- Hectic parleys are underway by the State Government as well as authorities concerned over the past couple of days with regards to enforcing lockdown again in Bengaluru. The COVID-19 virus infection rates have seen a dramatic increase in the last week or so in the city compelling the stakeholders to brainstorm on the next effective move to combat the menace. Expert opinions are being sought as also from the various affected lot who are going to bear the maximum brunt of the decision if considered.
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- It is by now well established that the lockdowns are not expected to provide solutions but only buy enough time to strengthen the healthcare infrastructure and resources to face the eventualities. Following the imposition of lockdowns, the entire country has witnessed widespread sufferings of the unfortunates and those horrific memories are still afresh. Coming close on the heels of Unlock 1.0, that has just allowed further easing of restrictions, contemplating back to earlier stringent measures is not feasible at all.
- Excepting white-collar employees, all other workforce has undergone tremendous challenges including loss of livelihood and severe pay-cuts. Many sectors denied kick-starting their businesses earlier and were allowed recently are slowly limping back to normalcy. Any move to closing again would be nothing less than disastrous for them. Therefore, let us explore what should be the possible moves that allow checking spiraling infection rates as well as permitting crucial economic activities too.
- As containment zones are identified, sealing down these areas with strict implementation of restriction measures should be observed without letting an iota of laxity seep in. Aggressive testing to assess the community spread should be initiated forthwith. Earmarking adequate hospital beds alongside ICUs and ventilators should be prioritized. Co-opting private hospitals is imperative but their commercial interests too should be protected to the extent possible.
- Encourage working from home and/or alternative working days for all office goers and business establishments with restricted timings which should not cross beyond 7 PM. Imposing curfew from 7 PM to 7 AM should be seriously considered. Enforce complete curfew on Saturdays and Sundays on all movements excepting those categorized as essential commodities/services. Most importantly, social distancing norms should be observed diligently come what may.
- Wearing masks, maintaining distance, washing hands with sanitizer/soap and adherence to hygiene standards is of paramount importance. Strictly no compromises whatsoever on any of these measures. Further, unauthorized movements should entail strict action by the police department as per the Disaster Management Act. Setting precedent will send out loud and clear message that it means business.
- The situation could be reviewed, say after 3 weeks, and initiate further measures as deemed fit in consultation with all stakeholders. Unprecedented circumstances necessitate unprecedented moves but by balancing out both lives and livelihood in equal measures as much as possible. The onus is more on people to ensure we follow measures as enunciated by the authorities. Let us do it diligently for our well-being.