The second wave of Covid-19 swept India in April, and the consequences were for all to see. The health infrastructure was so overwhelmed that many people died outside hospitals. Acute shortage of medical oxygen, beds, life-saving drugs and other supplies led to chaotic scenes in several parts of the country.
Lockdown was enforced in most parts of the country as the second wave progressed. Emergency assistance from other countries like the US, UK, France, and Germany boosted India’s strength to overcome the fresh wave of the pandemic. As a result, daily cases have gone below the one lakh mark, even as over 2,000 daily deaths have been recorded despite a reduction of 50 percent casualties from the peak.
Dr. Satpal, who has worked in the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), advocated against complete lifting of lockdown. He asserted that imposing lockdown for a few weeks, and going back to normal as soon as cases fall will make the situation worse. Dr Satpal said he is not of the opinion to continue strict lockdown, but restrictions should continue for at least six months or till when enough population is vaccinated.
He recalled the consequences of laxity following the first wave of the pandemic and said the complete reopening led to the second wave of Covid-19. Dr. Satpal emphasised on strengthening health services and regulating Covid-19 rules as means of fighting the upcoming waves.
Regulate office hours
Dr. Satpal said Delhi and other states should regulate the timings for offices and allow offices to operate from 7 am to 5 pm with only 20-25 percent staff. The health expert added that office hours should be cut down for employees in order to reduce crowding both at the workplace and in public transport.
He said this policy would also ensure that employees, who are working from home, will complete duties in less time amid the mental stress of the pandemic.
Dr. Satpal also advocated for strict timings for liquor shops, markets and retail stores. He also said hotels with open spaces should be allowed to have the dine-in facilities and other eateries only to operate with takeaway services.