Is Lockdown a solution?

Arif Nabi

In the backdrop of steep rise of Covid19 cases and deaths, the government has re-imposed lockdown in many districts of the valley. More and more young people are now falling victims to this deadly corona virus. Nevertheless most deaths are of elderly people, having some other co morbidities apart from Covid19, the surge of young ones being admitted at the hospitals has surrounded the valley in dread again. The fatalities reported during last several weeks exceed the total deaths which took place in the first three months of the pandemic and the mortalities have now gone above 200. After having remained closed for nearly about three months, the relaxations in the lockdown from past few weeks cheered up the people. They became relieved and hopeful and gradually started resuming their services and work. But they gave not due consideration to the preventive measures. All they perceived was that the virus had gone and the lockdown was over. But, hardly had they started to be back on the track, than the valley witnessed a huge spike of Covid19 deaths and the administration had to re-impose the lockdown. By imposing the lockdown once again, there are certain queries in everybody’s mind that need to be addressed. Will the lockdown prevent the spread of Covid19? Are the poor and indigent people going to suffer likewise as they did in the first one? Will people be beaten to the pulp by forces, if found roaming? Or above all, is the lockdown the only and ultimate solution to the Corona virus? In Kashmir, as had been observed in previous one, lockdown means to confine the people in their homes, keeping the shops shut except medical one’s, to make people do somersault if found guilty of not wearing masks, and torture them blindly without thinking what caused them to come on the roads. By acting in such ways our lockdown is never going to fetch fruitful results, rather it renders the life of people more miserable. Before we have strict restrictions in place, we also need to think upon; what will those daily workers and labors do who would earn during the day and feed their families at night? What about the drivers of buses and mini-buses who are yet to resume their services completely? Many of these drivers have their vehicle issued on bank finance. By sitting locked up at home. How will they be able to pay it back? And the bank is not going to waive off any amount of it.
If we follow the necessary measures duly, we can kill two birds with a single shot, we may be able to prevent the spread of Covid19 and at the same time people would not have to suffer.
Nobody can belie the fact that the previous lockdown contained the virus to a great extent. It did make the people stay indoors and avoid unnecessary wandering. At the same time the grievances and sufferings it caused to the people can’t be ruled out. As a result of all this, our hospitals became prepared for any exigency of Covid19. Hospitals tackled the Covid19 patients duly and it was not until the lockdown was eased out that the hospitals saw a tremendous rush of Covid19 patients. Doctors opine that the corona virus is in a third and dangerous phase, if necessary precautions are not taken, it can claim more lives in coming days. During the initial days of Covid19, hardly if any, young patient would die of it. But from the past few weeks the fatalities of young people has become common. It has made the situation panicky again in Kashmir. Lockdown is not necessary neither a solution, what is important however is that the people follow precautions in letter and spirit. If lockdown is meant to confine and restrict the movement of the people, then it must be go right away, because the people can’t bear it anymore. If it’s like the erstwhile lockdown, then the daily workers are going to suffer again and what to speak of pauper and destitute folk. They may face the worst. Moreover the ongoing season is the period of earning livelihood for such people; they in no way can tolerate another lockdown. They too have families to feed, and what if they remain lodged at their homes? Taking necessary measures is what the need of hour is. Before venturing out, one must ensure that one is equipped with a face mask and a sanitizer. At essential shops such as medical shops and grocery stores, gatherings should not be allowed to form. Shop owners should ensure that only a single person is allowed to buy, at a time. At government offices and banks, safe distance is to be maintained. Even at ATM facilities proper distancing ought to be kept among the queue forming individuals. A sanitizer should be made available at all such points. People not wearing masks shouldn’t be allowed to enter by the guards. Personnel of traffic police should check every now and then that the drivers of sumo, mini buses and other passenger ferrying vehicles abide by the rules and not transgress what is required of them and if anybody found guilty of breaking the rules, a hefty fine should be imposed on him. By utterly restricting the people at homes, as had been done in previous lockdown, we may be able to contain the spread of Covid19, but the people will suffer tremendously. However if we follow the necessary measures duly, we can kill two birds with a single shot, we may be able to prevent the spread of Covid19 and at the same time people would not have to suffer.
(The author is a government official. Views are exclusively his own) [email protected]

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Confirmed: 5,992,532Deaths: 94,503