The unanimous decision to shut down the entire country for a week is a historic step taken by the authorities but it is not enough. The next logical step would be to trace, identify, monitor and subject every incoming traveller — who entered after a specific date — to a diagnostic test. This should be done irrespective of the country of origin as this will go a long way in limiting the community spread of coronavirus as has been recommended by the World Health Organisation.
India should not allow the unprecedented economic loss emanating from the shutdown to go waste. Every step taken by the authorities will be microscopically dissected by future historians. The need of the hour is to create separate web portals for the travellers and the civil society to report the whereabouts of the former as has been done by some states. The perfunctory efforts observed in screening at the airports must be remedied now to derive maximum benefit from the shutdown.
The government must involve the private sector and members of the public in this gigantic exercise. A false sense of relief should not be allowed to take root due to the lesser number of infected persons reported during the shutdown. It is a war of gigantic proportions and no step should be considered unethical and unconstitutional if we have to win the war against the coronavirus.
Ganga Narayan Rath, Hyderabad
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