Do you remember the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he appealed to the citizens of India to strictly follow the lockdown? Among other things he spoke, he underlined the significance of this painful, yet unavoidable lockdown in a language that can be understood by the common people. He said, “jaan hai to jahan hai”. Meaning, “The world is yours if you stay alive”. Of course, the nationwide lockdown does have an economic consequence. But India’s political leadership decided that the economic fallouts can be tackled at a later stage; right now, it is important to protect citizens.
However, a majority of Western countries, including the United States (US) couldn’t come to terms with the idea of economic loss, and delayed restrictions and shutdown. At present, they are arguably stranded midway, unable to go forward or back. They are forced to move towards lockdowns, but the virus spread is already starting to peak.
The US Example
The US President Donald Trump was talking about reducing restrictions before Easter a week ago. But the COVID-19 death rate that passed the 3,000 mark in the US forced the federal administration to extend restrictions.
It is no wonder that the US may be forced to tighten the restrictions and move towards a total lockdown in the coming days. Public figure and billionaire philanthropists like Bill Gates are advocating a stricter lockdown for the US if at all the country aims to flatten the curve.
Europe Lockdown Takeaway – Delayed, Now Fatigued
The spread of COVID-19 broke out in Europe much before it took off in India. However, both the people and the administration were hesitant to opt for lockdown measures initially. Now, the majority of countries in the Europe are under lockdown; however, the measure can only be deemed as ‘too little, too late’, as the virus has spread rampantly across the continent. Now, European nations are not in a position to do business as usual by ending the lockdown. In the midst of all this, the month-long lockdown has already brought a fatigue among citizens and reports are suggesting that they are becoming increasingly impatient to hit the streets.
In this backdrop, one needs to acknowledge the timing of the Indian government in taking the lockdown step. The Prime Minister took this bold step before the country entered stage 3 of community transmission of the virus. If not for certain groups like Tablighi Jamaat that defied the restriction to hold congregations and gain the notoriety of being deemed super spreaders, the results were for all to see. Nevertheless, considering the scale India operates at, the spread of virus is still very much under control.
Though it is too early to console ourselves on any count, it is to be noted that a recent UN study also predicts that India may escape from the global recession after the recession of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In any case, the Indian government can’t be faulted with the steps in containing the Coronavirus spread as they came thoughtfully and timely.
Let’s again revisit the phrase PM Modi used while announcing the lockdown- ‘jaan hai to jahan hai’. Now the world probably understands that it can’t simply remake the economy after the pandemic, as the people who can do it are already devastated, seeing their compatriots dead in no time.