Monday Musings: Preparing for phasing out of lockdown 4.0
Economic activity cannot be halted indefinitely and it is now for each individual to take the responsibility of protecting the self and family.Updated: May 25, 2020 16:10 IST
Now that the economic engine is coming back to life with the gradual phasing out of lockdown 4.0, what should we expect in public places?
Will people follow the cardinal rules of prevention from Covid-19 that we are all familiar with? Masks in public places, use of sanitisers, frequent handwash with soap and social distancing?
Going by the indications that are available, social distancing is the first casualty that one sees at a number of places. Last week, we reported about this busy pre-dawn market on Satara road where retailers and wholesalers by the hundreds gather every morning to do their trade. There was absolutely no social distancing of any kind in this area which adjoins micro-containment clusters.
In Pimpri-Chinchwad, red zone restrictions were lifted on Thursday and as per that order, all market areas and all shops, including salons and garages, could now remain open from 9 am to 5 pm. Although people were wearing masks, here too, social distancing was missing.
In Pune, which has seen 248 Covid-19 deaths and 4,600 positive cases as of May 23, a number of shopkeepers are among those who have tested positive for Covid-19. The most glaring case is that of a medical wholesaler in the peth areas where seven shop assistants tested positive and spread the infection to 41 of their contacts in different parts of the city, including their own families, the shop owner and his family.
While economic activity cannot be halted indefinitely and shops, offices, markets and public transport will start functioning sooner than later, it is for each individual to take the responsibility of protecting the self and family.
As reported by us on Sunday, Dr Amar Fettle, Kerala’s state nodal officer for Covid-19, has advised a series of simple and easy to follow precautionary steps and strategies in the post-lockdown phase when we start stepping out for work and other activities.
“ When you step out of the house, imagine that pink and green viruses are floating all over the place and on all kinds of surfaces- cars and shop counters. Keeping that in mind, always use a simple face mask. Remember that the virus will not come to your house on its own, unless you bring it. To avoid this hospitality, put on the mask every time you leave the house,” is his simple advice.
“Wash your hands with soap every time you leave the house and enter. Sanitise your hands every time you leave shops, banks and offices. Wash your hands again and again till you are bored….”
Washing of feet after coming from outside as was done by our previous generations; maintaining social distance in public places; taking special care of the elderly and those with conditions like diabetes, and teaching children ‘cough hygiene’ are some of the other steps that he has recommended.
Dr Fettle urged people to listen only to medical experts; obey the guidelines issued by the government and the local authority and pay no heed to advice on social media.
Maintaining health to build immunity, consuming healthy foods; fruits, vegetables and green leafy vegetables; avoiding hospitals for small illnesses and ensuing enough sleep and peace of mind would be important.
As he advised, we need to be alert about our own safety; that of our family; our neighbours; friends who are in frequent contact and helpers such as housemaids. For now, this is the only universe that we need to focus on.