On 24th March the Indian Prime Minister had announced the nationwide lockdown for 21 days to stop the Covid-19 spread in the country. But the question is, is that enough?
According to the Cambridge researchers, the 21-day lockdown will not be enough to contain the spread of coronavirus in India. They believe that the lockdown must be extended to at least 49 days based on their mathematical calculations.
The early analysis shows flattening of the outbreak during this period. According to the ministry of health and family welfare, India went from 100 cases to 1,000 cases in 12 days which is way better than the developed countries where Covid-19 cases rose between 3,500 and 8,000 in the same time frame. But that might not be enough to contain the virus and stop it from spreading further.
The mathematical modelling by researchers at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, and the University of Cambridge shows the pace of outbreak will bounce back once the restrictions are lifted and people divulge into their regular life. These researchers have considered four different control protocols that’ll be effective for the containment.
The first one is the 21 day lockdown. While it is true that this has flattened the curve of outbreak for the time being but there’s quite high probability that it won’t stop the resurgence.
The second is what needs to be followed by the 21-day lockdown. Post the current lockdown, there is a need for a 5 day relaxation and is immediately followed by a 28-day lockdown, which again won’t be fully sufficient to fight the pandemic.
The third one looks at three lockdowns, the first is a 21-day lockdown followed by a lockdown of 28 days, which is followed by a lockdown of 18 days. These three lockdowns are separated by 5-day relaxation periods. They believe that this will bring the number of people infected below 10 where explicit contact tracing followed by quarantine may be successful in preventing a resurgence.
The fourth situation seems to be the most favourable one that advocates for one 49-day long lockdown which will also bring down the number of infectives below 10.
Not just resurgence they found a drastic slowdown in the mortality rate as well, from the 21-day period to a 49-day period. In their study, the researchers have said that in the first scenario, the mortality estimates stand at 2,727 in a period of 73 days, while it drops to 11 in scenario two, to eight in scenario three and six in scenario four.
But, is that possible?
Probably not. It is believed that an extended lockdown will inevitably crush the economy of the country beyond recovery. The three-week lockdown is in itself bound to hit India hard, with multiple credit agencies predicting a growth rate of around 2% to 3% for the coming financial year. The authorities thus face a dilemma.