Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 18 May 2021 5.12 PM IST

One lockdown after another


It has been a year since the nations of the world decided to keep COVID pandemic off our lives. From March 2020 to March 2021, the world went through a year of lockdown, a year of bitter experiences hitherto unheard of. The world came to a screeching halt all of a sudden. Irrespective of class or clan, we were forced into a cloistered life. The traffic in the streets with vehicles racing past one another came to a standstill. People working far away from home lost their jobs but could not find a way to go back home. Experts unanimously agree that though the lockdown adversely affected the economy of the developed countries, it was an inevitable action as a defense. The economic slump itself was the reason why each country one after the other was forced to repeal the provisions of the lockdown step by step. Festivals, wedding ceremonies and public meetings were banned in the first phase and it did help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

As the lockdown was relieved the work and labour were revived and the construction-production sectors which control the economic movements came back to life. At the same time the public meetings and gatherings which the people should have avoided returned to their normalcy entailing a wider spread of the pandemic. The farmers’ agitation and the local elections didn’t seem to take stock of the situation and follow the so-called Covid protocol. Now statistics show that India, which had surprised the developed countries in containing the epidemic successfully, shot up to higher ranks in the spread of this disease. Even then the fact that mortality from Covid is fewer in India than in many other countries gives us a sigh of relief. There is no doubt that the carelessness and mismanagement shown in following the provisions of the lockdown were the reasons why we are into a second wave of Covid onslaught.

Lockdown was declared one year ago when only about 525 new cases were reported all over India per day. At the end of March 2021 one hundred thousand new cases were reported each day. People would have become less diligent in adhering to the protocols when vaccines to combat the disease were discovered and India became the largest producer of such vaccines, thus making the public irrationally confident. Perhaps it is because the individuals as well as the society were not alert and conscientious in following the necessary provisions of the lockdown that the second wave has come with a bang. The western countries are under the threat of a newly mutated Covid virus. In India too it has made its presence felt rather grimly. Eighteen states have already reported the sighting of new versions of the virus. Many nations have already declared a new and partial lockdown to prevent the spread of the mutated and hence more virulent virus. Some of these countries have got a third wave of the pandemic. Nations like Poland, France, the UK and Germany have fallen back on lockdown in fear of a third wave. But the Indian Prime Minister Modi has said that India does not intend to go to a complete lockdown. In a way it is necessary to sustain the new vivacity shown by the country's revived economy. We have witnessed how the migrant workers and other such workforces intensely suffered during the lockdown period. We were able to successfully take up the challenge posed by the epidemic only because of an effective civil supplies system and an equally task oriented health care system which are far better than what is seen in the developed countries. It is not the duty of the government machinery alone to sustain the newly achieved momentum of the country. It is the duty of every citizen. Getting together only for pomp and luxury, wedding ceremonies, festivals and unnecessary public demonstrations should be avoided as much as possible in order to be part of the country's progress during the epidemic. Because of its overpopulation India was supposed to plunge into an economic hiatus. On the contrary, now the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are of the opinion that India will achieve a 12. 5 percent economic growth in the next economic year itself and shocking the US, an economically powerful nation, will surpass even China. Economic agencies like Mudis and Fitch also support this prediction. In this scenario it is the duty of every citizen to add momentum to the country’s progress. The primary step is to follow with diligence and alertness the inevitable measures to prevent the spread of this pandemic. We have moved over to a fairly relaxed Covid protocol from a highly crimping one because of our bad experiences with its severity. This relaxation is for our own survival. It is in no way a truce with the treacherous fate to go back to a fatal and meaningless life of luxury and pomp.

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