Virus could bounce back, yet economy needs to kick start for livelihoods: Amitabh Kant
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. Updated: 30 Apr 2020, 11:05 PM IST
Amitabh Kant said in a tweet that India must adopt ruthless containment efforts at red zones
Despite the possibility of a second wave of covid-19 infections, India must open up the economy in phases to save livelihoods and ensuring supplies, said Amitabh Kant, chief executive of federal policy think tank NITI Aayog.
Kant, who also heads an empowered group of experts to strategize India’s response to the pandemic, said in a tweet on Thursday that India must adopt ruthless containment efforts at red zones, wherein positive cases are on the rise, and undertake precautionary measures like physical distancing and use of masks to ward off the possibility of the virus bouncing back. Kant also highlighted the need to shield senior citizens above 60 years, or people with other disorders.
He said a vaccine against the covid-19 was still far away, but for protecting livelihoods, the economy should kick start with full supply chains.
“Possible Road Ahead: Hyper-localization in red areas with ruthless containment; 2.Physical distancing and masks = new fashion; 3.Virus can bounce back; 4. Look after 60+with co-morbidity; 5.Vaccine still far away; 6.For livelihoods, economy should kickstart with full supply chains,” Kant tweeted.
Developing a vaccine and making it commercially available in large scale is a huge task, and according to many experts, it could take at least 18 months.The government on Wednesday indicated that restrictions will be eased in many places after 3 May when the current lockdown ends.
According to Amir Ullah Khan, senior research fellow, Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies, a think tank, there was a need to scale up availability of test kits, personal protection gear and masks. “The way forward is simply to multiply test locations, identify all potential hotspots and provide people with food and money at their homes…The entire focus of the health ministry should be in upgradation of facilities and making more staff available by requisitioning all students studying in post-graduate colleges and even students who are in their final year of medical school.”
According to Arup Mitra, professor of economics, Institute of Economic Growth, the first task will be to identify concentrated pockets of covid-19 within red zones, which may be retained under further lock down. “For the rest of the country, it is important that economic activities are revived immediately. As far as livelihood loss is concerned, it will not be advisable to pursue lockdown in the entire country,” said Mitra.