Editorial

Unlocking COVID-19

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 6/3/2020 1:08:15 PM IST

 After the fourth phase of lockdown came to an end on Sunday, the first phase of unlock India came into effect on Monday, June 1, as the first phase of the three-phase unlock plan announced by the Union ministry of home affairs. However, the lockdown, will continue in containment zone for one more month, till June 30. It is still debatable if the nationwide lockdown enforced since March 25 has been successful in containing COVID-19. The nationwide lockdown was announced by the prime minister Narendra Modi with the objective of containing the spread of the virus and with the hope that it would provide ample time for the states to prepare their health facilities in order to tackle the virus. The lockdown on March 25 was preceded by the 14-hour Janata Curfew on March 22. Most states were caught unprepared for what was to follow. If at all there was presumption that the lockdown had achieved the objective, even if to some extent, the fate of the stranded migrants and others not only undid that but was totally contrary against the entire strategy. There were states, mainly non-BJP ruled, which said that they were not consulted when the prime minister had contemplated the lockdown. The total lockdown was complete and it did made headlines because it was billed as the largest lockdown in the world involving 1.3 billion people. The suddenness of the total lockdown caused total disruption of the entire life with lakhs of trucks stranded at inter-state transit points, farmers forced to abandon harvest of agriculture crops and around 1.4 crore migrant labourers left in the lurch. As was the case with the suddenness of the November 8,2016 ‘surgical strike’ on the economy, which left the nation stunned, the lockdown announcement also gave no time for preparation. According to medical experts, India could have avoided the sudden lockdown and adopted the method as in other countries such as Germany, France, UK and some European countries which had first emphasised on “testing, testing, testing” then “tracing and treating.” Earlier, health(tackling COVID-19 with lockdown) was more important than wealth(nation’s slowing growth rate). However, this has changed to equality of both which are important for the government. That being said, an explanation of various policies and decisions of the union government appear to be subjected to midway alterations. Even the budget of 2020-21 tabled in February has all but changed after the series of roll backs. The lockdown has become unlock in the vain hope that it will save the wealth even if has not exactly saved the health. It is still a serious problem that millions of migrant labourers are in dire straits due to the confusion on how to handle them. If a total lockdown was decided, the Modi government should have given time for people likely to be stranded to return home after which suspensions of road, rail and flight would take effect. This was not done and when relaxations were made to enable the migrant labour and stranded to return home after over two months, it has become a health disaster as several thousands have been infected with the virus which they carry to their own states. The unlock phases I,II and III will seek to shift the focus on ‘normalising’ the situation from a situation where coronavirus will continue to infect thousands.

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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