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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Unlock-3: Night Curfew To End, Gyms To Reopen!


The government of India has extended national lockdown in containment zones till 31st August, 2020 which was expected considering the continuous surge in new COVID-19 cases for more than a month now; the total India-lockdown days set to go beyond 128 with the new extension. Guidelines for Unlock-3 were also announced in rest of the areas. As per the new guidelines announced last evening night curfew is going to be lifted from 5th of August everywhere, and gyms/yoga institutes are going to reopen from the same date. The August 15 Independence Day celebrations shall have to be observed with curbs, from the national level to the village panchayat levels. All other relaxations announced in Unlock-1 and Unlock-2, of course, will continue to be valid. What will continue to remain shut are: schools/colleges/educational institutes closed till 31st August; Metro railway and regular passenger trains not to operate till fresh announcements; international flights that are operating under Vande Bharat are only allowed to continue; cinema halls/entertainment parks/auditoriums/bars to remain shut till at least 31st August; and no social/cultural/religious congregations and celebrations will be allowed for the same extended period.

The state government of Maharashtra has also extended strict lockdown in all districts till 31st August except for the relaxations already given, with the state crossing the 4,00,000 mark of total COVID cases. The situation is also grim in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam among others. However, the COVID peak seems to have been over in Delhi and Mumbai at least where the curve is slowly flattening. With aggressive testing being followed in almost all the states new cases are bound to go on rising. The high positivity rates in some states are a matter of concern at the moment; however, states, for example, Maharashtra, Delhi and others are showing a positivity rate below 10% which is considered to be ideal by experts.

Meanwhile, lockdowns of all kinds of duration are continuing in many states: lockdowns ranging across one-day, two-day, weekend, five-day, one-week and two-week or more. West Bengal has presented a unique example of having lockdown two days a week—on Thursdays and Saturdays. Experts have been advising since a long time that short-duration lockdowns do not really help containing the spread of the virus, and the states, under severe surge of infections, should do better by following the national lockdown in stricter forms. Since lockdowns are only temporary measures to contain the disease and to bolster the health infrastructure total focus should be on following the norms: wearing of masks, maintaining health hygiene and observing social/physical distancing, in short, adapting perfectly to the new normal as long as the ‘living with COVID-19’ period  lasts. In the last twenty-four hours India has registered the spike of new cases at over 52000 with 775 deaths. Positively speaking, the national recovery rate has almost touched 65% and the fatality rate has come down to around 2.20%, consistently on a declining trend. 

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