As India’s cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) surge, it is presented with a potential ticking time bomb. As of yet India’s coronavirus cases are relatively contained within a number of areas. However, should the disease spread to become endemic across the country, it could become all but impossible to control.
The Centre has noted that 79 percent of India’s coronavirus cases — now numbering in excess of 90,000 — are contained within thirty municipal areas spread across twelve states. These areas are in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. The selected municipal areas are in Greater Mumbai, Greater Chennai, Ahmedabad, Thane, Delhi, Indore, Pune, Kolkata, Jaipur, Nashik, Jodhpur, Agra, Tiruvallur, Aurangabad, Cuddalore, Greater Hyderabad, Surat, Chengalpattu, Ariyalur, Howrah, Kurnool, Bhopal, Amritsar, Villupuram, Vadodara, Udaipur, Palghar, Berhampur, Solapur and Meerut.
The Government has requested officials within these areas to maintain total vigilance, particularly in areas such as migrant camps, slums or other high population-density areas. These densely-populated areas are particularly vulnerable as a single infected individual has the potential to expose hundreds, if not thousands of other people to the virus.
While some media outlets have called for total removal of quarantine measures — instead opting to allow the coronavirus to spread to develop herd immunity — the Government has taken a more cautious approach. It imposes strict measures in these areas designated to be more at risk due to the sheer volume of cases.
This would, in theory, see quarantine measures lifted over the coming weeks in areas with few or no active cases. While this would allow the economy to recover, there is a single major weak point — it only requires one individual to slip the net.
Should one individual travel, despite restrictions, from a locked-down area, any number of people could then become infected elsewhere on exposure to the individual. This could again see quarantine measures being imposed on other regions.
With India’s case count now exceeding 100,000, caution is advised for any situation that could see the crisis escalate further. Globally, 4,924,016 individuals have contracted the coronavirus, with 320,792 associated deaths. 1,928,091 have recovered from the disease, bringing the active case count to 2,675,133.