(Asian News Hub) – As India witnesses an unprecedented surge in Covid caseloads, voices for a short-duration national lockdown or in severely-hit states/UTs grew louder on Wednesday and experts urged the Centre to immediately plan and execute a 15-day lockdown to break the chain of infection and manage the second wave of the pandemic.
The fact is that when India went into a 21-day national lockdown in March last year, the total number of active Covid cases was a mere over 500.
The lockdown then failed to stop the surge as the first wave happened after that period and devastated businesses and normal life.
This time, as India reported 1,84,372 new Covid-19 cases, setting another grim one-day record and taking the overall tally to 13,87,825 on Wednesday, a short-duration lockdown is what is the need of the hour to stop the menace, experts told IANS.
“As the hospital services are up to the brim and more and more people are dying, vaccination has also been halted because of lack of access at many centres.
This is an emergency situation for a shorter national lockdown,” Dr Rahul Bhargava, Director, Department of Clinical Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant, Fortis Hospital, stressed.
“This way, we will be able to break the virus chain and get a breather to vaccinate more and more people as hospitals services will be back on track,” Bhargava said.
Experts also cited the example of Amaravati lockdown model for breaking the deadly chain of transmission.
Amaravati in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region saw a rapid surge in February the state government first imposed a week-end lockdown on February 18 to break the chain of virus transmission. But this effort failed as cases were still going north.
It was followed by a stricter lockdown for seven days, from February 22 to March 1, and was extended for another one week from March 1 to March 8.
The lockdown successfully broke the chain of transmission and active caseload decreased.
According to Neha Gupta, Infectious Diseases Specialist at Medanta – The Medicity, Gurgaon, strict social distancing norms are very important at this juncture, which will help in stabilising the overburdened healthcare services as hospitals are facing bed crunch and shortage of anti-viral drugs.
Bhargava added that if a short-duration lockdown is not planned, hospitals services will be choked, Covid patients will not get beds and receive necessary supplies on time.
“We need an urgent lockdown for at least 15 days. It may not be as harsh as the last one but there is a dire need for implementing this right away,” he told IANS.
The demand for a lockdown came as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that lockdown, not the country’s vaccine rollout, is the main reason for the decline of Covid-19 infections in Britain.
“The numbers are down — of infections and hospitalizations and deaths. But it is very, very important for everybody to understand that the reduction in these numbers… has not been achieved by the vaccination programme,” he told Sky News.
“People don’t, I think, appreciate that it’s the lockdown that has been overwhelmingly important in delivering this improvement in the pandemic and in the figures that we’re seeing,” he added.
The prime minister said the vaccination programme has helped, but the bulk of the work in reducing the disease has been done by the lockdown.
India, too, needs a quick lockdown to break the chain of transmission, rising at a rapid rate with no respite in sight.
Kangana Ranaut tests positive for COVID-19
(Asian News Hub) – Actor Kangana Ranaut on Saturday said she has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and is under home quarantine.
The 34-year-old actor, whose Twitter account was permanently suspended for repeated violations of rules earlier this week, shared her diagnosis on Instagram.
“I was feeling tired and weak with slight burning sensation in my eyes for past few days, was hoping to go to Himachal so got my test done yesterday and today the result came I am covid positive.
“I have quarantined myself, I had no idea this virus is having a party in my body,” she wrote.
Terming COVID-19 a “small time flu”, Ranaut said she is determined to “destroy” the virus from her body.
“…Now that I know I will demolish it, people please don’t give anything any power over you, if you are scared it will scare you more, come let’s destroy this Covid -19 it is nothing but a small time flu which got too much press and now psyching few people,” she added.
On Friday, Mumbai reported 3,040 new COVID-19 cases and 71 fresh fatalities.
COVID situation going from bad to worse; PM, health min refuse to own responsibility: Chidambaram
(Asian News Hub) – Asserting that the COVID-19 pandemic situation is going from bad to worse, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan are refusing to own responsibility and are making a “mockery of democratic principles”.
His remarks came after the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday showed a record 4,14,188 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day in India, raising the countryâ€™s tally to 2,14,91,598. The active cases have crossed the 36-lakh mark.
“The pandemic situation is going from bad to worse. The insufficient supply of vaccines is a hard, bitter truth, but the government is in denial,” Chidambaram tweeted.
“In Tamil Nadu, not all among 45 plus are getting the first dose and a small number the second dose. Nobody between 18 and 44 is getting the vaccine,” he claimed.
The situation in other states is not very different, Chidambaram added.
“The PM and the Health Minister refuse to own responsibility and are making a mockery of democratic principles,” the former Union minister alleged.
Govt’s failures have made another national lockdown inevitable: Rahul Gandhi to PM
(Asian News Hub) – Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the government’s alleged failures have made another devastating national lockdown almost inevitable, and called for providing financial and food support to the most vulnerable.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he suggested that the government should not be concerned about the economic impact of the lockdown as the human cost of the spread of of the virus would have tragic consequences for the people.
“Your government’s lack of a clear and coherent Covid and vaccination strategy, as well as its hubris in declaring premature victory as the virus was exponentially spreading, has placed India in a highly dangerous position: today the disease is growing explosively.
“It is currently on the verge of overwhelming all of our systems. GOI’s failures have made another devastating national lockdown almost inevitable,” he told the prime minister.
India has seen a record number of 4.14 lakh fresh Covid cases and around 4000 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Gandhi said it is critical that our people are prepared for such an eventuality of a lockdown. He has been demanding that the government provides Rs 6000 in the accounts to each poor family to tide over the crisis.
“To prevent a repeat of the manifold suffering caused by last year’s lockdown, the government must act with compassion and provide critical financial and food support to our most vulnerable people,” he said, adding that it must be also ready with a transportation strategy for those who will require it.
The former Congress chief said that when the COVID-19 tsunami continues to ravage our country unabated, the people of India must be your foremost priority in such an unprecedented crisis.
“I urge you to do everything in your power to stop the needless suffering that our people are going through,” he said.
Gandhi also called for rapidly vaccinating the entire population and dynamically assess the efficacy of all vaccines against all new mutations as they are identified.
He also called for scientifically tracking the virus and its mutations across the country using genome sequencing as well as its disease patterns.
Gandhi also urged the government to be transparent and keep the rest of the world informed about our findings.
“I am aware that you are concerned about the economic impact of a lockdown. Inside and outside India, the human cost of allowing this virus to continue its march unimpeded will result in many more tragic consequences for our people than any purely economic calculations your advisors are suggesting,” he said in his letter to PM.
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