Uddhav Thackeray asks for suggestions as COVID-19 cases rise, Twitterati say 'anything but lockdown'

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, it would seem that the deadly virus have taught most of us absolutely nothing. While some across the world believe that it is a hoax or that it can be wished or prayed away, others believe themselves wholly immune. And unfortunately, even as the case tally rises in some parts of India, people continue to explain why the word "covidiot" will never become obsolete.

In a situation reminiscent of the early days of the pandemic, all businesses and public spaces, with the exception of those dealing in essential commodities, will remain shut in Amravati this week. Other parts of the western state are also considering the enforcement of a fresh lockdown, and have already put restrictions such as night curfews in place.

But as the debate continues, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has left the decision up to the people of the state. That is to say, he is of the opinion that the behaviour of the people will make it abundantly clear whether a lockdown is necessary or not.

"I will seek this answer from you in the coming eight days. Those who do not want a lockdown will observe protocols like using masks, washing hands and keeping physical distance," a tweet from the CMO handle quotes him as saying.

Now, the common consensus on Twitter appears to be that lockdowns are a ghastly phenomenon to be avoided at all costs. However, netizens do not seem to have an answer to the next logical question, that about alternatives.

And while some decided that this was the perfect time to bat for additional leeway when it came to wearing masks, others still appear to have decided that the best defence is a good offence.

"We have been wearing masks and following every protocol. Don't blame us. Improve your facilities for health and hygiene. BMC is fining people for masks but there is no fine for spitting in public. Don't find ways to harass people by lockdown. Try to improve facilities," read one indignant post.

"Nope. No more lockdowns. Also please sir allow those who are doing outdoor physical activity like jogging, cycling, etc. to lower their masks cause doing exercise and wearing mask can cause severe health problems," said another.

Now, far be it for us to suggest that outdoor activities be curtailed amid a pandemic or that the focus be on stopping the spread of the virus rather than treating it afterwards. But while social media users are convinced that "lockdown is not the solution" nobody seems to have any concrete suggestions for what can actually be the solution.

While some have suggested halting local trains or vaccinating people at the earliest, others say that they will wear masks and take all relevant precautions -- even as they allege that many officials themselves do not follow the rules. Many say that mandating offices to work from home for some time will aid them. Others say (with resignation) that in the long run, a lockdown seems to be inevitable.

"Partial lockdown seems to be inevitable, as people who don't follow rules are not here on this platform. 7 PM to 5 AM at initial beginning, considering the situation. If still people don't follow protocol initiate full lockdown without any hesitation," suggested one Twitter user.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal