The Indian Council of Medical Research, Delhi,
The Government of India
The State Chief Ministers
On April 1st, 2020 over 800 scientists, public health care professionals, and academicians issued a statement to the government of India highlighting necessary steps and precautions to be taken around COVID 19. The signatories include scientists from TIFR, Mumbai, NCBS, Bengaluru, the IITs, IISERs, IISc, Bengaluru, and doctors, including members of Indian Doctors for Peace and Development.
While it is understood that the lockdown is only a temporary solution, the major concern expressed by all of them is the bouncing back of the pandemic.
“If this were to happen at the end of the lockdown, the epidemic would hit a society already under severe economic distress, with potentially devastating consequences.”
The Indian government has not used this precious interval of time to actually identify as many cases of COVID-19 as possible. A large number of mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic cases that constitute the majority of infections will remain undetected even at the end of the lockdown period. These cases could easily serve as the nucleus for the pandemic to bounce back.
The scientists have urged the government to reveal a post-lockdown plan that will ensure that the healthcare system is prepared and the rate of new infections is kept low when the lockdown ends. While social distancing and better hygiene can help, these measures are insufficient by themselves.
A solid post-lockdown plan will help us have more information to plan ahead. Knowing what to expect will benefit each and every one of us.
There is also the fear of the virus being carried to different parts of the country, including those where healthcare facilities are the weakest due to reverse migration. This can precipitate both an epidemiological and a humanitarian crisis. The government must use its stock of food grains and divert cash to ensure the food security and safety of welfare workers Their long and unsafe journeys have already resulted in a number of casualties.
As concerned citizens, let us join our doctors and scientists in urging the government to release a road map containing the pandemic post lockdown. Together, we can!!