The world is waiting for the covid-19 vaccine with a bated breath. However, there is some distance still to travel before it becomes reality. In keeping with the reality, the government released a new set of guidelines to be effective until December 31, calling for enforcement of Covid19-appropriate behavior. The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has asked states and Union territories to strictly implement Standard Operating Procedures on various activities and regulate crowds. The governments can impose additional fines and curbs on gatherings but there can’t be any lockdown outside containment zones without the permission of the central government. There is also a call for stricter enforcement of existing rules like wearing mask, maintaining social distancing. In the demarcated red zones, the containment measures shall be followed and include strict perimeter control to ensure there is no movement of people in or out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining the supply of essential goods and services. But outside the containment zones, all activities have been allowed except the large gatherings. The measures are in recognizing with the potential of the covid-19 to spread with renewed vigor and as such ordinary people need to remain vigilant and realize the fact the virus is far from being overcome.
Recently, in his comments at a meeting, Prime Minister underlined the need to take precautions which will help prevent the spread of the disease. In recent weeks, a range of factors, the most important of which is the fact that citizens have been reckless in their movement, interaction, and visits to crowded places , have contributed to a spike in Covid-19 cases across states and UT including Jammu and Kashmir. It is true that there is an established medical protocol to deal with the disease, and fatality rate is low but it does not means that a go by is given to the established precautionary measures . The cautionary note by PM is important to save lives and government must strive towards target of a positivity rate which is far less till the vaccine is ready to be distributed.
There is also need for the government to come up with comprehensive plans, including cold storage facilities, to ensure the distribution of vaccine as and when available. The challenge must be meet on range of factors–procure, store, prioritise, distribute–and ensure that every citizen is equipped to battle the disruptive health challenge.