INDIA UNDER COVID-19 LOCKDOWN

The first case of the Covid-19 in INDIA was reported on 30th January 2020, originating from CHINA. As of 26th May 2020, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has confirmed 138,485 cases,  57,721 recoveries and 4,021 deaths in the country. India crossed 100,000 mark on 19 May 2020. India currently has the fourth largest number of confirmed cases in Asia. This virus can easily affect who having respiratory problem and especially who have been aged older than sixty. People with low respiratory immune or those with major breathing issues are more prone to be affected by this disease.

The largest COVID-19 national lockdown in INDIA has been extended to May 29. India was quick to close its international borders and enforce an immediate lockdown, which WHO praised as ‘tough and timely’. The lockdown has given time to the government to prepare for a possible surge in cases when the pandemic is forecasted to peak in the upcoming weeks. The scenario of India on Covid-19 has decently better than other already affected countries, its due to the precautionary measures. However India hasn’t escape from the pandemic, where it also come into danger position . The union government has taken several steps to restrain the community spread, whereas people are not effectively understanding the situation. Many people who all are not bothered about the life threatening Covid-19 calamity. This negligence has occurred because due to their economical poverty, where union government has never discussed about their livelihoods, however some state governments like Kerala and Madhya Pradesh had announced some monetary schemes for their daily needs.

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Preparedness and response to this pandemic have differed at state levels. Maharashtra has used drones camera to check the physical distancing under the lockdown. Odisha’s exposure to previous natural disasters meant crisis  precautions were already in place and have been re purposed. Kerala has drawn on its experience with the Nipah virus in 2018 to use extensive testing , contact tracing , and community mobilization to contain the virus and maintain a very low immortality rate. It has also setup thousands of shelters for migrant workers. This is yet not clear if this strategy will be successful but these deserves the credits for India’s Covid-19 response. Also Maharashtra applied a cluster containment strategy I.e. if three or more patients are diagnosed, all houses within 3 km are surveyed to detect further cases, trace contacts, and raise awareness. The premise relies on there not being community transmission, and there is a danger of stigmatization and coercion.

The government’s sudden enforcement of the lockdown seemed hastily prepared and immediately disadvantaged already vulnerable populations . There has been a mass exodus of migrant workers and concerns are rising about starvation among people who work in the informal economy. Implementing public health measures is difficult in places with overcrowded living conditions and inadequate hygiene and sanitation.

As per the record of April 20 rates of testing have been low. Absence of political will and operational feasibility have been to blame. Testing needs to be expanded exponentially as well as strategically as a tool to provide epidemiological evidence. India’s response has also been constrained by a shortage of health workers , but this should be remedied by new reforms that would mobilize additional health-care workers from different sources.

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One threat to Covid-19 response in India is the spread of misinformation driven by fear, stigma, and blame. These have been rising levels of violence against health-care workers and stigmatization of people with or suspected of having Covid-19, which could impede reporting of illness. The pandemic has also been used to the group Tabligahi Jamaat was identified as being responsible for many cases. A welcome initiative to combat fake news is being led by a group of more than 400 multidisciplinary Indian scientists, who have voluntarily formed Indian scientists’. Response to Covid-19 to flight myths and misinformation about the disease.

In India’s favour are its young citizen aged less than 35 which is 65% of the population. And to date , less severe pandemic than was feared. The lockdown is already having the desired effect of flattening the epidemic curve. States began easing restrictions on the basis of district profiling of infectious hotspots which is a form of cluster containment. The immediate challenge is to keep infections at manageable levels and ensure the ability to test , trace contacts, isolate patients , implement Covid care plans, and disseminate timely information. The central government should loosen its control and give states more autonomy over their funding and decision making. India must also pay much greater attention to the health sector and recognize the importance of having strong public sector capacity, especially in primary care at the district level. India’s public health care system is chronically underfunded, leaving primary care weak. This pandemic could be the much needed wake up call to the necessity of long term changes to India’s health system.

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Author: ANIKET RAJ,
IFIM LAW COLLEGE/ 1ST YEAR STUDENT

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