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HEED THE DIFFERENCE: STRATEGIES TO EXIT LOCKDOWN

Introduction

  • The two imperatives, of extending the lockdown to reduce the rise in number of COVID-19 cases and relaxing lockdown to increase economic activity, might seem conflicting.
  • But the key to resolving the impasse lies in recognising that different states have different needs and demands, and they should be given a greater say in decisions on which areas to open up and how after May 17.

Strategy to open-up according to the Central Government

  • The Union home ministry allowed the resumption of economic activities in districts that had not seen a single COVID-19 case in the last three weeks of April, the green zones, permitting markets to re-open, factories and industrial units to resume operations, and e-commerce in non-essential items to re-commence.
  • The ministry also relaxed the lockdown in non-hotspot districts, the orange zones, continuing with stringent restrictions in the districts with high caseload, the red zones.

Opposition to this view by states

  • Some states opposed this district-centred containment approach at the outset.
  • Arguments were made that the district-wise formula is impractical for densely-populated areas.
  • Pleas were made asking for the authority to slot areas into red, orange and green zones be delegated to states.

Conclusion

  • A major lesson from the nearly two-month-long battle against the coronavirus is that the country’s demographic, economic, and cultural diversities do not allow for a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Successful strategies to take on the pathogen have relied on and responded to the local officials’ knowledge of regional specificities.
  • The exit strategy should be based on the understanding that these officials are attuned to the situation on the ground.

-Source: Indian Express

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