- Lockdown is not a solution to end coronavirus says Arvind Kejriwal
- CM Kejriwal also talked about lessons learnt from Delhi's COVID fight
- CM Kejriwal urged citizens to keep following the precautionary measures
New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, lent his support to NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign at the 12-hour #SwasthyaMantra telethon and talked about India’s fight against coronavirus, lockdown effectiveness and lessons from the national capital’s battle against the virus. Highlighting about coronavirus induced lockdown, CM Kejriwal said, “I have been saying this since the very beginning – lockdown is not the solution to end coronavirus. The moment we will end the lockdown, COVID-19 cases will see a spike. We cannot stop our everyday lives or keep people locked inside forever. We will have to go about our day-to-day lives, we will have to start our economy.”
Talking about lockdown benefits and how it helps a particular country, city or state in their war against the virus, CM Kejriwal added,
Lockdown has one benefit – in that period we can assess our healthcare system. If we think our healthcare structure is not ready to cope up with the coronavirus cases, lockdown gives us that time to prepare ourself and strengthen our healthcare system.
Sharing an example of India and phase 1 lockdown, CM Kejriwal said that the country started lockdown on March 23 and at that time, India didn’t have any personal protective gears for frontline workers, testing kits, hospitals were not ready and no-one knew what coronavirus really is. He added,
That’s why the first phase of lockdown was very crucial and beneficial as that gave India the time to prepare itself for the worse. When we unlock India after two months, we were prepared with testing kits – we had Rapid Antigen tests, we had RT-PCR tests, masks, to name a few. So, I think, all the states need to rethink about unlocking and lockdown in their own terms, they will need to assess how prepared they are to fight coronavirus in their area.
At the #SwasthyaMantra telethon, CM Kejriwal also acknowledged the fact that currently, the biggest road-block in front of every government is the fact that coronavirus cases are rising in the country because of which people are dying, on the other hand, if lockdown continues then the economy will not start as a result there will be hunger and food constraints. He said,
People will be safe from coronavirus but they will die of hunger as they will not have enough to meet their ends. We have to come up with a solution that takes care of both these issues somehow.
Speaking about the solutions and the way ahead, CM Kejriwal said,
We need three things for now – lockdown when our healthcare infrastructure is not up to the mark, we will have to start the economy and be prepared that in this time we will get new or more cases and we need to cope up with that rise. Thirdly, we need to identify the most vulnerable sectors of the society and the government needs to ensure that these more vulnerable sectors are getting food and relief care so that they are not dying of hunger.
CM Kejriwal further added that the world still doesn’t know much about the coronavirus and therefore it is crucial that everyone learns from each other’s experiences. India should learn from different countries as well, said. Mr. Kejriwal added,
Our states should see what the other states are doing and how they are coping up with the virus.
Sharing example of the national capital coronavirus numbers and what we can learn from the trend, CM Kejriwal said,
In Delhi, till May, we had lockdown and we had somehow managed to deal with coronavirus pandemic. But when on June 1, we unlocked, the cases started to see a huge rise and there was a time when we started to see a shortage of beds/ambulance in our hospitals. That time, we immediately took many important steps. In matter of 20-25 days we again managed to cope up with that rise and I am very proud to say that all this has been managed because of efforts taken together by authorities, central government, state government and citizens.
He also added,
During mid-June, we again saw a peak in the national capital when Delhi started to see 4,000 cases again and 100 deaths a day. Then from July 1, the status changed and we started seeing a dip in coronavirus cases. We saw about 1,000 to 1,100 cases a day and we were doing 20,000 tests a day. From mid-august we again started to see cases rising in the capital, we started to get 1,300 and 1,400 cases a day. At that time, we immediately increased the testing in the city – from 20,000 we started doing 60,000 tests a day. And today, I am very proud to say that Delhi is doing the most tests per day in the world, around 3,000 tests per day per million is happening in the national capital, which is equal to what is happening in the United Kingdom at this point of time. In the United States, the testing figures are 1200-1300 per day per million.
Talking about the current status in Delhi and about the testing guidelines that the national capital is following, CM Kejriwal said,
In September we again saw a peak when cases reached 4,000 a day but now as we have increased testing, we have started to see changes and dip in COVID numbers. We are again seeing empty beds in the national capital. As far as testing guidelines are concerned and the question why Delhi is doing more of Rapid Antigen tests, we don’t have to hide anything, if we had to do that only, we would have not increased our testing from 20,000 to 60,000 a day. Our strategy is to test more and more people, isolate them and treat them. We are trying to break the chain of transmission of coronavirus. In what case RT-PCR test or Antigen test should happen, the central government have proper guidelines on it and we are following just that. Recently, the central government has also given the affidavit in high court stating that Delhi is following the testing guidelines as per the protocols.
CM Kejriwal signed off with an urge and said,
There are three important pillars to the disease – one is the government, second is the coronavirus warriors and third is the citizens. The more people follow precautionary measures, the more they will stay safe from this virus. I urge people not to get tired from all this, we need to wear a mask, we need to maintain social distancing and we need to voluntary compliance with the precautionary measures, only then we will be able to win this battle against coronavirus.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.