As we gear up to enter into lockdown 4, people are agog with hope that they are going to be a step closer to life before COVID. Train service has resumed with some restrictions, then there are Shramik Express trains taking labourers to their destinations, some pleasant change from the heart rending scenes of thousands of migrants walking hundreds of miles to their home towns , lock stock and barrel, with family and children in tow. Liquor shops and queues outside there has already been covered by me in one of the earlier blogs. As aforesaid, while the Prime Minister has raised hopes in his address to the Nation by declaring that lockdown 4.0 is going to be very different from the previous 3 lockdowns, we will have to wait for the final details. In any case, different state governments will take appropriate decisions keeping the local ground realities in their respective areas.

But all said and done, it’s simply clear that lockdown as we have witnessed since the Janta curfew is not going to continue in this form and life will start limping back to pre- COVID days, albeit slowly. Offices are expected to open with limited attendance, factories are going to start production, markets will open, e tailers will start deliveries, private vehicles may be allowed on the roads – in short it is expected that the nation is going to take a step towards business as usual.

Does it mark the beginning of the end of COVID menace, especially now that PM has announced an economic booster dose of 120000 crore to uplift poor, downtrodden, farmers and businesses, especially small? Yes, to my mind it’s going to be the end of one phase, but not conclusive or in finality! In fact, it’s going to be start of a much more difficult phase that will entail a very high degree of discipline and observance on our part to live alongside Coronavirus! Corona is not going anywhere too soon, vaccination still seems some distance away and treatment of choice is elusive. But when we have overcrowded cities, public transport that’s tested to the hilt and an enemy that’s so contagious that it is raring to go to a new victim, unless we maintain social distancing, wear masks, wash hands regularly, stay indoors in self quarantine if unwell and learn to live the life entirely the new way, the survival of humanity is going to be tested severely!

Lockdown 4 is not going to be a countdown to carefree pre-COVID days; it’s going to be an entirely new way of life – careful, disciplined, regimented, regulated and respected ( towards nature, fellow citizens and everything else that we had so far taken for granted).

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