GoI’s COVID task force pushes for ‘countrywide lockdown’ to break virus transmission

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New Delhi: As India continues to witness a rise in COVID infections, members of the COVID task force, a technical expert body that advises the Government of India, are “pushing hard” for a countrywide lockdown, Indian Express reported.

The fierce surge in cases, triggered by an infectious — and, possibly, more lethal — variant, these experts argued, threatens to overwhelm the already creaking health infrastructure. India Saturday reported an unprecedented 4.01 lakh Covid-19 cases and 3,523 deaths in the last 24 hours.

According to the report, the task force includes experts from premier health institutions, including AIIMS and ICMR, and has met many times during the recent surge. The deliberations of these experts are of significance since the chairperson of the task force, V K Paul, reports to Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi.

Significantly, this call for a lockdown comes even as Modi, in his address to the nation April 20, had underlined that all efforts should be made to avoid a lockdown which should be used only as the “last resort.”

“The Covid-19 task force is trying to say this very aggressively for the last few weeks. That we should tell the people at the top that we should have a lockdown,” the report quoted a member as saying. “A nationwide lockdown rather than what we are doing now, in bits and pieces across states, because of the simple fact that it is spreading all over,” a member said.

“We are looking at the wrong end of the tunnel. Healthcare infrastructure cannot expand indefinitely, oxygen supplies have been ramped up but still, there is a shortage given the caseload. It’s clear that we have to decrease the cases. It is a human-to-human spread. For at least two weeks, if we are able to stop that, we will decrease the caseload. That will help decrease mortality, give some relief to health infrastructure, and cut the cycle of transmission,” the member said.


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