As Pandemic COVID-19 spreads, India joins the lockdown race

India Lockdown

Public transportation like Railways, Metros have suspended their services, efficient amenities or modern-day necessities like Malls, Multiplexes, have all been shut down and even essential service stores like pharmacies and groceries have demarcated boundaries. One walk down the road and you will find people giving space to pass, maintaining a safe distance and suddenly it doesn’t all feel like modern life. Birds are chirping, the air has got cleaner, it feels like the good old 90s where even with a handful of services one can be happy.

Is lockdown at all important?

Who could have thought this would be due to a pandemic virus? Yes, COVID-19, an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), though has brought major world economies to a halt, is seems to be benefitting the planet. From China— the epicentre of this pandemic, to Italy, the US, most of the developed countries have stopped their economy to tackle Coronavirus. Where these countries took such measures under immense pressure and after losing several lives, India, on the other, announced the lockdown even before the total number of cases rose to 500.
It was on 25th March 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a three-week nationwide lockdown, explaining that it was the only way of breaking the Covid-19 infection chain. “Social distancing is the only way to break the cycle of infection,” he said. It is so far the largest such exercise in the world. Barring a few instances of defiance here and there, crores of people are amazingly adhering to the call of “social distancing” by Prime Minister.
Though this decision is most likely to impact the economy in the long run but could be a decisive factor behind saving lives from Coronavirus. As compared to the western world, our country has poor sanitation and weak public health care. “I appreciate the recent announcement of Rs 1.7 lakh crore package to help put food and cash in the hands of poor, as many people have lost their jobs due to this lockdown, especially construction workers, eateries, among others,” says Sanjay Dalmia, a renowned India nationalist.
The longer the lockdown, the more severe the economic costs, which eventually will have human costs as well. So, though this initial lockdown is certainly important, the government and central bank must come up with the policies that can help millions of affected people in the country.

The silver lining amidst Covid-19 lockdown: Nature breathes again

Nevertheless, in the midst of all the doom and tragedy of the COVID-19 outbreak, there could be one ray of light. The large swathes of lockdowns across the globe have led to a decrease in carbon emissions, benefitting the planet. The lockdown in China led to an estimated 25 per cent reduction in energy use and emissions over a two-week period compared to previous years (mostly due to a drop in industrial production, transport and electricity use— the main contributors of CO2 emissions).
Environmental resource economist Marshall Burke mentioned in the blog G-FEED about how breathing dirty air contributes heavily to premature mortality. So, now the question is if the number of lives saved from the reduction in pollution caused by economic disruption from COVID-19 exceeds the death toll from the virus itself.

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