January 2021, a non-stop count of more than 85 million confirmed coronavirus cases across the world in 190 countries and approximately two million deaths. With once stood at being the most infected country, India currently endures the highest recovery rate of 96.24%. Although, this journey has been a ride.
The first confirmed case in India, with a travel history from Wuhan, China, was reported in Kerala on 30 January 2020. The same day WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak as a global health emergency. India began monitoring the travelers and quarantining people who had returned or traveled from abroad.
With 360 confirmed cases and 7 deaths as of 22nd March 2020, India was called for a ‘Janta Curfew’ of 14 hours to anticipate what was coming. This was almost a warning for the second most populated nation in the world. Following the Janta Curfew, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a complete lockdown, shutting down India for 21 days. As a precautionary measure, the government had banned the entire population of more than 1.3 billion from going out of their houses except for essentials. The lockdown extended further into phases despite an estimated loss of over ₹32,000 crores daily during the first 21 days of lockdown.
India was praised for demonstrating unwavering commitment in its fight against the pandemic nationally and internationally. Even the World Health Organization complimented India, “Tough and Timely action” and praised Mr. Narender Modi for his decisions of extending the lockdown till 3rd May 2020. Although, the only place where India lacked was at a low testing rate. This has been a con since the lockdown and curfew were imposed to maximum efficiency but, only 6500 samples were tested nationwide. However, this gradually improved and the number of tests happening drastically increased.
On 8 June 2020, Indians got an opportunity to move out but with limitations and precautions. Unlocks took place in phases, just like the lockdown, according to the rise in the cases. The Government of India was managing to keep the safety and bring equilibrium in a nation’s economy with such a large population. Government divided the places on the ground of number of cases; considering containment zones as the geographic areas where the count of infected individuals was in concerning numbers. For the first time, recoveries exceeded the number of active cases on June 10, 2020. Unlock 1.0 gave allowance to some earlier prohibited activities for non-containment zones with some standard operating procedures. Although, no relaxation was given to containment zones, rather putting even strict restrictions till 30th June 2020.
1st July 2020, Unlock 2.0 – while lockdown was still in effect in the containment zones till 31 July, the Government added a night curfew, prohibiting people’s movement in the night between 10 pm to 5 am. Moreover, restrictions on the number of people in one place were levied, allowing not more than 5 individuals, keeping a physical distance of 2 feet. It was claimed in July 2020 that India’s case fatality rate was among the lowest in the world at 2.14% and was said to be steadily declining.
Unlock 3.0 came with new guidelines. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare set up some Standard Operating Procedure and only with these facts, rules and provisions in place people could think of getting out. Although, schools, colleges, offices, theaters, and malls were still closed, and there was still worry about the opening of gyms since it could lead to an increase in the cases of coronavirus. People were relaxed a bit with the night curfew uplifted.
Unlock 4.0 – Gave permits to visit areas outside the containment zones. However, the lockdown was extended in containment zones till 30 September. This fourth round of unlocking had twists:
- Opening up of air theatres from 21 September with all the precautions, metro rails were on back on track from 7 September.
- Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, and theatres remained shut.
- Online classes were organized because schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions were still closed.
- International air travel was on break.
India recorded 93,337 fresh cases of COVID-19. Furthermore, there was a rapid increase in the death rate, which reached 85,619. In total, India’s active cases count reached 1,013,964.
Cases per day peaked mid-September in India, reporting over 90,000 cases in a single day. The Government stood strong in the fight against coronavirus by producing PPE kits and masks in abundance, increasing the testing capacity as well as quarantine and COVID-19 Care Centers.
Eventually, a significant drop in the infection rates began and the number of daily new and active cases declined rapidly. Only 16,311 cases were reported on Jan’ 10, 2021.
Over 30 anti-COVID vaccines are in various stages of development in India, two of which are expected to be introduced in early 2021.
With the current recovery rate of 96.43% and case fatality rate of 1.44%, India stands strong and bold, looking forward to and having commenced the compensation of the losses in the coming quarters.