Quarantining a household whose members have contracted Covid makes sense, but treating all of society as if they were all infected by the virus is to assume people lack the intelligent human agency needed to avoid getting infected or infecting others, even as they carry out the activity that earns them their livelihood. Such agency has two parts: awareness of the appropriate behaviour, given how the virus spreads, and responsibility of individuals towards the community at large. If policy assumes that either or both these factors to be missing, the result would be a self-fulfilling expectation. Instead, the goal should be to endow people with both awareness and community connect, so that they voluntarily adopt Covid-appropriate behaviour and allow the economy to operate without creating a rise in infections. This, it might be argued, is not easy. Getting people to behave like people, rather than as intelligent brutes, is what saints seek to achieve. That is a tough ask, but has to be attempted, with tenacity.
But undoing stupidity, such as classifying phones as non-essential items that ecommerce companies cannot deliver in a lockdown, is relatively easy. The tough part is owning up the mistake. Policymakers must swallow their pride, and do what is right by the people, even if it means giving up infallibility.