Onus on public for returning to normalcy

THAT the global health crisis arising out of the coronavirus pandemic merits extreme continuous precaution could be gauged from the state cabinet deciding to continue with the lockdown guidelines but relaxing certain sectors from the purview of the nationwide restrictive measures to contain spread of the disease. No doubt, the pandemic has affected livelihood of farmers and daily wagers the most as they are the ones facing the brunt of the cascading impact of the lockdown though the authorities have been indicating that transportation of essential commodities will not be affected and there would be gradual lifting of the restriction in non-hotspot zones. Even as the situation has made it infeasible for reopening of educational institutions and several private undertakings such as eateries and other non-essential services, the lockdown situation has also been creating certain inconveniences to transport operators and agents who are part of the supply chain as they are increasingly reluctant to transport the commodities over long distance for they fear of being stranded or they do not want to be at the receiving end of the police enforcing a lockdown. Nevertheless, the state cabinet meeting held on Monday easing the restriction in some sectors and activities is understandable as one cannot afford to leave any room for error. With the cabinet permitting operation of supply of essential goods, human-related activities, agriculture and allied sectors, government offices, etc., the public will hope that officials working at the ground level will dispense their duties as per the expectation of the public.
At a time when experts in diverse fields have started to work and wonder on how to overcome the coronavirus threat, what kind of world man will inhabit once the storm passes and whether the so-called economic superpowers would be able to make up the huge losses currently incurred in containing the virus, many sane persons in the state would be simply hoping that the government’s decision to partially relax the lockdown norms does not create social disorder. Having endured severe hardships on account the lockdown leading to scarcity of essential commodities coupled with the government seemingly believing that its monthly provision of 5-kg free rice to each person will be enough for two square meals a day, it is foreseeable that many non-salaried individuals would be tempted to defy further restriction so as to earn decent income. While the coronavirus storm will definitely pass and humankind will survive, it is obvious that for the economically unprivileged section of the society the struggle to sustain livelihood would be an uphill task as experts agree that impact of the infectious disease will continue to linger on for some more months, if not years. In the same way the virus has brought drastic changes to the lifestyle of the wealthy ones and caused severe inconveniences to the poor families, the post-lockdown period will be equally challenging for return to absolute normalcy will rest on not only the decisions people and government take in the coming weeks but also on how the former follow the social distancing guidelines. In case the public act irresponsibly then the fallout will definitely mean further confinement indoors.

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