New Delhi: We all are living in the time when social distancing has become the new necessity of life, courtesy the spread of coronavirus. The novel virus that had originated late last year in a food market in the Chinese city of Wuhan has till date infected more than 4 lakh people around the globe of which 21,000 have been reported dead. In India, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, as of March 26 (10 am), 649 cases of COVID-19 were reported, of which 13 people have lost their lives. The second worst-hit state due to coronavirus is Kerala after Maharashtra, which has reported around 118 cases till now. With the aim to control the spread of the virus the state has already taken several measures, the most recent being practising social distancing.
Practising social distancing has become a necessary mandate in the times of a nation-wide lockdown for 21 days that was announced on March 24 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Kerala that was also one of the first states in the country to report three COVID-19 cases shows the way for following the rule like a pro. In a photograph tweeted recently by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, a shopkeeper in the state can be seen transferring essential goods to his customer’s shopping bag with the help of an approximately four-feet long PVC pipe attached to the side of his counter.
By creating this funnel as a barrier between him and the customer, the shopkeeper managed to completely avoid any contact, making it a perfect example of social distancing at this crucial stage of coronavirus spread. Mr Tharoor impressed with the way the shopkeeper in Kerala and how he is keeping the things going, tweeted the picture and said, “How to maintain physical distance between shopkeeper & customer while buying essential supplies — the Kerala way! #COVID19India”
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) March 25, 2020
That’s not the only thing the state has done differently to wage a war against the spread of the novel virus. Earlier, to sensitise the people about the importance of public and personal hygiene during the crucial time of coronavirus, a mass handwashing campaign called “Break The Chain” was launched by the Kerala Health Minister. The municipal authorities also kept soaps and water at public places including bus stations, waiting sheds etc so that people can wash their hands on a regular basis.
Apart from this, in the wake of disaster and the nationwide lockdown, Anganwadi centres, schools and colleges across the state has been shut. But the state government decided to intervene and made sure that free mid-day meals are being delivered to the beneficiaries and the disaster is not having an impact in worsening the nutrition status of the children in Kerala.
According to the government, the 33,115 Anganwadi centres in Kerala, educating kids between the ages of 3 and 6, are delivering free mid-day meals to children at their homes, benefitting around 3.75 lakh Anganwadi kids. Moreover, the state government is also providing nutritional services to around 4.75 lakh children under 3 years of age, 2 lactating mothers and around 3 lakh pregnant women, reaching nearly 13.5 lakh people at home.
Along with Kerala, now, other states are also following the footsteps of social distancing while going about daily chores like grocery shopping, in their own unique way. Social media is filled with images of people standing in chalk circles drawn outside shops to avoid accidental crowding and touching.
Here are some glimpses:
— Uma Sudhir (@umasudhir) March 26, 2020
People maintaining one meter distance to buy vgetables at Bullaya College grounds, AU Engineering Ground in #Vizag
— Vizag – The City Of Destiny (@Justice_4Vizag) March 26, 2020
— District Collector – Tiruppur (@TPRDtCollector) March 26, 2020
— DCP South East Delhi (@DCPSEastDelhi) March 26, 2020