In line with growing number of infections : Getting ready for lockdown 4.0

Lockdown 4.0. This is in line with the growing number of infected and deaths and along the expectations of those who have been closely following the COVID-19 development in the country. Only that people will have to wait for some more days to really know the nature of the fourth edition of the Nationwide lockdown once the present spell gets over by May 17. Equally interesting is also the package of Rs 20 lakh crore or 10 percent of India’s GDP announced by the Prime Minister to deal with the economic crisis arising due to COVID-19. The details of the new package and how it will be invested will be announced by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, but this did not stop  many enthusiastic people of the country from working over their minds to see how much this meant for each individual of the country’s 135 crore people. Interestingly the Prime Minister did not say anything about depositing the money in each individual’s account but this did not stop quite a large number of people from pulling out their mobile handsets and calculating how much this would mean for each individual. The answers from some of these ‘great Mathematicians’ even went viral on the social media sites, with many Whatsapp groups carrying the report that each individual would now be entitled to so many lakh of rupees ! This prompted news agency News18 to even run a short story on how the internet was suddenly turned into a Mathematician with many calculating how much the total of Rs 20 lakh crore meant for each of the 135 crore people of the country ! The answer-it works out to about Rs 15 thousand per individual !
This apart, the country will again see another round of lockdown and the interesting question is how it will be different from the first three phases of the lockdown. This, however is what the Prime Minister has announced and with no antidote in sight, all will need to fall in line, for the virus is highly contagious and it is the duty of all to ensure that one is not infected for getting infected would mean exposing a whole lot of other people to the virus. This is the reality and a reality that one has to live with. And even as the country will have to prime itself for another spell of lockdown, more and more people will be coming back to Manipur. It is in line with the reality and the lifestyle of the people in Manipur that the Government has announced that all returnees will have to undergo institutionalised quarantine for at least 14 days. This new move is welcome, for as pointed out earlier in this column, home quarantine would not exactly help. A look at the lifestyle of majority of the people in Manipur should illustrate this point. Not uncommon to have two brothers or two sisters sharing the same room and a common bathroom and common toilet defines majority of the households here. A common dining room is another thing that is shared by all members of a family. Institutionalised quarantine then seems a more effective method of keeping the returnees away from others and here it is encouraging to see the arrangements made in some hill villages where the quarantine huts are located at a valley or a hill slope, far away from the village and human habitation.