The Ministry of Home Affairs recently released list of relaxations for Unlock 1.0 in the country that would help businesses get back on their feet, and support the economy. As of 8 June 2020, states have been granted permission to reopen malls, places of worship, hotels and restaurants. While the Centre released a comprehensive list of guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures for both businesses and citizens, the number of COVID-19 cases across the country are on a steady rise. As of 9 June 2020, over 2.66 lakh cases have been registered across the country, making India the fifth worst affected nation in the world. With this, only the United States, Brazil, Russia, and the United Kingdom, have higher COVID-19 numbers as compared to India. However, even before Unlock 1.0 took off, a few scenes in Vizag and elsewhere showed people taking to the streets in numbers as if the importance of ‘Stay Home Stay Safe’ was forgotten.
Maharashtra, in the latest, has reported COVID-19 numbers greater than all of China. Doctors and nurses have begun to get infected by the virus in high-risk areas. With our first line of defense weakening, the onus, once again falls on us citizens to take added precautions in this extremely critical time. Speaking about the trend of people venturing out as usual during Unlock 1.0, Dr. Rakesh Godavarthi, ENT surgeon at Pinnacle Hospital in Vizag, stated that people must continue to stay home despite relaxations granted by the government.
“We have observed a peak in the number of coronavirus cases, as and when the lockdown rules were relaxed as part of Unlock 1.0 across Vizag, and Andhra Pradesh at large. As we are headed towards further relaxations, the virus would spread rapidly across all age groups. This is the most dangerous phase as all communities and sectors of the society would get affected, resulting in serious health complications for some. I would urge people to venture out only if absolutely necessary,” the doctor said.
The doctor added that those venturing out must refrain from touching surfaces unnecessarily. “Though we have formed a habit of carrying sanitizers, one must limit touching/resting on surfaces while outside. All previously stated guidelines for safety must be followed without fail,” says the ENT surgeon. With the rising COVID-19 cases, a few experts have predicted that the state governments and medical staff would soon be thrown a serious challenge to accommodate all the patients, due to the sheer numbers. This brings added responsibility to us citizens, to practise safety guidelines and continue to stay at home to protect ourselves.
With the spike in the COVID-19 cases in Vizag, GVMC CMO stated that they are actively increasing the response teams, and accommodating the isolation of the positively tested individuals. Mentioning that most of the recently registered cases are travellers who arrived Visakhapatnam, he urged the citizens to maintain social distancing and resort to travelling only if required. “Through bulk messages, electronic media, we are trying to share information and sensitise the residents. We are also engaging autos to make announcements in these containment zones to create awareness among the residents of Visakhapatnam,” he said.