By Asim Kamal
AS India completes a month under lockdown that brought the world’s most populous democracy to a virtual standstill, with no or very minimal social and economic activities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, several medical experts feel that the restrictions were crucial in preventing a “US or Europe-like” situation from materialising in the country.
However, most of the experts also cautioned that a “bigger challenge” awaits the country when it gradually move towards exiting the nationwide lockdown, which has emerged as one of India’s biggest weapons so far in the battle against COVID-19.
India’s first case was reported on January 30, and 54 days later on March 25, with 519 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 11 deaths, the country was put under a 21-day lockdown, hence starting country’s full-blown battle against the pandemic.
Dr Arvind Kumar, a noted lung surgeon at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said the month-long lockdown has been “immensely beneficial” for India and prevented a “US or Europe-like” situation from materialising in the country. “More importantly, it has given us a golden 30 days time to prepare our health services and other support services to face the onslaught (of the virus) even if it was to come in the ensuing days,” he told PTI.
Kumar also said that as a healthcare worker he would like to see a decision on extension of the lockdown around April 30 or May 1 after assessing the situation at the time.
“Lifting of lockdown should be very gradual. Some facilities should remain closed through the month of May like schools, colleges, malls, cinema halls, religious places and markets. Certain sectors feeling the pinch should open but only in green zones, while red and orange zones should continue in lockdown,” he said.
Ravi Shekhar Jha, Senior Consultant and Head of the Department, Pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Faridabad, also hailed the government’s decision to impose the lockdown in containing the virus, saying it was “timely”.
Dr Rommel Tickoo, Associate Director, Internal Medicine, Max healthcare, said the lockdown has been quite beneficial for India when compared to the situation in the US and Europe
“Ours was quite timely. We have over 20,000 cases, so if you compare it with the US and Europe, definitely we are in a much better condition. Mortality rate is also lower in India at round 3 per cent,” he told PTI.
He also suggested that India can take a leaf out of countries like Sweden and put restrictions on elderly and those with comorbid conditions for 2-3 months as they seem to be more vulnerable to the virus.