Kullu Villagers Understand Need For Lock Down More Than City People

To approached the problem on three fronts: an effective lockdown to contain the spread of the virus which will give us time to ramp up our medical infrastructure; provide succor to people during the lockdown, especially the poor, migrant workers and daily wage-earners and to treat people who have tested positive, testing widely and manage the contacts of those who have been infected in quarantine.

Since, the day recorded the first case in March, has been aggressive, though some decisions had to be taken with a lot of blindsides in information. The border of the state was sealed, actively supporting the lockdown because there is no medicine or vaccine for this illness.

The reason we need a lockdown is to ensure that we are not overwhelmed by the pandemic and used the lockdown to upgrade our medical infrastructure. We have used the slowing down of the virus to procure ventilators, PPEs, masks. Today, with around 59 total confirmed 18 active cases, over 35 people cured and discharged and around 2 fatalities as compared to country total cases 69,149 Person, Active cases 45,232, cured 21,664 and fatalities 2249, we have done exceedingly well as a state against the national average,

Let us also reflect that Himachal has been doing a rather satisfactory job in managing this compared to several more developed and richer states of the countries. In a city like New York, financial capital of the world, they don’t have enough ventilators. Of course, we must not make the mistake of becoming complacent. As of now, we have a lockdown till May17. There is a Cabinet meeting to flow wherein a decision will be taken. Let us wait.

An abandoned Mall Road, Manali under Coronavirus Lockdown (Photo: Sanjay Dutta)

Without a doubt, we as a state have done well. Both government and people of Himachal have to be congratulated for it. The lockdown has to be made more stringent, especially in the urban areas. Surprisingly, the best compliance in terms of social distancing and personal hygiene is being seen in villages of Kullu District, whereas educated people in cities like Kullu and Manali are confounding us by not realizing the gravity of the situation.

There have been several reports of people wanting to go back home. Nobody can argue that the lockdown hit us all hard, but the worst affected are the poor and daily wage-earners. After the lockdown was announced, the state government simultaneously began addressing the needs of the vulnerable. Although every day Kullu administration is ensuring food supplies for all needy persons..

It is not food but the mental sense of suffocation, missing their families, mental strain of not working and a misplaced sense of fatalism that could also be driving them to go home. People must realize that while the contagion factor is high, most people who are infected will get cured.

Himachal Govt has set up a team of medical corona warriors. Across the state, we have used the lockdown to shore up our in-patient curing. With also support from private sector hospitals.

Dr Aman larjey, Medical officer in Himachal Medical services said if in a worst-case scenario, the number of cases rises above that, we will use World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines to segregate cases based on severity and use home quarantine to cure. He added we hope will never have such a situation. We must salute the brave selfless service of our doctors, nurses, and other medical staff, who knowing there is no known cure for coronavirus; they are going to hospitals to take care of patients. We must commend our sanitation workers, who are cleaning our cities, towns and villages as part of our joint fight to defeat Covid.

Dr Ajay Thakur resident of Manali while speaking to Hill Post said that every crisis also brings opportunities. For a state like Himachal, the huge focus on health and hygiene has been good and will continue beyond the crisis, I hope. Governments have been forced to quickly scale up medical infrastructure and I am sure the state will spend more on public health, in creating more opportunities for people to take up jobs in healthcare.

He added as we don’t know what normal would be like after all this is over. Our society has to change. Work areas will transform and social distancing and working in shifts will increase. Ajay said the big fat Himachal wedding has to shed weight. Although we are very touchy people and must become socially more distant. But our children, who are learning about hygiene during this crisis at a young age, will be a very different people and our state they will create will be amazing.

Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice. He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express. With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology. Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.

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