oppn parties Has The Unlock Increased The Risk Of Covid-19 Infection?

News Snippets

  • University vice-chancellors in West Bengal decide not to hold final-year examinations despite UGC prod, will instead go by the state government advised 80-20 formula where 80% will be marked on performance in past semesters and 20% on internal assessments in the final semester
  • The Centre wants the ITI and other top Indian firms to bid for 5G as Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE are not likely to be allowed to participate
  • India and China agree on total disengagement to return to peace ahead of the next round of military talks
  • The Supreme Court allows delivery of summons and notices via WhatsApp and email, but questions remain on proof of actual receipt
  • National Investigation Agency says the proceeds from the Kerala gold smuggling case could have been used for terrorist activities
  • Four Maoists shot dead in Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar
  • Despite localized lockdown, Covid cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in West Bengal. Newer areas brought under containment zones in Kolkata
  • ICSE, ISC results declared, Average scores in the English paper, 20% lower this year than the average in most years, pulls down the aggregate for most candidates
  • IIP contracts by 35% in May. Manufacturing goes down by 39.3%
  • Row erupts over CBSE's decision to reduce the syllabus by 30% this academic year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Experts say several lessons that the ruling dispensation does not like are being removed
  • Gangster Vikas Dubey's nephew killed in an encounter by UP police who also pick up his key aide Raju Khullar and his son Adarsh
  • MHA sets up an inter-ministerial committee to probe the alleged financial misdeeds of three trusts linked to the Gandhi family
  • Actor Jagdeep, most famous for his Soorma Bhopali act in Sholay, passes away
  • Pakistan says Kulbhushan Jadhav has declined to file a review petition and will stick to his mercy plea. India calls it a farce
  • India to keep a strict vigil to confirm that the Chinese are abiding by the deal on the pullback at the LAC
Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek admitted to hospital for coronavirus
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Has The Unlock Increased The Risk Of Covid-19 Infection?

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-06-03 20:55:15

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

Unlocking, with precautions and health advisories, is easier said than done. This is true not only of India. Images from across the world show people ignoring social distancing norms and venturing out on the streets without a mask. In India, the matter is more serious because of the size and density of the population. The first three days of Unlock 1.0 have shown that the risk of Covid-19 infection has magnified hugely.

From the crowd at a dance show in Motihari in Bihar, or images of devotees at religious places all over the country to the commuter waiting at bus stops in cities, no one seems concerned about his or her health and the one-metre distancing rule is not being followed strictly. Many people are also not wearing masks in public places. One has also seen relaxed vigilance outside containment zones and people are sneaking in and out of the barricades. The mood is one of nonchalance, even defiance. This is not a good sign, especially as some scientists have warned that community transmission has already started in some places.

With more services, especially hotels, restaurants and malls, slated to commence business from June 8, the problem is only going to get worse. Administrations all over India need to keep a strict watch and not let the situation get out of hand. There will be all kinds of pressure. Like in Kolkata, the government has allowed auto-rickshaws to start carrying four passengers like before. This has been done to ease the pressure on commuters who were finding it difficult to reach offices. Also, the fares had been raised exorbitantly. But three passengers on the back seat means social distancing norms have been thrown to the winds and the risk has been exacerbated. Buses have seen overcrowding as people unable to reach home have forced their way in. There will be many such decisions by administrations all over the country that will probably provide immediate relief to the people but will be put their heath at risk.

There is no doubt that that work has to resume but norms have to be followed diligently to defeat the Covid-19 virus. But what is being witnessed for the last three days is scary. Everyone was talking about the new normal. It may be visible in institutions. But on the streets, the old normal has returned. It was easy to enforce the rules when there were just 10 percent people out on the streets for essential services during the lockdown. But now, as more and more people reporting for work, India faces a herculean task of keeping things in control. It is even scarier to think that this is happening when Metro and suburban train services have not resumed and schools, colleges and coaching institutes have not reopened. This is not a doomsday essay. It is just a warning that if people are not careful, vigilant and do not follow the rules, the situation can go out of hand.

picture courtesy: hindustantimes.com