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Opinion

A smart lock | HT Editorial – Editorials

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In his interaction with the chief ministers on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi rephrased a popular phrase he used when declaring national closure to describe a change in the nature of national goals. On March 24, emphasizing the need for social distancing and urging people to stay home, he said: “Jaan hai toh jahan hai“- If one is alive, there is a world. This was intended to place the highest importance on health, arguably the highest priority at a time when coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has rocked the world. Saturday He said: “Jaan bhi, Jahaan bhi“- live too, the world too. This in no way undermines the emphasis on health, but along with saving lives, the Prime Minister seemed to hint that India also needs to restore a degree of economic normalcy and allow everyday life resume, when possible.

This is a solid approach. However, you will need the government’s continued approach and a calibrated policy regarding both elements. Health first. More is known about Covid-19 than a month ago. This is what India needs to do, beyond this phase of the blockade to the next set of restrictions. Continue increasing the tests to be able to identify positive cases to have the base to intervene. Improve quarantine facilities to ensure that those who are positive can be isolated. Extend your contact locator, even using technology, to find people who may have come in contact with people who tested positive. Add and remove containment zones, where a stricter form of blocking is applied, every day, based on available evidence. Source, from any possible mechanism, plus personal protective equipment for health workers who risk their lives every day. Make sure there are enough hospital beds and fans in place to prepare for a surge in cases. And let’s take special cases from states where the health infrastructure is particularly weak but have a high population density like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

In the economy, this newspaper has advocated a comprehensive stimulus of Rs 10 lakh crore. But in the immediate context, it is important to soften the supply of essential elements, allow some sectors and factories to open on the condition that they comply with the rules of security and social distancing, and provide aid to agriculture. Implementing partial restraints will be a key challenge here, and security personnel will need to be carefully sensitized to what is allowed and what is not. It is time to move on to the next phase of a, as one government official put it, “smart shutdown.”

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