Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on the states to “consider the lockdown only as a last resort”. Now everyone from his political ally to top business leaders and US President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser sees them all as the only way to get rid of the world’s worst virus.
Last year’s move to impose a nationwide lockdown without PM Modi’s warning has complicated the debate, leading to a humanitarian crisis as migrant workers fled to rural areas on foot. The Prime Minister is keen to avoid this criticism again, especially after his Bharatiya Janata Party failed to win the elections in West Bengal, even when the votes were counted on Sunday, even the states ruled by his party are ignoring his advice.
“One of the troubles is the misconception that it’s either a complete lockdown, equivalent to an economic disaster, or no lockdown at all, a public health disaster,” said Catherine Brush, infectious disease specialist and global health expert at Stanford Medicine. California. “What’s happening right now is a health and economic disaster. If your population is very sick, it’s not good for your population or your economy.”
Over the past week, horrific scenes of cemeteries and desperate requests for oxygen from hospitals have flooded television channels and social media. The number of daily deaths in India fell marginally to a record high of 3,689 on Sunday, while the number of daily cases has risen to more than 350,000 in the last few days.
The Indian rupee has become Asia’s worst performing currency in the previous quarter as foreigners pulled about લગભગ 1.8 billion from the country’s stocks and bonds. The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex index fell 1.5% as investors remained cautious amid the deadly outbreak.
Uday Kotak, India’s richest banker and head of the Confederation of Indian Industry, has urged the government to take strict national measures, including curtailing economic activities, to alleviate the suffering. “We must seek expert advice on this subject – advice from India and abroad.”
This represents a change from India’s top industrialists. In April, a survey of Confederation members showed they were against lockdown and wanted faster vaccinations. In the past month, however, crumbling health infrastructure and rising casualties have declared the extent of the crisis. The lack of adequate vaccine doses has only increased the chaos.
Although policymakers have signaled they are ready to take action to support growth, economists say the failure to deftly turn the virus around could put pressure on monetary and monetary policy at a time when much of the available traditional space has already been used.
The most immediately effective way to break the chain of transmission is to keep people so far away that the virus cannot jump from one to the other. Some experts, including Anthony S. Fawcett, a top U.S. infectious disease doctor, say a temporary shutdown is important.
But others say a full national downfall is not possible and will be disastrous for the poor, who have already suffered the most during the outbreak. The government has opened up to states to decide on local lockdowns, and has imposed restrictions in places like the national capital Delhi and financial center Mumbai – although they are less stringent than last year.
Kim Mulholland, an Australian-Australian pediatrician at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne and leader of the Infection and Immunity Group, said people who live by the hand should go out every day to find something to earn a day’s wages.
As hospitals struggle for oxygen and bodies languish in cemeteries, a blanket lockdown can only add to the trouble. Sudden loss of livelihoods can once again lead to an influx of workers from cities to their hometowns and villages and also help spread the virus to the hinterland.
Instead of tightening shutdowns, local governments can shut down activities where it is difficult to maintain social distance, experts said.
Ashish Zai, dean of Brown University School of Public Health, said, “I reduce indoor retail, restaurants, shops as much as possible so that people can gather indoors.” “I will completely ban any large congregations outside, although it is difficult in places in India where things can get crowded naturally.”