oppn parties Fighting COVID-19: The Strategy Moving Forward

News Snippets

  • Terrorists strike on the outskirts of Srinagar, kill 2 BSF men
  • Alluding to the border dispute with India, Nepal PM says "Indian virus" is more dangerous than the Chinese or Italian virus
  • Bengaluru hears a mysterious booming sound. Agencies investigating the matter. Met says not due to earthquake. IAF says could be due to supersonic speeds attained by test flights but inquiries ar on.
  • Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Puri says it will not be viable to keep the middle seat of aircrafts vacant when air travel starts from Monday, 25th May
  • JEE(Main) registrations reopened. Candidates can apply until May 24
  • Junaid Sehrai, a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander, killed in an encounter with the security forces at Nawa Kadal in Srinagar
  • Railways to run 200 non-AC trains from June 1
  • Centre changes rules for Shramik special trains, terminating states' permission no longer mandatory
  • Rahul Gandhi asks the government to reconsider the economic package, advises it transfer money directly to the poor
  • SBI gets Rs 1.25 lakh crore growth in deposits in April 2020
  • Cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potatoes to be de-regularized
  • The Centre decides to amend the Essential Services Act to ensure better prices for farmers
  • Housing subsidy scheme CLSS for middle-income group extended till March 2021
  • 50 lakh street vendors to be provided Rs 10000 each as working capital loan
  • Free food will be given to migrants. Each family to get 5 kgs of wheat/rice and 1 kg chana. Measure to benefit 8 crore families with the government spending Rs 3500 crore
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oppn parties
Fighting COVID-19: The Strategy Moving Forward

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-04-03 13:35:25

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

The government is reviewing the COVID-19 situation on a daily basis and taking appropriate decisions. In his video conference with state chief ministers on Friday, Prime Minister Modi talked of a coordinated lifting of the lockdown that would prevent a second outbreak. He also impressed upon them to stagger the lifting of the lockdown within the state. This would mean that the states will have to identify hotspots and extend the lockdown in those regions. This makes sense as some areas have reported too many positive cases and the infected persons or their contacts might spread the disease after lockdown if they move out on the relaxation of the restrictions. Hence it is better to keep them isolated for a longer period.

Travel restrictions should also be lifted in a staggered way, with all modes of transport to and from identified hotspots kept suspended till the situation improves. People need to be informed that the lifting of the lockdown does not mean that the need to fight the disease has decreased or that the situation has improved. Since the lockdown, many serious cases, like the Tablighi Jamaat case, have come to light and they have caused serious concern because attendees have spread out across the country and many of them have tested positive after reaching their respective states.

In the last 10 days of the lockdown, the government will have a clear picture of how the spread of COVID-19 has panned out across the country. It will know the problem states and within the states, the problem districts. These geographical areas will have to be monitored further and would need special attention. The list of these areas will keep multiplying as migrants will reach homes. Also, schools, colleges and other educational institutions may be kept closed for a longer period if the government feels.

As the Prime Minister said in the above meeting, testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine should be in focus for the next few weeks. The government is thinking of allowing rapid antibody (serology) tests as the first test (to be confirmed by an RT-PCR test using nasal or throat swab later) for symptomatic cases in hotspots. Symptomatic persons will have to remain under compulsory home quarantine even if they test negative in the serology test. Companies the world over are developing new kits for testing (Siemens Healthineers has already developed one to detect SARS-CoV-2, the source of COVID-19). The government can look at some of these and employ them in a limited way in hotspots where cases are multiplying rapidly.

It is now clear that the government is rightly expanding the testing protocol and is tackling the issue from all angles. Hindsight might allow some people to criticize some earlier responses of the government but all of them were made after studying experiences in other countries and on the advice of health experts. Now, with community transmission kept at bay, the need is to identify hotspots and prevent the spread from there. Also, all care needs to be taken to prevent newer hotspots from emerging by a coordinated and staggered lifting of the lockdown, as suggested by Prime Minister Modi.