Stress test: On revised lockdown guidelines-THE HINDU-16-04-2020


A partial reopening of the economy is being proposed, but a lot will depend on the extent of success in containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in particular areas. State and local administrations could continue with a tighter level of control on economic and social activities if required, according to the Centre’s guidelines announced on Wednesday. It is now clear that the battle against the pandemic will be drawn out, and normalcy in life will have to wait until a vaccine or a treatment line is found. It is impossible to keep the economy shut and people at home indefinitely.

It will be a good idea to add tailors to that list, an essential service now that masks are mandatory in public and workplaces.

Those violating the quarantine could face up to six months in jail. Another area in need of urgent attention of governments is the breakdown of general health care in many parts of the country, claiming several lives and leaving far too many begging for treatment. States such as Kerala and Rajasthan have involved local bodies and community organisations to provide food, medicine and other essential items to people at their locations, leading to near total compliance of lockdown guidelines. Going into the future, getting the country back on track will require mass education on mask use, hand hygiene and physical distancing to change social behaviour.

The Centre must take the initiative to ensure that best practices from successful States are adopted across the country.

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