With Unlock 2.0 having come into effect from 1st July, it has become imperative for the government of India to formulate necessary regulations to put the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic under control. As per the statistics, there still remain a total of 244814 active cases of Covid-19 as of 5th July, with the metro cities of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi consistently leading the charts with the highest number of positive cases being tested on a daily basis. The number of deaths across nation due to the virus totaled up to 19268. Currently India has the third highest number of confirmed cases, overtaking Russia, in the world, after USA and Brazil.
After several extensions of the lockdown, the government started easing restrictions by dividing districts into red, orange and green zones. Red zones are designated as the hotspots and will not see any relaxations until 31st July, in comparison to the areas considered less prone to the spread of the virus.The central government’s decisive actions – in announcing timely ban on travel, sealing of borders and a near complete lockdown has resulted in relatively low infections and casualties in India, given its population density. It has also allowed the state health departments to get their health infrastructure, human resources and medical supplies in place to handle the expected surge in cases.As per the public records, there has been a consistent increase in the number of tests being conducted regularly, reaching 248934 on July 5th and indicated to be ramping up to 5 lakhs a day by the Centre soon. The ever increasing rapid/community testing has also been advocated as a strong means for phasing out the spread of infection along with the private sector offering drive through and home sample collection services.Also, with the constant efforts of the health industry in the country, 409082 cases were reported recovered from the disease. The state governments have also been constantly mobilizing the necessary supplies of PPE kits, hand sanitizers, masks and ventilators for the people along with conversion of public facilities to quarantine centers. Arogya Setu at the national level, Tamil Nadu’s COVID-19 Quarantine Monitor, Maharashtra’s MahaKavach, Delhi’s plasma bank, chatbots in 24X7 command and call centers are among many solutions deployed.
India, a leading manufacturer of vaccines and generic medicines, is expected to play a key role in the race for developing a vaccine against Covid-19. Bharat Biotech International Ltd. and Cadila Healthcare Ltd. have got an approval from the Drugs Controller General of India for human clinical trials for their indigenously developed vaccine candidates, Covaxin and ZyCov-D respectively, against Sars-Cov-2, the virus which causes the coronavirus disease.These two are among 11 out of 140 vaccines that have been approved for human trials in the world. However, this does not put a stop to the pandemic crisis and should be visualized only as a positive sign towards the recovery direction. Response and recovery plans still need to be more dynamic like the pandemic. A balance needs to be struck between opening up and managing the risk with strong guidelines, communication, surveillance, monitoring and preparedness, because clearly the virus does not seem to be leaving in a hurry and the nation needs to fight it.
It is equally important with Unlock 2.0 that awareness and preparedness be built into the public about handling the virus so that its spread can be controlled, particularly among the more vulnerable populations living in crowded urban slums with the bare minimum sanitation practices. Smile Foundation is continuously working towards creating awareness among the grassroots communities about precautions and preventive methods that should be adopted to keep children and families safe from the pandemic. To read more about our efforts, visit https://www.smilefoundationindia.org/health-cannot-wait/