TN goes for 2-week lockdown, but opinion split on likely effect

TE RAJA SIMHANNARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on May 08, 2021

Duration may not be enough to make an impact: Experts

As daily Coronavirus cases in Tamil Nadu have been spiking on a day-to-day basis, the State government has imposed a complete lockdown in the State from May 10 to May 24. However, is the two-week lockdown good enough to contain the virus spread?

There is a mixed reaction to the duration. The lockdown will work if it is properly enforced and followed, says Dr Sumanth Raman, a physician and political analyst.

A lockdown has become necessary due to the surge in cases over the last few weeks. The healthcare system is on the verge of being overwhelmed.

If the two-week lockdown is properly followed, it can help control further spread, he added.

Dr Ganesh Parasuraman, Medical Scientist and Field Epidemiologist, says the benefits of lockdown will be seen only after three weeks as was seen in Maharashtra.

Maharashtra, which is the worst affected in the second wave, imposed a 15-day lockdown on April 14; later, it extended it further for another 15 days. The lockdown has brought down the number of daily cases.

The Karnataka experience

In Karnataka, the 14-day partial lockdown from April 27 failed to produce the desired results. This prompted the State government to impose a strict state-wide lockdown from May 10 to May 24.

Gautam Menon, Professor of Physics and Biology at Ashoka University, says it is sensible to impose a two-week lockdown first and then evaluate its success about 10 -15 days later.

“Two weeks are roughly enough to show the effects of the lockdown although they would be clearer after three weeks. It also depends on where we are with respect to the epidemic trajectory - are we on a rapidly increasing path or close to the turn-around point,” Menon added.

Lockdown is an useful instrument since it automatically reduces the contact between people that leads to infection. However, given the considerable humanitarian and economic costs, the decision to implement a lockdown must be made carefully.

The demand for hospital and ICU beds in Chennai and may be other cities has reached a tipping point, so this might be a good time to go in for a well-implemented lockdown along with efforts to improve the health care capacity at whatever level possible, he said.

Published on May 08, 2021

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