Unlock 3.0 rules get the right mix | HT Editorial
On government has announced guidelines for Unlock 3.0 for August, the third phase in reopening the country after the 68-day lockdown through March to June. The guidelines permit the opening up of yoga institutions and gymnasiums, and remove the somewhat arbitrary night-time curfew currently in place. But it, sensibly so, continues a set of restrictions. Schools, colleges, cinema theatres, swimming pools will remain closed; social, cultural, religious events continue to be prohibited; metro travel hasn’t been resumed; and international flights will remain limited.
While lockdowns have to be used to improve health infrastructure, they cannot serve as a solution for the pandemic. Stretched beyond a point, it has real costs, especially for the poor. Economic activity has to resume, and the government has opened up the country to a large degree. But activities which expose children to closed spaces (as they would in school classrooms), or which expose individuals for non-essential activities (such as going to watch a movie), or which carry great risks because social distancing is difficult to implement (such as travelling in a metro) are best avoided. The central guidelines must serve as the template for states, which have shown an increasing tendency of imposing lockdowns for a limited duration — which has little benefit in tackling the pandemic and high costs in terms of economic loss.