International COVID 19 As India battles Covid-19, staying indoors is the new normal for student

As India battles Covid-19, staying indoors is the new normal for student

But there is light at the end of the tunnel -- scientists have developed vaccines, which will be distributed globally over three to five years

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Sitamarhi (India) — With the start of a vaccination programme against Covid-19 in India on Saturday (Jan 16), another firm step is being taken in the battle against the virus in the country.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the daily life of every individual in some way or other around the world. Millions of people have fallen sick from the virus and two million have sadly succumbed to it.

The pandemic has made the situation in many places, including where I live, quite bizarre, where staying indoors is the new normal, while dining in restaurants has become a thing of past.

When the number of cases began increasing swiftly in India last year, a 21-day lockdown was imposed throughout the country from March 25 to reduce the transmission of the virus. This was then increased to two months and, later, seven months. It’s almost a year now, and even now the lockdown has not been completely called off.

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I have felt perplexed about how the world is going to function and how everyone will adapt to the new situation at hand.

I was worried reading about the thousands of people losing their lives, about the thousands of daily-wage labourers from different parts of the country struggling to reach their homes in the rural countryside, about the world changing forever, about a country like India, with a population of more than 1.34 billion — the second-largest in the world —  being badly affected by the virus and about communication, administration and business having to take refuge online.

At the beginning of the lockdown, I spent my time reading, discovering new hobbies and experimenting with new activities. I tried to make the best use of the time I had.

Months passed and I began attending university virtually in September 2020. I have not got a chance to visit the campus to date or met any of my classmates in person. So I can say this is a different experience, studying journalism virtually. It is definitely something I had never imagined I would have to do. However, the silver lining of online classes was the rare opportunity of interacting with renowned speakers from different parts of the globe sharing their thoughts and experiences with us, which might have been impossible if the pandemic had not happened and our classes were conducted conventionally.

It has dawned upon me that accurate, reliable journalism in times of global crises is extremely important to keep people around the world informed of current events that might impact them. One might even say that good journalism in times such as this is a social responsibility. Journalists have gone to great lengths to keep their audience aware of what is happening around them.

There are, however, moments when I miss my old life, going out with my friends and having tons of good fun. But the times had changed, with new rules and measures to  stop the spread of the virus. It was and still is important to abide by the safety protocol announced by the government to keep ourselves safe. It is better to take all measures necessary to prevent the chance of contracting the disease than actually contracting it and having to suffer the assault of the pathogen while also leaving my family vulnerable to infection.

My view is that the global repercussions of the pandemic will be felt for half a decade as countries struggle to rebuild their economies, restructuring their healthcare system, find jobs for people rendered unemployed due to their employers downsizing or terminating their employment, along with a myriad of other problems.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel — scientists have developed vaccines, which will be distributed globally over three to five years.

Moreover, global economies are slowly, although turbulently, recovering, along with restaurants and businesses slowly reopening. In a year’s time, with persistent effort aimed at eliminating this disease and rebuilding our economies, we will surely get to have the fun that we used to have before this pandemic began. Until then, stay safe!

Simran Hisaria is an overseas intern at Independent SG. /TISG

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