Lockdown no solution : The Tribune India

Lockdown no solution

Covid cases rising, India must take realistic steps

Lockdown no solution

Photo for representation only.

The Delhi Government has notified a yellow alert in the state following two consecutive days of the Covid-19 positivity rate being over 0.5%. With this, several curbs have been put into place, including night curfew, closure of educational institutions, half seating capacity in public transport, etc. As per the state government protocol, if the positivity rate continues to rise, it might notify the amber, orange and red alerts, enforcing incremental curbs with each level, culminating in most economic activities coming to a standstill. However, while having plans ready for the third wave of Covid-19 is good, the state government — and governments across the country — must adapt and change plans with the changing situation, for the sake of the common good.

The nation suffered much — the poorest being the worst-hit — when a very strict lockdown was imposed in March last year. The effect on the economy and marginal workers was devastating, and the photographs of migrant workers travelling homeward on foot, in cement-mixers, or being mowed down on rail tracks, shook the soul of the nation. When the 21-day countrywide lockdown began on March 24, 2020, the Prime Minister had said that the ‘only way to break the chain of infection is staying indoors’. Another objective was to set up health infrastructure as fast as possible to deal with the pandemic. However, as we have seen during the last 21 months, these objectives were not realised: the chain of infection wasn’t broken, and the medical infrastructure broke into pieces when the second wave struck — a year after the first lockdown — April onward this year.

Cases of the Omicron variant are rising and the authorities must monitor it closely, but as of now it is clear that this variant is less dangerous — if more contagious — than its predecessors. While countries with high vaccination figures, too, are seeing a resurgence of the pandemic, vaccination has clearly led to lesser hospitalisation. Indian authorities must, thus, banish vaccine hesitancy — as Punjab is attempting by disallowing unvaccinated persons from visiting public places. They must, too, prioritise vaccination of young adults and start administrating booster shots to the fully vaccinated. For this, indigenous production must be boosted and vaccines must be imported, irrespective of the cost.

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