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Govt Undecided But Delhi in Favour of Closure of Markets to Contain Covid-19: Survey

People throng a market to shop ahead of Diwali in New Delhi, on November 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

People throng a market to shop ahead of Diwali in New Delhi, on November 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

The survey has also found that 32% Indians support a three-week lockdown in cities with 1000+ active cases or states with 10,000+ active cases.

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Sneha Mordani

74% Delhiites favour some type of shutdown of markets and non-essential shops, services to contain the spread of Covid-19, indicates a survey done by community forum LocalCircles.

The study has found that 46% citizens across India favour some type of lockdown in districts or cities experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases.

It has also found that 32% Indians support a three-week lockdown in cities with 1000+ active cases or states with 10,000+ active cases. 60% citizens across India believe lockdowns will lead to short-or medium-term economic setback and are not worth it, while 38% say it should still be done.

The government in the past has ruled out a national lockdown, citing that lives matter and livelihoods matter as well given the huge economic fallout of such a drastic measure. Speaking to News18, Dr Randeep Guleria , member of the national task force on Covid-19 management, told News18 a national lockdown is not an option. "You have to balance out lives vs livelihood. We will have to look at regional lockdowns, local containment zones will have to be identified."

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With almost 9 million Covid-19 cases to date, and new emerging hotspots like Delhi-NCR, India ranks at second position, just behind the US with 11 million cases. The situation is grim in Delhi where the Centre has had to intervene once again to control the massive surge. Concerns have been raised by the Delhi government about hotspots like popular marketplaces. Sources within the government say that the health ministry has been particularly concerned about a high positivity rate at colonies next to markets like east Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar.

Unlock 5.0 is currently being implemented by the Government of India that has permitted most services and activities in the economy to operate.

Though the daily Covid-19 caseload at the national level is reducing, states such as Delhi are seeing a major spike, with 7,000-8,000 cases being reported every day since October. The national capital’s positivity rate is at 15 per cent , more than double the cumulative national average of 7 per cent.

The rising number of coronavirus cases in Delhi has put a tremendous pressure on hospitals to provide ICU beds with ventilators to patients.

The survey was conducted to understand what the citizens want in terms of lockdown measures and how far they believe it will help. With a special focus on Delhi, it asked the city’s citizens whether they’d support lockdown or a shutdown of markets or non-essential shops or services to contain the spread of Covid-19 cases. The survey received more than 20,000 responses from 241 districts of India. The Delhi-specific question on the survey received more than 10,000 responses from residents of the city.

The survey also sought to know the response of Indians in general about anti-Covid measures. 51% said they are completely against any kind of lockdown. However, they want the government to up the testing, tracing and isolation of Covid-positive patients, while 46% citizens said they are in favour of some type of lockdown post festivals to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The survey tried to understand the views of citizens on the economic implications if India were to go for a lockdown. 7,227 responses were received to the question, of which 60% citizens believed lockdown of any kind, national, state or local, will lead to short- or medium-term setbacks and are not worth it. 38% said that although lockdown will lead to short-term economic setback, it is worth going ahead with it to contain Covid-19

Globally, Delhi is now in the top-3 cities in the world in terms of daily caseloads.

With overcrowding of markets and socialising during Diwali, administrators expect the daily caseload to surge to the 10,000-15,000 range in the coming weeks. The union health ministry has said it believes that cases will increase in the next two weeks.

"We believe that the real impact of the elections in some states and of the festivals that have gone by will be felt in this week and the next in terms of increase in cases,” said Rakesh Bhushan, union health secretary, at a press briefing on Tuesday.


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