Lockdown 2.0 has reduced virus spread

With just a week left for the second phase of the lockdown to end, many states are planning to extend the curbs

Lockdown 2.0 has reduced virus spread

The Centre said on Sunday the extension of the nationwide lockdown is proving to be an “effective intervention" to reduce the spread of covid-19, and improve the disease situation.

Cabinet secretary Rajiv Guaba said however that states with high caseloads should focus on stricter lockdown measures. He convened a meeting of chief secretaries of states and Union territories through video-conferencing to review the response.

He said states also need to focus on medical infrastructure, including adequate availability of isolation beds, ICU beds and ventilators.

“The situation is improving as hotspot districts are moving towards being non-hotspot districts," Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said.

According to the health ministry, 5,804 people have recovered from the disease so far, a recovery rate of 21.90%.

Still, the virus continues to expand its footprint, with the total number of districts reporting cases swelling to 429 from 221 in about 20 days.

With just a week left for the second phase of the lockdown to end, several states are considering extending the curbs.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has meanwhile re-emphasized that easing restrictions is not the end of the epidemic in any country.

The apex health agency last week warned that exiting lockdown without a strong public health strategy and a sound strategy to strengthen the health system is going to be difficult. However, it showed confidence that India is capable of tackling the virus.

“India has a proud history of strong public health surveillance in smallpox, in polio and for TB and other diseases; so I don’t believe there’s any reason why the public health capacities of India cannot be turned onto this respiratory syndrome, this respiratory disease and why as we move away from lockdown," said Dr Michael Ryan, executive director, WHO health emergencies programme at a press conference in Geneva last week.

“The Government of India, the scientists of India, the public health authorities of India and the communities of India can put in place a solid, strong public health surveillance system that will continue to control this disease while we await the longer-term solutions," the WHO official added.

According to the health ministry during the lockdown period, the number of dedicated hospitals for treating coronavirus patients has been increased by 3.5 times and the number of isolation beds has risen by 3.6 times.