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If we do not follow the lockdown, we will lose the battle

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This time will be remembered – 5
Day 12 of lockdown

By SUNITA VIJAY

The graph representing active COVID-19 patients is surging each passing day. The number of those who came in contact with infected cases and hence need to be quarantined, is escalating too. Lockdown, quarantine, social distancing and precautions are the only aids in hand at present to prevent the spread of this new strain that has bewildered the world. The health professionals and WHO are puzzled each day by the behaviour pattern shown by this smart virus. How must we combat it! Eleven days of lockdown have passed but the picture is still grave. Social distancing has not been successful in arresting the spread, solely due to defaulters. The callous and carefree attitude of a few, a mistake by one in each household, locality, condominium or neighbourhood will afflict many and may send many to the death door if we do not rise to the challenge and act sensibly. Each passing day is crucial. Preventing it from spreading is the only solution in hand.

Many ignorant beings have misunderstood the lockdown to be holidays. They have made a mockery of the situation proving that they are merely literate, not educated. Human mentality is mystifying! We need to realise that the lockdown is meant to reduce the transmission so that the virus doesn’t go in community-spread mode and the burden on hospitals to treat patients reduces, not congesting the intensive care units. This will ensure that more people who require hospitalisation as a method of treatment are rightfully afforded that facility, and hence we lose lesser lives to SARS-CoV-2.

The word “quarantine” comes from Italian phrase ‘quarantua’ meaning forty-days, signifying a forty-days period of isolation for ships and travellers known to come from infected lands or those who’d come in contact with infected cases. It was among the few modern health practices introduced by Venetian ports to curb the spread of the bubonic plague in the 14th century. It is a time-tested formula to fight a pandemic. Sadly, there have been cases where people have even tried to escape from isolation zones, risking all around. One dodger can infect so many during the course of meetings, travelling and mingling with others. It’s criminal! Even the TV channels are busy discussing coronavirus incessantly – its strange anatomy, unforgiving behaviour, fire-like-spread attitude – but what lacked in their communication that the frivolous among us are still not cautious is something I don’t understand. They perhaps feel that it will not affect them or their family. There are several instances where people living in apartments are spending time together in the evenings – eating or playing board/card games. It must be strongly discouraged.

This is an unparalleled time to bring patriotism to the fore. Let love for the nation and humanity flow by strictly follow social distancing. The day government announced the lockdown, they threw the ball in our court. And as responsible citizens we must understand that the government and civic administration is hard-pressed. It is working under enormous pressures with reduced strength in work force. Our best way to assist is by abiding. As sensible citizens of this country we can take charge of correcting the offenders. Let us recruit ourselves as coronavirus soldiers to fight this battle. Let it not be the sole responsibility of the government to order, abide and punish. Spread the message how the basic precautions have to be taken. The gate of house, colony, locality should be locked and all exit-entry points monitored, but from within the confines of your home. We all have reasonable food and other supplies to sail through this phase. Even if we eat less during this time, it will work in our favour. Our weight-loss targets will be achieved. Let’s behave satwik – no non-vegetarian, no ills, no whimsy behaviour. As I said, let it be a phase of transformation. Make new rules to be followed even post corona phase. This virus is here to stay till we develop immunity or some medication or vaccine comes up as aid.

Two days ago we observed the pious occasion of Ram Navami. It’s traditionally a day of delicacies and feasting but this year the routine was different and more fulfilling in my home. Was it the virus scare or the limited resources or the thought of those who are deprived of even a square meal a day during this time which brought few amendments? Perhaps it was a combination of all. The choice was to celebrate it with flamboyance or to keep it sombre. I realised that it was pointless to consume one month’s quota of ghee and sugar in halwa-puri, to eat more than usual, and then work towards burning the accumulated fat. The age-old practice was broken for the first time as my family and I consumed a restrained yet a simple meal of chapattis with a cottage-cheese vegetable, but I felt good. The fulfilling idea of donating aata and other food items was more gratifying than our meal. This metamorphosis is to be relished. This phase is changing my approach, conduct and actions. It’s allowing me to embrace minimalism, in every sphere of life, even if that means losing the frills in dietary habits. It is teaching us all to judiciously use our resources, especially food. This is the time when the fortunate ones should be empathetic towards the needy, the less fortunate beings and even towards our co-habitants like stray animals and birds. After all, this Ram Navami was no time to celebrate ostentatiously. The happiness should not come from celebrating a festival by feasting sumptuously but from discipline, routine and simplicity.

Cases may rise but patience should rise equally. It was a timely move by the government to implement a lockdown. Yes, few laxes were observed in implementing it. But there is no point in bewailing. Before blaming the authorities, we need to first stop and ask ourselves how immaculate has our behaviour been during this time. Have we carried ourselves with propriety? We need to be fully compliant and not make it a half-hearted practice. The loss is ours otherwise! Knowledge can be imparted but awareness, consciousness springs from within. Anxiety, worry and stress is likely to build up. But we cannot afford to weaken our resolve. If we act amateurish during this lockdown, we will perish.

Every situation needs us to stay happy but the source of happiness can shift – happiness also lies in austerity and discipline.