The big question whether the government will enforce a nationwide lockdown in the wake of the massive surge in COVID-19 cases across the country is being considered as an option by the Centre.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Affairs has not precluded it to stem the world's worst virus outbreak. In a media briefing on Wednesday, May 5, Niti Aayog's member VK Paul, who also heads the national COVID-19 task force, stated the option of countrywide lockdown is "being discussed."
He added the states have already been directed to impost night curfews and curbs in districts with a more than 10 per cent test positivity rate and over 60 per cent occupancy of ICU beds.
"There is a clear balanced advisory...at the same time, in addition to this range of restrictions, if anything more is required, those options are always being discussed and those decisions, as being required, will be taken," VK Paul said.
Meanwhile, he also noted that significant guidelines have already been issued to the states.
As the country fights the menace of coronavirus amid a crunch of oxygen and other medical supplies, experts and political leaders have already advised Prime Minister Narendra Modi to impose a national lockdown to check the further onslaught of the second wave of COVID-19 in India. They have proposed this is the only option left before the Centre to break the chain of the virus transmission.
America's top public health expert Dr Anthony Fauci has termed the current situation in India "very desperate" and has suggested the Centre should marshal all its resources, comprising the armed forces, to build makeshift field hospitals, appealing to other countries to help with not only materials but also personnel.
Advocating the urgency of nationwide lockdown, Dr Fauci explained that when a lockdown is enforced, it certainly interferes with the dynamics of the viral outbreak and the government can then break the continuity and the transmission of infection.
India, on Thursday, registered a new high of 4.12 lakh fresh COVID-19 cases and 3,980 deaths, taking the country's tally to 2,10,77,410, shows the health ministry data.