Will Indians be able to maintain social distance post lockdown?

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Due to COVID-19, the government of India declared a nationwide lockdown of 21 days on 24 March 2020, and till now the lockdown has been extended five times. During lockdown government request people to stay at home and maintain social distancing when going outside in urgency. At that time in India, there were only 564 cases of COVID-19 and now the number of coronavirus cases in India has crossed 2 lakh.

During Lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has talked about it repeatedly on his nationally-televised addresses to the citizens “If you want to tame the spread of the coronavirus, the only way to do it is to break the cycle of transmission by practising social distancing,” he said. But it was only partially effective.

Because the government forgot to take care of migrants workers and labour before imposing the rules of Lockdown.

EFFECT OF LOCKDOWN ON MIGRANTS TO STRIPS SOCIAL DISTANCE

In the first week of the lockdown, 18 migrant workers and their kin died trying to return home. As the state borders are sealed, there have been multiple reports of these groups being beaten up or harassed by the police deployed on the roads to secure the lockdown.

Hundreds of migrant workers—jobless, homeless, and almost without cash and food—gathered outside a Bandra railway station in Mumbai following rumours that train services would resume on April 15.

With factories and workplaces shut down, millions of migrant workers had to deal with the loss of income, food shortages, and uncertainty about their future. Thus with no work and no money, thousands of migrant workers crowd were seen on a bus stop, railway station or half of them start walking or bicycling hundreds of kilometres to go back to their native villages. Many were arrested for violating the lockdown and some died of exhaustion or in accidents on the roads. This was such a horrific situation due to lockdown.

Thus, this kind of behaviour by the indians defies reason and makes us wonder if we even understand the concept of social distancing?

According to the latest report, Delhi will have 5.5 lakh coronavirus cases by July 31 based on the current doubling rate of the infection, the statement given by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

With the number of people getting infected and the death toll increasing every day, it is very important for GOI to take strict actions to maintain social distancing. 

However, after zoning out districts and areas among red, orange, and green on the basis of coronavirus case numbers, the government has substantially removed curbs outside hotspots and allowed stand-alone shops and establishments to open. 

On June 1st, the government planned to ease the lockdown is highly welcome. Yet, they do not mean a return to pre-pandemic normality. Easing the lockdown will mean people gradually getting more freedom to engage in work, back to economic activities, but also that they must take good care to keep a safe distance from others. 

Shopping malls are also opened now but customer experience is not going to remain the same at shopping malls, according to industry insiders. Mall owners are charting out new rules taking into account customer footfall and building structure.

Manoj Gaur, Managing Director of the Gaurs Group, said after the lockdown “large format stores like Big Bazaar could be advised to limit entry and follow social distancing norms, while preference could be given to small stores to start operations.”

Social distancing in a deeply fragmented society like India is both vertical – along class and caste lines – and horizontal, involving the separation of people within the same groups. India’s already entrenched hierarchies of power meant vertical distancing was quickly introduced. But horizontal social distancing has posed as a much bigger problem.

Maintain Social Distance Post Lockdown is very Difficult

Reasons: In villages, people often live as a community, many families share a single water source and work together on farms and fields. In local markets, shoppers often stand within touching distance of each other. In such a situation, maintaining social distancing is very difficult in post lockdown.

Another terrible situation can people face at bus stands after the completely ended lockdown is avoiding of social distancing. Because it is not sure that people who travel by bus will follow instructions given by the government to maintain social distancing or not.As we saw one incident during lockdown how 40 persons traveled in one bus without maintaining social distancing.
Apart from that when the government ordered to open liquor shops to improve the condition of the Indian Economy then a view of people is as honey bees, everyone honed in on these shops.No ones were following social distancing.

Besides this, how students or children will maintain social distance post lockdown?

 It will be the worst situation if the government open schools without taking care of lakhs of children. As we know it is very difficult to teach children of primary classes to maintain social distance while going anywhere especially in the recess period. The government should take the necessary steps to avoid more upcoming corona cases from schools. 

Measures To Disinfect the Airports

Although the Government has taken proper measures for the post lockdown like “Neck to Neck Traveling”. Still, there are chances of people to infect with coronavirus like placing the bags in that cabin where an infected person’s bag was placed.

The government has restricted international flights and allow only domestic flights and warned airport authorities to take care of social distancing like appointing an adequate number of queuing managers at the city side, check-in, security check areas, and boarding gates along with social distancing signage must be made mandatory at the airports.

Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture Vistara has communicated to its customers about temporary removal of all reading material from seatback pockets. Flying will see changes too.

Measures must be taken to disinfect terminal buildings and staff and passengers must maintain adequate distance among each other even once the lockdown is called off.

On the other, in marriages, the gathering of Indians is for thousands of people. In lockdown GOI has allowed people to invite-only 20 members but once the lockdown ends people will start again to invite their relatives and strip of social distance. It would be very difficult for GOI to control the gathering of people in such types of events.

We all wish we could return to normal. The easing of restrictions in India hopeful, it shows us a path to economic recovery and social healing. But it is a path filled with extra behavioural challenges and risks. If we fail to rely on behavioural science insights and data on how we can keep up social distancing, this disease can all too easily make a comeback.

The government of India’s decision to implement a swift lockdown is laudable this time to improve the Indian economy. But it should have had a better financial and social welfare plan to deal with the rising coronavirus cases and threat in the weeks before the sudden lockdown ends, instead of scrambling for it afterwards.

 

READ  7.20 lakh people die every year, around 37 lakh crore rupees is lost globally

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