Option ‘limited lockdown’ after April 14 gaining ground

New Delhi/April,3 : Amid coronavirus lockdown, with looming economic distress across sectors, discussions have commenced in the government on the way forward at the end of the 21-day period, including an exit strategy.

Giving a glimpse of one possible option, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Chief Ministers during a video-conference Thursday that it is “important to formulate a common exit strategy to ensure staggered re-emergence of the population once the lockdown ends”.

He asked the states to brainstorm and send suggestions for the strategy. Within his government, meanwhile, a “limited lockdown” in some areas is an option that seems to be gaining ground, at this point.But what forms these “limits” would take depends on a host of factors, the key being the nature of the spread of the virus.

One opinion currently within the government seems to be that while it may not be possible to reach a zero-new-case situation by April 14, the best option would be to focus on specific “pockets” to contain the spread.“If we can identify pockets like these across the country — there may be several hundred of them — and if I am reasonably satisfied that the rest of the country can go about their business, then these pockets will remain the only ones left with restrictions,” a highly placed government source was quoted as saying by “Indian Express”.The added advantage of this approach would be that resources can be concentrated on these areas, with rigorous and foolproof surveillance and follow-up action.

What complicates this, sources are reported to have said, is a sudden surge like the one over the last few days from the Tablighi Jamaat meeting in Delhi — about 400 cases so far from nine different states have been linked to that gathering.

“There are two or three questions there. One, how long should the lockdown continue? Two, should it be throughout the country or, three, (should) there be a graded lifting of the lockdown in certain areas? That is dependent on the data that emerges, in terms of the number of cases, hotspots, and areas in our country which are safe, are protected because of the lockdown, and don’t have a significant number of cases,” Director Aims Dr Randeep Guleria said in an interview.

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