Even as Monday brought in Unlock 2.0 which marked the re-opening of shopping malls, restaurants and hotels across the country as part of the Centre’s initiative to restart the economy, two states, West Bengal and Mizoram– opted to to extend to go back into lockdown mode after witnessing a sudden rise in the number of coronavirus cases, tomorrow.
“The lockdown is being extended in the state till June 30, with all existing relaxations and conditions still in place. Earlier, we had allowed only 10 people at social programmes such as a marriage or a funeral ceremony, now we have increased it” WB Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Monday. Ditto for Mizoram. It was only last week week that the WB govt had eased the lockdown, allowing places of worship to reopen, and jute, tea and construction sectors to resume full-fledged operations. Shopping malls, restaurants and other establishments resumed services in West Bengal had also opened after a gap of over two months. The sudden u-turn is an acceptance of the reality staring everyone in the face, the curve that was somewhere flattened during the lockdown is on an upward spiral once again.
The decision of the two states is hardly surprising as India in the past one week has recorded the maximum number of COVID-19 cases – almost a fourth of the total so far – as well as fatalities and recoveries.
According to data released by the Union Ministry of Health, the country had 1.82 lakh cases on May 31 which increased by 64, 485 in the first week of June, taking the tally to 2.46 lakh cases (on June 7). Similarly, one-fourth of the deaths (1,765 deaths) were reported in the first week of Unlock 1 in the country. The current death toll stands at 7,135 across the country.
COVID-19 testing too has increased substantially over the past few days. More than 9.29 lakh samples were tested in the first week of June itself. This accounts for around 20 per cent of the total tests done so far. As of June 7, the number of tests stood at 46.66 lakh. Currently, India is testing more than one lakh samples every day, a trend seen in the past three weeks.
India is reportedly the only country among the worst-hit nations to report a steady rise in the number of cases after lifting the nationwide lockdown. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has also pointed this out in one of his recent tweets.
India has now become the sixth worst-hit nation with 2.56 lakh coronavirus cases followed by the United States, Brazil, Russia, Spain, and the UK. The death rate in the country is one of the lowest among these countries. Russia has the lowest death rate at 1.2 per cent which is followed by India at 2.8 per cent.
-India Legal Bureau