In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, several governments in the world implemented lockdown aimed to flatten the curve. Crores of people In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, several governments in the world implemented lockdown aimed to flatten the curve. Crores of people were commanded to stay locked at home. Speaking of India, the lockdown, framed by the media as “the world’s strictest”, seems to have failed to yield the desire results. About 6, 48,315 cases and 18,655, the lockdown has proven to be ineffectual in saving lives from the deadly virus. Home isolation, social distancing, and sanitization were advised. Nevertheless, substantial lockdown measures failed to put in place to control the despite surging positive cases. In addition, the economy has suffered a baneful blow. If a planned meticulous unlock strategy is not implemented, both health and economy of the country will worsen. Although the government imposed lockdown in the country on time, undoubtedly it was not diligently planned. Therefore, it is high time the government replaces it with an effective unlock strategy.
Keywords: coronavirus, lockdown, unlock, economy
“This is what a failed lockdown looks like.”
This was how Rahul Gandhi posted a tweet on Twitter, bringing to focus on the “too strict” lockdown that failed terribly in the country. From then on, people started to scrutinize the entire issue.
The lockdown commenced on March 24, 2020, to curb the spread of coronavirus before it starts to become deadly. With the lockdown ensured in full vigor and the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi stating his opinions and “tasks” occasionally, 135 crores of Indians had to lock themselves in their homes.
Time to Unlock the Lock:-
This stringent three months lockdown posed a destructive impact on almost every sector in society. Hunger, migration of guest workers, unemployment, and poverty are just some issues that managed to come to light. What played a significant role is the media. The awareness raised by news channels hampered the mental health of several Indians. With tons of content being consumed by the country every single day, a serious negative impact started to refurbish leading to a surge in depression, suicides, and the need for extensive mental care.
Uncertainty concerning termination of lockdown and economy falling deeper into the trench, the government is forced to come to terms with unlocking and exit.
Flattening the curve seemed to be the only focus of governmental machinery that nodded to implement the complete lockdown. But, needless to say, the curve never flattened but only pushed the economy behind the curtain.
Isolation and balcony beating won’t keep the virus at bay. Will these?
Speaking of home quarantine, about 24% of Indian population live in slums, as reported in 2014. Community toilets are shared by streets and joint families live in congested one-room spaces. Home isolation is not going to be the option for slum dwellers and neither the social distancing. The government managed to utter wise words, warning people to stay at home, but did not enforce measures to make sure the work futures of people are safe from peril.
Lockdown- At What Cost?
Social distancing and exercising caution at all times are the most cardinal measures to tackle the virus. But, this one-size-fits-all approach will not be apt for all communities in the country. Moreover, it cannot be a long-term solution. Ergo, the Center should resist the urge to implement unsustainable lockdowns. Improvising on the unlock strategy is crucial to reset the ties with the falling economy.
An article named “India coronavirus: Why is India reopening amid a spike in cases?” by BBC News point out:
“From day one, India’s lockdown came at a huge cost, especially since so many of its people live on a daily wage or close to it. It put food supply chains at risk, cost millions their livelihood, and throttled every kind of business. As the economy sputtered and unemployment rose, India’s growth forecast tumbled to a 30-year-low.”
Why not “Jaan bhi, Jahan bhi”?
Meer Taqi, an Urdu poet said “Jaan hai, tho Jahan hai”. This instantly became the motto of Modi. To demystify the statement concerning lockdown in simpler terms, it focuses on health as a priority but failed to reflect on the economy needed to uplift the same.
Decoupling from mere subjective notions and exercising objectively is the need of the hour. The stringent lockdown has become a double-edged sword. To defuse the ticking COVID-19 bomb, the sledgehammer should be replaced with the screwdriver approach. Rather than completely bolting the doors, policies implemented should know when to tighten the nail and when to loosen.
- Stedman M, Davies M, Lunt M, Verma A, Anderson SG, Heald AH. A phased approach to unlocking during the COVID-19 pandemic—Lessons from trend analysis. Int J Clin Pract. 2020;00:e13528. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijcp.13528
- Atre SR. Lessons from COVID-19 in India: Extended lockdowns – At what cost? Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth 2020;13:192-4.
- Bausch, D., 2020. Precision Physical Distancing for COVID-19: An Important Tool in Unlocking the Lockdown. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene,