COVID-19: Two-month ban on all indoor gatherings to curb spread of virus, recommends Lancet's India Task Force

Despite several measures being taken by the government against the COVID-19 spread in India, the cases of virus are spurting each passing day. In its report, the Lancet Covid-19 Commission's India Task Force has said that there should be a complete ban on indoor gatherings for at least two months to curb the spread of virus.

It has also cited the ongoing surge to religious, political events (state elections), and social gatherings (resurgence of weddings, sporting events).

"We strongly recommend a temporary ban on gatherings of groups larger than 10 for the next two months," says the Lancet Covid-19 Commission's India Task Force.

As far as the pollings is concerned it said It is important to note that election rallies have not been banned by the Election Commission and there are no restrictions on political rallies as of yet.

The campaigning and voting for assembly elections continued in four states and Puducherry despite a spike in Covid-19 cases.

While, the Maha Kumbh Mela, a religious event in Uttarakhand where Covid-appropriate behaviour went over a toss the state government has refused to wade into the controversy of at least two akhadas exiting the festivities.

At the same time, the state government has also refused to comment on whether the Maha Kumbh should be wrapped up before April 30.

Over the gatherings, the state governments have put some limitations on the number of people who can gather indoors and outdoors. Neither weddings nor funerals have been banned.

The Lancet Covid-19 Commission's India Task Force highlights the adverse impact of these events in that past while acknowledging that these events can be disruptive.

"We believe that public health concerns need to override any other considerations, given the risk of infection, morbidity, and mortality," the report reads.

It also urged for greater vigilance to monitor for surges in infections, especially in districts to which people will return from such events. Besides, it has suggested for closures of all movie theatres, sports arenas and stadia, and indoor halls where groups of more than 50 can gather, for the next two months of April and May.

Commenting on testing methods, it recommended community-led, decentralized tracing, testing and isolating and community monitoring. The India Task Force says accurate and immediate testing, tracing and isolating is a cornerstone of effective Covid-19 management. It also recommended locally managed tracing, testing and isolating efforts and asks for scaling up the same across the country, "especially in the states bearing the brunt of the new infections, border districts to high caseload states, and home states for migrants from high caseload states."

In the last 24 hours, a whopping 2,34,692 new cases had been reported in India. At the same time, there were 1,23,354 discharges and 1,341 deaths in the last 24 hours.

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