It’s the usual govt drill, kind of distinctive to India – sudden riot, too violent for native police to quell, scenario ultimately introduced below management after curfew introduced and eventually – the “flag march”. This is when the military (and in latest occasions nicely armed paramilitary) patrols the world below curfew in full fight gear – a present of power to make it clear whose flag is flying on this land. Any violation will now be handled as an act of conflict on the Union – a warning to troublemakers and reassurance to the stricken within the space and round. The PM has bought the primary half in place – prepping the citizenry to obey an unprecedented set of state-wide curfews rolling out over the subsequent few days. For the second half – a metaphorical flag march of a really completely different type is now wanted to reassure everybody that the scenario is being introduced below management. These are unprecedented occasions and a present of energy is important for the nationwide psyche.

The troublemaker on this case doesn’t respect any fluttering flag –  it solely wilts when systematically hunted down and denied entry to extra hosts to leap onto.  Some of our greatest brains are already engaged on options and legends like Dr Devi Shetty have made precise technical suggestions of what’s wanted on the bottom at hospitals. But we want common, visible reminders of operational readiness by “marching with these flags” via our airwaves/bandwidth instantly:

Flag 1: Get the Army (and the Navy and Air Force for the reason that medical corps is built-in throughout the companies) VISIBLY concerned with every day briefings (from the highest docs in uniform) of steps being taken to construct capability. Health is a state topic certainly however the centre’s position can now not be advisory/regulatory/bureaucratic. It must revolve massively round it’s fauji “brahmastra” as an emergency war-time lifeline on provide wherever the preliminary surges come. The challenges will likely be logistical as a lot as medical so it could possibly now not be simply every day ICMR briefings. Outbreak in Bhilwara? Entire city below lockdown with over a dozen instances confirmed? Closest military unit shortly units up a cellular discipline hospital within the neighborhood and an plane with a senior physician or two, a dozen skilled medics and technicians with protecting gear and a dozen or so ventilators instantly fly in to complement the State Govt setup till the scenario is below management. This is India the place family members of sufferers routinely assault docs. If we get into Italy-like situations the place sufferers are in queue for ventilators, you need combat-trained gun-toting folks round. The present photos of shabby designated ICUs/wards in authorities hospitals in smaller cities and cities doesn’t encourage confidence. Critical instances exceeding machines? Airlift a dozen sufferers to nearest massive capability setup. Remember, we’re sacrificing billions of rupees price of financial exercise for this curfew … simply avoidable deaths for need of beds can be a tragic waste of the collective sacrifice. It’s sure to occur ultimately in some place(s) over the subsequent few months- however folks need to see each potential effort made to keep away from it. The better part is that our AFMS is already doing stellar work on the bottom however we want a every day “war briefing” updating us on what’s occurring.

Flag 2: It’s been over every week for the reason that WHO head has said “test, test, test” however we’re nonetheless massively under-utilizing the capability of the prevailing authorities labs and have been very very gradual to rope within the personal sector formally – they’ve been on maintain submitting up limitless paperwork (regardless of being NABL accredited) and a few lab heads I’ve spoken to are exasperated on the wait. The place of “no evidence of community spread” can’t be the excuse for not initiating huge testing as a result of this isn’t a science experiment or a analysis trial – we can not afford to attend for the proof to seem. This illness’s trump card is the “asymptomatic spread” and it’s now extraordinarily clear that individuals with out seen signs will not be critical about self-quarantine. We must urgently get swab assortment groups to succeed in a minimum of half of the practically hundred thousand or so folks “under observation” throughout the nation (for latest journey or contact with suspected instances) and have labs – each govt and personal – course of their samples around the clock to determine hazard clusters. Nobody believes the low numbers any longer, so the “preventing panic” rationale doesn’t maintain. Testing bigger numbers (together with random younger folks as South Korea did) in truth massively lowers the general mortality price (since most +ve instances will likely be delicate) and therefore builds extra confidence. Worries about “indiscriminate testing” by people, whereas legitimate,  shouldn’t be prime of thoughts – getting each PCR machine within the nation testing samples round the clock is extra essential now since reagents, primers and probes are now not in brief provide.

Flag 3: When we take a look at extra folks, the numbers below quarantine will surge and plenty of of those people gained’t want hospitalization however simply critical, monitored isolation. We can not burden hospital infrastructure with this however but can not present sub-standard services with the world watching each pic uploaded on social media of appallingly unsanitary circumstances. We have a resort trade below critical risk of collapse – tons of empty rooms in decently furnished services. The likes of Oyo and Mahindra Resorts have provided use of their properties however there must be a viable system in place, funded by the centre to immediately provide primary compensation for (short-term) authorities use akin to wartime takeover or belongings – this might function each a financial lifeline to enterprise and an efficient nationwide quarantine ward community. Just a number of pictures day by day of latest services being designated in each state and district as “preventive care hostels” (name them that as a substitute of “wards”) just like the SAI stadium in Howrah will massively increase public confidence within the train. We may need a surge in instances or regional outbreaks later in May or June … perhaps even within the winter. This aggressive conversion into isolation services, if ultimately made everlasting might be the beginning of a long term huge improve of India’s pathetic well being infrastructure – each disaster hides a chance and this might nicely be ours. One new (centrally funded for now) facility on a regular basis per state for the subsequent few weeks can be superb for optics – identical to Wuhan’s in a single day hospitals.

It’s evident that with 90% of the inhabitants having no monetary security web, a protracted drawn out curfew will likely be disastrous if not inconceivable to implement. We must get full worth from these first two weeks and for that, the flag march wants to begin!

In the spirit of serving to the Govt with concepts, I’m importing these ideas to the MyGov app as nicely. I will even mixture ideas within the feedback by readers who can consider extra such “flags” and make it into a brand new weblog submit earlier than submitting it to that very same Govt useful resource.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the writer’s personal.

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