Sunday, 20 June, 2021; 3:54 pm
A little number of economists are increasingly advocating to withdraw the current lockdown and open up economic activities slowly, because of the following two reasons:
1. lockdown is hurting the poor adversely; and
2. more people will suffer without food than with affected by coronavirus.
As an alternative, those economists are suggesting the Government to make the use of masks mandatory and spend enough for hand wash and other health measures.
While the reasons are valid, but the suggested call and measures are grossly wrong.
First, this trouble time is not just hurting the poor, but all sections of the society. It’s not just economic distress, Coronavirus is taking the life away from loved ones. It means, we need to be more human than analysts.
Second, it’s very easy to say that using masks and taking other health measures will solve the problem, but difficult to implement. One needs to think that we are fighting against a ‘great’ invisible enemy which may attack anytime and anywhere. Also, it’s not possible to use masks for 24 hours; even Batman uses that occasionally. On a serious note, see how the Government is struggling to convince people, both poor and non-poor, to follow social distancing, then how it will convince people for masks and others.
Third, there is no international evidence or suggestion that early call-off of lockdown helps the economic activities which will ultimately help the poor to tackle the Coronavirus better. It’s true that poor are getting hurt the most, but facing trouble time is part of everyone’s life; who doesn’t face the trouble time. While the non-poor are surviving through their savings, the role of the Government is to take care of the poor through health and food supplies.
Fourth, there is no evidence to get rid of Coronavirus completely without following a proper phase of social distancing. We are not even close to the end of that phase. Please allow the Government and people to do proper social distancing which will bring benefit in the long run. In the short run, allow the Government to do its tasks which it is supposed to do.
Fifth, the suggestion sounds like an experiment. You may sometimes need to think that you can’t experiment with human life. In other words, not every issue deserves experiments. Just the common sense sometimes is enough to understand the reality and accordingly set the rules of the game.
I urge the government not to make any mistake regarding withdrawing immature lockdown, but to listen what international bodies are suggesting, see how other countries are tackling, and focus on spending as much as possible for emergency health and food supplies, and cash transfer.
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