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India: Supreme Court Ponders National Lockdown to Fight COVID

  • WHO reports that in the ongoing second COVID wave in India,

    WHO reports that in the ongoing second COVID wave in India, "other drivers" than mutant strains could be fueling the surge, including lax adherence to public health measures as well as mass gatherings. | Photo: Twitter @IndiaCOVIDCris1

Published 3 May 2021
Opinion

Amid the horrific second wave of the deadly COVID virus bashing India, the Supreme Court has shown an inclination towards imposing a complete national lockdown to contain the infection.
 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently noted during a national address that India reserved the option of a total lockdown as the last resort if the coronavirus situation spiraled further out of control in the country. Now it has become a matter of international concern that India's double mutant virus is multiplying rapidly, infecting over 300,000 Indians each day.

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In the thick of the horrific second wave of the deadly COVID virus affecting the Asian nation, the Supreme Court shows an inclination towards imposing a complete national lockdown to contain the infection.

​Over the weekend, a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud was quoted as saying: "We would seriously urge the central and state governments to consider imposing a ban on mass gatherings and super spreader events. They may also consider imposing a lockdown to curb the virus in the second wave in the interest of public welfare".

On 1 May, the country recorded an alarming 401,993 new COVID cases within 24 hours, along with over 3,000 officially registered deaths, according to the Health Ministry.

Indians across the nation, especially in metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengal, are painfully suffering under the crisis of bed, medical oxygen, and drug shortages – watching their loved ones collapsing into nothingness, gasping for breath.

Last year, India was nearly paralyzed by the pandemic after PM Modi announced a nationwide lockdown in March that continued for over two months, halting major economic activities. Between April and June 2020, the Indian economy contracted by 23.9 percent, making for the worst numbers among the world's top economies. Hence, it is not surprising that PM Modi is trying to avoid imposing a major level lockdown when the Indian economy is on a gradual pace towards revival.

Owing to the serious COVID conditions, however, several states have announced curfews and lockdowns in many cities to check the spread of the virus. Under these state-level lockdowns, public movement is restricted unless it's an emergency. Only essential services remain operational in several states.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has directed the central government to formulate a national policy on admissions to hospitals within two weeks, followed by all state governments and until. Until then, patients will be denied admission or essential drugs in the absence of local residence or proof of identity.

The top court, in its order, released late Sunday night, also asked the central and state governments to collaborate and create a buffer stock of oxygen to ensure supply lines continue to function even in unforeseen circumstances while decentralizing the location of the emergency stocks.

India on Monday reported 368,147 new COVID19 cases and 3,417 deaths in the last 24 hours, as per the Health Ministry. Since 1 February, when India first rolled out vaccination for doctors and healthcare workers, a total of 157,198,207 vaccine doses have been administered in the country.

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