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Entering the fifth week of national closure – editorials


The national closure has entered its fifth week as of today. It is also the second day of selective relaxation in districts and areas that have seen limited or no cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19). With the blockade, India seeks to preserve public health and reduce the rate of spread of the virus. With partial relaxations, you seek to revive economic activities.

But this image obscures variations within states. Health is a state issue, requiring state governments to be open to evolutionary responses based on the burden of disease (which varies from state to state), best practices (the effectiveness of social distancing and blockages), and models successful (such as the Bhilwara model from Rajasthan or the Kasaragod model from Kerala). Some states have rightly decided to exercise more caution than others. Despite the economic cost of the blockade, Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab and Telangana, for example, are not reducing the restrictions at the moment, and Telangana even extended its blockade until May 7.

India is at a crossroads, with the Center and the states on trial. The next fortnight will determine whether India can flatten the infection curve enough for partial relaxations to expand both in scope and geography, or whether there is an unmanageable increase in cases, leading to continued stagnation of economic activities. . There is now a consensus on health protocols, from testing to isolation, the provision of protective equipment for health workers, and increasing the health infrastructure for severe cases. This must continue. Actions in weeks five and six of the blockade will define the course of India beyond May 3.

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