The Editors Guild of India has urged the Union government to consider journalists as frontline workers and provide vaccination against COVID-19 on a priority basis. The call came amid the sharp spike in COVID-19 cases across the country in the recent weeks.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the Editors Guild of India said that without the protection offered by the COVID-19 vaccines, journalists are finding it difficult to perform their duties on the ground. “News organisations have been relentlessly covering the pandemic, elections and other current affairs in an effort to ensure that the flow of news and information to readers continues unabated. News media is included in essential services. Therefore it will only be fair that journalists be given this cover of protection, especially in the face of the number of infected rising to astronomical levels,” the statement added. The Editors Guild of India’s request came at a time when journalists across the country are on the ground covering the Assembly elections in five states, Kumbh Mela in Haridwar and the scramble for beds and medications for those affected by COVID-19 amidst the rising cases in the country.
In the last 24 hours ending on Thursday morning, India has reported over 2 lakh fresh COVID-19 cases and 1,037 deaths due to the virus. Days after the Chief Minister of Maharashtra announced section 144 in Mumbai till May 1, Delhi also announced lockdowns during weekends in the National Capital Region till April 30 to control the spread of the virus. Karnataka has made it mandatory for those returning to the state from the Kumbh Mela to furnish a negative RT PCR test for COVID-19. According to reports, India is the second worst-hit country by COVID-19 in the world in terms of number of cases. The top five Indian states that have reported the highest cases over the past week are Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.