Don’t lose sight of SOPs

Kashmir Magazine

It is a truth universally acknowledged now that the severe restrictions to contain COVID-19 produced traumatic displacement of the weakest sections, while the check on infection spread was modest. Given the toll on people’s livelihoods, and the stress on the economy in general, easing the stringent lockdown had become necessary. As commuters get back on the roads, shops reopen and people give in to the temptation of eating out, the Government need to keep talking to them about the SOP— they should not lose sight of the importance of conveying the message of caution and safety. Citizens who have accepted severe curtailment of liberties during the lockdown can be persuaded to adopt a healthy public behaviour code using measures that are civil, yet firm. Government must prioritize some actions: create public awareness that the virus is present, ramp up vaccination, provide health services, and intensively monitor relief measures. Post-lockdown will require a milieu in which people visit markets, places of worship, and socialise without letting down their guard against the coronavirus. The Government must work towards creating such an environment by constantly communicating and engaging with civil society. With the world's worst pandemic outbreak scarring nascent economic recovery, the government should announce another stimulus package for the most hit sectors such as small business and self-employed.