There is no single policy option of a complete lockdown, Lancet India Task Force on Covid-19 has said, adding a series of actions are needed, including a containment measures checklist. It says targeted containment is required and coordinated response is also needed.
“The exact steps taken may differ based on local contexts. In areas where infections are spreading rapidly, short, severe closures may be required; where case counts are low, containment measures may be appropriate,” India Today quoted the task force suggestion.
It has recommended variables such as new cases per day (seven-day moving average), rate of increase in new cases per day (two-week moving average), test positivity rates per day (two-week moving average), the number of tests per million per day, and utilization rates of ICU beds to decide on containment strategies.
“The exact steps taken may differ based on local contexts. In areas where infections are spreading rapidly, short, severe closures may be required; where case counts are low, containment measures may be appropriate.”
India’s R factor — effective reproductive rate — for COVID was 1.44 as on April 25. This meant that each person having the virus had the potential to infecting one-and-a-half persons. “With over 2.7 million active cases, the healthcare system is under severe strain. It is imperative, therefore, to reduce the continuous rise in new cases,” the panel says, reported Indiatoday.in.
The task force was of the opinion that all steps should be taken keeping in mind the economic consequences, in-depth consultations with stakeholders in society; and ensuring that there are programs and safety nets in place.
In April the Lancet had suggested that school teachers and staff should be designated as frontline workers and get vaccinated on a priority basis before the next academic year to avoid any disruptions in learning.
The school support staff and school bus drivers should be given preference as well to receive vaccinations. The task force said schools should open only after teachers, staff and support staff cohort were vaccinated and all the COVID-19 safety norms and protocols were in place.