We are currently in the third phase of the lockdown or lockdown 3.0 as it is being called. The only question that most have right now is--where do we go from here? With a vast chunk of our economy remaining effectively stalled and fast depleting backup, the government would, of course, like to go for further relaxations. Currently, talks are in order for re-starting public transport among other services and industries. But, are we ready for it yet?
Recently, WHO warned countries against lockdown relaxations while advising them to be "extremely careful" with the situation. It’s almost been a week since the lockdown 3.0 was announced and a few relaxations were levied. Perhaps it's time to think about whether we need lockdown 4.0 or not, whether we can take any further relaxations or need to step back for the moment. Here's a round-up of all that has happened to help us with some answers. Read on.
On May 3, the government had granted the liquor stores across the nation permission to re-open in all zones, keeping social distancing in mind. As per the government directives, no more than five people at a time in a store were allowed at the wines shops. However, after 40 days of no alcohol, people quickly forgot about social distancing or coronavirus fears. Things quickly went haywire, kilometer-long queues were seen around the stores, and cops were thus left with no option but resorting to lathi-charge to disburse the crowd at a number of locations. Now, if we continue to behave like this with every relaxation that is made then it isn't hard to predict that things are sure to get out of hand in no time.
The coronavirus doubling days in India have been plummeting since the lockdown relaxations. In fact, experts had already predicted that the first two weeks of May are going to be the most crucial for India in terms of infection rate. After several weeks of steady improvement, the doubling rate fell from 12 days (as reported by the health ministry this Tuesday) to 10.2 days after a growth spurt this week. This cannot be good news for our COVID-19 mitigation efforts and makes lockdown relaxations a rather tricky business.
A spurt in coronavirus cases in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and New Delhi in the past week has got the government worried about the scarcity of hospital beds in India. For a week now, the government has been preparing train coaches to accommodate infected patients in case there's a further spike in the number of cases. Additionally, the Maharashtra government also had to release notices to some 25,000 doctors earlier this week owing to a scarcity of the number of doctors in comparison to the total cases in the state. This further points to a weak infrastructure, which will eventually crumble if the infection continues to grow any further.
Given the current state of things, it is only safe to establish that the lockdown relaxation is a rather tricky path that the government needs to tread with utmost care. Because failing this can quickly escalate the infection rates in India. And while most of us would love to hear that the lockdown has been lifted, a little check on the ground realities would tell us that we need to be very careful of what we wish for right now.
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