Lockdown imminent in India?

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The numbers are rising every hour, in what can be called the biggest crisis of India in recent times. People are dying in numbers and the recovery rate is taking the speed of a snail. On the other hand, the daily number of positive cases is nearing 4 lakhs. Many are of the opinion that the government figures are flawed and that the actual statistics is far worse than imaginable. The crematoriums are running out of wood and space in some states where bodies are seen lined up and waiting for its funeral. In many states like Delhi, covid victims are gasping for oxygen as many still die due to its crisis alone. These are the direct effects of the second wave in the country, the indirect effects are far horrifying and may be attributed as the prime reason for the rising cases.

With a vast population, India was already under severe economic slowdown before the novel virus landed at its doorstep. The already limping economy then saw a series of lockdowns in 2020 to contain the spread of the virus. And it succeeded even, up to an extent, before the stronger and deadlier second wave hit the nation amidst ongoing unlocks, election rallies and religious festivities. The ignorant percentage of the population, in their superstition, felt that being closer to Lord with a dip in Ganges along with thousands of other devotees together would protect them from the virus. The greedy percentage, with not an iota of thought of the risks, thought that the virus was gone for good and attending large gatherings such as events and election rallies, flouting all covid protocols, is safe again. Then there are those who are left with no choices, those who have to earn their own livelihood. Already ravaged by the virus-induced lockdown and economic stagnancy, this category of population has somehow managed through the first wave. But now they are left to fend for themselves with no aid coming their way, therefore, have no other option then step out to woo as many customers or employers as possible.

The government has also, on its part, been trying to avoid lockdown as much as possible. Night curfews and partial restrictions have been ordered in almost every state to check the spread, instead of a complete lockdown. However, there are a few states which have ordered a complete lockdown after being left with no other option. The overwhelming increase in the cases in the past few weeks was not anticipated by anyone in India with even the union government declaring its victory against the virus. The announcement came too early, as when the country was slowly returning to normal functioning, the virus struck with its second wave. The global observers feel that it’s time for India to opt for another complete lockdown, at least to pause or slow the spread of the infection. The union government must take a stand on the strict steps to check the coronavirus cases and increase its rate of vaccine delivery. To do so, it should come with financial packages to aid the working class, this followed by a lockdown to break the transmission chain. Then and only then the situation might improve. It has become imperative for everyone to introspect seriously and come together to deal with this crisis.

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