As many states in India contemplate on extending the lockdown beyond April 14, industry body FICCI has said the country can't afford to have a prolonged lockdown that lasts for months. The industry body said India's "exit strategy" should aim towards bringing about a fine balance between normalising economic and social activity and taking measures to contain COVID-19 disease. Notably, Punjab and Odisha have already extended curfew and lockdown till April 30.
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry said though India in the global context had not seen a large number of cases, the increase of infected people in the past few days might lead to a situation wherein more patients would require respiratory assistance and intensive care.
It also flagged the issue of the shortage of key testing kits. "One of the big gaps that we are currently facing is the lack of mass testing capability which is limiting our understanding on the true scale of the spread of the disease," the industry body said.
Talking about the importance of augmenting mass testing and ensuring a disciplined approach by grassroots functionaries, FICCI said to plan the "exit strategy", the government needed to ensure maximum safety and social distancing.
As part of its suggestions on "partial removal of lockdown", FICCI said the authorities needed to cordon off areas where existing cases located; extend local lockdown of such areas for 7 days (if required); ensure social distancing was practised; rapid testing; mandatory use of Aarogya Setu App; and allow only essential services in affected areas.
In case the Centre plans to extend lockdown, FICCI suggested to extend by 7 days or more if required; ensure the usage of Aarogya Setu app; rapid testing; isolation of patients; and ensure health-related and essential services.