Isolated farewells and India in Covid crisis
COVID funerals, the vaccine taskforce and India’s second surge were the topics discussed by columnists and contributors in the newspapers.
Sarah Vine said the sight of the Queen sitting alone at her husband’s funeral would have moved even the most ardent of republicans.
“I am sure she would have relished the touch of a hand or even the simple proximity of another human being,” she said. “But no: Covid rules dictated that, like all those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic, she said her final farewells to her husband of 73 years in total isolation.”
She said seeing the Queen on her own provoked a littler pang of rage.
“It makes no sense to me that, while hordes of the young and unvaccinated can gather in pub gardens and mingle in shops, older, vaccinated folk such as the Queen are forced to socially distance and mourn loved ones in numbers no greater than 30,” she added. “It’s time to relax the rules on funerals and allow families to grieve with compassion and dignity; and to lift these cruel restrictions on those who, through no fault of their own, are forced to live in care.”
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it is now a year since the vaccine taskforce team was launched.
“A year later, we have enough jabs to offer a first dose to all adults by the end of July – and many thousands lives have been saved,” he said. “We’ve been aided by the know-how of the NHS, the precision of the military, the deep knowledge of local government and the dedication of countless volunteers.”
He said the pandemic had forced us to work in new ways, with some extraordinary results.
“The ingenuity of science has always shifted the odds in our favour. Now it is helping us on our road to recovery,” he said. “We’re building on everything we’ve learned and finding more ways to keep us safe – and we’ve put our brightest on the case.”
Rukmini S said the second wave of Covid-19 in India has grown to a tsunami, and the state is unable to cope. “India is ranked 155 of 167 countries on its hospital bed density , and every medical doctor in India caters to at least 1,511 people,” she said. “Most hospitals in India’s major cities are overrun. Oxygen is in short supply, even as health authorities suggested that more people in the second wave were reporting shortness of breath.”
She said Indians have stepped into the void left by the state, rigging up oxygen cylinders for their families, and getting drugs to those who need them.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attempted to frame the crisis as a collective experience that Indians are in together. But over the last weeks, it has been abundantly clear to most Indians that they are truly on their own.”