ICMR chief says most of the country should remain locked down for 6-8 weeks



The head of the main Indian health agency acknowledging the spread of the covid-19 infection has said districts recording a high number of infections should continue locked down for another six to eight weeks to curb the spread of the rampant disease. Source- Reuters

ICMR's Statement Dr. Balram Bhargava, head of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said in an interview that lockdown constraints should continue in all districts where the rate of infection is above 10% of those tested. Currently, three-fourths of India's 718 districts have what is known as a test-positivity rate above 10%, including major cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, and the tech hub of Bengaluru.

Bhargava's remarks are the first time a senior government official has sketched how long lockdowns, which already enclose large parts of the country, need to continue to rein in the crisis in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has been reluctant to impose a nationwide lockdown because of the economic effect and has left it to state governments. "The high positivity districts should remain shut. If they come to a 5% from 10% positivity rate we can open them, but that has to happen. That won't happen in six-eight weeks, clearly," Bhargava said.

Current Situation India is in deep crisis in the current wave of COVID-19 infections with around 350,000 cases and 4,000 deaths being reported daily. Hospitals and morgues are flooding, medical staff is exhausted and oxygen and drugs are running short. Several experts say the actual case tallies and deaths could be five to 10 times higher.
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