While the number of cases of new infections in COVID-19 India is rising rapidly, the Modi government has rightly extended its nationwide lockdown by two more weeks from May 4 to May 18. Until the new announcement, the government will ease restrictions in some areas to revive nation’s economic activity which has been stalled since March 25 when the stringent ‘stay home stay safe’ measures were put in place across the country.
While interstate travel will not be allowed during the extended lockdown, the authorities will partially relax measures in areas where there’s been no new reports of coronavirus infections, according to a statement by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
In urban areas, industrial businesses including those in special economic zones, will be able to operate. Manufacturing of essential goods, including drugs, pharmaceuticals and medical devices and IT hardware production will also be able to operate the statement said. Private offices and government departments can operate provided they do not have more than 33% of their workforce attending at one time.
The numbers: Rising and rising despite the lockdown
In India, the number of new infections being reported in the country has not fallen despite the 40-day lockdown. On March 25, when India went into lockdown, it had just over 600 infections and 10 deaths. On March 30, India reported 1074 case of infection and 24 deaths. The same numbers on May 4 stood at 42505 infections and 1391 deaths. Clearly India does not seem to be winning the battle. The biggest single-day spike came on May 1, with 2,400 new cases reported.
Experts are worried that the lockdown measures do not seem to be showing much result as seen in other countries let alone think of the stellar performance of Australia which has not only flattened but in fact bent the curve. Australia has a total of 6819 infections and only 95 deaths as of May 4. There have been many states and days on when there have been zero new infections. In India, the numbers are continuously growing. By the time this story went online (May 5 with 2nd revision updates), India adding the biggest single day increases, had added 3932 infections taking the number to 46437 and 175 more deaths taking the number to 1566.
Given the internal politics and political ideology loggerheads at play, the real numbers of infections and deaths in COVID-19 India will be much higher.
Chaired a meeting on strengthening our MSME sector, which plays a pivotal role in economic development. There were extensive discussions on ways to make this sector more vibrant, attractive and ready to embrace new opportunities. pic.twitter.com/b3o9MMZWZj
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 2, 2020
Modi & Co. will have to do a lot more brainstorming – to arrest the spread of COVID-19 and safely relax the restrictions for the stagnant economy’s grinding wheels to take off. He may be doomed either way particularly because of the lack of education in the Indian populace of personal hygiene and the very porous condition of the COVID-19 India’s health infrastructure.