How Small Towns Are Acing Social Distancing as Cities Like Mumbai and Delhi Fail


How Small Towns Are Acing Social Distancing as Cities Like Mumbai and Delhi Fail

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Each time Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes an announcement at 8 pm, Indians panic. On Tuesday, after the PM announced a complete nationwide lockdown for 21 days, to be effective from midnight, chaos ensued in many parts of  the country, as people thronged local shops to stock up on food and essential supplies.

Social Distancing, the very goal of the lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, was completely lost within minutes as hundreds took to the streets. Chaos ensued outside a DMart store in Mumbai as supermarket officials and the police failed to convince shoppers that essential supplies would be available during the lockdown.

Whether it was stocking up on medicines or food, long queues where people stood in close proximity were the order of the day.

Social distancing is the key in our battle against coronavirus, and India’s urban population could take lessons from our humble brothers and sisters from Talegaon, a small town in Pune, as they set a fine example by adhering to norms in a vegetable market.

Such exemplary behaviour has been displayed in many rural parts of the country. In Mundra, Gujarat people obediently stood in a queue maintaining distance at a grocery shop.

Kerala has been one of the leading states in India in the fight against the coronavirus, where customers don’t even crowd at alcohol shops. Cheers to responsible drinkers!

Who says you can’t have a house party with yourself, and be a responsible citizen at the same time?

Right now there’s no cure to Covid-19, so the only solution seems to be to stay in and if you step outside maintain at least a one-mettre distance. This is something our authorities have been emphasising on and endorsing, right from the PM to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra…

In a cabinet meeting chaired by the PM on Wednesday, ministers were seen seating at a distance from each other.

At truth be told when the crowds are thin there is no need to rush. In fact, residents in the Quezon city of Philippines have found creative ways of social distancing even in compact spaces like an elevator.

It might do us good to remember a lesson we learnt in school: One-hand distance at all times.