What are the options before the government to contain coronavirus, once the lockout is lifted? According to healthcare experts, government should consider some of the containment models successfully experimented in other parts of the world.
For instance China locked down Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus, completely for forty days. China also implemented intense selective lockdown in areas with rising cases. Similarly, Vietnam was able to contain coronavirus right from the beginning with lockdown of hot spots, where the disease was found spreading.
Germany and Japan implemented selective lockdown for the elderly and people with co-morbid conditions (like high blood pressure, cardiac issues and diabetes). They avoided a complete lockdown that leads to severe economic and social stalemate.
South Korea carried out the most number of tests, especially among high risk group individuals, to contain the virus. But health experts believe that is not a practical solution for a country like India with over a billion population.
The number of coronavirus cases have escalated in the past few days in India. In Maharashtra, the first 100 cases were detected in 15 days, 200 in 6 days and the number rose to 300 in just two days. Similarly, the number of cases in Tamil Nadu have doubled within a day from 67 to 124.
Dr KK Aggarwal, president of Southeast Asian Medical Confederation (CMAAO) and former National President of the Indian Medical Asociation (IMA), says that after the Nizamuddin incidence, where thousands congregated and led to widespread disease spreading, the government should consider imposing a National Health Emergency or pass a National Ordinance like what Kerala did.
Kerala government a week ago promulgated an ordinance to update the Epidemic Act. This allows the state to ban religious functions and seal borders, if required. Dr. Aggarwal points out that when Zika virus was ravaging Brazil, army was deployed to successfully contain local transmission.
Already, the Nizamuddin West incidence is linked to 9 deaths (6 in Telangana and one each in Srinagar, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka), 9 confirmed cases in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and 18 confirmed cases in Delhi. All of them had attended the religious congregation hosted by Tabligh-e-Jamaat in Nizamuddin.
Similarly, in Rajasthan's Bhilwara, 25 cases and two deaths have been reported. Kerala's northern district of Kasargod, where hundreds of expatriates have returned from the Middle East, more than 30 people are found to have the disease.