Health First, Economy Later: PM’s Plan Behind Extended Lockdown
The extension of lockdown till 3 May was expected. What was also expected was some relief package would be announced
Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam
With confirmed cases of coronavirus crossing 11,000 in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced an extension of the nationwide lockdown. The lockdown, which was implemented on 25 March and was scheduled to end on 14 April, has now been extended to 3 May. The extension was expected. What was also expected was some relief package for the needy. PM Modi's plan is clear – health first, economy later.
Modi, too, in his address, said that “strict lockdown” will be followed till 20 April, post which relaxation of norms may be allowed after evaluation. This will be done after analysing the spread of coronavirus, especially in hotspots.
Stricter regulations can be implemented further, because the curve isn’t close to becoming flat. Cases are being reported at an average rate of 1200-1300 per day now, from the earlier 800 per day. Hence, the lockdown has been extended till 3 May. This means that the government needs more time.
It is also worth noting that so far India has been able to do only 1.25 lakh tests, of which more than one lakh ten thousand tests have been done in only four states –Maharashtra, Delhi, Kerala and Rajasthan.
Fighting COVID-19 With Limited Resources
PM Modi also mentioned limited resources in his address. What does that mean? Based on ICMR data, it can be estimated that there are around 8.5 lakh testing kits, and the shipment coming from outside will take time. Limited testing kits and limited testing are two big challenges for India now.
The condition of the migrant labourers is worrisome. No jobs, no salaries, no money, no food and no means to even go back home.
Yet in his address, PM Modi said nothing to address the woes of the migrant workers. No economic package, no relief fund announced.
Why Were Those Travelling to India From Abroad Not Tested And Quarantined?
The government has always been ahead in presenting screening data. The government has said that testing of 1.5 million people travelling from abroad till 23 March, was started later. If these people were quarantined on time, then spread of the virus could have been controlled significantly.
Experts believe that if it had screened and isolated the passengers coming from abroad at the airport, it could have been controlled easily. The matter has now gone out of control.
Overall, the message of PM means that there is no relief now and strictness and caution is necessary
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