India had entered into a series of lockdown phase starting from March 22, 2020, with the ‘Janta Curfew,’ with each stage having its own set of Do’s and Dont’s. Despite the increasing number of positive cases in the country, providing relaxations to the much-required lockdown, is a bit odd. These relaxations will give a sense of relief that one is no longer confined to the same four walls every day—however, a small doubt, as to whether leaving their home is a good idea.
Nation’s population have different views about this decision of the Government.
- According to trusted sources, a top Expert from the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), had stated that “The coronavirus disease has not ‘exploded’ in India, but the risk of that happening remains as the country moves towards unlocking its nationwide lockdown that was imposed in March to contain the COVID-19.” The impact of the pandemic is different in different states of India. Some states were able to control its spread, whereas the others were not entirely successful in containing the virus;
- Michael Ryan, W.H.O.’s Health Emergencies Programme Executive Director, had added that in countries belonging to South Asia (like India, Bangladesh and Pakistan), there is always a risk of the virus getting spread, even though it looks as if under control;
- Soumya Swaminathan, W.H.O.’s Chief Scientist had stressed that it is critical for India to keep track of of the virus’ growth rate and to ensure that the infection does not get worse. She mentioned that as India gets ‘unlocked’, people must pay heed to take up the necessary precautions.
Like lockdown, unlocking is also in phased manner with each step being taken with utmost caution. The question is, are these heeds enough?
Highlights of Unlock India 1.0
- Home Ministry introduced unlock in phased manner, Wherein Unlock 1.0 came into effect from June 1, 2020;
- Night curfews will continue, with the timings reduced from 9 P.M. to 5 A.M.;
- States can decide on relaxations to its residents also decide on the prohibitions in the Containment Zones, as the situation so demands;
- Religious places, Hotels, Restaurants and Shopping malls are allowed to open in those areas which are not in the Containment Zone. However, the states have to take the final call;
- Interstate borders can be opened; depending upon the state’s decisions;
- The Ministry of Home Affairs’ (M.H.A) Circular was silent on the reopening of offices and provision of public transportation services;
- Lockdown in the Containment Zone remained extended;
- The M.H.A. Circular does not specify the Quarantine guidelines for travellers and are unclear on opting for flights and trains for transportation purposes.
Highlights of Unlock India 2.0
- Phase 2 of unlocking the country came into effect from June 8, 2020;
- Centre gave a list of strict rules to be followed during the relaxation;
- Social distancing (a distance of six feet) must be maintained, and keeping the mask as mandatory while stepping out;
- New Delhi launches the app, Aarogya Setu app, to track beds for the COVID-19 positive patients.
- Investigations have shown that there is a mismatch between what the result shown by the app and reality.
- There have been cases where the app has shown vacant beds, with hospitals denying the same;
- Senior citizens above the age of sixty-five and pregnant women are advised to stay at home;
- Citizens with comorbidities are required to stay indoors;
- For private offices, only ‘asymptomatic’ staff/visitors (i.e. those individuals showing no symptoms of the coronavirus) are allowed;
- Religious places, shopping malls and restaurants can start functioning, except those in the Containment Zones.
A few of the positive effects of Unlocking
- People will no longer have to sit confined in their homes, because of which mental sickness or depression caused by the virus can be eliminated to a large extend.
- Businesses will be back in action, with a new start, with a vision to revive the broken economy.
Some of the adverse effects of Unlocking
- The healths of people are at risk, as everyone need not comply with the principle of maintaining ‘social distancing’ and using ‘masks and soaps’;
- COVID-19 virus is a ‘sanitizer’ for Nature, as various Creations healed themselves. The Nature which had revived could be affected by the increase in pollution;
- Community spread can increase quickly;
- When the cases are rising rapidly, hospitals are running out of bed to accommodate all the patients. As a result, several patients are left either unattended or in desolate rooms.
Over the last two days, I have seen first-hand the absolute collapse of health infrastructure in Mumbai. My uncle died of COVID-19 and here's what I know–be very scared.
— Kunal Purohit (@kunalpurohit) June 5, 2020
According to M.H.A, the only possible way to handle the coronavirus is by maintaining hygiene. Sooner or later, we will have to overcome the situation to resume our daily routine, which must be tweaked with changes, to live with the ‘post-COVID’ earth. As the days go by, one can only Hope, have Faith and not lean on one’s understanding.