The Unlock 3.0 guidelines unveiled by the Government on last Wednesday comes with slim pickings. The further easing of restrictions under Unlock 3.0 will come as a relief for the people wilting under the severity of the lockdown. Ever since the shutdown came into effect towards the end of March to contain the spread of coronavirus, the harshness of it, also because of its prolonged nature, has taken a toll on the economic, social and psychological well-being of the citizens. The partial relaxation of the curbs did bring about a semblance of normalcy, giving some fillip to the economic activities that suffered a severe setback, but it goes without saying that more is needed to be done before things could be back to their usual self. As expected, the Government has removed the restrictions on night curfew and allowed Independence Day celebrations at national, State, district, sub-division, municipal and panchayat levels and 'at home' functions with social distancing.
The MHA guidelines have come with a rider though, as restrictions will continue in containment zones till August 31. Containment zones are aimed at checking people-to-people contact to break the chain of transmission. States have used their own discretion in mapping out the vulnerable areas. Some prefer weekend lockdowns, others going in for full curbs, preventing uniformity in application and adding to the difficulties. While that may be needed, there are still other areas that need to be opened up for the economy to pick up pace, and for that it is important to improve the situation in the containment zones. As the unlocking continues, the responsibility will also lie with the people for taking precautions to keep COVID-19 at bay. The move to open gym and yoga schools from August 5 must come as music to the ears of fitness freaks. But owners of the cinema halls, swimming pools, theatres, bars and Assembly halls have to bear it for the time being.
Chandan Kumar Nath,