COVID-19 cases in India have reached a grim milestone. It has fastened in recent days, thus fueling concerns the situation could spiral out of control even as the country reopens after weeks of stringent Lockdown. If corona cases continuously increasing day by day, then India will be in the first position in the corona cases despite the world’s strict largest Lockdown.
India is the fourth worst-hit nation in the world at the moment, with cumulative infection numbers over 3,50,000 — behind only the United States, Brazil, and Russia.
PM Modi announced a strict lockdown when the number of infected cases with coronavirus had reached less than 1000. That time Prime Minister Modi consciously sought to instill fear and panic when he announced a complete ban on people stepping out of their homes because of the coronavirus:
“If the situation is not handled in the next 21 days, the country and your family could go back 21 years… Several families could get devastated forever… This virus spreads like wildfire… There is no other method or way to escape coronavirus (except social distancing)… Jaan hai to Jahan hai… The carelessness of a few can put the entire country in danger.”
Barely four hours after the PM’s announcement on March 24, at the stroke of midnight, as the world slept, India went into its first coronavirus-induced Lockdown. This Lockdown has weakened the economy badly. We have also noticed that the Lockdown has reduced the number of infections for a temporary period only. The pandemic resumed on its original track once the Lockdown ended. It would have extracted almost the same last amount of damage to lives as it would have without the Lockdown. On June 8, when the Government gave relaxation to the people, corona cases increased drastically.
Instead of imposing lockdowns on India, the Government should impose lockdowns on cities where corona cases are skyrocketing. Approximately 70% of India’s cases appear from “metropolitan areas” in seven states: Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, and Rajasthan.
If the government had taken this step with complete planning, then India would not suffer an enormous loss today. The unplanned strategy of the government is the foremost reason that infection cases have risen despite India being in a strict and world’s biggest Lockdown that began in late March and lifted at the end of May, after a few rounds of extensions.
LOCKDOWN Is A FAILURE OR A SUCCESS?
On 18 June, there were 12881 fresh cases and 334 fatalities. We all know that the decision of the government to impose Lockdown on 24 March for 2months and to unlock the nation when corona cases have crossed three lakhs is not right.No doubt, Lockdown is a Failure as it has shaken the Indian Economy.
The decision to impose a lockdown would always be critical and has not been successful because of its impact on the Indian economy. It may sound harsh, but it was a trade-off between loss of lives and loss of income.
- Most seriously, the Lockdown has destroyed the livelihood and economic security of millions of people. More than a hundred million people lost their jobs in April.
- The MSMEs and factories are shut down because of the pandemic. Thus, the sudden shutting down of production and distribution led to a total collapse of the economy, rendering millions jobless.
- Due to Lockdown, many small and medium enterprises have closed. The major impact of coronavirus is on Automotive Industry, hotels and restaurants, Film Industry, and Fashion Industry have incurred a tremendous loss.
- The sudden halt to the economy because of the two-month Lockdown has been devastating for daily laborers and migrant workers who fled cities on foot for their family homes in the countryside.
- A survey of migrant workers found that about 90% of migrant workers received no pay from their employers and 96% also received no rations from the government. This not only points to an economic and humanitarian crisis but also has direct epidemiological implications.
Mr. Kapil Sibal said that while the Prime Minister called for Aatamnirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, his government had failed to help farmers, migrant workers, industry, and even the state government become self-reliant.
Most critical is how social contracts between migrant workers and the state have all been ripped to shreds. Lockdown has shown the real face of the government and society to the migrants.
Was it too early to lift it? Was it too early to impose it in the first place? Well, the jury is out. On June 5, Rahul Gandhi tweeted a graphic saying, ‘this is what a failed lockdown looks like‘. In a word, it looked scary.
India did not require a lockdown on 24 March. It required a smart containment strategy. Yes, the infection numbers would have been more, but given that our fatalities have been less, we would have managed not to eviscerate the soul of our nation.
PM Modi cannot control these circumstances. He does not understand the exact range of the virus or how it could disrupt the community and economic activity in the country. The opening of liquor stores and air transport is a drastic move to restart the economy anyhow, despite the Central government’s inability to gauge or control the spread of the virus.
After 68 days of strict Lockdown, when positive cases have crossed two lakhs and 4,971 deaths later, On May 31, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order announcing a phased reopening or ‘Unlock 1’ by dint of which almost all prohibitory orders were lifted, except in containment zones. But the nationwide nightly curfew will remain between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. in all cities.
Will this step by the government reduce corona cases or increase its double?
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted to share a graphical comparison between the worst-hit nations, showing when each of them implemented the Lockdown and lifted it.
As per the data shared by Gandhi, Spain, Germany, Italy, and the UK announced the gradual lifting of Lockdown when their daily COVID-19 cases showed a downward trend, while “Unlock 1.0” in India comes that time when the cases are on a record high.
One question that Indians want to ask from the government is that Why has the Government unlocked the nation when there are nearly 3.7 lakh cases of corona in the country?
The government also announced that schools and colleges would open in July while international travel, metro services, cinemas, sporting events, and gyms open later, in an undated third phase. If schools are open, then how will parents save their children from corona infection, as the government says children under ten years of age must avoid going outside? Has any preparation been done by the government to save the children in the school from the corona? Was it the right time to open the Lockdown and other activities? Will the Government be able to give the answers to these questions?