The people of India believed in their government and adhered diligently to the measures laid down by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team to deal with the Covid pandemic.
Let me start my article with a brutal statement that makes me sad because there is human life at stake. No human life must suffer because of bad policies and politics. And with the Covid crisis, I am not sure if a nation is equipped to safely define good or bad policies. Nations just have to learn during the course of the crisis because no one knows the real nature of the coronavirus.
But the brutal truth is that China’s Zero Covid policy did not succeed because no nation knows the nature of the coronavirus or its different mutations. More importantly, till now China has not told the world the truth about the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic. Until China helps the world find the truth, we cannot deal with the coronavirus pandemic and it will raise its ugly and diabolic head time and again with its different variants and mutations.
Both China and India faced the onset of the pandemic assertively, using stringent public health measures and enforcing a tightly controlled lockdown, despite the inevitable strain on the country’s economy.
In a research paper by Chinese scientists titled, “Comparison of Public Health Containment Measures of Covid-19 in China and India” it is stated:
“China has responded to the Covid-19 outbreak with strict public health containment measures, including the lockdown of Wuhan city, active case tracing, and large-scale testing, ultimately preventing a large increase in daily new cases and maintaining a low mortality rate per million population. India, although imposing a national lockdown to control the pandemic, has not implemented strict testing, tracking, and quarantine measures due to the overburdened healthcare system. Combined with the massive lockdown, it has accelerated human mobility and exacerbated the epidemic, resulting in a rapid increase in daily new cases and a high mortality rate per million population.”
Earnest efforts of all the frontline workers, especially medical doctors, nurses, healthcare staff, sanitation workers, police personnel, volunteers, and active support and obedience of the people of India have been the only possible reason leading to the control and treatment of the pandemic. The people of India believed in their government and adhered diligently to the measures laid down by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team to deal with the Covid pandemic.
China had been following a zero-Covid policy since the outbreak of the pandemic in December 2019. Through this policy, the people of China witnessed extremely restrictive measures to deal with any surge in cases. Every known case, even asymptomatic, was mandatorily hospitalised, small outbreaks triggered hard lockdowns, and suspected cases, and all their contacts, were kept under long isolation. Reportedly, foreign travellers had to mandatorily go through 10 days of isolation. Today’s Covid-19 surge in China appears to be mirroring the Wuhan outbreak that paralysed the world in 2020. China suddenly lifted restrictions which led to a surge in Covid-19 infections in the country. Reports suggest that the recent rise in Covid-19 cases in China is driven by the Omicron sub-variant BF.7.
The surge in China has shifted the attention to Covid in India, with the government asking people to get vaccinated and mask up.
India began the process to develop vaccines in April 2020, in the early stages of the pandemic. Over a year and half into the pandemic, India had two vaccines—the locally produced Covishield and the indigenously developed Covaxin—for inoculating its population against Covid-19. As of today, reportedly there are 12 vaccines approved for use in India.
According to Vinay K. Nandicoori, the director of the CSIR-Centre for Cellular And Molecular Biology (CCMB), most Indians now have hybrid immunity. That is, they have acquired immunity through vaccination. In such a situation, the BF.7 variant will not be able to make as much impact here as it is affecting people in China.
Even though China implemented a strict Zero Covid policy, seeing the surge in Covid cases it appears that China may have failed to ensure that the Chinese develop a hybrid immunity. On the other hand, India has seen the destructive Delta wave. India carried out vaccination and then the Omicron wave came. India continued with the booster dose. India has vaccinated people from all age groups and booster doses also have been given and that is why Indians are better protected. India has made adequate preparations.
Though it cannot be predicted whether a wave can come to India or not. So far it doesn’t look like a wave is coming immediately. At present, India has sufficient capacity for both Covid tests as well as therapy and vaccination. India is better prepared to deal with another wave of a pandemic brought on by coronavirus.