49-Day Lockdown Required To Prevent Return Of Covid-19 In India: Cambridge University Study Suggests

49-Day Lockdown Required To Prevent Return Of Covid-19 In India: Cambridge University Study SuggestsImage via Twitter

As per a study by two Indian-origin researchers at University of Cambridge has suggested the 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed by the Indian government might not be enough to contain the spread of the Novel Coronavirus completely.

The study found that the virus outbreak might resurge after the three-week lockdown and could infect thousands within weeks. The study is also being examined by the Indian Council of Medical Research to chart-out future strategy.

The study has rather suggested a straight-49-day lockdown or three lockdowns – for 21-days, 28-days and 18-days – with relaxations of five days in between in order to effectively curb the spread of the virus.

The paper by Ronojoy Adhikari in collaboration with Rajesh Singh from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the university shows that the 21-day lockdown that the India government has imposed is unlikely to be effective and ''there will be a resurgence of COVID-19 at the end of it''.

The model is possibly the first to include ''age and social contact structure of the Indian population'' when assessing the impact of social distancing on the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The paper titled ''Age-structured impact of social distancing on the COVID-19 epidemic in India'' has been published on open-access preprint repository ArXiv and is yet to be peer-reviewed.

The impact of social distancing measures -- workplace non-attendance, school closure, lockdown -- and their efficacy with duration has been investigated in the study.

The country's total corona-affected patient count, including those who have been cured, has crossed 1,000 in India. The country which went in to the 21-day lockdown from March 24 midnight had 909 active cases of coronavirus as of Saturday evening. Out of them, 862 are Indians and 47 foreign nationals.

The researchers used an age-structured SIR model with social contact matrices obtained from surveys and Bayesian imputation to study the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.

''The structures of social contact critically determine the spread of the infection and, in the absence of vaccines, the control of these structures through large-scale social distancing measures appears to be the most effective means of mitigation,'' the authors wrote.

(With inputs from IANS)