Corona: Lockdown and challenges ahead

On the night of 24th March 2020 at 8 O’clock Shri Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister declared complete lockdown for 21 days till 14th April 2020 across the country. It was a daring, apt but exemplary decision by Indian Government. This decision was criticised as delayed announcement by many intellectuals. But, it was heartening that Indians followed lockdown religiously except few exceptions. Earlier our PM called for “Ghanti Bajao” campaign at 5 O’clock evening on 22nd of March 2020 to show solidarity with our Corona fighters especially Doctors and Police. But many didn’t take it seriously and celebrated like festivals ignoring social distancing principle.

India has reported more than 3,072 Covid-19 cases and 75 deaths so far. India is losing 6-7 lakhs crore every day to its exchequer. Historically Passenger Trains traffic is completely halted in India. Poor Indians are within the four walls of home. Roads are almost deserted. Few Police Personnel, Traffic Staff and buyers in the dire need of essential commodities are breaking the silence on the road.

CoronaVirus Symbolic (Image-ShutterStock)

Indian Share Markets are reeling heavily under tremendous pressure of Corona Pandemic in the world and consequential lockdown in India. Petroleum and Gold prices are nose-dived.

Fighting with Corona outbreak in India is a herculean task by considering population, density and vast area. Indian hospitals are having at most 48000 ventilators critical for the treatment of serious patients. We are scrambling to make available in sufficient number of PPE’s (Personal Protective equipment) and N-95 masks in India.

There is a huge gap in Corona testing facility in India compared to other Corona victim countries especially USA and European Union countries. In USA, the number of Corona testing conducted on corona suspects are approximately 3000 and in Italy it is 8000 per million populations. It’s obvious that better Corona testing – population ratio will depict the true picture of number of Corona infected patients in India. Till now, we are less unfortunate than USA and European countries on the scale of corona infections and death cases.

A research paper titled “Age-structured impact of social distancing on the COVID-19 epidemic in India “ by Indian origin scientists from Cambridge University suggested 49 days with no break in between of lockdown starting from 25th March shall only reduce the cases below 10 and Corona pandemic will not aggravate further.

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France, Italy, Spain failed miserably to fight Corona epidemic in spite of having world’s best health system. USA expenditure per capita is maximum in the world and India is nowhere, as far as health facilities are concerned. But in this grim situation, so called advanced countries are feeling helpless in arranging adequate number of ICU beds, ventilators in hospitals, N-95 Masks and PPE’s (Personal Protection Equipment’s) etc.

Lakhs of new Covid-19 infected cases and consequently thousands of death cases are coming in the knowledge of us every day.

Chinese Health officials informed the WHO on 31st of December 2019, about a cluster of 41 patients with a mysterious pneumonia connected to Wuhan Seafood Wholesale Market, later confirmed as a new type of Corona Virus Disease. WHO announced Covid-19 disease as pandemic on 31st January 2020.

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Had China informed the world before, it would not have such devastating impact in the world? It is alleged that China is minting money from Corona pandemic. China firstly purchased around 2 billion N-95 masks from the global market and now selling the same at 5 times of the cost. Also, China is selling personal protective equipment of inferior quality at exorbitant prices to the Covid-19 affected countries.

India is a developing country and more than 30 percent population is still struggling for two meals a day.

Manufacturing sector is almost shut down and it will take a long time to bring the situation normal.

Credit rating agency Moody already slashed India’s GDP growth forecast from 5.3% to 2.5% for year 2020. Air India suspended 200 contract pilots from its service. Other industries definitely will follow the trend, once corona lockdown is over.

Rabi cultivation is in jeopardy. Farmers are not able to harvest their standing crops as they are unable to get tractors and labourers because of lockdown impact. Due to lockdown many farmers are throwing tomatoes into rivers as supply chain is in crisis. It is quite inevitable to steep surge in prices in basket of goods used by the common man in coming time.

As India’s per capita doctors are quite less in comparison to developed countries and one Doctor is available for 1445 population still less than WHO recommendation of 1 doctor per 1000 population! A good number of cases have come into light where doctors and nursing are being infected with Corona virus and it will be very tough scenario in the fight against Corona pandemic.

Whole world is desperately looking for effective, affordable Vaccine without any further delay in fight against Corona.

There is tremendous fear factor among common man. The tough and challenging time is ahead. We have to be very careful, alert and better prepared to contain this deadly Corona outbreak.

Author of the article

– Dinesh Kumar
The Author is a Manager in Steel Authority of India Limited.


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