It is said that time is a great healer. But when shall time heal the subjects of this globe from the wrath of the coronavirus which has already taken a heavy toll of human lives apart from its other woes and maladies inflicted upon all of us in different forms and distresses. Let bygones be bygones but, the bygone is yet to come, it appears. It has been a tough, unusual year for each one of us. The world we knew has changed and may never be the same again. It appears as on date that the time before the pandemic was a dream which probably will never come true again. Let us pray otherwise. Pandemic has made us to look at life and its pranks as to how to live it and respect it.Let us all seek pardon and penance from ‘Nature’ for our misadventures with it in one form or the other by not obeying its ethical and spiritual laws in letter and spirit. Probably, we are suffering for that. The punishments are very serious yet simple to operate. Serious in the sense that we cannot shake hands to pay compliments to each other, as also we are supposed to maintain a distance from each other and then talk to each other after plugging our mouths with masks etc. Though, it is a process which is easy to operate yet it is a very serious punishment when the humans on this earth are supposed to gag their mouths and inhale back their good or bad breaths. In the alternative, we may not perish through each other’s breaths. Does it mean that one human is a threat to the other human even within the same corridor? Such a warrant from the nature has no limitations of relationships. It can be said that the sociality has been banned through this pandemic death warrant by our creator against all of us in one go. We certainly need to follow absolute discipline and seek Divine intervention in this hour of pandemic and seek elimination of this fatal virus which is the ‘Death warrant’ around us. We the humans of this universe never obeyed the laws of nature sympathetically and trampled its magnificence and grace for petty gains and material benefits. Recourse to all such steps is the need of the hour as all of us are facing the doom of our collective past actions of defying the nature and its defined norms for our ambitious and biased living. Probably this virus has taught us the meaning of togetherness. Throughout the period of this existing pandemic, the chaos, panic and uncertainty have given us one comfort of being together. When adversity brings people together we try to find hope amongst each other.The total coronavirus cases across the world are of the order of :- total coronavirus cases: 60,272,757, deaths:- 1,418,260, recovered:- 41,694,402, active cases:-17,160,095, currently Infected patients, in mild condition:- 17,056,544 (99.4%) serious or critical cases:- 103,551 (0.6%), closed cases:- 43,112,662, which had an outcome of recovered and discharged cases:- 41,694,402 (97%) and deaths:- 1,418,260 (3%).In our country, the position is equally alarming, when the total coronavirus cases are about 9,257,945. The deaths occurred are of the order 135,165. The number of recovered patients is 8,673,328The impact on the economy due to of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in India has been largely disruptive. India’s growth in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2020 went down to 3.1% according to the Ministry of Statistics. The Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India said that the drop is mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic effect on the Indian economy. Notably India had also been witnessing a pre-pandemic slowdown, and according to the World Bank, the current pandemic has ‘magnified pre-existing risks to India’s economic outlook’.Major companies in India have temporarily suspended or significantly reduced operations. Young startups have been impacted as funding has fallen. Fast-moving consumer goods companies in the country have significantly reduced operations and are focusing on essentials.The Government of India announced a variety of measures to tackle the situation, from food security and extra funds for healthcare and for the states, to sector related incentives and tax deadline extensions.In India, the impact of coronavirus has equally been quite disruptive in the field of education in the country. To combat COVID-19, lockdown was imposed which has adversely affected the education system in the country. It has changed the traditional education system to the educational technologies (Ed Techs) model, where teaching and assessments are conducted online. This paper aims to identify the barriers faced by teachers during online teaching and assessment in different home environment settings in India.Under this system, which had to be adopted under the compulsion of the need of the hour, has revealed varied categories of barriers that are faced by teachers during online teaching and assessments. Under home environment settings, lack of basic facilities, external distraction and family interruption during teaching and conducting assessments were major issues reported. Institutional support barriers such as the budget for purchasing advanced technologies, lack of training, lack of technical support and lack of clarity and direction were also reported. Teachers also faced technical difficulties. They faced challenges such as lack of technical infrastructure, namely, a laptop, internet and microphones in their home to teach or conduct assessments online. There is no direct technical support that can be offered to teachers in case of any technical difficulty during online lecture delivery or online assessment. A lack of technical support includes lack of technical infrastructure, limited awareness of online teaching platforms and security concerns. Teachers’ personal problems including a lack of technical knowledge, negative attitude, course integration with technology and a lack of motivation are identified as the fourth category to damper their engagement in online teaching and assessments. By and large, the entire education system of the whole country got tremendously disturbed.Prime Minister Narendra Modi of late held a meeting regarding the pandemic. He said that people need to collectively curb COVID-19 transmission and bring the positivity rate under five per cent. Addressing a meeting with chief ministers discussing India’s COVID strategy, the Prime Minister said that following good recovery rate, carelessness has crept in among people which need to be dealt. As a result of joint efforts, today India is in a better situation than other countries when it comes to recovery and fatality rates. Carelessness crept in among some people in dealing with COVID-19. We now have to work to spread awareness again. The government is trying to make medical colleges and district hospitals self-sufficient in oxygen generation. Efforts are underway to establish more than 160 oxygen generation plants in the country, said the Prime Minister. Government of India is keeping a track of each development in vaccine development. We are in touch with Indian vaccine developers and manufacturers. We are also in touch with global regulators, Governments of other countries, multinational organisations and international companies about the vaccine. Safety is as important as speed for us, whichever vaccine India will give to its citizens will be safe on all scientific standards. Vaccine distribution strategy will be chalked out in collective coordination with states. States must also start working cold storage facilities. It is not certain whether there will be one, two or three doses of a vaccine. It is also not decided what will be the price of the vaccine. We still don’t have answers to these questions said the Prime Minister.Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has said that a locally-developed COVID-19 vaccine could complete its final trials in a month or two, raising hopes for a rapid roll-out in a country. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and privately-held Bharat Biotech this month started third-stage trials of Covaxin, in a process that would involve 26,000 volunteers. It is the most advanced Indian experimental vaccine. “We are in the process of developing our indigenous vaccines, in the process of completing our third-phase trials in the next one or two months,” Dr. Harsh Vardhan told during a web conference on the pandemic. He reiterated the Government’s plan was to immunise 200 million to 250 million Indians by July.Indian officials have however said that they expect to rely on Covaxin and four other locally tested candidates, to control COVID-19. The CEO of Serum’s has said that AstraZeneca vaccine could be delivered to the Indian health care workers and elders by January-2021,Next week is an important one for India in its fight against the corona virus disease. There are clear signs of a second wave. The week starting November 30th will decide how rapidly this gathers momentum. The crowded markets dealings just ahead of Diwali (November 14), and the Diwali celebrations themselves were to some extent muted this year, but there were some gatherings and family get-togethers, and some people did travel to be with their families which has resulted in a spike in cases.Vaccine or no vaccine, it all depends upon us to have a better tomorrow, when we will be free from this epidemic, by observing strict precautionary measures recommended to be taken against this pandemic. The best vaccine presently to be availed by us is the usage of Masks as the alternative for the actual vaccine, till the actual vaccine for its eradication becomes available.It is said that there is always a bright Sun behind the dark clouds. Let us hope that the new sunlight after the end of this pandemic will bring more light and brilliance to us, which will make us to forget the brightness of the times before this pandemic. That time we will say let bygones be bygones. But old is gold. We will have its remembrances.(The author is a Chartered Consultant Civil Engineer)
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