Narendra Modi has miserably failed to control the coronavirus pandemic. India has recorded more than 3,50,000 positive cases and 12,000 deaths despite the nationwide lockdowns that continued for more than two months. The lockdown failed to control the spread of COVID-19 due to our unpreparedness and now Narendra Modi is unlocking the nation when the situation is intense. India has emerged as the fourth-worst affected nation by COVID-19 and the peak is yet to come.
The lockdown has failed to control the spread of COVID-19 due to numerous factors. First of all, Modi delayed imposing the nationwide lockdown. When the whole world was crying with the deadly pandemic, Indian officials were not considering it as a health emergency. When countries like France, Italy and Spain decided to lock their nation, the ruling BJP was busy toppling the elected government in Madhya Pradesh, risking the lives of millions.
Narendra Modi announced the nationwide lockdown on 24 March for 3 weeks. Till then, India had more than 500 positive cases of COVID-19 and all international airports and public transports were still running. This contributed most to the spread of COVID-19. Opposition leaders like Sitaram Yechury alleged that the reason for this delay was to facilitate the toppling of the government in Madhya Pradesh.
Secondly, inadequate and inefficient testing has failed to control the further spread of COVID-19 during the lockdown. WHO and all health experts considered aggressive testing as the most vital way to control the further spread of COVID-19. The more you test, the more infected people can be isolated from the community. Other South Asian nations like Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan have similarly failed with their testing.
In March, when the lockdown was announced, India was testing just about 600 persons per million. As of 22 May, the average testing rate in India was two people per 1,000. Pakistan had similar numbers while Bangladesh and Nepal were testing 1.4 and 1.5 per 1,000 respectively.
Migrant workers have also contributed to the spread of COVID-19. Since the first lockdown, millions of migrant workers have arrived in Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal from the worst affected states like Maharashtra and Gujarat. Since then, these states have recorded a sharp rise in coronavirus cases and deaths.
Bihar’s health secretary Lokesh Kumar Singh said:
“The cases have increased because of the migrant workers, who account for 72% of the total cases. In fact, their contribution has increased from about 66% in the last week of May to 72% now.”
India is lagging in testing even in megacities, the number of tests in villages and outskirts can be imagined. Millions of migrant workers are arriving in villages, small towns and outskirts from Red Zone areas without testing. This leads to the spread of coronavirus in small towns and villages.
The government is unlocking the nation to gear up the economy. Since then, India has recorded a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases and the death toll. On 17 June, India recorded its highest death toll in a single day, 2000 deaths in 24 hours with 10,947 new positive cases. These figures can increase further because the peak hasn’t come yet and that could be catastrophic.