Covid-19: Night curfew is not only solution

Concerned over the emerging “second peak” of the Covid-19 pandemic in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday stressed the need to take quick and decisive steps and warned if the pandemic’s growth was not stopped now, a country-wide outbreak could occur. Addressing a meeting of chief ministers to combat the fresh wave of pandemic-induced deaths in the country, Mr Modi said though more than 96 per cent of cases in India had recovered the high test positivity rate in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh was of huge concern. In all, 70 districts across India have seen a 150 per cent rise in the past few weeks.
The number of Covid patients has surpassed 800 in a single day in the state. Bhopal and Indore have reported the maximum number of Covid cases. Madhya Pradesh government imposed a night curfew in many districts including Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, Gwalior, Ujjain, Ratlam, Chhindwara, Burhanpur, Betul and Khargone. But this is not the only solution. Spiking Covid infections across multiple states have raised fears that this could be the onset of a second wave in the country. A number of Maharashtra districts have also opted for lockdowns while night curfew has been clamped in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, and parts of Punjab and Uttarakhand.
Inter-state travel restrictions are also fast cropping up. Some states have mandated RT-PCR tests for out-of-state travellers. MP has ordered seven-day quarantine for visitors from Maharashtra. The irony of these measures is that these scapegoats the outsider without making allowances for the virus circulating uninhibited within local communities. If masking was enforced, none of these destructive ideas would’ve traction. But that would also greatly inconvenience the political class, many of whom are spotted unmasked in potentially super spreader election campaigns. India has a long way to go having vaccinated just 2% of the country, with vaccine hesitancy being observed across age groups and social classes.
People of all age groups taking vaccines will act as a nudge for everyone to come forward. A country that has exported 6 crore vaccine doses shouldn’t have to return to the lockdown mentality of last year, when options were fewer and understanding of the disease was limited. There are a number of regions that are experiencing another surge in infections, which can be blunted only by vaccinating close to 70 per cent of the population even as precautionary measures like social distancing and the wearing of masks is observed universally and with life-saving discipline.

- -Prabhakar Purandare

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