Majority Citizens Not in Favor of Lifting the Lockdown in the 19 High Virus Load Districts In a survey conducted by community platform LocalCircles, 72% respondents said they believe a complete lockdown is needed in the 19 high virus load districts in the country to contain the spread of COVID-19

By Shipra Singh

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As the fourth phase of the lockdown approaches its end, rumors are rife that more states are expected to permit markets and offices to re-open from 1 June. However, citizens are not in favor of lifting the lockdown, especially in high-virus load areas, fearing the virus to bounce back, shows a survey.

About 60 per cent of the 18,000 respondents to a survey conducted by LocalCircles said that there should be a complete lockdown in the 19 high virus load districts, with partial restrictions in red zones to contain the spread of coronavirus. Despite strict restrictions, Covid-19 cases have been consistently increasing in India, with an average 7,000 cases being reported daily.

The 19 high virus load districts include Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Thane, Pune, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Surat, Jodhpur, Hyderabad, Aurangabad, Bhopal, Agra, Nashik, Vadodara, Kurnool and Thiruvallur. "The 19 high virus load districts represent 80% active cases of India and each have more than 500 active cases," the survey stated.

Further, the above graph shows that majority citizens are in favour of permitting all normal activities in the orange and green zones, with restrictions only be imposed when they turn into a red zone.

Compared to over two weeks back, the percentage of citizens in favor of fifth phase of stringent lockdown in high-virus load areas has gone up significantly, shows the survey.

Feedback from respondents in the survey conducted around 12 May indicated that people wanted lockdown relaxations as they were getting desperate to get out of their houses and get back to work. "Now, looking at how fast the COVID-19 cases are increasing, this number has again gone up to 72%, which should that citizens want the High Virus Load districts to be locked down completely to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19," the survey stated.

State governments have been under immense pressure to partially re-open the economy to contain the economic fallout of the lockdown—rising unemployment, loss of revenue and some businesses on the brink of shutdown. So, the survey also asked its respondents if they think the government should redeploy some of the Atmanirbhar Bharat funds to support those who may lose their livelihood if the lockdown is extended and 73 per cent answered in affirmative. "Such a move will ensure that while a complete lockdown is implemented in these high virus load districts, those without daily wages are able to get financial support and sustain themselves," the survey said.

Feedback from survey respondents indicates that relaxing lockdown further in high virus load districts will only worsen the situation and most of these districts do not have the necessary health infrastructure to handle a surge. "The majority is in favour of the government's COVID-19 management approach to zero in on these high virus load districts and implement a complete lockdown for the next two weeks while permitting the remaining 720 districts to function as much as possible," the survey stated. "The key going forward would be decisive and concentrated action in these districts such that the daily numbers in these districts start to decline."

Drawing from historical data, LocalCircles claims that during the Spanish flu in 1918, the cities that went in complete lockdown and stayed in lock down the longest are the ones that bounced back the strongest.

Shipra Singh

Entrepreneur Staff

Freelance Journalist

Now a freelance journalist, ealier steered the Wealth section on the Entrepreneur website, covering everything finance. Previously a personal finance reporter at The Economic Times and Outlook Money.

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