Post Mortem

Are Lockdowns really necessary?

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/3/2020 12:39:51 PM IST

 (From previous issue...)

Well, the bad news is that even some public institutions do not provide the same. Government authorities willing to confirm the same may make surprise visits; some wily ones, those of good fortune having read this damaging article may immediately take up damage-control measures, not without curses.

Certain troubling questions related to this pandemic occasionally crop up. Experts say that living with the virus will be the new normal. Then, is the lockdown a part of the new normal, or at least, till a vaccine is in place? If so, with a vaccine not visible in the horizon, at least this year, will this not change our already miserable lives, for the worse?

With all the misery around, and seeing that lockdowns have not brought the desired results, is it really necessary to continue totally, if not partially? The struggling common man desperately needs work. Those in their ivory towers will never know the hell he goes through every day. So, the million dollar question is, is there an alternative to lockdowns? Perhaps yes, if we, the public, adopt the new social norms of using masks, keeping safe distance and being hygienic. Those who find it difficult to breathe with the masks should be forced to stay at home. But again, can we? Of course we can; with fresh orders from the administration and backed by a whole lot of police personnel in town to ensure that the orders are followed in letter and spirit. Of course, it will be a daunting task for the police alone, but Nagaland, unlike other places, has a lot of well-meaning civil societies. These, in the form of youth organizations, tribal and student bodies, village and colony/ward councils, etc. have always come to the aid of the Government in the past. 

An earnest appeal will definitely not fall on deaf ears. Once we, the wayward public are disciplined, their presence will not be required. The police task force too can then be reduced to a large extent. Video cameras at strategic locations can also help identify wrong doers. Punishment in the form of fines on the spot, jail terms, etc. depending on the enormity of an offence, will definitely do wonders; even tigers will become tame kittens.

For this to happen, we also have to know where and how the virus spreads. The frontline workers have their work badly stretched out for them. Besides the new-routine work, some of them are also involved in contact-tracing, which is also a very time-consuming and painful process (why this additional work for the negligence, stupidity and/or arrogance of a few). As they are very careful, chances of them getting infected is extremely low (except for the early days when someone in authority decided to earn a quick buck by getting useless PPE’s for highly bloated prices. Luckily Nagaland was virus-free those days; but the culprits should not go unpunished). As mentioned above, there are some people around who care for none, not even their families. They must get their quota from their favourite booze joint where the concept of social-distancing is non-existent. Some are deep into substance abuse and supply, so travel the length and breadth of town, and beyond into the neighbouring villages, to get and sell the illicit stuff and share the virus, if infected. Then we have people bulldozing their way through the crowded streets, for whatever reason. They have no concern at all. They may be spreaders or they may get infected, but who cares! We are scared of the virus only within the confines of our homes.

Nothing is impossible if we put our minds to it, and with the spine to back it. Singapore is the perfect example - one good leader with a single agenda changed the beggar state into a super economic power. There are a few countries today where lockdowns rules have been relaxed to a great extent or lifted, and where life has come back to normal. Their well-meaning governments and cooperative citizens have together brought about these changes. So, why can’t we? If harsh measures are required, so be it. But, change is a must for the overall good.

Lord, grant us Civic Sense!

Prof. G.T. Thong, Lower Agri Colony, Kohima

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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