With states commencing lockdown relaxations, keep the guard up on disease surveillance and safe Covid behaviour

With fresh infections coming down from the peak of the second wave, a number of states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana and Kerala have introduced relaxations in lockdown conditions to permit industrial activity to resume and ease movement restrictions. A safe reopening is indeed called for. To prevent setbacks like a resurgence of cases, governments must not flag in testing and vaccinations.

Despite cases falling by more than a half from the peak in late April and early May, daily infections are still double the peak of the first wave of last September. In other words, the contagion is progressing along a high plateau now. No one needing testing must be discouraged or refused a test. The newly approved at-home testing kit, Covisafe, can be a handy accessory for safe reopening of factories and other establishments, allowing for quick, affordable and convenient random testing.

Heavy emphasis must be laid on masking and better indoor ventilation at workplaces as part of the ongoing unlocking measures. While nearly 6 crore vaccination doses were administered in May, Centre has claimed that 12 crore doses will be available in June. This raises the possibility of again hitting 40 lakh inoculations a day, last reached in the first week of April. Earlier mistakes like not performing enough genome sequencing and recognising signs of the next wave, as had happened when cases started surging in rural Maharashtra in mid-February, mustn’t repeat. The Indian economy just cannot afford another massive Covid wave.



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