(Kajal Singh, intern journalist): Coronavirus has engulfed the whole world including India. Due to the non-availability of treatment for this new infection, the medical community and the World Health Organization are also considering prevention as an effective solution in such a situation. One of the most tried and tested methods of prevention of coronavirus infection is ‘social distance’ (or social distancing).
In such a situation, there are some misunderstandings and some concerns about the concept of social distance. And when social distance takes the form of lockdown then these concerns turn into challenges.
That is why it is very important to understand what is ‘social distance’ and how to absorb it so that the country and humanity can be saved from this transition.
‘Social distance’ is neither the distance from the heart, neither the distance from the community nor the distance from sociality. There is a need to maintain a real distance from each other in the transition period while staying close to each other’s heart and adopting social norms.
There is a need to keep yourself away from the crowd and make the environment virus-free, as a result of which the link of virus expansion can be broken. So that we can stop the spread of coronavirus.
This infection is spreading very fast and the most worrying thing is that now it has penetrated from cities to villages. There is a danger that if there is community transmission of this virus, then there will be more loss of life and property.
Spain and Italy have enough examples to explain the difficulties in the epidemic. Those who say that if they call for social distance is not taken seriously, Corona will have dangerous consequences and everyone will have to bear the brunt.
The coronavirus is an epidemic for the whole world and it is also very aggressive in its spread. If the social distance is not taken care of with proper medical facilities, then any country like Italy and Spain can face it.
Why social distance had to be strictly enforced in India?
If we look at the history of epidemics in the world, the method of social distance has been a standard protocol. Despite this, why does India again need to strictly enforce social distance?
If we look at the population density of India, it is about 465 persons per square kilometer which is much more than 206 persons per square kilometer of Italy and 243 persons per square kilometer of Spain. It is also much higher than in other European countries.
This means that if lockdown is not strictly enforced with social distance, the spread of corona will happen rapidly. The infection will also spread very fast and despite the expansion of health services, we will not be able to solve the problem, maybe. Research related to the spread of infected disease during the last few years suggests that the public will have to think ethically in public plans to deal with the epidemic.
In an epidemic, such socialism is not possible without public participation and in the absence of publicity, a social distance of any kind will never be successful. The public should not restrain themselves from fear of the state or from the terror of infection, but it is a moral responsibility.
It is our responsibility to the collective humanity that we do everything possible to prevent its spread. If beyond the principle of morality, we will see the problem of corona even from the utilitarian mindset, we still have to decide what is in our benefit. Then perhaps we will be able to understand that shutting down at home is much less painful. In comparison to infecting oneself as well as endangering family and neighbors or suffering treatment.
We did not succeed in strengthening the moral bond
Research related to epidemic management also suggests that during the course of an illness, an ethical bond is formed between the state, government and the public to build trust in the public while maintaining transparency.
Despite the implementation of the lockdown, the migration of thousands of poor laborers, and the gathering on the streets suggests that we are still not able to fully succeed in strengthening this moral bond. Government orders should be followed in a proper way which is in the health and public interest, as well as it should be ensured that such orders will ultimately speak of a just system.
In this framework, we have to understand the concept of social distance and orders such as lockdown which has been implemented by various agencies of central and state governments.
In such a situation, the responsibility of the state and governments is greatly increased, whether it is to make the public aware of the disease or to provide treatment, to provide bread to the financially poor, or to the medical staff treating the infected and the means.
Providing safety kit. In such a situation, there is a lot of pressure on governments for every action, when the public hands over their own fundamental freedom to the state.
Social distance should not be considered as distance or distance from society, Even at the grassroots level, social distance should not be seen as an ambivalence.
The government and social organizations should ensure that there is no social discrimination towards the doctors and other medical staff and indifference and apathy towards the corona victims. Social distance should not be understood as distance in society or distance from society.
If we do not see the definition of social distance with the concept of ‘social kindness’ (social compassion) then it would be wrong. That is why it is important to pay attention to social kindness.
The priority to save one’s life is natural, but the over-purchasing of materials for their needs, the black marketing of medical needs such as medicine and ventilators, shows that social distance is not seen by linking it with social kindness. This will increase the problem further, will reduce mutual trust in people and we will move towards mass destruction.
In epidemic management today, there is a need to build a triangular trust, where the state believes in the people, the people have faith in the state, and the people maintain trust and brotherhood in each other. Only then, every citizen will consider social distance as a compulsion rather necessary and will believe that social distance is a journey of solitude in collectively, let us all remain indoors.