Very recently, the Kerala government embarked on a plan to ‘reverse quarantine’ senior citizens. The idea has appealed to the Karnataka government as well which wants to start a similar project in the state. It is refreshing see governments rising above party compulsions. The political identities of the parties in power in the two states are different and yet, one government feels no shame in emulating a good idea from someone whose political ideology is widely different.
The Kerala government’s response to the Covid spread has been from the beginning very proactive, disciplined and focused. Kerala bore the initial brunt as the corona virus entered India through its shores, but managed its house well. The result is that the disease has been contained in Kerala far better than some other states.
Reverse quarantine is all about isolating and protecting the elders as the younger and physically stronger return to near normal activity.
The logic to my mind is simple. It makes sense to find a solution for the 18 crore population rather than 135 crore. The central and state governmentsm instead of squabbling, could put their heads together to deal with the problem through a common programme with area specific strategies.
I agree that it’s far easier to cross swords than not. But maybe those five or six thousand odd guys who we vote to power will be sensible for just this one time!
It is not difficult for the state governments to identify the elder population. There are enough tools at their disposal. The question is how and where to isolate these otherwise non-affected elders? It is also important to convince them.
The concept could be modelled around a vacation for them, away from friends and family for a while. My assessment is a three-month period would be ideal with a provision of another month depending on the overall situation. One presumes that by that time, the vast majority of the population would have gone through the pangs of the infection.
There is now enough evidence available across the globe on how long the virus stays in healthy bodies. Even if very large numbers remain asymptomatic, the virus would perhaps remain inside for two to three weeks and die a natural death unless they find other hosts in close proximity to help grow their ilk.
Statistics also show that the healthier people either do not develop any symptoms or display mild ones and require very little medical intervention to become corona-free. As the active society will not have too many elderly people around to worry about, the normal healthcare infrastructure will have less headaches and be more capable to deal with the viral infections as well as other health interventions that are suffering very badly now.
Where will the money be found for this national exercise to be successful? Governments will have to cough up the funds. Besides, the CSR funds in PM Cares can be utilised, unless of course these have disappeared already, God knows to whose avail!
In any case, for a government intent on finding the resources for which it seriously believes will deplete the influence of corona, this should not be a difficult poser.
The Nation must return to normal as soon as possible. Half measures will only delay economic revival and give more teeth to industrialist Rajeev Bajaj’s remark that the “lockdowns have flattened the economy instead of flattening the Covid curve.”
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