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Unlock Failures

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Any haste or negligence in unlocking the economy can have the opposite effect in corona times. This fact is highlighted by Bollywood’s most valuable asset Amitabh Bachchan contracting COVID-19, as also members of his family. So, it is necessary to unlock with utmost care. The number of cases continues to increase in India, as the pandemic extends its geographical reach to states that had remained comparatively untouched thus far. The government of the most populous state, UP, is worried enough to enforce a weekend lockdown in the effort to curb the menace.

However, the message is clear – the battle has to be fought at the individual and local levels. There is no scope for complacency. The nationwide lockdowns could not stem the spread because of the leaks caused by the ‘jamaatis’ and the migrants’ return to their home states. This has meant that more localised control measures are now being adopted, with containment zones being set up where there are breakouts. While the increase in number of cases can be attributed partly to more testing, the problem is also with the inability of doctors to prevent deaths through treatment protocols. In fact, even today, the global medical establishment has been unable to work out how the progress of the disease can be halted in those infected. The effects of various drugs are only being mentioned in percentages – it is a hit or miss job!

Uttarakhand has been doing pretty well amongst all this, having as it does the highest recovery rate of about 80% among all the states, but the further opening will pose increased challenges. Its timing in adopting protocols, thus far, has been up to the mark and this record needs to be maintained. Unfortunately, going by the crowds in the markets such a Paltan Bazaar, or the casual attitude being adopted by particularly the youth, all the good work can be undone in a flash. Every day there are reports from all over the state of irresponsible acts by COVID-19 positive people. As such, it requires extreme strictness on the part of the administration while enforcing social distancing and wearing of masks. The citizenry, too, needs to assist as much as it can in this process. Residents’ Welfare Associations, the various NGOs and associations must help spread the consciousness, because this is the last line of defence. There is nothing that can be done if it is breached. India has entered another critical phase and must do all that is necessary to get out of it.