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Dr. Kant Shah
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A New Beginning – the way forward #lockdown #Covid-19

A New Beginning – the way forward #lockdown #Covid-19

I am motivated to write this as I feel we all need to make a new beginning. The chaos behind Covid-19 is understandable. No one really knows what to do, and neither does the government. We can’t really blame the government when a liquor shop opens and we fall over each other. A vegetable vendor opens up and we rush like there’s no tomorrow.

People are understandably frustrated. Not being able to go out of the house. Not having enough savings. Non-essential items are slowly becoming essential.

I badly need a haircut for one!

So is it possible for me to go into a barber shop, by appointment, maintain social distancing rules and get a haircut? Sounds simple. Then why not? Who will enforce social distancing? Me? The salon? The police and government? If I don’t do it, I might cause a problem for my family. If the salon doesn’t, they will infect hundreds within a week. The police and government have to worry about this for every small business that wants to keep open. They are worried that we do not have the capacity in our hospitals if there are thousands being very sick every day. So maybe they can open once or twice a week.

Can we be disciplined enough to stand in queues? To work by appointments at every step?

Automatically we will get better at making less trips to buy things and get more organised. We will order more things online and I hope non-essential things are available soon. (they now are – 18th May, 2020)

Meanwhile the government is focussing on building facilities for people who get sick from Covid-19. For this they need many healthcare workers to volunteer but without adequate PPEs and decent food and boarding facilities for quarantine, I wonder if just threatening them is going to work (eg. recent letter by honourable Director of Medical Education of Maharashtra). Why not ask private hospitals to chip in? But then the government doesn’t want to pay for it so there are no takers anymore.

One of the biggest showdown in the past week has been of migrant workers leaving cities by the thousands. Understandably so. The Utopian city dream has turned sour. They have been handled badly and many may have left for good.

But then, now is the time to settle the slum problem for once and for good.

Take small steps, relocate those who are still here. Give them respectable housing, food, healthcare and use their help to finish off all pending infrastructure projects.

The government must wake up from the slumber it has managed to push itself into by virtue of the lockdown. Just postponing things is not going to work forever. Now is the time to make a new beginning. Likewise the people must accept certain amount of social discipline as part of life and use this opportunity to re-calibrate their lives.

11th May, 2020

 

An update – since I wrote this post – one can now see hundreds of people on the roads. Scooters whizzing past. People queuing up without masks or any kind of distancing. We have to be grateful to the sleepy government which did nothing except lockdown. Because that seems to be the only thing that worked!

There are many unresolved questions on sanitation, congestion in cities and towns, healthcare infrastructure and adequate numbers of police, that this virus has brought forth. Any sincere takers from the government?

19th May, 2020

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