While China impressed the world with an almost flawless Olympics, India’s has been dogged with inefficiencies and shoddiness. India’s preparations have been hampered by allegations of corruption, mismanagement and inadequate facilities which threaten whether the facilities will be completed in time at all.
Not least of all, the current impasse on the usage of Blackberry messenger in India will add to communication woes and possible chaos should Indian security agencies impose a ban.
Amidst this, an unwelcome visitor has started to make its presence felt – the dengue virus, the cause of dengue fever. Already, 937 cases have been reported in the last few weeks, a figure which many consider a gross under-estimate due to a deficient reporting system.(Hospital figures estimate more than 2000 cases in what is described as the worse outbreak in 20 years). Part of the reason for this upsurge is the stagnant pools of water surfacing around the construction sites for the various Games venues.
The outbreak has already struck two top Indian cyclists and is beginning to instill fear among the arriving Commonwealth Games athletes who fear contracting this disease, especially the most severe form which can cause internal bleeding and death. This fear is heightened because dengue has no known cure or antidote, as are most diseases caused by viruses.
Also, the main fear among athletes is that contracting the disease, however mild, might impair their chances in the forthcoming Asian Games in November, as well as the Olympics in 2012.
Meanwhile, authorities are scrambling to clear the construction sites of stagnant pools and improving the environment so that India’s aspirations of becoming a successful host remains intact.
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