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Governments should ensure safety even post lockdown

Governments should ensure safety even post lockdownRepresentational Pic
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It has been over 40 days of lockdown. But the question is, have we learnt any lessons or are we going to be our old self once the lock down is over?...

It has been over 40 days of lockdown. But the question is, have we learnt any lessons or are we going to be our old self once the lock down is over? We do see people waiting for their turn in front of supermarkets in queues, but it seems that we have not yet fully adopted ourselves to the changing situation. People by and large seem to believe this is just a temporary phase and once lockdown is lifted, life would be as normal as it was earlier.

In some cases they feel that even using of masks is for the sake of policemen and not for their personal safety. At many places one sees masks hanging around the neck of people just as one finds a helmet either on the petrol tank of a motorcycle or on the rear view mirror so that they can put it on their head once they spot a policeman. No one knows whether these masks are being washed or disinfected or not. Doctors have been saying that droplets from mouth or nose could spread Covid-19. But there have been many instances where women were seen smelling mangoes before buying them. What's more, people still have not developed patience and are reluctantly following the social distancing and that too because it is insisted upon by the security guards or police at many places. This raises the big question, "Did we learn any lessons from the lockdown?"

This question becomes pertinent because the government is now slowly relaxing the lockdown rules in a phased manner. It hopes that people will adhere to guidelines and rules that have been in force so far. There is a lurking threat of all rules being thrown to winds once lockdown is relaxed. Though the government says that not more than six people should be there in front of a shop and that they should maintain distance, voluntarily, no one would follow this rule. It remains to be seen if barbers will stop using the same cloth for customers and if they will strictly sanitise the equipment they use after every haircut. Will they be serious enough to follow the rules like using gloves and masks and will they sanitise their gloves after every haircut or shave? These things sound silly but then, it is here from where there could be a surge of corona cases.

The biggest problem the government will have to confront is when the public transport system is resumed. When people are impatient to wait for their turn to enter a supermarket, will they maintain social distancing at bus stops or inside the buses. Indians are known for trying to get into a moving train or a bus and having boarded, stand with no gap between two individuals. The bus conductor too has found a way to meander through the crowds and issue tickets. There is also no system of contactless cash collection. In fact, no thought seems to have been given to this problem as yet.

Framing rules in India is easy but implementing them in a fool-proof manner is a herculean task. Since we lack self-discipline, the Central and the State government need to first work out a clear road map before total lifting of lockdown or else India could become another Wuhan or the US. Some State governments which seem to be more anxious in putting economic activities on fast track should first make sure that they are geared up to ensure that things don't slip out of hand. A lot also depends on the lawmakers as well. Even during lockdown, at many places the lawmakers were seen violating the guidelines. Hence discipline should begin from their level and percolate down to their constituents. So far, the slogan has been 'Stay Home Stay Safe'. But now it should be 'Be Disciplined Stay Safe'.

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