68% citizens believe weekend lockdowns have negligible or minor impact in containing spread of COVID-19
- • With daily case load raising by 600% in 60 days, people are greatly concerned about India’s current approach towards containment of COVID-19
- • 69% citizens feel a stringent lockdown in 49 districts which have India’s 80% case load is needed to contain spread of COVID-19
July 13, 2020, New Delhi: The number of daily Coronavirus cases in India has breached the 27,000 mark. The Uttar Pradesh Government recently announced a 2-day ‘weekend lockdown’ in a bid to contain the steadily rising cases of COVID-19 in the state. Experts are calling it a hasty move whereas the state says it wants to restrict non-essential movement that increases over weekends and ensure the successful screening of every household in the state. Odisha had also announced a weekend shutdown in 10 districts with high case load recently. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ordered a stricter lockdown on weekends and public holidays, with movement to be restricted to e-pass holders. Similarly, in Madhya Pradesh, cities like Bhopal and Indore have been observing weekend lockdown and is now implementing a Sunday lockdown across the state.
LocalCircles conducted a survey to get citizen perspective on what they feel about such weekend lockdowns and if there could be a better way to implement new lockdowns. The survey received over 16,000 votes from 201 districts of India. Since several states and districts are implementing partial weekend lockdowns, the first question asked if they believe such lockdowns are useful in containing the spread of COVID-19. 28% said yes and the impact is good and 24% said yes but the impact is minor, while 44% said no, they are meaningless. 4% did not have an opinion.
68% citizens believe weekend lockdowns have negligible or minor impact on containing spread of COVID-19
This means that 68% citizens believe weekend lockdowns have negligible or minor impact on containing spread of COVID-19. In the earlier LocalCircles polls, 66%-74% citizens in the last 3 weeks have been consistently saying that there should be a complete lockdown in the 15 high viral load districts in India.
Per Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) report last week, 49 districts now contribute to 80% of India's COVID-19 spread. In the next question, citizens were asked how these 49 districts should be managed to contain COVID-19. In response, 46% said a complete lockdown should be implemented for 3 weeks or more (home delivery of essentials and all activities closed), while 23% said a lockdown should be implemented like it was done between March 25th-May 3rd. only 9% said weekend lockdowns should be implemented for the next 3 months while 13% said no action needed and Government should just continue with Unlock 2.0. 8% also said a full normal functioning should be resumed and we should learn to live with the virus.
69% citizens feel a stringent lockdown in 49 districts (India’s 80% case load) is needed to contain spread of COVID-19
This means that 69% citizens feel a stringent lockdown in 49 districts which have India’s 80% case load is needed to contain spread of COVID-19. Chennai had implemented a complete lockdown from June 19th – July 5th. For Chennai, the number of cases have reduced by almost 50% from the 2400-2500 per day range in 3rd week of June to 1200 in the 2nd week of July. In the Chennai lockdown, essential services were functioning and according to some LocalCircles members in Chennai, the impact would have been even higher had Chennai shut shops for essential services and operated a home delivery model for essentials. Several cities and districts of Maharashtra have announced a similar 10 day lockdown and some LocalCircles members from Pune have already given it a thumbs up.
While many businesses are opposed to the idea of lockdown, citizens are clear that it is critical to breaking the chain of COVID-19 spread. Some other businesses also stated that instead of 20-30% business volumes because of much lower foot falls in the market, it is better to shut things for a 3-4 week period and restart activity at a higher scale when people are not as fearful to step out.
Coming to the difficulties faced by daily wagers and all others whose employment and livelihood with such lockdowns in the 49 districts, people feel that the PM Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana along with additional support from Central and State Governments should enable them to sustain during this 3-4 week lockdown period. The majority continues to believe that the probability of being able to significantly impact the COVID-19 spread makes it worth pursuing in these districts. In the remaining 687 districts of the country, according to people such restrictions are not needed and the local economies should be able to function. As far as the goods movement within, from and to the 49 districts, that should continue as is according to people.
In summary, given that India has experienced cases rise 600% from 4000 during the second week of May and end of Lockdown 3.0 to approximately 28,000 during the 2nd week of July, status quo is clearly not an option. This is why people continue to believe that unless the spread of COVID-19 is contained in these high load districts, India will soon surpass USA in terms of daily cases and become the most impacted country in the world from COVID-19. Over two thirds of the citizens in the survey believe that these weekend lockdowns have no or little effectivity and instead a targeted 3-4 week lockdown in all districts that make up 80% of India’s case load is the best way forward.
LocalCircles will share these findings as before with senior leaders in the Central and State Governments so due consideration can be given to the public opinion and recommendations.
16,000+ responses were received from citizens spread across 201 districts of India. 65% respondents were men while 35% respondents were women. 54% respondents were from tier 1, 24% from tier 2 and 22% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. They survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.