New Delhi, May 06, 2021: Will the government impose a national lockdown as cases of Covid-19 surge across the country? The Union Health Ministry has not ruled out a lockdown to stem the world’s worst virus outbreak.
In a press briefing on Wednesday, Niti Aayog’s member VK Paul said that the option of a nationwide lockdown is “being discussed”.
VK Paul also heads the national Covid-19 task force.
At a time when experts and political leaders have advised the PM to impose a national lockdown to tackle the devastating second wave of Covid-19 in India, the Niti Aayog member said the states have already been instructed to impose local night curfews and restrictions in districts with over 10 per cent test positivity rate and more than 60 per cent occupancy of ICU beds.
“There is a clear balanced advisory...at the same time, in addition to this range of restrictions, if anything more is required, those options are always being discussed and those decisions, as being required, will be taken,” VK Paul said.
At the same time, the head of the national Covid-19 taskforce said significant guidelines have already been issued to the states.
As India fights Covid-19 amid a shortage of oxygen and medical supplies, top health experts and political allies have advocated for a nationwide lockdown, saying this may be the only option left for the country to break this chain of the virus transmission.
America’s top public health expert Dr Anthony Fauci went on to term the situation in India “very desperate” as he suggested the government to marshal all its resources, including the armed forces, to build makeshift field hospitals, and urged other countries to help with not only materials but also personnel.
Dr Fauci explained that when a lockdown is imposed, it definitely interferes with the dynamics of the viral outbreak and you could interfere with the continuity and the transmission of infection, the top immunologist noted, citing the experience gained by other countries.
On Thursday, India recorded a new high of 4,12,262 new Covid cases and 3,980 deaths, taking the country’s tally to 2,10,77,410, according to the Union Health Ministry.
The top five states which have registered maximum cases are Maharashtra with 57,640 cases, followed by Karnataka with 50,112 cases, Kerala with 41,953 cases, Uttar Pradesh with 31,111 cases and Tamil Nadu with 23,310 cases.