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No fresh lockdowns recommended at local level: Govt panel

No fresh lockdowns recommended at local level: Govt panel
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New Delhi: No fresh lockdowns should be imposed on district or state level to contain the spread of COVID-19 unless There is an imminent danger of healthcare facilities being overwhelmed, according to a government-appointed committee chaired by IIT Hyderabad professor M Vidyasagar.

The committee has also claimed that if all protocols are followed, the pandemic can be controlled by early next year with minimal active symptomatic infections by February-end.

The 10-member panel which conducted a study on "Progression of the COVID-19 Pandemic in India: Prognosis and Lockdown Impacts" has pointed out that with no lockdown, the pandemic would have hit India very hard with a peak load of over 1.40 crore cases arriving in June.

The committee has developed an evidence-based mathematical model for COVID-19 progression. The national level 'super model' is based on various parameters such as the timing of the lockdown, alternative lockdown scenarios, the impact of migrant workers returning to their homes, and future course of the pandemic including impact of not following safety protocols.

"If all of us follow these protocols, the pandemic can be controlled by early next year with minimal active symptomatic infections by February-end. We do not yet know the weather-specific perturbations of this pandemic (in general, viruses tend to be more active in colder environment) and the effects of possible future mutations in the virus.

"Hence, the existing personal safety protocols need to continue in full measure. Otherwise we will see a sharp rise in infections. Fresh lockdowns should not be imposed on a district and state wide levels, unless there is imminent danger of the healthcare facilities being overwhelmed," Vidyasagar said.

The committee also asserted that the imposition of various safety protocols has allowed India to fare better than many other countries.

"India has one-sixth of the world's population (one-fifth excluding China), and one-sixth of the reported cases. However, India accounts for only 10 pc of the world's deaths, and its case fatality rate of less than 2 pc is among the lowest in the world," it said.

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