Crises sharpen when clever ones play their game. Boris Johnson wants a lockdown to divert public attention from the impending crisis over ‘Brexit’ and trade-talks failure. It is feared Europe may see even a skirmish between some members. Vaccine makers want the pandemic to continue looming over the world. Indian rulers too are reluctant to end the crisis. They declare curbs in one or the other name, though the time is ripe for letting people live a normal life. Agenda of people in power are always heavier for people to shoulder. It seems someone is always kept ready to unlock the ghost to keep the masses haunted.
The news of a new virulent strain of coronavirus reported in the United Kingdom (UK) has gone viral across the world. A ghost is set to be unlocked. Incidentally, in India too, the news has become viral that spooked the financial market, though the doors have been closed tight against all possibilities of creeping the strain into the country. The new strain is known to be spreading 70 per cent faster. In a week the caseload in the UK soared more than 50 per cent. The UK is isolated from the rest of Europe. Outside Europe, countries like Canada, Israel, South Africa and India suspended all air links with the UK, immediately after most countries in Europe declared lockdown.
A year ago, Boris Johnson retained power with a thumping majority to complete the mission of ‘Brexit’. Now the trade negotiation landed the UK in trouble. The British Prime Minister knows, failure to agree a deal on trade would send shockwaves through financial markets. It would send tremors across the European economies. There could even be a skirmish that would cut supply chains between the European neighbours. Boris Johnson expressed this concern openly on 21st December while addressing the Press.
Christmas is around the corner. People were anticipating the pandemic to settle and vaccine to end their fear. But the beginning of the vaccine delivery coincided with the more contagious second wave. Entire Europe is on an edge or the continent is being pushed into a brink, not merely because of the pandemic but by Boris’ British policy.
Most countries in Western Europe have declared complete lockdown for days ranging from a fortnight to a month. Christmas and New Year celebrations will pass through the lockdown. As the crisis boils up, the UK will have a bigger stake to take. When the second wave of infection is said to be more dangerous, the vaccine is ready for emergency supply. The British government and the British vaccine maker have gained what they wished. As the fear rose, the suspected vaccine hesitancy in Europe has completely waned. That is one of the major gains. The second viral infection crisis has, thus, served two purposes. Boris Johnson got a temporary cover from a crisis that he has been heading to. Second is the hot assurance of vaccine sales all over Europe, besides sending a lesson to other more populated continents. In any manner, Europe has its ghost ready to unleash the troubles for people.
Back to India, the Covid-19 crisis has been on the wane since October. Still, many of the severely hit businesses haven’t turned around. The government has set aside the concern and begun to look at what is emerging. Closed businesses remain closed with no possibility of reopening. Several hundred thousand self-employed people are still staring at uncertainties. As people begin to move around and pick up their job with a strain, economic activities also begin. But a strong restriction on people’s movements and fear of infection among people work for someone’s interests. The people with vested interests need the restrictions to continue and fear to remain by fabricating a fear among people. The same section seems to have enough clout to accomplish their desire through the government, lawmakers and regulators. They successfully implement their plots. A close look at every decision taken by the government, both States and Central, shows exactly this.
On 21st December, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray declared the State was out of lockdown. That signalled the end of the pandemic. Practically, that was the truth, though complete lifting of lockdown was yet to be declared. Everyone does not want to end it. After all, Uddhav Thackeray is riding a tricycle coalition. He has to be equally careful of the three wheels. Astonishingly, a day later, he declared a night curfew between 11 PM and 6 AM. In normal days, especially in winter, all cities and villages are under virtual curfew during this time. Mumbai’s lifeline, the local rail lines are kept closed. At the same time, the road transport is fully open. Uddhav Thackeray knows the travelling difficulties of people working in Mumbai and its periphery. Roads are jammed. Many people are put to waste their valuable time on the road.
The night-curfew declaration seemingly helped the Chief Minister project that he was in control of the State’s affairs. But the meaning of a night curfew is still unclear. The night curfew can curb only the entry of large trucks carrying essentials into cities as the day-time traffic density prevents their movement through packed city highways.
What are the benefits of declaring such a night curfew then? Reiteration of the Chief Minister’s power? Every Chief Minister often needs this reiteration. But the connotation of such an action is in question. Is this because Maharashtra is afraid of the new virulent strain that is keeping the UK on its toes? If so, can the night curfew prevent its entry into India or stop the already easing spread of Covid-19 infection further? The logic of a night curfew is not known.
No doubt, like Boris Johnson wants a pandemic crisis in the UK, someone wants it everywhere. For those who are fortunate enough to be undisturbed by any crisis, the pandemic and lockdown are only big festivals to have a feast on the torments of people. Vaccines need a big market to fill the big-ones’ coffers. People living in fear are their customers. Making people afraid of the pandemic can only be their logical business growth strategy. When the clever set their goals and win the world, even God is helpless. The unlocked ghost takes over everything.