Addressing a press briefing on Monday, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus opined that lockdown had to be complemented with a proper procedure of identification, quarantine, and treatment to combat COVID-19. Maintaining that movement restriction is very difficult to accept in any community, he called upon governments to continuously communicate with the citizens. According to the WHO Director-General, this was not just applicable to India but everywhere.
Dr. Tedros mentioned that the government has to address the issues of daily wage earners. He contended that this section of the population existed even in the wealthiest of countries. Furthermore, he called upon the governments to ensure the welfare of the people who have suffered a loss of income and are in desperate need of food, sanitation, and other essential services.
The WHO Director-General remarked, "We understand that many countries are implementing measures that restrict the movement of people. In implementing these measures, it’s vital to respect the dignity and welfare of all people. It’s also important that governments keep their people informed about the intended duration of measures, and to provide support for older people, refugees, and other vulnerable groups. Governments need to ensure the welfare of people who have lost their income and are in desperate need of food, sanitation, and other essential services. Countries should work hand-in-hand with communities to build trust and support resilience and mental health."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown from March 25 onwards. He highlighted the pace at which the novel Coronavirus spreads. Citing a report by the WHO, he mentioned that COVID-19 had rapidly infected people within a matter of days.
Moreover, the PM stated that it is very difficult to stop the spread of COVID-19 once it starts spreading. Thereafter, PM Modi gave the example of Italy and the US who could not control the situation despite having one of the best healthcare systems in the world.
Dr. Tedros' comments assume significance in the wake of the issues faced by migrant workers in India, who have attempted to return to their hometown. Currently, there are 942 active COVID-19 cases in India apart from 29 deaths.