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To live with Covid19, it is time for us to have a SOP for everything!

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Rohit Patel: Despite the hardships, there is no denying that a quick imposition of lockdown has helped us control the spread of Corona. Yet, economic activity needs to resume as we don’t know how long the Covid19 battle will last. Hence we need to prepare ourselves to live with the pandemic. We can’t and shouldn’t keep the life of our citizens confined to the four walls to keep them safe. It is time to have a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) so that we can learn to live with Corona. This means voluntarily imposing restrictions on ourselves to ensure a disciplined living.

The SOPs need to be practical enough to be easily implementable. Take for example the conditions imposed on industries before they could function during easing of lockdown. Employees found it difficult to travel due to the ban on two-wheelers and restrictions on the number of people who could travel in a car or bus. Not every business had the wherewithal to provide for employee accommodation at the workplace. In this case, the conditions were practically impossible to implement with the result that industries either chose not to open shop or do so without following the conditions.

There needs to be a decentralization of power and guidelines need to be provided so that local authorities can decide what is permissible and not permissible in containment and Red Zones and how to define such zones.

We also need a clear and precise definition of what is a Covid19 epicentre, a temporary containment zone, a local authority, a Red zone, an Orange zone and the Green zone among others.

We also need prescribed guidelines on what will be the standard living behaviour in each of the above defined areas. We will need a SOP for business, for transport of goods, for travelling, for driving and even for our daily life.

For example an SOP for everyday life during Covid19 could be that no person can step outside without a good quality mask. Ensuring availability of hand washing facilities or sanitizers at public places, taking a sanitized bag for purchase of grocery and buying groceries and such in bulk to avoid having to go out frequently could be some of the other SOPs for us to follow.

For factories, this may include not allowing employees without a mask, ensuring complete sanitisation of the workplace, keeping an eye on the health of employees to detect early symptoms etc. Shops may be asked to refuse grocery to those who come without a mask or their own sanitized bag. Only allowing one customer at a time in the shop etc could be some of the mandatory SOPs that we may need to implement.

It is time for us to learn to live with Covid19 and a set of rules and disciplined adherence to them can be the only way out for us.

(The author is former minister, Gujarat and CMD of Milcent Appliances Pvt Ltd. Views expressed are personal)

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