- In 8 districts of Rajasthan night curfew is being imposed from 8 pm to 6 am
- Himachal Pradesh has also announced curfew 8 pm to 6 am in four districts
- Madhya Pradesh has imposed curfew in 5 districts from 10 pm to 6 am
New Delhi: States in India like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana and others are reporting a surge in COVID-19 cases. On November 23, Rajasthan reported the highest single-day spike of 3,260 cases. Similarly, Madhya Pradesh that was earlier in October reporting less than 1,000 cases a day is now recording close to 2,000 cases. Amid the rise in COVID-19 cases, states are imposing night curfew within cities. Starting November 20, a curfew has been imposed in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad from 9 pm to 6 am. From November 21, Rajkot, Surat, and Vadodara followed the suite. According to Gujarat’s Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, the night curfew will remain in force till further announcement.
The Rajasthan government has imposed the night curfew from 8 pm to 6 am in eight district headquarters- Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Bikaner, Udaipur, Ajmer, Alwar and Bhilwara in view of COVID-19 spread.
राज्य मंत्रिपरिषद की बैठक में कोरोना संक्रमण रोकने के उपायों पर मंथन हुआ जिसमें कोरोना से सर्वाधिक प्रभावित आठ शहरों (जयपुर, जोधपुर, कोटा, बीकानेर, उदयपुर, अजमेर, अलवर एवं भीलवाड़ा) में रात 8 बजे से सुबह 6 बजे तक नाइट कर्फ्यू लगाने सहित कई महत्वपूर्ण निर्णय लिए गए। #Rajasthan
— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) November 21, 2020
In eight districts, the number of patients increased exponentially. In view of winter, it is estimated that the situation will become serious. Hence the government is taking decisions to protect people’s lives, stated an official release of the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).
According to the information shared by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, during the night curfew, people going to the wedding ceremony, people involved in essential services including medicines and those traveling in bus, train and airplane will be allowed to travel.
इस नाइट कर्फ्यू के दौरान विवाह समारोह में जाने वाले, दवाइयों सहित अति आवश्यक सेवाओं से संबंधित लोगों तथा बस, ट्रेन एवं हवाई जहाज में सफर करने वालों को आवागमन हेतु छूट रहेगी।
— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) November 21, 2020
Madhya Pradesh, after reporting over 1,500 positive cases on November 21, which was the highest in over a month, imposed a curfew from 10 pm to 6 am in five districts – Bhopal, Ratlam, Vidisha, Indore and Gwalior – starting Saturday. This curfew exempts people associated with essential services, goods transport and night shifts at factories.
Himachal Pradesh government on Monday (November 23) imposed night curfew from 8 pm to 6 am in Mandi, Shimla, Kullu and Kangra districts. The night curfew will begin from November 24 and will be in place till December 15.
But the question is, how will a night curfew help in containing the spread of COVID-19? Explaining the purpose behind the night curfew, Dr Ravindra M Mehta, Senior Consultant & HOD – Pulmonology & Interventional pulmonology, Apollo Speciality Hospitals Jayanagar, said, by and large, it is for the night activity, which is pubs and bars where social distancing and masking may break down. He added,
Night activities are mostly related to clubs, pubs, dance areas and other places. It is then under the influence of alcohol people meet and social distancing and the practice of wearing masks breaks down. Also, the challenges for law enforcement authorities are much higher in the night; so if you reduce people cohering in an unlawful way, especially under the influence of alcohol, you may be able to at least curtail that part of social distancing and that is the logic behind the night curfew.
Dr Rohan Sequeira, Consultant General Medicine, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, had a differing opinion and said that not many people go out to clubs and pubs and the number of people out on the roads during night time is comparatively less than the people going out and doing business during the day time. He said,
Imposing a curfew from 9 pm to 6 am won’t create much impact but if you do it from 6 pm to 9 am, it will help.
Dr Sequeria said that imposing a curfew is one thing and restricting movement is another. He stressed on the multi-factorial approach to control the spread of the pandemic and suggested to couple night curfew with basic COVID precautionary measures that include social distancing and wearing a face mask.
Science has explained that wearing a face mask and practising social distancing is as good as getting a vaccine. The precautionary measures are as efficacious as a vaccine. The rules are in place. Wearing a face mask is mandatory but it needs enforcement. We need to impose strong fines that push people to adhere to wearing a mask that too the correct way. A fine of Rs. 200 won’t make people take the rules seriously. A hefty fine becomes a deterrent, said Dr Sequeria.
He also asserted that the efficacy of night curfew is debatable and a divided issue. But ultimately, a curfew is only effective when other measures are in place. Giving an example, he said,
Let’s say a person has got COVID-19 and a night curfew is in place. He/she will not go out at night but this doesn’t mean he/she will not step out the next day and transmit the virus to others.
According to Dr Sequeria, maximum transmission happens during the day as that is when people are on road. He said, night curfew is one of the options but what we need to remember is that COVID-19 spreads in close proximity and hence, it is essential to follow COVID precautionary measures.
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.