Dismissing emergency measures and finding new ways

It’s been a year-and-a-half since the first lockdown was imposed, arising out of the global pandemic due to the spread of Covid-19. In the midst of this, during the early months of the spread of this disease, the Indian stupidity knew no limits. A series of illogical and stupid acts were in place, like banging kitchen utensils, followed by lighting candles and lamps, and then showering flower petals on hospitals across the country by helicopters. Since then, imposing lockdowns and night curfews has become a regular practice, such that it is now a culture in itself.
Evaluating the efficacy of lockdowns and night curfews
Often, it is said by all that the coronavirus is here to stay for long, so one needs to adjust and learn to live with it. If it is so, it is time for us to remind ourselves that lockdowns and curfews are emergency as well as temporary measures. This cannot become a culture. In real terms, imposing lockdowns and night curfews has negligible utility because:
1. Testing is not intensified, which means no utilization of the lockdown period.
2. Contact tracing is not done properly as there are instances where primary contacts of positive patients await the medical team to reach them but they don’t turn up. What if the primary contacts turn out to be the irresponsible ones?
3. Lockdowns only confine the infected persons to their own houses for a few days, but as soon as it is lifted, the infection bursts again.
4. Vehicular traffic and movement of people during night time is already low, even during normal times. As such, there is hardly any utility in imposing night curfew. Rather than helping, it causes trouble for passersby who are in an emergency which one can’t substantiate with documentary proof.
Problems caused due to imposition of lockdown
1. Shrink in growth of economy.
2. Loss of livelihood.
3. Shutting down of businesses of amateur entrepreneurs, especially petty businesses.
4. Degradation of education quality.
5. Following Covid-centric medical treatment protocol by giving less importance to other illnesses or diseases.
6. Growth of mental-related illness.
7. Rise in theft/robbery/petty crimes arising out of hunger, unemployment, loss of jobs, etc.
The way forward
There is no denying that Covid-19 is fatal, but emergency measures should not be imposed as if they were a permanent solution. Those at the helms need to be empathetic towards those who live a hand-to-mouth life because a hungry belly and frustrated minds will not know any fear or shame, so long as he/she is quenching one’s own hunger and thirst.
Now that vaccine has been administered to a majority of the population, night curfew and lockdown need to be done away with and instead the following could be considered:
1. Regulating crowd in public offices by facilitating online public services.
2. Facilitating home delivery of public services like opening of bank accounts, applying for ST certificates, trading licence, etc, by appointing ‘sarkar mitras’ and delivering the services through them.
3. Continuing compulsory wearing of mask and making it liable to the service providers (shopkeepers, office employees, etc) for dealing with the customers who are not wearing a mask.
4. Withdrawing alternate roadside opening of shops, thereby letting both sides to open as it reduces the crowd.
5. Making functional every ATM booth because it is one such place where long queues are made while violating the physical distancing measure which is to be maintained.
6. Unlike allowing political gathering of around 50 people without following the SOPs during the inaugural function of the state BJP’s office, there should be a complete ban on political gathering and rally.
7. Regular awareness and educating on the need to wear mask, sanitize and to maintain distance to students, employees, PRI leaders, etc, as behavioural change is what is needed the most.
Hence, it is expected that those at the helm of affairs will contemplate and do away with these emergency/temporary measures of imposing lockdowns/night curfews, and instead find new ways to live life.