Who knew while the world was jubilating for end of another calendar year 2019, and welcome the new year 2020, out there, in one of the wet-markets in the Wuhan province of China, the reason for a world-level crisis had taken off. COVID-19, as it is named for corona virus disease 2019, today, the disease has impacted 180 countries worldwide. To the extent, it has brought everyday life to standstill. Authorities have imposed complete lockdown of localities, towns, and cities. Reason to prevent spread of the disease, which can be best prevented by minimising interaction between individuals. The phenomenon social distancing has birthed, wherein individuals are advised to maintain physical distance as much as possible within communities, work places, and even homes. And, the World Health Organization has declared it as a worldwide pandemic.
Closure of education institutes, remote working of corporates, restrictions on business hours of shops, essential services are some of the impact of corona virus that most part of the world is facing. And, we do not know how long this situation is going to continue. Speculations remain rife.
Here, in one of the suburban areas of Pune in Maharashtra – one of the worst affected states in India – the day long curfew appealed by the Prime Minister on the country for March 22, 2020, has changed the face of the locality. It appears as a ghost town. Not a single soul anywhere, only some fluttering of bird wings for the sense of life around. Not a single sound to be heard – not just a day of silence from honking of vehicles, children on streets, or other sources. The first-ever sight of the locality in nearly 10 years of inhabitation here. The silence broke at 5 pm when communities came out to applaud services of healthcare personnel who are working day and night to serve corona virus infected individuals.
For the coming days, as the situation of the virus infection is speculated to continue, individuals are preparing themselves to deal with it at various fronts. Modern education institutes, urban families, businesses are charting line of action to prevent disruption of life as much as possible. Online tutorials, home-assignments, work-from-home provisions are some steps that authorities, institutions have resorted to minimise losses of productive hours.
At the home front, as individuals, children are home; families are stocking food, fruits, vegetables, buying protective masks, essential medicines with the uncertainty if the situation will become grim or start to reverse.
At the moment, the only recourse for safety of individuals, communities is to prevent spread of the infection. This onus is on individuals to quarantine themselves and their families with any possibility of carrying the virus from an infected individual, or on appearance of any symptom of the disease as propagated by health authorities.