The horrifying surge in the Coronavirus cases is alarming and as well as worrisome. It is a no-brainer that the cases in India are increasing rapidly and people have quite literally thrown away their masks, sanitisers, and common sense to their nearby garbage cans. India recorded the highest one-day jump in the number of positive cases in six months, on Thursday. The single-day rise in cases is the highest recorded since October 2 when 81,484 new infections were recorded. The Health Ministry announced that Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Delhi, and UP have shown a steep rise in the COVID daily new cases; account for 81.25 percent of the new cases reported in the last 24 hours (81,466).
The ministry also pointed out the ten states that are displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases: Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujrat, Punjab, and Madhya Pradesh. As tweeted by the Health Ministry of India, India’s total active caseload reached 6,14,696 today. The top six states that account for 83.16 percent of the new deaths reported are Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh.
However with a little glimmer of hope with 12 states or union territories that reported no deaths in the last 24 hours. They are Odisha, Ladakh, Daman & Diu & Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Sikkim, Lakshadweep, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, and Arunachal Pradesh.
Can another possible national lockdown be an answer to this?
The Central government and the concerned authorities have claimed time and again that the vaccination drive has been going well and they are making progress. India records the highest single-day vaccine coverage with more than 36.7 lakh (36,71,242) doses administered in the last 24 hours. Over 6.87 Cr (6,87,89,138) vaccine doses administered across the country. The authorities even put forward that it is one of the largest vaccine drives with the hashtag #LargestVaccineDrive on Twitter.
With the cases increasing, individual states have started taking measures to keep their state’s condition in mind. Some states have been prompted to take lockdown measures in their worst-affected districts. Some considered closure of educational institutions, restriction on public gatherings, cheaper tests, popularising of vaccines, and more. The Maharashtra government has brought down the prices of coronavirus RT-PCR tests by 50 percent. The charges for rapid antigen tests were also brought down.
A lot of researchers and professionals talk about how this surge is different from the past due to the new COVID variant. We asked a few of our readers, what they think about a possible second national lockdown. Around 57 percent of them believed that we don’t need one and that we should not. Some of the random reasons being: Poor mental health, boredom, unprivileged facing the brunt of the situation, job security, economic condition, and more. Whereas the rest of the people who were affirmative of the lockdown stated the reason behind their choice to be: Having vulnerable groups around them, health concerns, accelerating anxiety due to the high cases, and more.
How will the service industry be affected?
According to the financial services company Nomura, an adverse impact is visible in mobility (particularly in Maharashtra), transportation (passenger), and other contract-based services. The problems faced by each of the various units of the service industry are different and unique but they have something in common. While the restrictions have been eased by various authorities, the demand is yet to recover. From the empty theatre halls to the hard-hit hospitality department, momentum is slowly being restored. The impact of localised lockdowns will be felt to quite some extent during the April-June 2021 quarter.
Recently, the Multiplex Association of India, along with FICCI, issued a statement to the Maharashtra government stating the negative effect on the industry in case of a complete lockdown in the state. They also pointed out the downward effect on the cinema, retail and shopping industry. The press release further states that with nearly zero revenues in the past eight months (March 2020 till early November 2020), and meager revenues thereafter in the last five months (early November 2020 till 31st March 2021).
Localised lockdowns affect small and hyper-local units. Parlour services being one of them. While talking to one of the parlour owners in Mumbai, she responded, “I have been constantly under the fear of what if there is a lockdown. Though some ladies call me up to visit their respective houses to provide my services, I am not sure. They are ready to pay extra but I think it is not safe.”
What do you think about a second national lockdown or stricter localised lockdown? Mail us your response!