Editorial | What now?

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At the beginning of this crisis there was a string of lockdowns by the government, and it was meant to keep the spread of this infection in check – to flatten the curve as it was popularised. How much purpose did that serve, one cannot quantify. People can have varied opinions on how this crisis was managed from the beginning, even contrary opinions are surfacing up.  But here the point is that when we are back to lockdown in Kashmir, after a spike in the cases, have we learnt any lessons from the initial string of lockdowns. It is true that the magnitude of this crisis is stupefying, but then our administration must upgrade its understanding about how to meet this crisis on a long term basis. If initially all the reported cases, symptomatic or otherwise, were quarantined at government designated places, when the case saw a steep surge the idea of home quarantine was given a try; at least in case of asymptomatic patients. That is actually how we learn. The question arises, what is the long term thinking that the administration has done to counter the effects of lockdown, and how to relax restriction in an efficient, and unproblematic, way? Lockdown has its own underside.

It disrupts economic activities, bringing stress to a vast population, who then suffer different ailments. So, if we save lives one way, we lose them the other way. After this lockdown ends on 28th of this month, how should we go about opening up things. Since Eid is just days away, how the civil society can be sensitised about not to crowd, and desist from conducting any gatherings in a run up to Eid.  This would be tough task for the administration as this population has been in a state of lockdown for too long a time, and collectively it is under terrible stress. How to open up channels of communication with community animators, and give them a sense of participation in decision making, should make a part of future policy. If a disaster strikes governments cannot fight it alone, people have to be taken along. That is the key to minimising the impact of a disaster.