In their second joint statement, the Indian Public Health Association (IPHA), Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine (IAPSM) and Indian Association of Epidemiologists (IAE) Joint COVID-19 Task Force has stated that the current situation in India with regard to COVID-19 cases could have been avoided had migrant workers been allowed to go home before a lockdown was imposed.
The report has been sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to the report, the lockdown was “draconian” and was “presumably” a response to a modelling exercise from an influential institution which presented a ‘worst-case simulation’.
The report further states that “subsequent events have proved that the predictions of this model were way off the mark. Had the Government of India consulted epidemiologists who had a better grasp of disease transmission dynamics compared to modellers, it would have perhaps been better served”.
According to the report, India is paying a heavy price, both in terms of humanitarian crisis and disease spread.
The experts have recommended constituting a panel of interdisciplinary public health, preventive health experts and social scientists at central, state and district levels to address both public health and humanitarian crises.
It has suggested that ‘All data, including test results, should be made available in the public domain for the research community’ (clinical, laboratory, public health and social sciences) to access, analyse and provide real-time context-specific solutions to control the pandemic.
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