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Opinion

Blocking is the right step – editorials

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked citizens “for a few weeks” in his speech to the nation on Thursday. He clearly hinted that the curfew of the people on March 22 would serve as evidence for the future. Mobility restrictions have been implemented over the past week. And that is why, perhaps, it was not an absolute surprise when the Center and several states decided to enter for a stricter closure, in all states, urban centers, affected districts, in the last 48 hours.

Citizens must follow the directives and exercise a high degree of responsibility. On Sunday, after the 5 pm applause for those who are on the front lines of the fight against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and those who still keep essential services running, in many pockets, there were large congregations . On Monday, in key cities, there was a resumption of movement on a scale that was potentially dangerous. There is no doubt that blocking is inconvenient. But citizens must realize that not only do they stay home for themselves, but they do so for their families and for the community at large, given the high transmission rates. In fact, they must begin preparing for a longer lockout period that extends beyond March 31. The impact of the blockade will not be immediately discernible. Instead, expect an increase in cases for now, due to the time lag between infection, symptoms, and testing. But if the shutdown is successful and social distancing is practiced, in a few weeks, India can see, first, a slower rate at which cases increase, and then the flattening of the curve.

For this to be successful, the government needs to simultaneously implement the following measures. First, prepare to extend the lock beyond March 31 if there is any reason to do so. And then review the situation. Two, based on the recognition that this blockade is extracting a huge economic burden, especially for the poor, develop an economic plan, which involves cash transfers. Third, use this period to increase the hospital’s capacity, obtain key items that will be needed for severe cases, and transport it to key centers. And four, increase the capacity of district hospitals, because with many migrant workers who have returned home, the infection is now likely to spread to rural India. Blocking is the first step in a long battle.

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