From 131421 cases on April 1 to 169077 on April 28, Jammu and Kashmir has seen a surge of 37656 infections in the last four weeks. 230 people also succumbed to the virus during the time. Some experts fear that the daily infections as well as the fatalities would be many times higher than the present in May. All this points out to the grim situation which is only going grimmer with every passing day while health-care infrastructure is stretched to the edge. Given this situation, a lockdown was bound to happen and this is what has been announced in badly hit districts including Srinagar and Jammu. Given the enormity of the situation, three days lockdown in practical sense seems too meager but nevertheless it is important as it could serve as a smart instrument in combating the outbreak. The administration should think of extending the lockdown to at least a week or ten days, of course on the advice of experts. In view of the upcoming Eid festival, it would harder to go for the lockdown as the people may demand time to prepare for the festival. Rather the ten days lockdown prior to the festival should be used to limit the spread of the contagion.
It is important to note that lockdowns themselves cannot wipe out the pandemic, but they could give the government the breathing space to prepare. Ramping up of the health infrastructure must be taken up on a war footing. Whether three days or more, the government needs to utilize the time effectively in ensuring more people are tested and those found positive isolated. The administration, as can be seen through the statements by divisional commissioner Kashmir and others, sounded alive in ensuring minimal disruption of livelihood, especially to the poor. However, the challenge remains in managing the pandemic with the least required and unavoidable disruption in economic activity. To meet the challenge, the government needs to effectively implement its five-pronged strategy which includes testing, containment, isolation and treatment, Covid appropriate behaviour and vaccination.
The government should gear up all efforts at all levels to stem the surge of cases. Testing has to be increased significantly and test positivity rate in each district has to be brought down. The pace of vaccination has to be accelerated so that the more people are equipped to fight the disease. As the vaccination opens up for age group of 18 years and above, the government must ensure adequate supplies of vials in all districts.