NEW DELHI: Top US epidemiologist Anthony Fauci has suggested a lockdown for a few weeks in India as an immediate step to contain the spread of the coronavirus as its deadly second wave shows no signs of ebbing.
Fauci, in an interview, said that another most important thing in the immediate is to get supplies of oxygen, medication, PPEs. He said that looking at the magnitude of the crisis, India should look at putting together a crisis group that would meet and start getting things organised.
Without naming any government, he said one of the things that should have been recognised that “victory was declared maybe too prematurely”.
“Well, one of the things you really need to do, to the extent that you can, is shut down temporarily the country, I think is important. If we want to time out and go back to what I said: there is the immediate, the intermediate, and the long range (measures to contain the virus),” said Fauci, who is the chief medical adviser to the Biden administration.
“I think the most important thing in the immediate is to get oxygen, get supplies, get medication, get PPE, those kinds of things but also, one of the immediate things to do is to essentially call a shutdown of the country,” he added.
He said that when China had a big explosion of coronavirus cases a year ago, they completely shut down. Fauci said that it is not necessary to shut down for six months, but it can be a temporary one to put an end to the cycle of transmission.
“So one of the things to be considered is to temporarily shut down. Literally, lock down so that you wind up having less spread. No one likes to lock down the country. Well, that’s a problem when you do it for six months,” he said.
But just for a few weeks of lockdown could have a significant impact on the dynamics of the outbreak. Some states have imposed a lockdown.
Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said lockdown should be the “last resort” to deal with the raging pandemic and asked states to convince migrant workers to stay put at their places of work with a guarantee for their lives and livelihood.
Breaching its all previous records, India on Saturday hit a record daily high with over 4 lakh new infections, while the active cases crossed the 32-lakh mark. The second wave of the coronavirus has been wreaking havoc, infecting lakhs and killing thousands every day for the past few days.
There have been cases where people have died due to lack of medical facilities, including oxygen. In many cases, families have to arrange oxygen for their patients as they are not able to get admission in hospitals.