Inoculation Not Lockdown

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J&K administration has imposed  three day lockdown in 11 districts to contain the runaway surge in Covid-19 cases. Wednesday witnessed the highest single day spike of over 3000 cases forcing the authorities to go for the extreme measure. It is true that the record spike has left fewer options before the government to reign in the surge but the lockdown can hardly be a viable option. It will deepen the desperation among the people who have either lost jobs or their means of livelihood have been hit during the disruption over the last two years. In this space we have recurrently highlighted the need for the administration to find alternative ways to control the virus. The lockdown, though an easy option, can prove to be a cure worse than the disease.
Besides, at a time, when we already have a vaccine in hand, recourse to lockdown isn’t as necessary as it is now. Last year we were fighting the pandemic when we had no defence against it. So, it would be far better if instead of resorting to extended or frequent lockdowns we focus on vaccinations. We need to rush the process to be able to inoculate a critical mass of people. This will automatically bring down the Covid numbers to manageable levels and in time help us get a grip on the contagion.
However, this doesn’t seem to be the case as of now. Jammu and Kashmir has joined the list of states that may not be able to begin the vaccination drive for those between the ages of 18 – 44 from May 1. The  administration is expected to get these supplies by May 20.  This is certain to set back the process of vaccination. More so, when the new mutant strain has been attacking the young too. Among the new fatalities a significant number comprises of the people are below 45.
At the same time, the administration has to strictly implement the Standard Operating Procedure in public, which is something that is not being done. The wearing of mask has to be made mandatory and those violating the SOP in public should be taken to task. What the administration can do and which is eminently possible is to create more awareness about social distancing norms and take action against the people and the businessmen who violate it.  It is time people are made responsible for their own health. We have to ensure that both life and livelihood are saved.

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