Why India has gain advantage over COVID19 pandemic? A lesson till now
by Kamal Pratap Singh and Vaibhav Sharma(PhD, AIIMS)
India has gain advantage of not becoming a victim of death-air created by Coronavirus named SARS-CoV2 which has swallowed more than 1.5 million lives as on 20th April 2020. According to one website www.worldometers.com the global death rate per million of population is 12.4 as on April 16 ,which means these many people died out of 1 million (10 lakh) people of global population (7.8 billion). Though the virus originated in China it had hurt many countries with severe damage, among worst Italy has most fatalities reaching to 19 thousand, incidence rate of COVID19 has been recorded highest in USA, Spain, France and now spreading to other countries.
The large credit to this success goes to scientific authorities that are close to leaders and/or themselves are leaders like Dr V K Paul (Member, NITI Aayog, a pediatrician by training etc.) and Dr K Vijayraghavan (Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India). The team of more than 30 doctors and scientists are working tirelessly as part of two special groups. According to the sources, the first group, constituted on 18 March, is headed by Niti Aayog member Dr V.K. Paul, it has 20 other members. The other group is co-chaired by Dr Paul and PSA to the PM, Dr K. Vijayraghavan, and has nine other members. In this situation all the team members of these leaders have taken every step very cautiously as it is not an easy task to control 1.3 billion people in their home either Physically or mentally.
Fewer than 600 cases had been confirmed at the time of Modi’s announcement but the decision of shutdown at the very early stage of virus spread gave the edge to India when other countries were suffering from disaster or were preparing. The Indian Scientists’ decision of “Lockdown A.S.A.P’’ now has proved to be the best of all strategies against this deadly virus.
India reported its first case of COVID-19 in Kerala, which rose to three cases by February 3; all were students who had returned from Wuhan, China, later all three recovered. On 4th March a family of 6 patients found positive for CoV, 76 old died due to CoV on 12th March and various cases rose across the country, then govt. of India tried to impose curfew in whole India. The decision was welcome by its citizens and that lead to minimal number of cases.
Surge in number of cases have raised questions like to uplift ban or not and what will be the exit plan. Many cases are arising of conglomerations be it Tablighi Jamaat, Sikh Preacher and recent migration of workers etc.
Govt. called to observe curfew on 21st March and to completely lockdown the unnecessary business on 23rd March 2020. This has proved to be a good strategy to protect world’s second most populated country (1.3 billion people) as the rate of infection and death did not surge like that of Italy, Spain France and now USA.
On March 30 the Centre has set up 11 empowered groups for ensuring a comprehensive and integrated response to the Covid-19 pandemic. These groups have been set up under Disaster Management Act. Out of these 11 empowered groups, nine are headed by Secretary-level officers, two by Member, NITI Aayog, and one by the NITI Aayog CEO.
To contain the virus and sustain livelihood several permissions were given in a timely manner for business of basic communities like food and healthcare. At the same time Govt. has advised to ignore outside visit/contact and sometime forcibly tried to impose them under special circumstances.
Financially, India declared several packages to sustain livelihood and to continue economic activity. On 26th March Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a relief package of 1.70 lakhs INR or $23 billion to help fight the Covid-19 outbreak, giving various which include each and every citizen of India that has possible stand in vulnerable situation. . An aid of 17,287 crore was provided to state governments as states seek funds to fight Covid-19 emergency.
Similarly, many ministries who would be helpful for emergencies came forward to help emergency. Ministry of Railways introduced isolation beds inside rail coaches, it made all possible arrangement that would require during emergency transportation either to patients or migrants who have stuck outside their house and are facing crisis.
News media reported for two full days about probable plan of Indian Govt. toward Shutdown. And on 14th April 2020, PM Modi released a statement of extended lockdown till 3rd May and loosing canons from 20th April. However, PM told that this is a decision of all but it had hurt around 94 million Railway ticket holders who in total paid Rs. 1490 crore(https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/national/railways-to-refund-indian-rupee1490-crore-for-cancellation-of-94-lakh-ticket-bookings).
Now call by ‘Lockdown2’ by many media reporters, has been supported and praised.