From last few days, there seems to be urgency in government thinking to ease lockdown or allow more activities amid the restrictions imposed to contain the spread of novel coronavirus which has unfortunately not disappeared and the weeks ahead may present a challenge to administration especially with the influx of those stranded in various parts of the globe as well as Covid-19 graph showing study rise.
Some of the moves by the government in easing the lockdown are essentially imperative for balancing lives and livelihoods.
Urgency is being felt for ensuring effective steps for the revival of construction and other economic activities.
However, the revival which the government is aiming to achieve immediately is impossible without an objective assessment of the situation. There is a need to put in place strategies to resume the activities. For example, there is a need to have enough men and material available to carry out the construction activities. There has been an exodus of outside labourers at a time when they had just started to arrive.
The government must ensure decent conditions for the workers who are staying here while it must also prepare for the arrival of workers and give them confidence that the administration here would care for them.
As pointed out by the J&K High Court, there is also need to start widespread dissemination of the information forthwith about the permissible conduct upon removal of the restrictions, partial or complete, the progression of COVID-19 infection and life of virus or possibility of carriers existing and infecting despite the lockdown and all related information, using all mediums as are available.
The government’s thinking seems to be revolving around the fact that there is now a clear health protocol to deal with the disease even if there is no cure while physical distancing, test, isolate and treat remains the option to contain the spread of the highly contagious virus.
There is a need to put in place a mechanism to deal with any eventuality if cases see a surge. Whether or not Jammu and Kashmir has the adequate health infrastructure to deal with a possible increase of the cases and whether 200 odd ventilators would be enough to deal with the situation is for the government to see without any further delay as ample time was given to gear up by the lockdown.
The government must not succumb to the temptation of underplaying the challenge and shall ensure that the gains from the lockdown are not reversed.