Covid Lock Down in India: After 1st & 2nd Wave; 3rd wave of Covid with Omicron and Deltacron; Impact on Economy, Pros & Cons

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Updated on January 12, 2022

 

India has remained under full or partial lockdown more than six times since March 21, 2020 till December 2021 during the first and second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, and now the third wave of Covid with new virus Omicron and Deltacron has started spreading fast beginning with the dawn of new year in January 2022. Despite large number of vaccinations going beyond 100 crores in India, the fear of Covid is gripping the masses as another phase of lock down and day/ night or weekend curfew in many states like Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh has been imposed apart from imposing restrictions on gatherings.

 

The economy which was already reeling under the impact of first and second wave of Covid pandemic, has recently started looking up. But with the beginning of the third wave in January and experts predicting it to be moving toward the peak in February 2022, it appears that the economic slowdown may again occur in near future. 

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Covid 3rd Wave Registers 1.95 Lakh Cases in Single Day
At more than 15 percent rise in fresh Corona infections, India is now witnessing a massive spike of 1.95 lakh fresh Omicron and Deltacron cases in a single day in January 2022. 

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Covid 3rd Wave in India Latest Update

(As on January 12, 2022)

  • 194,720 Omicron and Deltacron fresh cases
  • 9,55,319 Total Active Covid-19 Cases as on Jan 12, 2022
  • 15.8% rise in new cases
  • Country Records 442 deaths in a single day
  • Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan worst affected with high number of cases
  • IIT Madras study reveals that the third wave would peak in the first/second week of February 2022 in India

Measures Taken to Control the 3rd Covid Wave

  • Lock downs, day/night curfew imposed by Govt of Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan and others
  • 3rd booster dose of vaccination for front line workers, people with 60+ years of age with sickness
  • Speeding up the vaccination to teenagers in the age band of 15 to 18 years. The vaccination for teenagers has begun in the first week of January 2022 
  • Hospitals being kept well equipped to handle the situation with ample number of beds, medical staff, medicines for treatment and sufficient quantity of Oxygen supply
  • Government has made Mandatory to follow Covid protocols and Govt guidelines like wearing mask, social distancing, sanitizing
  • No large gatherings allowed
  • Work places, public transport, entertainment & amusement areas to work with 50% capacity
  • No dining allowed in Hotels & Restaurants, only take away allowed
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday Jan 9, 2022 reviewed the Covid situation in the country as the virus is evolving rapidly.
  • All states and union territories have been asked to keep a daily watch on oxygen beds, ICU beds, and ventilator support.
  • The Covid Care centres are being upgraded to oxygen-supported beds
  • Union Health Minister Mr. Mansukh Mandaviya held a meeting on Jan 11, 2022 with leaders of the Indian Medical Association and senior doctors across the country on COVID-19 management.
  • The Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi is keeping direct watch and holding series of meetings with CMs of States on Covid situation

  Covid Third Wave Vs Second Wave

  • Warning of a bigger surge in cases in third wave than the second wave
  • Government has warned that for every 100 Delta cases, there could be 400-500 Omicron cases
  • Need of hospitalization may remain between 10 and 15% in 3rd wave as against 23-25% in second wave
  • Since larger part of Indian Population is vaccinated, it is expected that the third wave may be less fatal than the second wave and death rate may not go high in 3rd wave as was in 2nd wave

Series of Concessions to Boost the Economy
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced measures with some relaxations to ensure that the Food Safety of India was protected. The PM also announced relief package of Rs.20 lakh crores for various sectors to propel economic growth. Relaxations were provided to Red, Orange and Green zone areas during the Lockdown to protect the Medium and small scale industrial sector, farm and trading sector. In addition to farming sector, the concessions were offered to kick start the economy and support people who had lost their livelihoods and businesses on the verge of collapse. Modi Government had announced Rs.20 lakh crore relief package for all these sectors that was disbursed in five phases. 

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First & Second Wave of Covid Pandemic in 2020 & 2021: More Fatal
In the first and second wave, Entire country remained under lockdown followed by 4-5 Unlock-down phases in 2020 and 2021. More than 1 crore people in India got affected by Covid-19 and lakhs of them lost their life during the first and second wave of Covid pandemic. Strict measures with complete or partial lock down were taken to control the first wave that started in March 2020 and as such the first wave reported fewer fatalities than the second wave that coincided with West Bengal Elections and one month long Kumbh at Haridwar in April-May 2021.  

 

Beginning of Covid-19: Back Ground
The Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi earlier appealed to 1.3 billion people of India to observe voluntary self-imposed ‘Janata curfew’ from 7 AM to 9 PM on Sunday March 22, 2020 and asked them not to come out of their houses unless very much necessary to observe ‘social distancing’ with this lock down across the country.

 

Another appeal he made to the people, was to thank for the services rendered by doctors, nurses and other paramedical staff at the hospitals, police personnel, security forces, sweeping, garbage collecting and cleaning people, in helping and checking the spread of corona virus. For thanks giving, the prime minister requested the people to clap, chant, blow conch, bang and clatter plates, ‘Thali’ from 5PM to 5.05 PM. People responded in great number.  

The appeal had the scientific reason as the corona virus spreads one to one and among the people within few seconds if the healthy person comes in contact with Covid-19 infected person. Another fact is that the Corona Virus remains alive for a few hours when it is transmitted. So, the social distancing can save millions who are isolated and don’t come in contact with infected persons for 14 hours from 7 AM to 9 PM.  

Entire country observed the Lock Down and except a few stray cases entire population of the country remained in house and remained isolated for the full day. Millions of people across the country stayed indoors, streets wore a deserted look and bare number of vehicles were on the road on Sunday in an unprecedented shutdown on Modi's appeal for a 'Janata curfew' to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed over 14,000 lives worldwide.
 

The success of the experiment encouraged the Union and State Governments to extend this lock down for a longer period to wipe out the dreaded virus. As such, as of now a complete lock down has been announced across the country till April 14, 2020 WEF from 12 midnight on March 24, 2020.

 

What is ‘Lock Down’?

  • A lockdown is an emergency protocol that prevents people from leaving a given area. A full lockdown implies that you must stay where you are and not exit or enter a building or the given area.
  • This scenario usually allows for essential supplies, grocery stores, pharmacies and banks to continue to serve the people. All non-essential activities remain shut for the entire period.
  • India, at the moment, is not under complete lockdown. With this announcement the Corona Virus hit cities will be completely shut and borders will remain sealed.
  • Severe travel restrictions have been imposed on some states, and public places have been shut.
  • Train, intercity and interstate bus services have been suspended throughout the country
  • Barring emergency services, all government departments, offices, factories, godowns, weekly markets, shops and business establishments will remain closed during the period.
  • A high-level meeting between Union Cabinet Secretary and Chief Secretaries of the states was held in this regard.
  • Chief Ministers of the states have announced the lock down cities in their states.

RBI Announced Policy Rate Cuts: Takes Measures to Counter Economic Slowdown
On March 27, 2020, The Reserve Bank of India joined the big fight with a host of measures aimed at minimising the damage from Covid-19. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das has announced a series of measures including policy rate cuts to bolster economy in the wake of covid-19 menace.

 

Sharing that large part of major global economies are likely to be heading toward recession, the RBI governor stated that economic recovery in 2020 would be slow. This comes hours after Moody's Investors Service cut its estimate of India's GDP growth during 2020 to 2.5 per cent from an earlier estimate of 5.3 per cent.

 

Following key policy announcements were made by the RBI Governor on March 27, 2020:

  • A 75 basis points cut in repo rates was announced as a measure to counter the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the Repo rate  stands at 4.40% as against 5.15% earlier
  • The reverse repo rate has been cut by 90 basis points to 4 percent. According to RBI Governor this has been done to make it unattractive for banks to passively deposit funds with the RBI and instead lend it to the productive sectors
  • CRR has been reduced by 100 bps to 3%, for 1 year to release 1.37 lakh crores
  • Minimum daily CRR balance reduced from 90% - 80% till 30/06/2020
  • 3.74 lakh crore liquidity injected
  • Banks are allowed 3-month moratorium on all loans. According to RBI,All commercial, regional, rural, NBFCs and small finance banks are being permitted to allow 3-month moratorium on payment of instalments in respect of all term loan EMIs outstanding on March 31." This is going to be a huge relief for all EMI payers, especially for those — such as the self-employed — whose income had become uncertain in the wake of the lockdown
  • Interest on WC facilities to be deferred by 3 months. Such deferment not to be considered for NPA
  • Total liquidity injection 3.4% of GDP
  • Along with it, the Central government on March 26 announced the first instalment of a fiscal relief package, worth Rs 170,000 crore, to protect the weaker sections of the society from the economic fallout of Covid-19 in the country. Announcing the measures, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the PM GaribKalyanYojanawill benefit migrant workers, rural poor and women.

Three-way liquidity injection
— Auction of targeted long term repo operations of 3-year tenor for total amount Rs 1,00,000 crore at floating rate. Will add this to liquidity in the market
— Reduction of CRR for all banks by 100 basis points will release Rs 1,37,000 crore across banking system
— Accommodation under Marginal Standing Facility to be increased from 2% from SLR to 3% with immediate effect till June 30. It will release Rs 1.37 lakh crore into the system. ..
 

Corona Virus a War
The RBI governor warned not to make mistake as it is a fight never seen before. Outlining the risks to Indian economy from coronavirus, he stressed upon the need to keep the credit flowing to the stressed areas of the economy.
 

Earlier Complete Lock down in 80 corona hit cities in 22 States was announced by India from March 23 to 31, 2020 to break the chain of further spread of Corona virus following the unprecedented success on one day ‘Janata Curfew’ observed on March 22, 2020.  Now it has been extended across the nation for 21 days till April 14, 2020.

 

The global spread of Corona virus that originated from Wuhan city of China, has infected lakhs of people with thousands of them dead, across the world including China, Italy, Iran, USA, UK, Canada, Germany, North and South Korea, and many other countries including India.

 

Since no effective vaccine has been found so far to control the fatal contagious disease, that has claimed  thousands of lives in China, Italy, Iran, USA, India and others, the only way out that has been found a bit effective is complete shut down or lock down of the virus hit area which can result in social distancing and will keep the people away from infection of Covid-19. This could help the country from entering next grave stage of getting community infection spread to the most dangerous level.

 

Services Available during Lockdown period
Defence, central armed police forces, treasury, public utilities (Including petroleum, CNG, LPG, PNG), disaster management, power generation and transmission units, post offices, National lnformatics Centre, and Early Warning Agencies will remain open.

 

List of Services & Supplies Exempted from Lockdown in All States

  • Police, home guards, civil defence, fire and emergency services, disaster management, and prisons, District administration and Treasury, Electricity, water, sanitation, Municipal bodies, but only staff required for essential services like sanitation, personnel related to water supply etc.
  • Hospitals and all related medical establishments, including their manufacturing and distribution units, both in public and private sector such as dispensaries, chemist and medical equipment shops.
  • Laboratories, clinics. nursing homes, ambulance etc will continue to remain functional. The transportation for all medical personnel. nurses, para-medical staff, other hospital support services be permitted.
  • Shops, including ration shops (under PDS), dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder.
  • District authorities to encourage and facilitate home delivery to minimize the movement of individuals outside their homes.
  • Banks, insurance offices and ATMs.
  • Print and electronic media, Telecommunications, Internet services, broadcasting and cable services.
    IT and IT enabled Services only (for essential services) and, as far as possible, work from home.
  • Delivery of all essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment through E-commerce.
  • Petrol pumps, LPG, Petroleum and gas retail and storage outlets.
    Power generation, transmission and distribution units and services.
  • Capital and debt market services as notified by the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
  • Cold storage and warehousing services.
  • Private security services
    Manufacturing units of essential commodities.
  • Production units, which require continuous process, after obtaining required permission from the State Government.
  • Hotels, homestays, lodges and motels which are accommodating tourists and persons stranded due to lockdown, medical and emergency staff, air and sea crew.
  • Establishments earmarked for quarantine facilities.

What remained Locked during Lockdown Period

  • Offices of the Government of India, its Autonomous/ Subordinate Offices and Public Corporations remained closed.
  • Offices of the States Union Terrltory Governments, their Autonomous Bodies, Corporations, etc remained closed.
  • Commercial and private establishments were closed down.
  • All other establishments could work from home only.
  • Industrial Establishments remained closed.
  • All transport services air, rail, roadways remained suspended
  • Hospitality, Entertainment Services remained suspended
  • All educational, training, research, coaching institutions etc. remained closed.
  • All places of worship were closed for public. No religious congregations was permitted, without any exception.
  • All social/political/sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions/ gatherings were barred.
  • In case of funerals, congregation of not more than twenty persons was permitted

What happened in case you broke the rules in the lockdown?
Anyone breaking the rules, could be taken into custody and can be punished with simple imprisonment for a term that may extend up to one month or with a fine which may extend to Rs 200, or with both.

 

Could you go to work during lockdown?
Unless you were the one associated to the essential/emergency services, you could not go to work. Most major cities in the country have ordered private companies to let employees work from home. All offices remain shut till the end of the lockdown period. The central and several state governments have announced relief packages for daily-wage earners and other temporary workers.

 

Lockdown to Help Checking the Spread of Corona Virus

 

Braking the Transmission
It is estimated that the one day ‘Janata Curfew’ on March 22, 2020 was a major step in breaking the transmission of corona virus. The day saw the streets across India’s cities as deserted since the citizens stayed indoors heeding Modi’s call for a 14-hour voluntary curfew. It was rated a very successful part of the administration’s effort to curb the spread of the virus across the nation.

 

Further Spread to Stop Effectively
The further lockdown announced by the respective states after the high level meeting is an extension of the March 22 success. It is understood that it would check further spread of COVID-19 and can break the chain.

 

Consensus Among All
All the state governments and political parties have come together to fight the corona virus. 

 

All Patients to be Tested
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare expanded the criteria of people who could be tested to include all patients with pneumonia symptoms or severe respiratory illnesses. Earlier, the bulk of India’s testing was aimed at individuals who have travelled internationally and their contacts.
 

Meeting the Challenge
Noting that there has been a big increase in cases recently, Lav Agarwal, the joint secretary in health ministry said in a briefing in New Delhi on Sunday March 22, “Our biggest challenge is how do we break this chain of transmission. States have been asked to ramp up their capacity to manage confirmed cases and build or earmark dedicated coronavirus hospitals.” The lockdown is a right step in this direction.

 

Is the Lockdown in India ‘too slow’ to stop millions of infections?
India’s move to lockdown the world’s second-most populous country may not be enough to soften the impact of the coronavirus outbreak as thousands thronged train stations before services closed. These people risked carrying the infection to the nation’s villages.

 

Most at risk from the country-wide shutdown are India’s informal workers, who comprise more than 80% of the workforce and are often denied job security and medical benefits. Mumbai alone has more than 8 million migrants from other areas of the country, according to the 2011 census, and an enforced lockdown risks robbing them of weeks of pay.
 

The lockdown risks worsening an economy that’s already set to grow at the slowest pace in 11 years. India’s rupee has weakened to an all-time low and stocks slumped anew amid a global meltdown in risk assets.
 

India Declares ‘Notified Disaster’
Government of India as well as State governments are treating and monitoring the situation closely to control the coronavirus pandemic. The Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to treat Covid-19 as a "notified disaster". This enables the states to spend a larger chunk of funds from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to fight the pandemic. 

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