top of page
  • Writer's pictureShivaji Lokam

A Strategy to reopen the Country: Isolate & Focus

Updated: May 4, 2022

What to do after the end of 14 days of lockdown for the entire nation

STEP 1: IDENTIFY & CREATE SAFE ZONES Consider a small village or town which is most likely the place where you are now quarantined within your home (leave cities aside for the moment). At the end of the 14 days—as per official data & with full confidence, if no single person quarantined within a given town or village has been reported to have tested positive for COVID-19, then that particular region is deemed a SAFE ZONE. Since 14 days are enough to find out cases of any persons with COVID-19 symptoms, quarantine periods need not have to extend to 21 days. In coordination with the local and district level officials, a person of authority such as the district collector can be ordered to undertake the exercise of verifying the data and the geography. All towns and villages throughout the country get a thorough check of whether they are a safe zone or not at the end of the 14 days. Only with the full confidence of the person of authority shall places be deemed SAFE ZONE.

STEP 2: IDENTIFY & CREATE MEGA SAFE ZONES Since vast swathes of India would likely have remained uncontaminated when the lockdown began, it is entirely possible from STEP 1 what will emerge is a cluster of towns and villages that are nearby and are safe zones creating a MEGA SAFE ZONE. STEP 3: IDENTIFY ENTRY/EXIT POINTS for MEGA SAFE ZONES Since the Mega Safe Zones will be deemed safe from contamination of any strain of the novel coronavirus at the end of the 14 day quarantine period, people residing within the zone can end the home quarantine. They will be free to move anywhere within the zone from midnight of day 15. However, they are prohibited from exiting the zone. Police will monitor, regulate the entry/exit points into the zone along the regular routes and other irregular ones if those exist. Since most of these mega zones will likely be huge, covering entires districts and beyond, the resources of the entire zone can be deployed to monitor entry/exit routes to the zone. Apart from the paved roads, many irregular channels for movement into and out of the zone will exist. These have to be contained. Foremost, the government can make the movement of persons into and out of the zones illegal, resulting in harsh penalties to those who break the law.

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) can be asked to jump in to assist. Other aspects like the temporary hiring of huge number of people to monitor the zone's key points around the perimeter and deployment of technology (ex. drones) can be helpful to secure the zones. There can be other versatile means to safeguard each zone which you may be able to think of. Within these safe zones, after the quarantine ends, SOCIAL DISTANCING will be recommended for an indefinite period. No large public gatherings temporarily. STEP 4: IDENTIFY SAFE CITIES, MINI CITIES, TERRITORIES Transitioning to cities: identify all cities, small towns within the proximity of a city, territories, and other places that never reported even a single COVID-19 infected case before the lockdown or during the lockdown. Barring those specific areas that are in proximity to locations identified in STEP 6, consider these places as SAFE CITIES or SAFE TERRITORIES and enact STEP 3 for the same. STEP 5: IDENTIFY ACTIVE ZONES —THE HOT BEDS OF CONTAMINATION IN CITIES & TOWNS, or ANY PLACE Identify all cities, towns, or any other place in India that reported even a single instance of a COVID-19 infected case ever. Consider these places as ACTIVE ZONES. Identify & segregate these place into three subzones: ACTIVE ZONE A: Places that reported even a single case of COVID-19 positive patient before the lockdown but zero cases during the 14-day lockdown. ACTIVE ZONE B: Places that reported even a single case of COVID-19 positive patient during the 14-day lockdown but zero cases before the lockdown began. ACTIVE ZONE C: Places that reported even a single case of COVID-19 positive patient before the lockdown as well as during the 14-day lockdown. STEP 6: PREPARE PLANS FOR EACH ZONE TO TRANSITION TO SAFE ZONE The quarantine for places under ACTIVE ZONE A can be extended for a few more days to a week or more since no new case has been detected during the 14-day lockdown but should remain quarantined even at the end of the 15 days to be safe. Quarantine for places under ACTIVE ZONE B & C can be extended by a single week to several weeks further depending upon the date of the last reported case and consideration of relevant circumstances. Mainly, ACTIVE ZONE B should be handled differently since the reporting of even a single case during the 14-day lockdown, but without one before the lockdown is abnormal. This writeup is not a detailed workout but an outline of a top-line strategy to end the lockdown. It is left to be improved, modified, expanded into detail, or scrapped if there's a better one out there.

Finally. Lockdowns have tradeoffs. If lockdowns work, they should be over. They should not be extended and doubled down because the economic, and psychological effects of a lockdown on the individual work against the natural state of human condition. We are social beings, not guinea pigs. If lockdowns need to be extended, the government has to be forthcoming about a plan as to why a further extension of lockdown works.

bottom of page