Is Lockdown a Solution?
Countries put stringent measure in place called Lockdown in response to transmission of COVID-19. Many have used the time to ramp up their activity to test, address, isolate and care for patient which is the best way to trace the virus, slow its spread and take pressure off from the Government Health System. The good news is that there has been a great deal of success in slowing the virus spread and ultimately saving lives of millions. Until there is vaccine to be found to eradicate virus, the comprehensive package of measure i.e. Lockdown is our most effective set of tool to slow down the consequences of virus.
In countries with poverty and high population, the stay-at-home orders and other restrictions used may not be practical because residents living in crowded quarters, need to work daily in order to survive and receive meals in regular interval. Serious socio-economical lock down have a detrimental effect on daily life of people. With no source of education and no savings for future, majority of people of high labor induced countries depend upon the daily wages they receive at the end of the day after hard labor. Therefore to protect lives and livelihood of these people, a slow steady and lifting of lock down is key to sustain their economy and lifestyle.
However, such strong measure comes at a cost. Physical distancing restrictions are only part of the equation for this Lockdown and there are many other basic public health measures that need to be put in place which makes Lockdown effective. When stay-at-home measures are used, there must not be the violence of human rights. Each government must access their situation while protecting all their citizens, especially the most vulnerable. So government officials must rise from their internal disputes and fight as one for a better cause ie. consequences of this pandemic. Government should protect its people from this economical breakdown, secure their future as well as keep a vigilant eye on the virus so control measure can be quickly implemented if an upswing in case is identified.
Even if a country wants to lift the lockdown, government must ask itself if the healthcare system is able to cope with a resurgence of cases after initiating certain measure or not. Is the optical surveillance system able to detect and manage contacts and cases of identified resurgence of cases is another question to be considered before country slowly can uplift the Lockdown. However are these questions and answers enough to remove it? Government must understand and analyze the situation of recurring pandemic for second time on some country like Republic Of Korea, Wuhan region of China and some area of Germany which are facing second wave of pandemic even though high preventive measures were taken. WHO is working closely with Government to ensure that public measures remain in place to deal with the challenges of lifting Lockdown.
Asking people to stay at home and shutting down their movement is buying time and reducing the pressure on health system, yet these measures on their own will not extinguish pandemics. WHO said that “Lockdown alone won’t be enough, how many more is decided on the basis of decision we make and action we take”. If we want to remove Lockdown in gradual way, restrictions need to be lifted slowly and strategically in order to successfully re-enter a new normal life. If the measures are not enough to slow down the spread of virus after uplifting Lockdown, we might face the harsh reality of pandemic and its consequences much more than we can possibly imagine. In a nutshell surveillance, case finding, contact tracing campaign to inform affected population solidarity is needed now more than ever to defeat COVID-19.
Asbin Ghimire, 7th Sem BPH Student, School of Health and Allied Sciences, Pokhara University, Email: email@example.com, Cell No. +977-9860080199
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