Herald: Managing the responsible ‘Covid curfew’

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Jul 11, 2021 | 06:00 HIST

Manage the responsible “Covid curfew”

A system that saves human lives needs responsibility for its implementation by all humans, where concern for life exists. AX ESMERALDO GOMES says poorly planned vaccinations also need people’s cooperation, otherwise curfews and lockdown must continue

ESMERALDO GOMES AXIS

For an ordinary man, “Covid-Couvre-feu” is surely better than “Lockdown”, provided that he succeeds in his objective. On May 9, when a 15-day Covid curfew was launched in Goa, the Chief Minister, the administrative head, speculated that if people cooperated, “Covid deaths” would decrease in 8 days . Meanwhile, the lack of infrastructure to cope with large-scale needs has added to the woes. Covid-positive cases and sustained deaths, now leading us to two more curfew extensions. If we consider the increase in hospital beds, oxygen, medicines, medical care, etc., which was not perceived before, and which is now being incorporated to improve the necessary logistics, there are problems such as poorly planned vaccination and indifference to people’s cooperation to a large extent, have yet to remain. How to hope and pray not to extend the Covid curfew further in these circumstances?

For a vaccine need of 200 crore in India, the planners concerned instead of procuring vaccines from different sources as soon as possible, were defeated, as if caught napping, with their unknown priorities, by the sudden surge of the Covid virus in its second phase. This required an increase in hospitalizations and resulted in higher death rates. Today, barely 10% of the population is vaccinated despite a delay of one year. Positive Covid rates and deaths galore. The inventory of vaccines produced and distributed does not match. What is needed now is truth, sincerity and higher order moral courage to accept failure and give assurance that we will all be immune at least as stated now by December 2021. I remember years ago in Norway an incident where there was a bombing in Oslo near the Prime Minister’s office by a single terrorist, which furthermore killed schoolchildren attending a camp on the neighboring island. There has been a delay in countermeasures. The final tally was 77 dead, several injured and destruction of property. Faced with the situation, their Prime Minister stood up to say “Sorry! I could have done better. ”Isn’t it wishful thinking that such fault / debacle property should be available among us to ensure transparency and trust? Even in his absence, we now expect at know less about the “modus operandi” of how the vaccination will be completed until December 2021 so that an ordinary man can plan how long his movement restriction will be.

Social distancing and face mask

Besides vaccination, two main practices available to us to prevent the current virus are (i) social distancing and (ii) wearing a face mask. Do we need punitive methods to force these practices to save our own lives? What should have been generic in us, thanks to the government which precisely tries to accomplish it by curfews. But the side effects are the restrictions on our freedom of movement. Therefore, persuasion and cooperation are invoked and solicited in various ways. Strategies and working groups are designed, such as (i) Strengthening of the home monitoring mechanism (ii) Door-to-door monitoring (iii) Hiring of labor to fight the shortage, etc. The common and visible methodology so far appears to be that of a “tree” system, in which the roots and trunk are formed by the governmental administrative apparatus of ministers, bureaucrats and government. civil servants in a ‘boss’ / ‘subordinate’ structure. Its allied branches are: police services, justice, advertising, etc. Besides the lack of manpower, he suffers from parasites criticizing with every step as if trying to pinch the umbilical cord affecting the life of the baby in his mother’s womb. Thus, the system is slow and intermittent in delivering results.

The system needs accountability

A system that saves human lives needs responsibility for its implementation by all humans, where concern for life exists. If we could change the above system to involve all publicly elected members, regardless of political parties and oppositions, wouldn’t it be more effective to save lives through social distancing and wearing face masks? A ‘ring’ system is suggested here for the state of Goa, which can work as follows: Forty MPs form a circle, monitoring their respective constituencies daily through their ‘zilla panchayat’ members and activists / social workers. If they can solicit the votes of the electorate, surely they can improvise and innovate methods to correct bad habits and minimize, if not eliminate, failures in social distancing and wearing protective gear. All members of the ring must be equal. They should necessarily publish the results on a regular basis and interact with each other to assess the benchmarking. From a constituency perspective, statistical analysis and goal setting are yet another tool for decreasing over time and keeping positive rates at zero.

Systems developed on the basis of the above-mentioned “model” should go a long way in eliminating the causes of bad habits and inducing correct human behavior, especially where the population is dense. It also serves as a link between the elected official and his voter in the long term. It can be monitored for a long time even after the pandemic has been eradicated. Finally, know that preventing viruses to save human lives is everyone’s business.

(The author is a retired engineer from Dandevaddo, Chinchinim)



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