Fixing Priorities

Life is important, but livelihood is no less

In any crises ridden situation the most difficult thing for the people at the helm is to fix priorities.  In the current pandemic, particularity the kind of upsurge it has seen from last couple of weeks, any decisions to do things, or hold things, is becoming increasingly difficult for the government, and the bureaucracy. Often it happens that praise and disapproval comes together. A decision that is hailed by one, is criticized by another. But what makes decision-making slightly easy is experience. At a time when covid cases are touching a new high in India, and the scale of crisis is unprecedented,  the first and the foremost priority is to save lives. That means to bolster the healthcare systems, so that those infected can be treated well, and mortality rate is brought further down. What comes the next is to speed up the vaccination program so that people start getting immunization and the chances of them getting infected, or acting as carriers, are minimized. Now that it has been decided that people above 18 will get free vaccination, it is to be implemented efficiently. These two measures will definitely help in saving human lives, and curtailing the tide. But beyond these two measures the implementation of SOPs and taking steps so that the contact points are minimized need a review. Even after getting vaccinated we have to ensure that people wear masks, maintain distance and hygiene. Further all gatherings are to be avoided for the time being. The decisions taken in this regard have to be reviewed time to time, so that no undue pressure is brought on the society, which again results in stress and subsequent health problems. The officials handling these crisis and taking decisions must keep in mind that the most important thing is to ensure the safety of peoples' livelihood. If it is decided, in the interest of life, that market activities are to be curtailed, it has to be taken into account that it affects the lives of the families the same way as does the covid pandemic. It devastates families. It is always better to think of the ways that do least collateral damage. Rather than asking a dozen shopkeepers to close the shutters, it is better to ask a dozen employees, government as well as private, to work from home.

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