- India's nationwide lockdown was first announced on March 24
- On April 14, PM Modi extended the lockdown till May 3
- Experts say lockdown is essential in breaking the chain of the infection
New Delhi: At a time of global pandemic to break the chain of the infection and slow the spread of the virus, India announced a lockdown on March 24, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The lockdown was implemented from midnight (March 25) for 21 days (April 14). On April 14, PM Modi further extended the lockdown for three more weeks as India saw a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases. Now the second phase of lockdown is set to get over by May 3.
What Is A Lockdown?
According to the government, lockdown is defined as an emergency protocol that is implemented by the authorities TO prevent people from leaving their homes or a particular area. When a lockdown is implemented people are not allowed to travel or go outside their houses like before.
Under lockdown circumstances, one cannot go out to work or can go out to malls or cinemas for leisure activities. A lockdown means that people need to stay inside and safe. Essential service like groceries, medications, banks are only allowed to function in this crucial time. According to the guidelines by the government, in India following things are shut under these lockdown circumstances:
• All transport, flights, trains, roadways
• All government offices with exceptions
• Commercial and private establishments
• Industrial establishments
• Hospitality establishments
• Educational institutions
• All places of worship, religious congregations
• All social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions
Whereas following are the exceptions under the lockdown:
• Banks, insurance offices, and ATMs
• Essential services like sanitation, water supply, power
• Hospitals and all related medical establishments, including manufacturing and distribution units, both in public and private sector, such as dispensaries, chemists, labs, clinics, nursing homes, ambulance
• Transport for all medical personnel, nurses, paramedical staff, other hospital support
• Shops, including ration shops (under PDS), dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder
• Home delivery of food, medicines, medical equipment
• Print and electronic media, telecommunications, internet services, broadcasting and cable services and IT-enabled services (for essential services)
• Petrol pumps, LPG, petroleum and gas retail, storage outlets
• Power generation, transmission and distribution units and services
• Capital and debt market services as notified by SEBI
• Cold storage and warehousing services
• Private security services
• Manufacturing units of essential commodities
• Production units, which require continuous process, after obtaining required permission from the state government
• Transport of essential goods, fire, law and order and emergency services
• Hotels, homestays, lodges and motels accommodating tourists and those stranded due to lockdown, medical and emergency staff, air and sea crew, establishments used for quarantine.
• In funerals, not more than 20 persons will be permitted
• Defence, central armed police forces, treasury
• Public utilities like petroleum, CNG, LPG, PNG
• Disaster management, post offices, police, home guards, fire and emergency services, prisons.
What If Someone Violates The Lockdown?
According to the guidelines, punishment for obstruction of the lockdown rules can have a penalty of one to two years in jail or fine.
What Are The Changes In Guidelines Of Lockdown 2.0?
On April 15, one day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the lockdown across the country will be extended till May 3 to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the government also issued new guidelines related to the lockdown. According to the new guidelines, some relaxations may be allowed after April 20 in places where there are no hotspots. Agricultural and related activities will resume fully to generate jobs for daily wagers and others. Industries operating in rural areas will be allowed to resume operations with strict social distancing norms.
Why Lockdown In Important?
Experts believe that India adopted the lockdown model very early and it was a smart decision on the country’s part. Dr Ashish Jha, Director of Harvard Global Health Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts comparing India’s model of lockdown with other western countries said,
Countries like Italy, United Kingdom, the USA or Sweden, to name a few, have really made a mess-up by waiting too long for the lockdown. Moreover, these countries also didn’t have a very progressive testing strategy. On the other hand, India’s lockdown model which was adopted early was very smart, though I believe that the country needs to scale up the testing much more than it already has.
Highlighting the benefits of the lockdown, an expert from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) adds,
It is believed that one COVID-19 infected person can spread the virus to more than 400 people in about 30 days. Now, think of the time, when all the 12,000 COVID-19 infected patients (as of today) were not quarantined and were out roaming in the open in the country. The virus would have spread like a wildfire. And that is when lockdown, social distancing measures come in the picture. With these proper guidelines in place, we can break the chain of the infection.
According to the all-India data by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of coronavirus positive cases that were doubling every three days initially have after the lockdown started to double every six days. The ministry has also said that there is a downward trend seen in states like Delhi, Tamil Nadu to name a few.