Prolonged lockdown is not the solution — MCCI
Dimapur, June 2 (EMN): Taking cognisance of the precarious socio-economic scenario prevailing in the district, the Mokokchung Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) stated that prolonged lockdown is not the solution to end the pandemic but would rather prove counter-productive.
MCCI was of the view that prolonged lockdown would compel many households to fall into the debt trap, while the financial distress would take its toll on the economically weaker sections of society. It added that many would fall victim to physical and mental health problems like anxiety disorder, hypertension, morbid obesity, stress and other diseases due to lack of physical activity because of the prolonged lockdown.
On the economic front, it stated that prolonged lockdown would cause an economic downturn from where it would take years for a fragile economy to bounce back. As there are villages and neighbouring districts dependent on Mokokchung for their economic sustenance, it stated that the repercussions of any economic disruption would have far reaching consequences.
“Closure of market/ lockdowns, if at all necessary, should be imposed only as a last resort after ascertaining the market dynamics. Pressing the panic button and imposing total lockdowns without conducting any empirical analysis is a demonstration of immaturity that does more harm than good,” MCCI president Tsukti Longkumer and the general secretary Limalenden Longkumer stated.
MCCI has strongly advocated for a phased and gradual exit from the economically crippling lockdown. MCCI has urged not to misconstrue as wanting to keep the businesses open at the cost of public health but rather as a pragmatic approach towards living their lives with the virus in the “new normal.”
MCCI felt that public notifications, orders and information should solely be relayed from the office of the DC and chairman of the DTF and should not lack in clarity so that there is no room for dilution of information and mass confusion.
MCCI desired that the weak link in the chain of command be identified and fixed immediately so that the DTF is strengthened to achieve the desired goals. It mentioned that disruptive orders from various “offices” other than the DC not only caused much confusion, disinformation and commotion among the masses but also economically depressing.
MCCI also stated that the economic disruption caused by a prolonged lockdown where economically weaker sections of the society including daily wage earners and small business owners are deprived of their livelihood earnings tantamount to violation of basic human rights.
“The price of flattening the curve of the pandemic should not be costlier than the pandemic itself or the cure worse than the problem itself,” MCCI said.
Apart from the physical and mental health problems directly associated with prolonged lockdowns, MCCI stated that there are other worrisome factors caused by lockdowns as they contravene conventional economic principles which inevitably lead to inflation, scarcity and instability in the market.
Apart from managing the sensitisation campaign, MCCI urged the IEC cell to take up the task of dispelling fake news and disinformation, fact checking, and dissemination inspiring stories. It stated that exposing the masses to positive stories and factual accounts would aid in better equipping the society in the collective fight against the pandemic. It added that fear psychosis and misinformation embedded in the public psyche could best be addressed by a sustained IEC campaign.
It also stated that tabulating the number of new Covid-19 positive tests indicating mild and severe cases, number of recoveries, number of active cases, mortality rate and other relevant data on a daily basis would keep the people informed and not be swayed by rumours. It also urged efforts to fight against stigmatisation.
MCCI appealed to every single member of the society to adopt healthy and hygienic practices, maintain the SOPs, exercise, keep oneself physically active and cooperate with the authorities. It also appealed to continue supporting the DTF, medical personnel and all the frontline workers.
It further called upon the community apex bodies, mass based organisations, NGOs and civil society organisations, church, concerned citizens and groups to continue to remain steadfast and stand together in the collective fight against the pandemic.