Exit strategy for lifting India's lockdown
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted countries across the world, and India is witnessing the toughest 3 weeks lockdown since March 25th 2020 expected to be over on 14th April 2020. The Covid-19 positive cases have seen a constant rise in India with total count exceeding 6000 as on 9th April 2020. The lockdown has impacted the lives of people like never before, it has adversely impacted the economy of the country putting into extreme distress sectors like tourism, infrastructure, retail, aviation to name a few. The moot question today is - Should India extend this lockdown beyond April 14th 2020.
The Indian PM has been facing immense pressure from several Chief Ministers of states to extend the lockdown beyond the midnight of April 14-15th 2020. The Government will face the challenge of normalising the lives of the people along with oiling the wheels of the economy, without causing a surge in the number of positive Covid-19 cases.
The exit strategy most importantly will have to ensure safe movement of migrant labor to their native places as the harvest season approaches. We cannot afford cessation of harvesting activity due to labor issues as it may cause food deficits along with food inflation. Also, states must scale up their testing, especially in the clusters and migration centres. Enhanced testing, isolation of the infected, tracing of patient contacts and strict quarantine will have to be strictly continued by the states beyond lockdown. The identification of hotspots and districts most affected can lead a virtual lockdown, while nationwide curbs are gradually relaxed. There should be strict vigil to prevent mass gatherings and people must be urged to maintain social distancing even while the lockdown is slowly brought down. India will have to find a middle path, in order to save lives and also ensure that the economy doesn’t suffer for long.