Hardly any country in the world has managed to escape from the damage of coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic. As there’s no possible medical vaccination or treatment of the disease, most of the countries are relying on lockdown to limit the spread of deadly viruses. The decision of the government of almost all the countries to extend the lockdown with restrictions will only result in delay of spreading the corona or may give some more time to plan for strategies to handle this pandemic. Although the implementation of lockdown during the initial stage of the spread of Covid-19 in most of the countries was obligatory but the question of how much it can be extended? And how much any country can afford it? Is already echoing in many geographical boundaries. Is it possible that the lockdown would eliminate the pandemic? Can we rely on just one measure to effectively contain the spread of disease? Absolutely not. Lock-down can only prevent the exposure of the virus or it can delay the spread of disease. Whether it is in economic context, unemployment statistics or the issues of migrants, lockdown has revealed considerable snags. The repercussions of the restriction are raising serious concerns thus fostering the importance of comprehensive strategy.
The massive reverse migration of the laborers from the cities to villages is compounding the economic adversity of the many nations especially in Asian continent. World’s second most populous country is the home of estimated 450 million internal migrants according to the 2011 census. Since lockdown, various media outlets have unveiled the conditions of these unprivileged ones in India. Even today the poverty of India seems to be similar to that of the 1947 partition. The migrant labourer’s unable to sustain their livelihood are forced to flee to their respective states. Everyday news of migrants travelling thousands of kilometres by foot, some with pregnant wife some with old parents delineates the tenebrific humanity. The wisdom of masks, sanitizers or social distancing are futile for the barefoot civilization who lives hand to mouth. The lockdown has revealed the obscure division of classes in the society. The federal structure of the state will face the imminent question of the mishandling of the migrant issue for decades ahead. Although the Government of India has announced the relief package of 20 lakh crore with much fanfare but the social and economic effect of lockdown on the poor ones are still disregarded in the relief measures.
As on today, India is 11th in the tally of Covid-19 cases worldwide with near about two lakh cases. The rising number of cases is indicating the urgency to revamp the existing approach to deal with Covid-19 pandemic. The testing ratio of India is one of the lowest worldwide. The low testing figures of a disease with as much as 80% of the patients being asymptomatic can lead to phantasmagoria. A country as big as 1.3 billion must improve its testing capabilities to ensure the identification of the affected ones to efficaciously trail the spread. The myopic perspective of restrictions needs to revamp with other alternate measure of testing and trailing. The continuation of the nationwide lockdown 5th time and overlooking the necessity to increase the testing facilities and infrastructure is indicating the blinkered viewpoint of the government.
Countries must strive to find inclusive approaches to get out of the current crisis. Instead of shutting down the whole nation, effective programs to gradually decrease the restrictions and restore all work should be implemented. The medical research of India should administer medicines to fight external forces in the body on the lines of "polio drops". The contemporary poor financial condition of the state and central governments of India is indicating the urgency to have comprehensive solutions rather than merely the game of numbers. The suffering of the poor and unprivileged ones is indicating the urgency to lift the restrictions. If the ongoing migrant crisis along with the lock-down continues then the situation will become adverse. The good or bad decisions we will take today will reverberate for decades ahead.
Dr. Amanpreet Singh
Director ODL & Ex Registrar,
I.K.Gujral Punjab Technical University Jalandhar-Kapurthala
Phone No. : +91 9478098019