Why Lockdown is the Key Mantra in this fight against Corona

    22-Apr-2020   
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Despite the lockdown and requests by PM Modi to stay home, many like the Tablighi Jamaatis violated the norms and roamed around and spread the virus. Although India is performing much better than most other countries, we have to be cautious and follow all norms to keep COVID19 at bay. 
 
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The fight with Covid-19 is not an ordinary fight.It is a battle of nerves. In this fight, you do not have only to defend yourself but also your parents who are more vulnerable.The task is enormous but we will win,come what may.The disease has been already declared pandemic by the World Health Organisation.Initially that had declined to do so.But it had no choice when it spread to 110 countries by March 11.
 
All the heads of states have put their heads together to find ways to defeat it.But a solution is yet to be found.They have not surrendered so far.The search is on.By now everybody who is somebody knows that China is the villain.This epidemic has spread from China.That country had a lockdown of about three months.After that, the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, resumed normal work.It functioned normally after," all infected people were either cured, or died", to quote a Chinese report.
 
The coutry has reported 4000 deaths but people say that China has not given the exact number of dead. There have been more deaths.I do not want to get into this controversy. If we assume that data given by China is correct, then till Sunday, 23,95,636 people have been infected in the world, out of which 1,64,565 people have died and 6,15,668 people have gone home after treatment. In America, this battle is hard to fight. America is the most prosperous and developed country.All types of medical facilities are available there.
 
But despite that 7,59,134 people have been infected, out of which 40,265 people have died and only 69927 people have gone back home . In Spain, out of total 1,95,944 cases reported, 20,453 people have died and 77,357 survived, which, in a way, is better than the US.Italy is a country which is the second best in terms of medical facilities in the world after America, but 1,78,972 people were infected even in this prosperous country, out of which 23,660 people have died. In France 1,52,894 people were infected with 19,718 deaths and, in Germany 1,45,184 people were infected with 4586 deaths. India is much better placed. As on Monday morning, only 16116 people were infected in India, out of which 2302 had recovered and gone home and only 519 people had died.India is the second largest populous country in the world and in terms of medical facilities, India does not stand anywhere near America, Spain, Italy, Germany, France and even China.
 
However, the present leadership in the country is very more active and strong. Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to lockdown the entire country at the right time and due to this lockdown the virus could not reach the third stage, i.e., community level.Out of 15552 so far infected, more than half are those who did not listen to the advice of the Prime Minister and followed orthodox views of Maulana Saad of Tablighi Jammat. Instead of going for treatment in hospitals they roamed around, may be with intention to spread the disease. As a result of this, more Muslims were infected causing deaths to many of them. Had they sincerely followed government’s instructions, perhaps by now India would have won the battle against the Corona epidemic.
 
Now let me move to the states. When we talk of states, first we have to understand how we can evaluate them. Covid-19 is a contagious disease. It spreads from person to person. If one does not meet any other, there is no question of its spreading. In light of this, I have kept the density of population per square kilometer of the states in mind -- how many people live in one square kilometer area. Bihar has the highest density ratio among the states. Although Delhi has almost the same ratio, but Bihar has more population--holds the third place in the whole country. It has 1102 people per square km. According to the 2011 census, there were 1,03,84,637 persons in Bihar. But only 86 people have been infected in Bihar out of which 37 have been cured and gone home.
 
There were only 2 deaths, which is negligible. After Bihar, the state with the largest population is Uttar Pradesh, where the population totaled 19,95,81,477, according to 2011 census figures. The density here is 828 persons per square kilometer which is the fourth in the country. But till date, 1084 persons were infected in Uttar Pradesh out of which 108 people recovered and returned home and 17 have died. Here too, Tablighi Jamaat contributed more. Maharashtra has 11,23,72,972 people according to the 2011 census. There was Corona explosion here. Density-wise population of Maharashtra is just 385 persons per square km. Nevertheless it is at number one in corona infected cases. Here, 3651 people were infected, of which only 365 went home safe and secure and 211 died.
 
In Maharashtra, the Tablighi Jamaat members who returned from Delhi's Nizamuddin Markaz had played a big role.Now let us see what is happening in West Bengal. In density West Bengal holds the third position, i.e., 1029 persons per sq km. Here, 310 people were infected. Of this, 62 people havge recovered and 12 died. The effect of Tablighi Jamaat can also be seen here. Similarly, Delhi's figure is much more in terms of density. There are 1029 people per square kilometer out of which 1893 people were infected, 72 were cured and 43 died.Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain in his television address every day says that more people belonging to Tablighi Jamaat have been infected, due to which their death figures are increasing.
 
Whatever the reason may be, Delhi is at number two after Maharashtra due to poor performance. Now come to Delhi's neighboring Haryana. The population density here is slightly less, i.e., 573 persons per sq km.Here too, 233 people were infected, 87 people recovered and returned home and 3 deaths occurred. It is ranked 14th in this battle. After Haryana, Tamil Nadu has a density of 555 per km where overall 1372 persons were infected. Of this, 365 have recovered and 15 deaths occurred. Thus, Tamil Nadu ranks 23rd in the country in terms of poor performance. The density of Punjab is 550 per square kilometer and here 219 people were infected, 31 recovered and 16 deaths occurred.In this way, Punjab ranks 21st. The density in Jharkhand is 414 per square kilometer. Only 35 people have been infected here. No one got cured and 2 deaths have occurred. Yet Jharkhand is ranked 28th. That is, its performance is very good in terms of infection control.In Assam, 397 people live per square km. Of these 35 people have been infected, 12 have been cured and only one has died. Thus, Assam is also better in infection control. Now comes Goa. It has a density of 397 per square kilometer. Only 7 people were infected here and all have recovered. That is, Goa has become the only state of the country which has no death.
 
It will help the stare remain a tourist draw. The density of Andhra Pradesh is 308 persons per square kilometer. Here also 603 people have been infected, 42 have been cured and 15 have died. In this way, the performance of Andhra Pradesh will also not be considered good. Here too, the Jamaatis are responsible for its bad performance. The condition is worse in Gujarat. With density of 308 persons per sq km, 1604 people were infected in Gujarat out of which 94 were cured and 58 died.Here too, the administration is blaming the Tablighi Jamaat sahyng that they came back from Delhi Markaz in large numbers and spread the infection. Gujarat ranks third in poor performance. The performance of Odisha is also satisfactory. Out of a population density of 308 per square km, 61 people have been infected, 24 cured and only 1 has died. The condition of Madhya Pradesh is also very bad. In this state 1407 people have been infected with a density of 236 persons per square kilometer, out of which 127 have been cured and 70 people have died.The Government of Madhya Pradesh is also accusing the Tablighis for high number of infested persons and deaths in Bhopal, Indore and Ujjain. Now look at the situation in Rajasthan. Here the density per square kilometer is 201, out of which 1351 people were infected, 183 were cured, and 11 died.
 
The performance of Chhattisgarh was much better in this light. Only 23 people have been infected there, out of which 10 were cured.No one has died.Similarly, in Uttarakhand with density of 189 persons per square km, similar to that of Chhattisgarh, 42 people got infected, of which 9 were cured. Not a single person has left for heavenly abode. Both these states have done good jobs in infection control. Eleven people have been infected in Meghalaya out of which one has died. In Jammu and Kashmir out of 381 infected, 51 people have recovered and 5 died.All the dead were those who had returned from Tablighi Jamaat congregation. Clearly,all the states have given a tough fight.However,what is noteworthy is that Goa, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Assam have performed better than bigger states. The message is loud and clear: strictly follow the lockdown and help the government. It will serve the interest of all concerned.
 
(The writer is a noted columnist and former MP)