India's covid surge - worry for Modi

India’s COVID surge – 14-day lockdowns advised

India is really under attack from an alarming COVID 19 surge. A complete lack of plan to fight the virus coupled with totally inadequate health infrastructure in the country and the playing of belligerent politics by various states including Delhi, Maharashtra and West Bengal is killing the delivery of meaningful messaging initiated by the Modi government.

Seeing the daily world record number of positive cases being registered, the Modi government has advised stringent containment and lockdown measures in areas recording more than 10 per cent positivity rate in the number of tests conducted over the last one week and districts with more than 60 per cent occupancy of beds supported by oxygen or in ICU.

Shortage of oxygen in the country seems to be the single most point of concern for the government. There are reports of people – consumer themselves – paying up to Rs 80,000 for a cylinder of oxygen in the black market.

There are visuals on TV of people dying in the corridors of hospitals rejecting to take them. In many places crematoriums are rejecting dead bodies as they are working overtime to meet the surge in demand.

In many cases, people wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) have been seen cremating their loved ones in fields and under trees as they can no longer wait for their turn at crematoriums.

Not surprisingly the Ministry of Health said there was an urgent need for states to consider strict COVID management and control measures in surge areas to break the chain of transmission.

“Prompt and targeted action needs to be focused on specific districts, cities, areas to flatten the current curve of the epidemic which may be identified by states. Districts where test positivity has been more than 10 pc for the past week or bed (oxygen supported or ICU bed) occupancy has been over 60 pc must be considered for taking intensive action and local containment measures,” said the Centre asking states to prohibit social, religious and political gatherings in areas of high surge.

It also advised closure of gyms, spas, restaurants and religious places in such areas.

The Centre said containment should focus on restricting intermingling of people for 14 days to break the chain of transmission.

“Classification of districts requiring intensive action and local containment is also to be undertaken by the state on a weekly basis and may be made available online, besides being given due publicity in the media,” Health Ministry said.

Health being a state subject, the actioning of such directive es rests wiuth the state administrations and can be bottlenecks requiring their cities, towns, parts of the towns, district headquarters, semi-urban localities, municipal wards, panchayats to go into lockdowns.

According to the Ministry of Health India, there are 26.82 crore (2682751) active cases of Covid positives in India. More than 14.08 crore have recovered and 1.92 lakh people have died of Covid.