countries in the world that can offer such sanitary conditions. If the sanitary situation is the best in the world, why should we look elsewhere for answers to the problems above? Everything is absolutely perfect!

Seriously? Please don't tell me we live on the same planet! Please!

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8335450/
  2. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/govt-drops-ivermectin-hcq-and-favipiravir-from-covid-19-treatment-list-101623058343019.html
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