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As cases of COVID-19 in India cross 5,000, is a lockdown extension on the cards?

waving colorful national flag of india on a gray background with text coronavirus covid-19 . concept.. COVID-19 cases in India illustration. Indian COVID-19 cases concept. Cases of COVID-19 in India concept.In India, cases of COVID-19 now exceed 5,000 as the death toll continues to mount.

At the time of writing, India has confirmed 5,480 cases of COVID-19 – the disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), commonly referred to as coronavirus. Active cases of COVID-19 number at 4,848 at present, considering the 468 COVID-19 patients who have recovered and the 164 people who, tragically, have lost their lives.

The evolving COVID-19 crisis in India may precipitate an extension of the wholescale lockdown imposed in India since last month. Originally intended until April 14th, the Union Government is reportedly considering extending the timeframe beyond that date with some state governments calling for the same. 

At the time of publication, no final decision has been reached to that end. However, Vice President Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu stated yesterday that “between the considerations of the health of the people and stabilisation of our economy being debated, the former shall take precedence over the latter. 

“In my view, while the concerns of the economy can wait for another day, that of health can’t. I appeal to people to abide by whatever decision is ultimately taken by the leadership and cooperate in the ongoing national effort… even if it means continuing with some degree of hardship still beyond April 14th.” 

A government official said “though a formal decision is yet to be taken, feedback so far suggests that relaxing restrictions would be hugely risky.” 

In terms of public opinion, it appears that more Indians than not want the lockdown to be extended. One poll found a majority of respondents – approximately 69 percent – want the Government to extend the lockdown past April 14th. In addition, 47 percent of respondents expressed the view that “the Government is not meeting public expectations in its fight against the pandemic.” 

Revealingly, “eight in ten Indians want the government to test more for the virus.” This amplifies the controversies surrounding the pace of COVID-19 testing in India, which experts have suggested is not being conducted at a sufficient rate and that cases of COVID-19 in India could be flying under the radar because of insufficient testing. Efforts are underway to scale up the rate of COVID-19 testing in the country. 

Globally, cases of COVID-19 number at 1,450,086 with the death toll as a result of the coronavirus pandemic numbering at 83,466 at the time of writing. Active cases number in excess of one million, at 1,057,302; of these patients, 1,009,303 (95 percent) are in mild condition and 47,999 (five percent) are in serious or critical condition. 309,319 people infected with coronavirus have recovered.

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