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Experts Weigh In On The Impact of India’s Lockdown 3.0 On The COVID-19 Curve

With India announcing several relaxations in the third lockdown, experts talk about how we can still manage to control COVID-19

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Highlights
  • On May 4, lockdown restrictions were eased in several states
  • On day 1, there were large crowds at liquor shops with no social distancing
  • At present, India’s COVID-19 cases doubling rate is 12 days on an average

New Delhi: The lockdown that was imposed in the country to curb the spread of coronavirus has been relaxed now. Many experts and the  share the government’s view that people need to start living with the virus and that an indefinite lockdown is not sustainable in many ways. On May 4, while the restrictions were eased in several states, enforcement of rules became tough – from liquor shops to traffic management. On day 1, there were large crowds at liquor shops with social distancing nowhere in sight and the police had to lathi-charge crowds and shut liquor shops down.

At present, India’s COVID-19 cases doubling rate stands at 12 days on an average, where few states are doing better than this average. This includes Assam which has a doubling rate of 70 days at present and is expected to go down to 75 days or 80 days.

Furthermore, there are downward trends in Kerala, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan as well, suggests the data. Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Bihar’s doubling rate has witnessed flattening and are better than the India Average.

Also Read: We Need A Plan To Ensure 100 Percent Coverage For The COVID-19 Vaccine, Experts Speak

Meanwhile, Punjab’s doubling rate is going sharply up and stands at 1 day. Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Delhi, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu too, show an upward trends. Maharashtra and Gujarat have showed flat rates but are still lower than the India average, standing at 10 days each.

These trends display an improvement in the status of COVID-19 in India, for which the lockdown can be given major credit. However, the states showing upward trends need to act more decisively.

Dr Rakesh Verma, Additional Director General of Health Services for Government of India, talked to NDTV on how the improvement can be maintained with the ease in restrictions.

India is a country of diversity, while Assam’s doubling rate is hugging around 80 days on the other hand, Punjab’s standing at 1 day. The aim of the Government, every doctor, corona warrior and you and I, is to stop the spread and mortality of COVID-19 as much as possible. And for that, irrespective of whether we’re in lockdown or not, social distancing norms need to be followed. Use of Masks has to be mandatory, regularly washing our hands and cleaning of surfaces which are heavily stained or are new to you has to be mandated as well, Dr Rakesh Verma told NDTV.

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He went on to say that with these practices, doctors are very confident of containing this disease. He added,

Till now the graph of India is far better than majority of the countries, exemplary of your own reports. Certain areas and pockets are disturbing for the Health Ministry and medical experts like Punjab. In Delhi also, more than 430 new cases have come to light in the past 24 hours which is very disheartening. But at the same time the recovery rate of India is the best in the World at almost 30 percent which is very encouraging.

Dr. Verma urges everyone to follow the norms of social distancing and hygiene even on the days of easing of restrictions and always have either a sanitiser or soap with them. He points out that the liberalisation given by the governments are guidelines and not rules so the State governments can choose to ignore them if they want. He added,

No one, including the government, wanted a lockdown but to protect such a huge population of 130 Crores, it was necessary. If you want to maintain your freedom, please follow social distancing and cleanliness norms.

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Talking about the future challenges and whether the real crisis will begin when people will start coming out, Dr Yatin Mehta, Chairman of Medanta Institute of Critical Care and says that prevention is the best cure. He explains,

Once the numbers start increasing exponentially we will not be able to deal with it. So the best way to prevent that is by following the norms given by the central as well as state governments. Social distancing, hygiene, wearing masks, avoiding going out, when you have a fever or a cough – go to a doctor immediately. These things have to be followed  strictly otherwise everyone will suffer.

He added said that if New York State and Italy could not cope up with the deluge of cases and the exceedingly high mortality rate, India would not be able to cope up with it either. Dr. Mehta also told NDTV that so far we are doing well in terms of numbers, mortality rate and utilisation of ICU beds.

Also Read: How Did India Fight An Earlier Pandemic The Swine Flu Outbreak In 2015?

About Lockdown 3.0:

What’s allowed in Red, Orange and Green Zones:

Standalone shops, neighbourhood shops, most private and Government offices with 33 per cent staff, OPDs, medical clinics, manufacturing units of essential goods, E-commerce (only essentials in red zones).

What’s allowed in Orange and Green Zones:

Liquor shops if State governments want (with social distancing), four-wheelers (including cabs with 2 passengers), two wheelers without pillion rider, Banks, Media, IT Services, Call Centers, Self Employed like domestic helps, Electricians, Plumbers. All industrial and constructional activities in rural areas and all agricultural activities. State Governments can opt to omit some of these if they see fit and impose stricter restrictions.

What’s allowed only in Green Zones:

Public buses with 50 per cent occupancy and all goods traffic.

What’s not allowed even in green zones:

No travel by planes or trains, no interstate movement by road. Schools, colleges, malls, restaurants, gyms, barber shops and salons to remain closed. Religious or political gatherings are banned as well.

Also Read: Pune’s Serum Institute With Oxford University May Deliver A COVID-19 Vaccine By September

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