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Friday, 10 April 2020

Options for Lockdown.AfTER 14 APRIL 20-EXTRACTED FROM PAPER BY lt gen shankar


Options for Lockdown. At the outset, it is mentioned that lockdowns do not eradicate the infections. They are only postponed to flatten the curve and give time for our medical infrastructure. .Also they are bad for the economy and daily life. Hence we can not be on a lockdown mode always. Also , we must use lifting of lockdowns to build herd immunity. Herd immunity must be built in our young through controlled exposure. This can be achieved through a layered lifting of lock down. Based on all issues factored in , the options for lock down are as under:-  

Option 1. Complete lift of lockdown. As evident in the Cambridge Univ study, the lock down if lifted fully will invite the virus back in force, despite the onset of summer.

Option 2. Extending the Lockdown. Extension of the lock down will need an iron hand to implement. The effect on the economy will be drastic. The effect on the poor, marginal and infirm will be severe. However taking all issues into consideration, if the situation does not improve, we might have to get back to this. Hence this option should always be in the background.  However the public has to explained and taken into confidence early.  

Option 3. Partial Lifting of lockdown. Taking into consideration all issues, it will be prudent to lift the lockdown layer by layer in parts with an option to roll back or modify at any stage. It could broadly be as under:-

Stage1. 4-5 days. Allow local movement in time windows within the locality with essentials made available. Contiguous localities to be closed. Enhanced move and availability of essentials.

                          Stage2. 4-5 days. Local businesses to be opened. No intercity move. No public transport.

Stage 3. 7 days. Within city move. Limited public transport. Intercity move of goods permitted by road by special permit.  

Stage 4. 7 days. Limited Intercity travel.

Stage5. Till end July. All move permitted. Exclusions to remain throughout.

Stage 6. The harvest season is approaching. Prepare guidelines for it.

Lockdowns could be spatial in nature with differing levels for different areas.
A Herd immunity program must commence as the lockdown is eased.    

Exclusions. All activities where crowds can gather should be banned. These would include public/ religious/ political/ social meetings, congregations and conferences. Sports activities. Malls. Shopping centers, Cinemas, Crowded Recreational Facilities. Tourism. Schools, Colleges incl Coaching classes. Overcrowding of busses, trains, metros and all public transport should be strictly avoided. This is only a suggestion. The list would need to be more exhaustive.

Research.  A multidisciplinary research project should commence to analyze international research on COVID and to commission and coordinate local research and data collection. All IITs, IIMs, IISc and NITs, AFMC, AIIMS, JIPMER, must carry out research on one aspect of COVID as they see fit. Each state must commission a research in respect of their state problems. These research efforts must start immediately. Some of them should be short term research to get local and national solutions immediately.

Conclusion

The fight ahead is tough. Well.  India is a tough country and we Indians will fight through it. This stupid Chinese Virus is a small Prick which we will get rid of . We just have to fight a coordinated battle. Look at it this way , All these great powers will learn how to battle from us. Of that I am sure. Let us have faith; the hidden power of India is being unleashed and it will teach everyone a lesson. 

On a different note. There is a lot of pessimistic chatter about the Economy. Like the PM said  - Jaan hai toh Jahan Hai. What is the worst case? Go back to pre 71 days. Get back into isolation. Grow as per Hindu Growth Rates - 3-4%. In our consumption driven economy, that is guaranteed. Actually that is not bad. If we can grow at 4%  under the circumstances, we are damn Good.  

Phase I. Lock Down Period Up to Apr15.  The current lockdown has bought time for India so that the curve is flattened. This is a period when India is doing the following.

Isolation. The Isolation exercise is going on remarkably well despite some migration related hiccups.

Preparation. There has been an extensive effort at preparation which must continue. Preparation includes building up numbers in protective gear, ventilators, ICU beds, oxygen, emergency response, monitoring and reporting, national requisition of private capacities and development of software app-based solutions. Preparations for last rites of the dead should not be overlooked.  

Awareness. There must be a regular official briefing twice a day which all media and channels must carry. Very much like the time of OP VIJAY when a composite team from Services, MOD, and MEA used to brief people. Also an extensive awareness and educational campaign must start for the masses who might still not be up to scratch on these issues.

Individual Effort. Everyone at all levels must take self -care of selves of regular diet, exercise and ailment management. Stay fit.

Test, Trace, Quarantine , Treat. This regimen should be simply upped in the same trajectory as is being done now.   

Phase 2. Summer – Monsoons.  The current lockdown will go a long way to flatten the curve. However once the lockdown is lifted many of us will behave like uncaged animals and undo everything in one go. This will be a tricky and an extension of testing period for all of us.
Lockdown. The lockdown period may be extended or be partial. Release must be gradual. Immediate lifting of lockdown is out of question. Strict rules for isolation and assistance of the vulnerable should be evolved. Large functions, marriages, restaurants, bars, public gathering and unnecessary travel should be reduced. Schools, colleges and universities should remain closed and reopen after summer. 
  
Decongestion. There is a clear case for urban decongestion. It should be done through controlled migration in this period.

Herd Immunity. India must develop herd immunity to the Virus in a controlled manner through the young and fit. It involves deliberately separating those who are being exposed to the virus and monitoring them. Experts must look into this.

Monitoring Mutation. The Virus is mutating. There is no doubt about that. This must be tracked scientifically.  

Phase 3. Monsoon to WinterThis is a grey zone period for which action and response will evolve with experience gained in summer. However, in this period, our hills will be vulnerable to the Virus since they will be experiencing temperate climate.

Phase 4. Winter. Expect a recurrent wave. Deal with it with the experience gained. This Virus will not go away.

Conclusion

The Chinese Virus can be defeated with a military approach and thinking by all soldiers (nee citizens). We will defeat it unitedly at one level and individually at another. We must continue to do it now, tomorrow and well into the future. We need to launch a multipronged counterattack with the tools and knowledge available to us. When the vaccines and antibodies come, we will see. Till then fight with what you have.  Stay safe. Keep morale high. We as Indians need to discover our inner strengths. Jai Hind.  

If you feel there is sense in what has been outlined , please send it to all our friends who are in the thick of executing plans. they should be as well armed as possible. if you have any suggestions please do not hesitate to add. it will save our lives better. 

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