75th Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra8296837390254 Tamil Nadu3017216395254 Delhi2633410315708 Gujarat19119130111190 Rajasthan100847359218 Uttar Pradesh97335648257 Madhya Pradesh89965878384 West Bengal73032912366 Karnataka5213197359 Bihar4598223329 Andhra Pradesh4460264073 Haryana3597120924 Telangana34961710123 Jammu and Kashmir3142104835 Odisha247814819 Punjab2415204347 Assam19894434 Kerala180876216 Uttarakhand115328610 Jharkhand7642975 Chhatisgarh6781892 Tripura6221730 Himachal Pradesh3691636 Chandigarh3022225 Goa126570 Manipur124110 Puducherry90330 Nagaland8000 Arunachal Pradesh3710 Meghalaya33131 Mizoram1710 Sikkim200
Opinion DC Comment 08 Apr 2020 DC Edit: Yes, a lock ...

DC Edit: Yes, a lockdown for as long as it takes

Published Apr 8, 2020, 5:54 pm IST
Updated Apr 8, 2020, 5:58 pm IST
Till there are no new Covid-19 cases, India must stay at home
Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao argued for extending the lockdown by at least two more weeks.
 Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao argued for extending the lockdown by at least two more weeks.

The whole of India will in times to come look back at Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s call to prime minister Narendra Modi — two days after the PM had had a video conference with all CMs — to extend by at least two weeks the nationwide lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Chadrashekar Rao was bold enough to acknowledge the elephant in the room. And he was characteristically wise in advocating the simplest course of action available to India: if we must win the battle against Covid-19, we must exercise a maximum social distancing, the only first weapon available to each individual; and to ensure that, we must extend the lockdown.


Chandrashekar Rao weighed the issue well: there is a medical emergency that cannot be wished away, and an economic stagnation leading to a buildup of dead mass through inactivity of productive assets — people, factories, fields, offices, cities, states and the entire country. But we must address it later. In Chandrashekar Rao’s own words, we can grow back the economy, but cannot get back those whose lives will have been lost if we hasten to lift the lockdown even one hour before we are ready.

The Telangana chief minister's intervention found great resonance. His counterparts of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala, and West Bengal have given indications that they would rather have an extension of the lockdown than risk a flare-up of the virus.

The BJP chief ministers of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the NDA CMs of Bihar and Tamil Nadu have in their own tacit ways conveyed their view. Not one political leader spoke to the contrary and advocated a lifting of the lockdown.

A national political consensus is significant in our polarised times. The threat of mass deaths due to the virus has brought leaders across parties to the realisation that we cannot let down our guard in this existential battle. Citizens too have by and large rallied around and will continue to take suffering with stoicism till the curve of the epidemic is flattened.

Yes, everyone is not equal during a lockdown. Daily-wage earners, migrant workers, homeless people and those below the poverty line have been hit the worst, and for them each day is a fight to survive. Governments have started working and must augment relief to the subaltern without let-up and with greater efficiency. Ddeath by starvation may not be contagious but no less a national shame.

The lockdown, by most projected scenarios, from the Boston Consulting Group report to calculations of epidemiologists like Ramanan Laxminarayan, should and will stretch across April, perhaps the whole of May too. But it does not matter. Till the last patient is in hospital, quarantined and cured, till there are no new Covid cases, India must stay at home, safe.

We must win the battle and the war at any cost. If the lockdown stays, we will.