After the Nationwide lockdown ends on the 15th of April, the situation could be worse, making it difficult for the Government to control the spread of the Novel Coronavirus.
With just 9 days left for the end of the lockdown, the state governments are planning for alternate options and guidelines, to prevent the further spread of the virus. A few public health experts, doctors and epidemiologists hinted that coming back to normalcy would be difficult for every individual during the pandemic situation in India, after the lockdown ends.
According to health experts, the coming week is said to be crucial, deciding the situation of the Country in the terms of the spread of the Virus.
Dr. K. Srikanth Reddt, the Alumni of Osmania Medical College and a public health specialist said, even if the State Government eases the lockdown after the 14th of April, citizens need to be responsible and follow social distancing strictly.
According to Dr. Srikanth, it is not advisable and unlikely that all the social distancing measures imposed by authorities will be lifted immediately on the 14th of April.
Considering the current situation of the spread of Virus due to the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz event, the numbers rose by 500 in 24 hours. Lifting the lockdown completely in one go, could prove dangerous for the citizens and can also lead to Stage 3, community Transmission.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) also addressed the same issue and started the process of widening community testing, which could identify if India is ready to prevent community transmission after the lockdown is lifted.
The poor healthcare system and slow diagnosis, shortage of PPEs, masks and bodysuits for doctors could also be a hurdle to the lifting of lockdown, increasing the number of COVID-19 patients with double the speed.
Meanwhile, the Railway ministry and the Aviation Ministry said they are accepting online bookings of trains and flights respectively, after the 15th of April. However, public places, like malls, cinema halls, food courts, restaurants and religious places might remain closed as the Government is planning to lift the lockdown partially.
The Government is also expected to release an advisory and guidelines on inter state travels, railways and aviation services after the lockdown ends. Decision to reopen schools and educational institutions is also yet to be taken, depending upon the situation and number of COVID-19 cases. The government officials and union ministers hinted at restricted services for only necessary situations.
Offices where work from home is possible will be requested to extend it for another month. A key concern of the government appears to be to keep hospitals free of crowding and daily patient traffic. Hence, doctor-on-call services will be considered for people suffering from common colds, fever or other illnesses. Coordination among the government and private hospitals will be evolved.
Admissions, classes and examinations in schools and colleges will be made online. Train services may be resumed, but only for essential travel.
Ramesh Pokhriyal, the Union Human Resource and Development (HRD) Minister, said, “It is difficult to take a decision at the moment. We will review the situation on April 14 and depending upon the circumstances, a decision will be taken on whether schools and colleges can be reopened now or have to be closed for some more time.”
Highlighting the sensitivity over the decision as India has 34 crore students, which is more than theUnited States of America population, Mr. Pokhriyal said, “There are 34 crore students in the country, more than America’s population. They are our biggest treasure. Safety of students and teachers is of utmost importance to the government (sic.)”
According to sources, the Government of India (GoI,) is also planning for a second lockdown after the 15th of May. The proposal was discussed during a high level meeting between a 16 member committee, to fight against the Novel Coronavirus.
However, the second lockdown would be based on the number of increased cases during the 15th of April to the 15th of May. If necessary, only then would the GoI would impose a second lockdown.
Meanwhile, on the 6th of April, India reported 4,375 cases of the Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 with as many as 122 casualties. The highest number of COVID-19 cases were reported in Maharashtra (781, ) followed by Tamil Nadu (571,) Delhi (503) and Telangana (334.)