The Decision To Lockdown India Was Taken Early And It Was Smart But Testing Needs To Scale Up: Expert On Country’s Fight Against CoronavirusIndia’s model of lockdown amid the spread of coronavirus is ‘Smart’, says expert Dr Ashish Jha, Director of Harvard Global Health Institute in Cambridge
Highlights
  • India was under lockdown for 3 weeks till April 14
  • PM Modi on April 14 further extended the lockdown till May 3
  • Expert Ashish Jha thinks India’s model is ’Smart’

New Delhi: On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi put 1.3 billion people of India under a strict lockdown for three weeks. On April 14, PM Modi extended the lockdown for three more weeks to slow the spread of the deadly virus that has taken lives of 1.14 lakh people globally. Has this lockdown made any impact in the country so far? Was this model of tackling coronavirus good or bad? According to the data reported by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), the lockdown has worked and may have flattened the curve in the country to some extent, especially in certain states and cities like Delhi, Tamil Nadu to name a few. NDTV’s Sonia Singh speaks with Dr Ashish Jha, Director of Harvard Global Health Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on the India model of the lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are the things discussed:

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NDTV: Has India’s lockdown model worked versus the model adopted globally by the countries to slow the spread of coronavirus?

Dr Ashish Jha: All of the western democracies 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.

There are still questions on strategies after lockdown that should be adopted, when should India end this lockdown period and how does India prevent itself from going back in the lockdown. Those are still very important questions that needed to be asked.

NDTV: What will be the best way to come out of the lockdown in India with many migrant workers staying in the country without the proper livelihood?

Dr Ashish Jha: This is a very difficult situation, particularly for a country like India where the population of poor and daily wage workers is much high. Social distancing and lockdown measures do work for slowing the spread of such infectious virus but there is a very high cost attached to such measures, especially for the poor and vulnerable people. The choice here cannot be between the lockdown or letting poor people die of hunger or due to virus. And that’s why the government here needs to put up a really progressive support plan and make sure there is food and money going to migrant or poor people in the country and then unlocking as soon as it is safe to go out. And that’s why it is important for India to develop a very aggressive strategy after the lockdown is over.

NDTV: Globally, which are the models that have worked in beating the spread of coronavirus and which have been disastrous?

Dr Ashish Jha: We know that there are some countries that have worked well in slowing the spread of this highly infectious virus. The countries like Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and even Japan that initially started to slow the spread and then now is having some problems..Germany has relatively done a good job and on the other hand countries like UK, Spain, Italy and the USA have not done a good job in the way they responded. If you fell behind in this war it is very hard to catch up..India has gotten ahead to cope up with the disease and now the country needs to focus on not falling behind.

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NDTV: Can rising temperatures help in slowing the spread of coronavirus in India?

Dr Ashish Jha: Summers will help in slowing the spread of coronavirus in India to some extent but I am not counting that as a major source of benefit since there is no medical research or proof on this fact as of now. What will work is three important things – social distancing, getting hospitals ready and testing aggressively. As everything else is just hope and hope is not a good strategy.

Also Read: Myths About Coronavirus: From 5G Network To Exposure To High Temperature, Here Are Some COVID-19 Mythbusters From WHO

NDTV: A big message for India and its policymakers on coming back to life after the lockdown?

Dr Ashish Jha: There are three things India needs to focus at this crucial time – First, even after lockdown, you will still need to keep some amount of social distancing. You just cannot go back to business routines like before. Second, India needs to focus on preparing hospitals because when you open up there will be more cases, there will be a surge in COVID-19 infected people, you need to start focussing on how will you protect and others in that circumstances. And India should also make sure there are proper gears and equipments with its doctors, nurses and healthcare workers. Thirdly, and this is very very crucial, India must scale up its testing for coronavirus. If India wants to stay open and doesn’t want to do another lockdown then the only way to do is via very extensive testing strategy.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak: Understanding What Is Flattening The Curve And Its Importance

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World

19,59,54,660Cases
6,30,45,359Active
12,87,22,004Recovered
41,87,297Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 194 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 19,59,54,660 and 41,87,297 have died; 6,30,45,359 are active cases and 12,87,22,004 have recovered as on July 29, 2021 at 4:00 am.

India

3,15,28,114 43,509Cases
4,03,840 4,404Active
3,07,01,612 38,465Recovered
4,22,662 640Deaths
In India, there are 3,15,28,114 confirmed cases including 4,22,662 deaths. The number of active cases is 4,03,840 and 3,07,01,612 have recovered as on July 29, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

62,82,914 6,857

85,913 466

60,64,856 6,105

1,32,145 286

Kerala

33,27,301 22,056

1,50,040 4,164

31,60,804 17,761

16,457 131

Karnataka

28,99,195 1,531

22,592 82

28,40,147 1,430

36,456 19

Tamil Nadu

25,53,805 1,756

21,521 667

24,98,289 2,394

33,995 29

Andhra Pradesh

19,59,942 2,010

20,999 34

19,25,631 1,956

13,312 20

Uttar Pradesh

17,08,313 87

768 30

16,84,790 116

22,755 1

West Bengal

15,25,773 815

11,370 10

14,96,294 811

18,109 14

Delhi

14,36,093 67

573 3

14,10,471 61

25,049 3

Chhattisgarh

10,01,651 164

2,226 164

9,85,905 327

13,520 1

Odisha

9,72,517 1,703

15,765 65

9,51,049 1,699

5,703 69

Rajasthan

9,53,605 30

268 10

9,44,384 40

8,953

Gujarat

8,24,802 28

274 11

8,14,452 39

10,076

Madhya Pradesh

7,91,778 11

130 8

7,81,135 18

10,513 1

Haryana

7,69,828 32

702 1

7,59,499 28

9,627 3

Bihar

7,24,673 76

480 4

7,14,554 80

9,639

Telangana

6,43,093 657

9,314 77

6,29,986 578

3,793 2

Punjab

5,98,947 65

559 24

5,82,102 84

16,286 5

Assam

5,62,731 1,276

14,499 536

5,43,031 1,791

5,201 21

Jharkhand

3,47,049 27

237 10

3,41,686 36

5,126 1

Uttarakhand

3,41,934 60

672 13

3,33,901 47

7,361

Jammu And Kashmir

3,21,026 160

1,139 15

3,15,511 144

4,376 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,05,499 116

953 30

2,01,026 84

3,520 2

Goa

1,70,810 81

1,082 48

1,66,586 127

3,142 2

Puducherry

1,20,627 97

923 0

1,17,912 96

1,792 1

Manipur

95,824 1,003

10,922 120

83,392 871

1,510 12

Tripura

77,788 376

3,861 107

73,177 267

750 2

Meghalaya

63,014 541

5,456 124

56,510 409

1,048 8

Chandigarh

61,943 5

36 1

61,098 6

809

Arunachal Pradesh

47,142 342

4,301 14

42,617 325

224 3

Mizoram

36,407 1,110

11,610 686

24,657 424

140

Nagaland

27,586 114

1,350 34

25,684 78

552 2

Sikkim

25,856 240

3,117 42

22,406 198

333

Ladakh

20,320 6

64 6

20,049 12

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,642 3

41 3

10,597 6

4

Lakshadweep

10,155 6

76 6

10,029 11

50 1

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,531 1

7 5

7,395 6

129

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