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Officially strange lockdown do’s and don’ts

While government actions during crises aren’t always measured, certain responses to the COVID-19 threat are hall of shame material.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a first in many ways: the first major global health crisis in living memory, the first instance of multiple nation-wide lockdowns, the first time newsreaders and talk show hosts worked from home… the list is long, but these aren’t the only pandemic firsts.

As governments around the world strive to find extraordinary solutions to an extraordinary situation, some their responses are not the smartest. Rather, the pandemic has brought to light a wave of questionable, controversial and bizarre government diktats.

Wedding, yes. Kissing, no!

Late in May the government of Sri Lanka lifted a ban on wedding receptions as part of easing the nationwide lockdown. The guidelines stated a maximum of 100 invitees can gather. Permission denied to kiss, hug or shake hands with the wedded couple. The catch is, grooms are forbidden from kissing the bride in public. What might a couple’s kiss accomplish that 100 guests at a wedding reception cannot in spreading the virus? Mercifully, there are no guidelines on honeymooning.

Vodka + sauna = dead coronavirus

The President of Belarus probably knows more about coronavirus than all of the world’s scientists, researchers and doctors put together. Early in the onset of the pandemic, he claimed that vodka and saunas can kill coronavirus. That’s not all. This CNN report states he also participated in an ice hockey match, proclaiming, “This is a fridge, this is healthy, there is nothing better than sport, especially ice which is the real anti-viral medicine.” Watch out virus, we’re tippling vodka over a steaming sauna so we can kick your butt at a game of ice hockey.

Scolding hubby with a Doraemon imitation

Meanwhile in Malaysia, officialdom drew up an intriguing series of infographics containing guidelines for women on managing their households. One of the instructions tells women working from home to wear makeup and dress up properly rather than wearing ‘home’ clothes. More absurdity followed by way of a no-nag instruction that translates, “If you see your partner doing something wrong, avoid nagging – use ‘humorous’ words like saying: ‘This is how you hang clothes my dear’ (imitate Doraemon’s voice and follow up with giggles!” In case you’re wondering, these bright ideas were born at Malaysia’s Women, Family and Community Development Ministry.

Stay home or stay inside Dracula’s daytime resting place

What happens to Filipinos who ignore lockdown orders and step out for a stroll? They can go to a dark, dank place instead. Authorities in the Philippines city of Santo Tomas warned residents to stay home by means of a stern message stuck on a grisly prop. Empty coffins and skulls were placed at several locations in the city with the message: “Stay at Home or Stay inside”. Who wants to go first?

Monday Men. Tuesday Women. Sunday Closed.

Central American nations, Peru on and Panama, imposed an odd and controversial quarantine rule that was based on gender. Peru announced on April 1 and Panama a day later, that Men and women were allowed to leave their homes on designated days – Monday, Wednesday and Friday for men, and Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for women. No one leaves home on Sunday. The efficacy of such a guideline is unproven but it did halve the crowds outside home on any weekday.

Here’s some more lockdown-induced madness, fashion trends and haircuts to make you smile.

By Romeo Coutinho

Rationalist, truth seeker, full time writer, part time dreamer.

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