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The lockdown has been extended till May 31. Lockdown 4 Guidelines include a few relaxations, and the delineation of red, green and orange zones are to be decided by the respective state governments and union territories. APN’s popular debate Mudda discussed the issue with panelists including economist Akash Jindal, trade expert Pradeep Gupta and cancer expert Dr Rahul Bhargava.

Jindal said: “We need to have a balance. The economy needs to be lifted. Unemployment figures are going higher and is higher. Life and livelihoods are both important. All individuals need to cooperate in the fight for life and livelihood. People should practice social distancing and use masks and hand sanitizers to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and we all need to focus on the economy as well.”

Dr Bhargava said: “I agree with Jindal but are our people so mature? You saw what happened when liquor shops were opened? How will you ensure there will be only two people in autos or DTC buses will be half empty?”

Gupta said: “Casualties are on the rise. Right now, I am of the opinion we should go slow. Till June, we need to be cautious. Though small businesses are deeply impacted, I am in favour of online operations, or opening of shops only twice or thrice a week.”

Jindal said: “Prime Minister Modi’s Atma Nirbhar package is there to address many pressing concerns. Why are we assuming that private citizens will not be able to practice social distancing? We should trust our people. There has been enough information dissemination, and we can improve that further in the coming days. Till how long are we going to shut the economy? We are not US or Italy that we can bounce back fast.”

Dr Bhargava said: “But didn’t you see what happened at liquor shops?”

Gupta said: “In Delhi, Rajasthan, UP or Bihar, we all saw what happened…we don’t have so much education. Migrants have been dying on the roads. Till now, we are still not fully prepared, though I don’t want to criticize the administration.”

Dr Bhragava said: “In Wuhan on opening, within two weeks, there were 25 cases, and each and every person was tested. We can’t boast such facilities. We need innovative strategies. Corona is not going to spare anyone. Are we as a population ready to accept that many will die if we open up the economy? We are not like the US and such statements will be unacceptable to us.”

Jindal said: “Why our labour had to go back? Why we could not provide them food and other facilities where they worked?”

Dr Bhragava said: “If we maintain lockdown for a few more weeks, we will be able to spread the message even further. Nearly 85,000 people have died in US. The largest number of diabetics and hypertension patients are here in India, the situation is grim.”

Gupta said: “We don’t want to see scenes like that in Italy.”

Jindal: “Vocal For Local is a great India, as suggested by Prime Minister Modi. China is facing a lot of negativity. So this is a golden opportunity for India. We need to push our local industry. The aversion against China can be an opportunity for us, and that well help our economy.”

Jindal: “Vocal For Local is a great initiative, as suggested by Prime Minister Modi. China is facing a lot of negativity. So this is a golden opportunity for India. We need to push our local industry. The aversion against China can be an opportunity for us, and that will help our economy.”

Dr Bhargava said: “Our PPE kits and mask production capabilities have gone up. This will help employment, and we can help other Middle East nations as well. Economic activity should be 100 percent resumed where there are no cases of Covid-19. Along with economy, we need to upgrade our healthcare too.”

Gupta said: “All people going to work should be fully aware about precautionary measures as well as ways to boost immunity to fight the disease.”

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