A resumption of economic activity seems inevitable in wake of the universally acknowledged fact that all-out restrictions to contain novel coronavirus are not wholly workable. It would be wrong to call the previous lockdowns as a failure in containing the virus spread even though the success has been modest.
The J&K government has for now extended the guidelines under lockdown 4.0 till June 8. By then, it is expected to frame new guidelines for phased opening of various activities in consonance with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. The fresh guidelines must be drafted carefully and retaining restrictions on big gatherings and other potentially unsafe activities remain advisable given the fact that decision is being taken when J&K has seen spike in cases on consistent basis. While spurt in cases was attributed to the arrival of travelers recently but on Sunday last, J&K saw 105 fresh infections of covid-19 and of them, 71 were those confirmed locally while 34 others pertained to stranded residents brought back to home and placed under quarantine at the centers mainly managed by the administration.
It brings to fore the importance for the government to keep active testing and quarantining individuals in areas with high incidence of the virus to significantly control the spread. Any half-hearted approach to implementing the measures mandated by the Health Ministry and allied directives for COVID-19 Management, such as those on face cover, physical distancing in public places, shops and establishments, and gathering in large numbers, can only worsen the situation. The new guidelines are essentially linked to the resumption of economic activities and to provide succor to those hit hard or hardest due to the previous lockdowns. However, the government should be mindful of the fact that easing curbs would not immediately ease the impact created on the livelihood by the virus. Many people have lost jobs while others have suffered severe blows to income. It requires governments to demonstrate as much commitment to mitigating misery as to containing Covid-19 spread. There is also need to create public awareness that the infection is present and one needs to be careful for time being or till the time the threat abates which would be when effective vaccine or other medication is practically used. The government should continue ramp up testing, provide health services, and intensively monitor relief measures across the J&K. Also, the government needs to continue efforts as regards the distribution of ration especially ensuring that the same reaches all those needing it including those who cannot afford it or may not be in a position to buy it for various circumstances.