From Nationwide lockdown to what else ?
Blackout call on April 5
The writing on the wall should be clear to all. Before the Nationwide lockdown was enforced, the country observed a 14 hour Janata Curfew from 7 am to 9 pm on March 22. To the discerning few the Janata Curfew would be the prologue to the 21 days Nationwide lockdown that came into force from midnight of March 24. The lockdown call was in a way unprecedented but it also stands that the situation is unprecedented and extraordinary times definitely call for extraordinary measures and the present lockdown should be seen within this context. At the moment, COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc with more than 11 thousand deaths reported in Italy. Spain follows close with over 10,000 deaths and the United States too is not far behind with over 5000 deaths. In India, the death toll is 58 and the number of positive cases is 2032 as on April 2. The abysmally low test rate could be the reason for the relatively low positive cases and already reports have come in that India may see a surge of infection by mid-April. With no vaccine available till now, the only way forward for the country would be to maintain personal hygiene (frequent hand-washing with soap and water), maintain physical distance, keep away from crowded places and yes stay indoors and not step outside. The results of lackadaisical approach to the virus is perhaps best explained by Italy, Spain and the United States and with the health sector in India nowhere near these developed first world countries, the best course would be for the people to abide by the lockdown call and stay indoors.
Now with the virus making its way to the North East with Assam leading the way with 20 positive cases and accounting for more than 80 percent of the 24 cases in the region, again as on April 2, the call of the Prime Minister to the Nation for a 9 minute blackout on April 5 should be seen and understood beyond just switching off one’s light. If the Janata Curfew was a prelude to the current Nationwide lockdown, the blackout call could mean something much more than just switching off the lights for 9 minutes on Sunday and this is what the people should be prepared for. Same is the case with the respective State Governments and one hopes the BJP led Government at Imphal too has read into the blackout call and has kept or is ready to keep everything in line. Any step that the Government takes up in the coming days will merit the co-operation of the people and this is one such time that all should be rolling up their sleeves to meet any eventuality. Let Sunday come and pass and let the people and the State Government be ready to take up any course of action that New Delhi may spell out to take on the virus which has already claimed over 44 thousand lives worldwide. The question is from lockdown to what else ? All should be ready for any answer that this poser may elicit in the days to come.