The Coronavirus which has spread in the country like wildfire a few years ago has already taken its death toll by hundreds and the worse is expected in the days to come. Nobody can say with certainty how long the pandemic will last ; may be weeks, months or even years. People are living in fear and they are uncertain about the future. Almost all countries have been affected by this plague including the top economic giants like America, China, India, Russia and Europe. It is also estimated having already claimed over five million human lives worldwide not to mention those who are already in a critical condition fighting for survival.
Mauritius has so far been able to curb the pandemic until the appearance of the delta variant which has taken us by storm. Although a protocol has been established to ward off the virus, there are still a few who are not abiding by the law. Could you believe that over six thousand people have been booked for not wearing face masks? Unfortunately, nobody will know the number of people who have been contaminated by their irrational behaviour but it is certain that the law has not served as a deterrent. Paying a few thousand rupees fine is just peanuts for those who are endangering the lives of their counterparts.
On the other hand, no figures are available to show how many have been sued for not maintaining social distancing. Yet it is common to see people huddling against each other particularly in public places, supermarkets and malls. Are they aware that they are endangering the lives of their fellow citizens and are instrumental in spreading the virus? Are the authorities cracking down these people or is there a laissez-aller? We must, however, admit that the onus of adhering to law lies on the population and it is time to change their mindsets and make them act as law-abiding citizens. Countries like Qatar and Kuwait have introduced tough laws against those who do not wear masks in public places such as hefty fines to the tune of several thousand rupees and even three years’ imprisonment. Other countries just send such lawbreakers to prison as the imposition of small fines is not serving its purpose. It is time for the authorities to review the existing laws and adopt more stringent measures if we want better results.
It is well known that both the ruling party and the opposition are trying to score political points against each other at the assembly and even in public places. The opposition has the right to ask questions – sacrosanct in our Constitution – but it is high time to adopt a political truce. Our representatives have been elected to work for the betterment of the population and the moment has come to set aside their ego and political differences and join hands to combat the common enemy instead of bickering on trivial issues. I suggest that someone from the either side of the house tables a motion to that effect in our august assembly and as true patriots everybody will respond positively. Will anybody bell the cat ?
It has been said ad nauseam that we are ‘enn sel lepep, enn sel nasion’. Let not this remain a vain slogan. If the government and the opposition party happen to work together in the interest of the nation, the population will be grateful to them and they will be remembered by generations to come. It is time to leave aside their petty differences and stand up as one people and one nation to face adversity.
NOW OR NEVER.