The novel Coronavirus has caused a lot of problems in the development of the global economy and society besides causing pain and suffering to millions across the world.
Some repercussions of the pandemic have been short-term and some long-term. The most widespread losses caused during the pandemic were due to the complete nation-wide lockdown.
Even though the lockdown has proved to be the most effective method of limiting the spread of COVID-19, it is impossible for us to stay holed up in our homes for much longer.
Therefore, necessity demands that we gradually revert back to our normal lifestyles; and, that is exactly what the purpose of ‘Unlock 1.0’ is.
However, it is crucial for us to understand that, though the lockdown is being lifted, the threat of COVID-19 is still just as imminent as it was in the last few months.
That is why influential authorities, including the UNICEF, WHO, World Bank and various central governments, are doing their best to raise awareness among the masses.
Some common points out of the end-of-lockdown guidelines issued by various such authorities have been discussed in this article.
- Ensure Proper Implementation of Basic Principles:
What generally happens is that, when a person gets sick, they stay at home and rest to recover; but it seems to be becoming a strange trend for people to still be socialising while clearly displaying symptoms of Coronavirus.
All of us need to act like mature, responsible human beings and understand that, by socialising while infected with COVID-19, we are not only putting ourselves at risk, but also those around us, especially our family members and close ones.
Basic principles of human society are the same as family values; they are not laid out rules, but represent a tacit understanding among the members of the community.
These principles include helping, guiding and looking out for one another. For example, if you are sick, go into self quarantine to not put the people around you at risk. If someone is in need, help them out to the best of your abilities.
Besides that, actively being on the lookout for those — who socialise while displaying COVID-19 symptoms, instead of seeking medical help or self-quarantining — and reporting them to the authorities is also a matter of principles and not shameful at all.
- Stay Up-to-Date about Latest Facts and Figures:
Staying up-to-date about the latest information related to Coronavirus, and the policies of the government related to it, is more important than one might think.
For example, the Uttar Pradesh government recently passed an order stating that only one person can travel on two-wheelers and two on four-wheelers. A lot of people were oblivious to it and ended up being fined by the traffic police.
Similar instances have commonly been occurring across the nation and the globe due to public ignorance. This has become an even larger concern as major changes are constantly being implemented due to the ever-changing circumstances.
Therefore, it becomes all the more important to constantly stay up-to-date on the changes in the situation.
- Promote the Sharing of Information about COVID-19:
Even though staying well-informed is crucial, merely knowing important details in not enough; one must adapt to survive.
Besides that, it is also just as important to inform the ignorant people around us about the important changes that might affect them as well.
Promoting the sharing of Coronavirus-related information is also necessary in avoiding situations of mass hysteria from occurring.
A recent example of issues caused due to mass hysteria is the huge crowd of protesters that took to the streets of Mumbai after hearing false information and baseless rumours related to the shortage of essentials, like food and water.
Such instances are extremely dangerous and sometimes disastrous as the protest during the lockdown proved to be a major contributor in increasing the count of COVID-19-positive cases in Maharashtra.
The saddest thing is that such scenarios can easily be avoided by proper and adequate sharing of accurate information through reliable channels.
Therefore, one cannot emphasise enough on the need to stay well-informed and propagate necessary information during these troubled times.
However, one must also ensure the reliability of a piece of information before sharing it so as to prevent causing trouble instead of resolving it.
Many pieces of fake news and propaganda circulating on WhatsApp and other social media platforms are a good example of it.
- Adapt Habits and Policies in High-Risk and Public Places:
Various habits have been developed and policies implemented and followed like traditions in various places and activities.
Some of such habits and policies put us and the people around us at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Therefore, it is imperative that we either temporarily suspend or adapt them to comply with the needs and requirements of the government guidelines.
Some examples of such activities that compromise our health and safety include eating together, shaking hands and hugging each other, travelling in jam-packed vehicles, etc.
All of us must understand the implications of such activities and either adapt ourselves accordingly or avoid them completely.
We must place extra caution in our dealings in public places and various high-risk places, such as elevators, stairwells, etc. that have frequent and high footfall along with higher chances of being contaminated with the virus.
It is highly advisable to properly sanitize our hands after touching railings, doorknobs and elevator buttons besides other such frequently-touched surfaces.
- Provide Assistance to Vulnerable Sections of the Society:
The global economy has stagnated for the most part in the past few months in wake of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Although most of us possess enough savings and other resources to survive the lockdown — if not easily breeze through it — we must understand that a large part of the population does not possess enough resources to do so.
Especially in a country like India, a large section of the population of which is employed in the agricultural or the unorganised sector, it becomes all the more necessary to provide these vulnerable sections of the society with all the help that we can muster without causing self-harm.
We can help these people in various ways, the easiest of which is to donate money to the government.
However, this method is not highly recommendable due to two major reasons. The first reason is that the government officials might not be as knowledgeable about the needy people in your neighbourhood as you are.
The second reason, on the other hand, is the deep-rooted corruption prevalent in public organisations that will cause the needy more harm than good.
The best way of supporting the vulnerable sections of the population is to donate money and other essentials to NGOs besides doing volunteer work.
The rich entrepreneurs may feel free to follow in the footsteps of the various famous personalities and directly acquire necessities in bulk and distribute rations among the needy and poor people.
While focusing on the labourers and other people that depend on daily wages for sustaining themselves, we tend to forget about the farmers who are also in a pinch due to the lockdown.
This time of year is the harvest season and the lack of labour force due to the lockdown has resulted in the loss of a lot of good crop due to it being unable to be harvested in time.
With the impending infiltration of the swarm of locusts and Unlock 1.0 being underway, it has become necessary for the masses to urge the government to provide proper assistance to the farmers so that they can salvage the crops that are still consumable while compensating them for the loss of the rest of them.
Now that the stringent restrictions enacted during the lockdown are being liberalised, we must do our best to act like responsible citizens and comply with the government policies and COVID-19 guidelines to ensure a smooth transition back to the normal.
We also need to constantly remind ourselves and those around us to be prudent and ensure our safety as the threat of the Coronavirus is not gone yet and the threat is still as real as it was during the complete lockdown.