With less than 500 cases in India as of 23 March and 9 fatalities, India may have weathered the first wave of the storm of spread of corona virus officially known as COVID 19 effectively given the large population size of the country.
What is worrying is the 100 odd cases added on 23rd..
Is it a warning of rise in numbers as we go ahead with community spread the next stage during which epidemiologists turned data scientists have projected millions of cases including thousands of death?
Data can however never capture human factors social, socio-economic, cultural and behavioural patterns in society which may eventually be a plus for India and reduce the possibility and impact of community spread, but complacency is best avoided.
Social distancing has been a norm in Indian society apart from the metros which have imbibed some of the customs prevalent in the West. Thus, the possibility of personal contact resulting in spread remains relatively lower than in other countries.
However with large numbers cramped in many urban chawls and slums the danger cannot be ignored.
Besides there has been flagrant violation noticed such as post jubilation rallies after Janata curfew on 22 March, political black slapping in Madhya Pradesh, religious congregations and even the anti CAA rallies in which large numbers have come together in small areas which could spread the virus the impact of which will be known only after 14 days or so.
Thus, vulnerability mapping and mitigation is important.
The incidence in India so far is driven from individuals who have travelled from abroad and have escaped notice during preliminary testing or have not been quarantined as there was a gap between issue of orders and implementation of preventive measures.
Quite apparently most vulnerable group is of people who have recently returned from abroad particularly from China, Europe, United States and Iran.
Based on this norm Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala, the IT hubs of Bengaluru, Hyderabad, NOIDA and Gurugram may come under the scanner.
Of these Maharashtra, Punjab have already imposed curfew while the other areas are under stringent lockdown, complete or partial.
Punjab Chief Minister, the ever-proactive Captain Amrinder Singh has already sought Central Assistance.
Puducherry and Chandigarh expecting large number of people having returned from abroad have also imposed curfew.
Possibility of community spread in these states and UTs no doubt remains high.
States under total lockdown include Delhi Rajasthan Jharkhand Haryana Telangana Assam Manipur Tripura Arunachal Pradesh Nagaland Mizoram Kerala Goa West Bengal Bihar Uttarakhand Andhra Pradesh Gujarat Jammu and Kashmir Ladakh Himachal Pradesh Daman Diu & Dadra & Nagar Haveli Chhattisgarh.
Of these Kerala, Delhi, Haryana (Gurugram, Faridabad, Panchkula), Telangana (Hyderabad), Goa, and West Bengal will be highly vulnerable with the possibility of community spread.
Jammu and Kashmir and parts of UP with the possibility of returnees from Iran spreading infection may be high need extra caution.
In case of more number of cases discovered imposing curfew may become inevitable.
Partial lockdown has been imposed in Uttar Pradesh Madhya Pradesh and Odisha. Uttar Pradesh in particular would have to remain on watch.
As we move ahead to face this global menace, local implementation assumes importance.
In case you come across any suspicious activity, any suspicious movement or have any information to tell to the Anti-Terror Squad, please take a note of the new ALL INDIA TOLL-FREE Terror Help-line '1090'. Your city's Police or Anti-Terror squad will take action as quickly as possible. Remember that this single number 1090 is valid all over india. This is a toll free number and can be dialled from mobile phones also. Moreover, the identity of the caller will be kept a secret.
Please try to make aware each and every citizen of india about this facility.