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Take Precautions

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As cases of Covid-19 rise on a daily basis across India, including Uttarakhand, the lessons learned during the height of the pandemic need to be recalled. Every section of society faced challenges and worked out successful counter-measures. As the Yatra season begins in Uttarakhand, the State Government should get out of uttering platitudes and show some urgency in ensuring the event does not become a super-spreader. This is necessary to ensure a catastrophe like the past is not repeated.

The most effective defence that the ordinary people had worldwide was the use of masks, social-distancing and washing of hands. It does not take much effort at all for people to resume these practices. Crowded places should be avoided as much as possible. It should not require the government to enforce such rules. The authorities, however, should spread the message on taking precautions through all its agencies. In the case of the Yatra, wearing of masks in public transport and crowded areas, including hotels, restaurants, temples and market places, should be made mandatory. The Himachal Chief Minister has already initiated this process.

Hospitals and clinics should review their preparedness to deal with a possible increase in Covid patients. People with compromised health conditions, particularly the elderly, should be encouraged to get booster shots of the Covid vaccination. The various trade associations should issue their own advisories to members as commercial activities were worst hit during the crisis, impacting the economy most directly and severely.

Those who have fevers that last more than a couple of days should get themselves tested. On testing positive, they should isolate themselves for the present mandatory seven days. While it is a fact that much of India’s population has developed considerable immunity against the virus – that should not be relied upon too much. There is still need to be careful.

The Covid-19 years have already transformed society in many ways. Work from home has become a common practice, continued even after lifting of restrictions as it was found suitable and economical. Restrictions that hampered economic activities have been removed, but this should not be taken for granted. Rather than have protocols forced on them, people should put to use all that they learned at the time of the crisis. Prevention in this case will definitely be better than the cure. Go back to the basics – prevent a repeat of the past.