28 March 2020

Countries can’t simply lock down their societies to defeat corona virus, the WHO’s top emergency expert said on 22nd March, adding that public health measures are needed to avoid a resurgence of the virus later on. “What we really need to focus on is finding those who are sick, those who have the virus, and isolate them, find their contacts and isolate them,” Mike Ryan said in an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. “The danger right now with the lockdowns ... if we don’t put in place the strong public health measures now, when those movement restrictions and lockdowns are lifted, the danger is the disease will jump back up.” Ryan said that the examples of China, Singapore and South Korea, which coupled restrictions with rigorous measures to test every possible suspect, provided a model for Europe, which the WHO has said has replaced Asia as the epicentre of the pandemic. “Once we’ve suppressed the transmission, we have to go after the virus. We have to take the fight to the virus,” Ryan said.

But what is happening in India after Modi locked down the entire country for 21 days? Testing of 10% of population in districts where suspects found not yet started; Medical kits not provided even for all doctors; Manufacture of simple masks, sanitizers, medical kits  not yet started; Private hospitals are not brought under control of health departments to share responsibility for the fight against COVID 19;  Large scale recruiting of health volunteers with people’s participation and massive awareness campaign not even thought of; Sufficient isolation, quarantine centres not made available: there is total anarchy in these fields as no initiative taken to coordinate with state governments; Still no effort to raise a COVID 19 Fund and for assisting the state governments financially; In a hurry  lock down declared and police given power to enforce it before planning uninterrupted supply of food, and essential commodities and services, medical needs and work force to implement it to cover up mounting economic crisis, and growing resistance to launching NPR and the total failure to take security measures and provide medi-care for many weeks after the virus infection was first detected in Kerala on 28th  January itself. So, the danger of crores of people facing starvation, no effective medical steps to locate, test, and treat the affected ones and no containment measures stare at us. As World Health Organisation (WHO) chief warns, in this situation, just by police force terrorizing people to stay at home alone is not going to solve the problem; India faces the danger of the disease spreading fast once the lock down is removed. What Modi will do then? Declaring indefinite lock down/curfew deploying military? n


362 K2_VIEWS
Kabeer Katlat

The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.