No takers for LOCKDOWN

No takers for LOCKDOWN
Posted 17 Jan 2022 | Source:

While the state is on the verge of a third wave, fuelled by the new Covid variant Omicron, both policymakers and health experts are of the view that a complete lockdown at this juncture would do little to curb the spread of the virus. On the other hand it will cripple the economy, which has already suffered a lot during the past two waves of Covid-19.

State Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar on Friday brushed off rumours regarding lockdown and said it will not be imposed. He also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has instructed all the State officials to bring in measures to curtail the spread of the virus in their respective cities and State.

Dr K. Sudhakar said, “Lockdown is not the solution for containing the spread of the virus. In the previous two years of lockdown there have not been any results and it has only affected the lives of people. These lockdowns have affected people in terms of business and we cannot keep repeating the same thing every time.”

Experts also said that the businesses have struggled a lot during the last two pandemic waves and no one can afford to go through another lockdown.

A business man said, “We run construction materials businesses and lockdowns have affected us a lot. We have suffered losses that can’t be recovered in the next 3 years. We don’t want to go through this again.”

The country’s economy had suffered its first full-year contraction in the fiscal year 2021 after nearly four decades, mainly due to the strict nationwide lockdown in April-May 2020 and the subsequent state-wide lockdowns. Many sectors have still not recovered from its crippling blows.

Another differentiating factor from the first Covid wave in 2020 is the increased vaccine coverage in the country. Back then there were no vaccines, and India began administering vaccines to its healthcare workers in Janauary, 2021. But now India’s cumulative Covid-19 vaccination coverage is close to 150 crore doses.

What city doctors say?

Dr. Swati Rajagopal, Consultant - Infectious Disease & Travel Medicine, Aster CMI Hospital said, “Lockdowns are certainly not the solution. The virus will continue evolving with many more variants. Balancing with appropriate precautions along with vaccination would be the rule.” Those who are unwell with upper respiratory complaints need to self-isolate, and undergo tests to enable detection, she added.

“The virus is here to stay for a long time. We have not reached the endemic stage. Variants will evolve, vaccines with the incorporation of other variants too will come in,” she observed.

Behavioural change needed

“Basically people’s behaviour is the one which determines the spread of the virus. If people continue to use masks to cover their chins, and participate in mass gatherings, and pay no attention to sanitizing their hands there will be more and more transmission. Covid appropriate behaviour and vaccination is the answer to control the pandemic,” Dr Shalini Joshi, Senior Consultant of Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital Bannerghatta Road.

Joshi said, “Everyone has a personal responsibility to honestly isolate themselves and yet if they experience Covid like symptoms to protect their family members from getting it too. Scientists and the medical community are closely monitoring the mutations in the SARS Cov2 virus and hopefully we are seeing the tail end of the pandemic. We will have to be alert and cautious for the next few months and hope for the best.”