POST LOCKDOWN – COVID-19

Posted on April 7, 2020 · Posted in Blog, General, Personal

When the lockdown measures are relaxed, we will be able to  move to a new regime which – will not be our normal life – but will be somewhat more relaxed and the wheels of resuming work will begin!

Many people have the false expectation that we will be able to go back to our pre-lockdown lives. However, the current lockdown measures cannot continue indefinitely. If this pandemic continues, we will reach a time when the lockdown measures become intolerable or unbearable. We are not speaking merely about the economic loss and its impact on our economy but of the poor people dying of starvation, dying of some other diseases or medical conditions due to the lack of physical activity and mental stress, and even some committing suicide.

First and foremost, we must accept the fact that the lockdown measures in the red zones or hot spots, where the number of the infected cases are very high, would continue for some more time. This means that the people living in these areas will not be permitted to return to their businesses or employment, wherever both may be, until the lockdown measures are relaxed. Most businesses in these areas will be shut. People will be allowed to venture outdoors strictly to buy food and other necessities only. The lockdown measures in these areas can only be eased when the number of new infected cases have dropped to a manageable or an acceptable number.

Life in the other areas with the easing of the lockdown measures will not be the same as before. Social distancing will become a norm in our life from now onward. Social distancing of a meter or more could be a common practice wherever we go. At our workplaces, we have to rethink about the seating arrangements for our employees and in our meeting rooms. In the schools, colleges and universities, we will have to redesign the seating arrangements in the lecture rooms, classes and canteen. They will also have to address the need for social distancing for physical education and extra-curricular activities. However, nurseries and kindergarten would take longer to reopen. New seating arrangements in our public transportation system have to addressed to include the social distancing principle. In the malls, hypermarkets, supermarkets and shops, we will have to prevent overcrowding, limit physical contact and practise social distancing. These rules will also apply to airports, cinemas, restaurants, eating shops, playground/parks, recreational areas, religious gathering, etc. Body temperature testing would be a norm in places where people gather. People with cough may be discouraged from going to crowded places.

Regular washing of the hands thoroughly and the disinfecting of surfaces and objects could become a norm. The use of face masks at work and whenever we are outdoors could become a habit. The gesture of shaking hands in greeting could be replaced by bowing or namaste.

As we relax the lockdown measures, we must be aware the Covid-19 virus may start to spread again. We need mass testing to allow us to identify individuals who are asymptomatic and for the early disease detection of people working in crowded environment like hospitals, educational institutions, supermarkets, clinics and many others.

The government may allow the resumption of domestic flights on a staggered basis after the lockdown. When the airlines resume local flights, they will have to re-look at the allotment of the seats on board and fly at a reduced passenger capacity. However, the resumption of international flights would take longer.

All the airports in the country will have infra-red thermal imaging cameras. All departing passenger would be checked before entering the airport while all arriving passengers would be checked before they leave the airport. Non passengers will not be allowed inside the airport.

Every business will inevitably be impacted, with short term effects and to a lesser extent, longer term consequences. With the economic downturn, some businesses may collapse, downsize or cut the salaries of their employees. This may mean thousands of employees losing their jobs, and then struggle to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. Besides causing undue suffering to the employees, job and salary cuts would impede a quick recovery for these businesses. A reduced consumption capacity and the lack of confidence will only further worsen the damage to the economy. People will be going back to work, the factories will be spinning up again, malls, restaurants, eating places, and shops will be reopening and life as a whole will be coming out of stasis – albeit slowly but very carefully.

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