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Caution Advised

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In his ‘Mann ki Baat’ on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised on adopting utmost caution during the ongoing ‘unlock’ process. This advice should be taken seriously by not just the people but also the state governments, including that of Uttarakhand. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had enforced a two-day lockdown every week on Saturday and Sunday, which served as a reminder to all that, despite the loosening of restrictions, the threat of COVID-19 spread remained. Now that the decision has been taken to end this restraint, perhaps too early, the onus is on the citizenry to ensure the virus does not find fresh space to spread. Going by the sense of responsibility shown by the people, thus far, it is reasonable to have considerable doubts.

Even though the Corona figures are rising in totality at the national level, it is worth noting that recovery rates are on the up and the major problems are confined to six badly hit states. The rise can be attributed to the momentum created by India’s vast population, which reflects large numbers even if they are percentage-wise less than anywhere else in the world. This indicates that, despite the favourable signs, the hard work still needs to be done. It is good that states like Delhi and UP are setting up facilities on the scale that is required.

Uttarakhand, too, has also made similar arrangements at the Cricket Stadium in Dehradun. Everybody is expecting a second wave because the fear is that the containment policy for some reasons has not delivered the expected dividends. It will be important to keep a close watch on the nature of the virus spread over the next couple of weeks before coming to any conclusion. With the restrictions on inter-state movements also being eased and requirement of home quarantine, it is important to see how well people conduct themselves in ensuring physical distancing. More than ever, this element has become the most significant, simply because this is now the first and last line of defence.

As the promised vaccine and medicines remain as distant as when the pandemic began, the other weapon available to people who must now pursue their livelihood and be involved in other activities is to raise their immunity levels as far as possible. This involves using time tested means that have been used for other diseases and are widely available in the homes and Ayurvedic stores. Physical fitness regimes also need to be adopted according to age and specific living conditions. Under no circumstances can people afford to let down their guard.