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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Lock Coronavirus Down: The Suspense Continues!

As the 21-day lockdown in India completes the first week today the total infected of COVID-19 in the world crossing 800,000 persons with deaths at nearly 39 thousand, and in India the graph is still steady with around 1200 infected and 32 deaths. After reeling under a merciless torrent of deaths for the last few days Italy seems to have a sigh of relief with no new deaths recorded for the time being, and reduced deaths for Spain, Iran and USA—in the latter infections are still on the surge and deaths had doubled in the last 2 days, and better scenarios in terms of new cases for France, United Kingdom and Switzerland. However, absolute suspense continues in India where, experts still say that Stage-2 is not yet over and the real picture would materialize once Stage-3 is reached. The main point of interest being at the moment: has the lockdown helped India in controlling the spread of the Coronavirus. The Government of India has said that the measure seems to have a positive impact on the spread while other experts are giving the opinion that perhaps the virus is not spreading as much in India and in Africa due to the factor of increasing hot weather. Still others have painted a gloomy picture for India from April, 2020 onwards. Whatever way it goes the country, with its states and union territories is getting more and prepared for the final assault. The testing figure is increasing day by day with more kits attained and private hospitals also brought into the loop (even now, India is utilizing only 36% of its total testing capacity), the number of ICUs with ventilators has continued to increase too, tracing and quarantine being arranged all the time for suspected cases and many of the public hospitals have been converted into dedicated centres for COVID-19 all over the country. There is also the other part of the suspense drama as to what is going to happen beyond 14th April—would lockdown be extended or only temporarily lifted. World Updates:

Naturally, there had been some hiccups in the execution part for a country of 1.3 billion citizens suddenly trying to shut everyone up behind closed doors. We mentioned about the problem of migrant laborers in our last piece—this problem had magnified in various parts of the country in the last two days with thousands of workers congregating in a desperate attempt to go to their village homes. Authorities in a place in North India reportedly made a crowd of migrant workers squat on the road and then sprayed disinfectant, said to be bleach, over them. This inhuman act created a raging controversy on questions of treatment to poor workers and their supposed social status.

The police atrocities, much in the way of an old school headmaster, have also been raising eyebrows all over. While the forces had justified by saying it was absolutely necessary to make casual and ignorant public see reason and stop roaming the streets others have questioned the tactics, sometimes too ruthless and humiliating. In some parts the supply chain has been affected with people, including senior citizens, remaining deprived of essentials.

One more controversy has been raised in the aftermath of a religious congregation held at Nizamuddin, New Delhi between 5th and 15th March, 2020 with around 2000 participants from all over the country and from some foreign nation. Now, around 24 participants of the event had proved COVID-19 positive with 6 reportedly dying in various places, and questions are being asked as to how the Delhi authorities allowed such a congregation take place. Hectic efforts are underway to trace all the participants, and many are put in quarantine already. Vested interests are trying to create communal sentiments by blaming the particular religious group for endangering others.


As the authorities are constantly asking the public to not panic, stay at home and follow the guidelines strictly the locked-up millions are also having the benefit of a few feel-good factors, apart from the daily dose of ennui and looking for rations. Some of the feel-good factors, freely moving around the social media, are: quality time to spend at home, thus strengthening the fading family bonds; no noise pollution, and a discernible reduction in air pollution all around; the avian surge with the migratory birds making their presence felt this time by occupying the beautiful but empty surrounds; wild animals coming out in the human-less streets and having great fun; incredible saving of the fuel and Mother Nature asserting Her sway over a hitherto dithering humankind. And, as to the future course of Coronavirus in India and elsewhere it is up to Mother Nature only, to decide…really. 

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