The Union Home Ministry late Monday released its so-called Unlock 2.0 guidelines for a further reopening of India, even as the covid pandemic surges on. If it’s hard to tell Version 2.0 apart from Unlock 1.0, then that might be the reason. Risk levels have actually risen for our citizens, and any haste in relaxing post-lockdown curbs could take a high toll. Caution is writ large across the latest advisory.
There will be no easing of the state-enforced lockdown in containment zones, defined as localities with a high number of infected people. But elsewhere, people would be allowed to enter shops in larger numbers, and spend a few more hours outside their homes, among a few other tweaks of the earlier prescription. The new guidelines, if they can be called that, are meant for the month of July. A few more flights and train services are to be given a go-ahead, too.
Among the few things are that safe nowadays, we could safely wager that July is unlikely to be very different from June by way of extra space for social and commercial pursuits. The safety protocols that were in place earlier are to stay, which is welcome, except that a dangerous weariness with them appears to have set in. Too many seem to be letting their guard slip. The field of healthcare has begun to show signs of exhaustion in densely populated parts of the country, and this would not seem so daunting if a corona peak was within sight. It is not. What can plainly be seen, however, is that the State can’t do much more to stop covid-19. The onus is now on individuals. And science.