Implement shutdown with empathy | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 30, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:02 AM, March 30, 2020

Implement shutdown with empathy

Essential movement shouldn’t be stopped

The countrywide shutdown was a timely step by the administration. It was a necessary inconvenience to stem the spread of COVID-19 and ward off the likelihood of the kind of situation that was and is being faced in many countries. More than 200 countries have been afflicted by the virus, in varying degree, and most of them have ordered people to go on self-isolation. However, while such orders do oblige people not to venture out from homes, essential movements outside is allowed. After all people need to buy necessities like food stuff and of course the sick need to get to the hospital or treatment centres.

Unfortunately, media reports show that the police and other members of the administration have been rather draconian in their attitude while implementing the lockdown orders in our case. There have been instances of public outrage at police excesses, as reported, in their bid to ensure social distancing and shutdown. The enforcing agencies shouldn't administer corporal punishment, and that too to elderly people as happened in one instance, or prevent people taking patients to the hospital while enforcing the lockdown. In fact, in one instance as reported in this paper yesterday, a person had to bribe his way out of the situation. We are happy to note the IG's instruction following these incidents, urging compassion from his forces. This should have been the attitude of the police from the very start.

   But apart from the police, what has created a serious problem is the complete shutdown of public transport of every denomination since the lockdown was announced. And it is the less affluent and the poor who are the hardest hit. We suggest that the administration in conjunction with the two city corporations arrange for pool of transport in various parts of the city which people can avail easily in time of their need, particularly for going to the hospital. That would lessen the pains of shutdown considerably.


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