UNION Government has released a new set of guidelines to be effective until December 31 which call for enforcement of Covid-appropriate behavior. Ministry of Home Affairs has asked states to strictly implement Standard Operating Procedures on various activities and regulate crowds. The states have been asked to impose additional fines and curbs on gatherings but there can’t be any lockdown outside containment zones without the permission of the centre. There’s also call for stricter enforcement of existing rules like mask-wearing, social distancing. Formal rules are being issued for markets and weekly bazaars too.
However in.the demarcated red zones, the containment measures shall be followed. Among these include strict perimeter control to ensure there is no movement of people in or out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services.
But outside the containment zones, all activities have been allowed except the large gatherings. For example, in case of social, religious, educational, cultural etc assemblies, crowds only upto a maximum of 50 percent of the hall capacity can be allowed to gather.
Meanwhile, India’s Covid-19 caseload has already passed 90 lakh contributed chiefly by a surge in places like New Delhi, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. This has already made India world’s second-worst-hit country, The country has now more than 1.34 lakh deaths. However, this is widely seen as under-representing the true scale of infection. Though daily infections have declined to about 45000 from a peak of around one lakh in summer, a renewed winter surge is expected to take the numbers back up.
In summer, one reason for the exponential spread of the contagion in India and also in Kashmir was the badly implemented lockdown and the indifference being exhibited by the people towards safety precautions. Though it seems too late to reverse the tide, the government can still make a redeeming difference by getting people to obey the rules. And which is something that doesn’t seem to be happening as aggressively as it should.
The world, meanwhile, is waiting for a vaccine with a bated breath. Though some vaccine candidates are about to hit the market, we are still some time away from their use. So, the governments world-over have no option but to buy time till the vaccines are ready and can be produced on a mass scale. On a positive note, the recoveries in India have been higher than the global average. With hopefully, the vaccine around the corner, things from hereon are only expected to look up. While the union government will need to take measures to steer the nation through this critical period, the onus is also on the ordinary people to exercise the safety precautions to ensure the infection is held in check.
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