NEW DELHI: After India recorded a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus cases in a single day, experts warned on Sunday that a pre-emptive lockdown and sweeping restrictions on travel and public places may be the country's only fighting chance against the deadly COVID-19. They called for immediate country-wide shutdowns to combat the novel virus that has now claimed the lives of over 6,000 across the globe.
Following Italy, Spain has also imposed a nationwide lockdown after reporting over 2,000 infected cases and more than a 100 deaths. The country has now become the second worst-affected country in Europe after Italy.
After COVID-19 cases in Italy continued to steeply rise, the government placed the entire country on lockdown to stop community spreading of the highly contagious virus. As the death toll crossed 2,000, Italy sent out international pleas for help.
As per experts, the lockdowns in Italy, Spain, and France came 'too little too late' after infections were rising at a dangerous speed. With a huge population and questionable public health system, India cannot afford such a scenario. The country needs a rapid response that is not affected by political considerations, add experts.
“Other countries went into a lockdown after there was an epidemic situation but for India we cannot afford to wait for the situation to reach that stage. For a country like India, it makes more sense to take preventive measures,” said Dr Balram Bhargava, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, and secretary, Department of Health Research.
Once the virus starts spreading in a community and the source can no longer be traced, isolation is the best way to contain further spread. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in February, the actual number of cases in the community slowed down after China initiated the shutdown of Wuhan and a day later when 15 other cities in the Hubei province were locked down.