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The lockdown in India is not productive and could cause serious economic damage, increase hunger and reduce the population resilience for handling the infection peak. Pixabay

In what could spell real trouble for the country in the next three months, a new report from prestigious Johns Hopkins University and the Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) has predicted that 21-day lockdown may be ineffective to stop the COVID-19 peak arriving in April-May-June — infecting over 12 crore Indians in an optimistic (low) scenario.

In a High scenario (trajectory with current lockdowns but insufficient physical distancing or compliance), the total number of cases (asymptomatic, hospitalized and symptomatic) can even touch a massive figure of 25 crore.


In the most likely (Medium) scenario with moderate to full compliance but no change in virulence or temperature/humidity sensitivity, the numbers of total cases can swell up to 18 crore.


A new report from prestigious Johns Hopkins University and the Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) has predicted that 21-day lockdown in India may be ineffective to stop the COVID-19. Pixabay

The optimistic (low) scenario constitutes decreased virulence and temperature/humidity sensitivity.

To reach these numbers, Johns Hopkins and CDDEP — a public health research organisation — used IndiaSIM, a well-validated agent-based model of the Indian population which has been published widely over many years and has been used for government decision-making.

According to the report, hospitalised cases can reach up to 25 lakh people in the High scenario, 17-18 lakh people in Medium scenario and 13 lakh people in Low scenario.

“Ventilator demand will be 1 million. Current availability in India is estimated to be between 30,000 and 50,000 ventilators,” said the joint report.

“Mortality in healthcare workers could further increase deaths in the general population. Healthcare workers need personal protective equipment (masks and gowns) to protect themselves. Without them they get sick further straining the capacity of the healthcare system to respond,” the report warned.

The number of coronavirus cases climbed to 649 in India on Thursday and the death toll hit 13, with one death reported each from Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, according to the Health Ministry.

But March is the month when peak is yet to even begin, according to the report.

According to the report, delays in testing are seriously reducing the ability of the population to protect itself.

“This is the most important way in which we can contain the epidemic. An increase in the official number of detected cases in the short term could encourage the population to take distancing more seriously and will reduce panic compared to a big spike later,” the findings showed.

“Border closures at this stage have little to no impact and add further economic disruption and panic. While international transmission was important in the first stage, domestic transmission is now far more relevant,” it warned.


The number of coronavirus cases climbed to 649 in India on Thursday and the death toll hit 13, with one death reported each from Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, according to the Health Ministry. Pixabay

A national lockdown, said the report, is not productive and could cause serious economic damage, increase hunger and reduce the population resilience for handling the infection peak.

“Some states may see transmission increase only after another 2 weeks and lockdowns should be optimized for when they could maximize the effect on the epidemic but minimize economic damage,” said Johns Hopkins-CDDEP report.

State-level lockdowns in the most affected states could change the trajectory of the epidemic and should commence immediately. Any delay allows for more secondary cases to emerge.

Lockdowns should be guided by testing and serological survey data and should be planned on a rolling basis, the report mentioned, adding that preparedness for case load should be the highest priority at this time.

“Temperature and humidity increases should help us in reducing case load. Although the evidence is limited, it is plausible,” the report mentioned.

Evidence from China indicates that higher temperature and humidity are likely to lower the transmission rates but it is unclear “how this will translate to the India context”.

India “should be prepared for multiple peaks in the model and should be prepared for more cases and deaths later in the year”.

In India, initial infections likely first arrived in early February, according to the report.

Also Read- “Taking Low-Dose Aspirin May Not Reduce Risk of Dementia”, Says Study

People who will show symptoms next week are already infected and incubating the virus. Some of these will transmit before they are symptomatic. A large percentage of cases are mild, but for older individuals, the mortality rate is strikingly higher.

“Children are less likely to be infected and also less likely to be hospitalized than adults. Illness is less likely to be severe in children than in adults,” the report noted. (IANS)


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The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has directed Pak TV channels to stop airing what it calls indecency and intimacy in dramas, Samaa TV reported.

A notification issued by the authority states that it has been receiving numerous complaints from viewers who believe that the content being depicted in dramas does not represent the "true picture of Pakistani society".

"PEMRA finally got something right: Intimacy and affection between married couples isn't 'true depiction of Pakistani society and must not be 'glamourized'. Our 'culture' is control, abuse, and violence, which we must jealously guard against the imposition of such alien values," said Reema Omer, Legal Advisor, South Asia, International Commission of Jurists.

"Hugs, caress scenes, extramarital affairs, vulgar and bold dressing, bed scenes and intimacy of married couples are being glamourized in utter disregard to Islamic teachings and culture of Pakistani society," PEMRA stated, as per the report.

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Dozens of female high school and university students in Afghanistan have joined vocational centers to learn tailoring and cosmetology

Dozens of female high school and university students in Afghanistan have joined vocational centers to learn tailoring and cosmetology as the women and girls have been banned from school and university since the Taliban took over the country, Tolo News reported.

According to these girls, sitting at home is very difficult for them, therefore they are willing to learn a profession.

"It has been a couple of months that we are at home since schools and universities were closed. We have to learn a profession or a job because we can't sit like this at home," said Samira Sharifi, a student.

"I want to learn a profession for my future to help my family, we want our schools to be opened so that we can carry on with our education," said Mahnaz Ghulami, a student.

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"We have decided to learn tailoring along with our education," said Shaqaiq Ganji, a student.

"It's necessary for every woman to learn tailoring to help her family and her husband, especially in this bad economic situation," said Laili Sofizada, a teacher.

Due to the closure of schools and universities, the number of students in vocational centers doubled compared to recent years, the report added.

"Our classes had the capacity of 20 to 25 students but we increased it to 45 students, because most of the students have lost their spirit, and their schools and universities have closed," said Fatima Tokhi, director of technical and professional affairs at the Herat department of labour and social affairs.

The Labour and Social Affairs department of Herat said the department is working to provide more opportunities for Herat girls and women to learn vocational training.

"The art and professional sector and the kindergarten departments have started their activities, we support them and supervise their activities," said Mulla Mohammad Sabit, head of the labour and social affairs of Herat.

During the past two months, most of the women and girls who worked in state and private institutions lost their jobs and are trying to learn handicrafts and vocational training. (IANS/JB)


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