People light lamps made up of cowdung at the bank of Gomti River a day before Diwali, in Lucknow on Friday.(PTI Photo)
People light lamps made up of cowdung at the bank of Gomti River a day before Diwali, in Lucknow on Friday.(PTI Photo)

From Holi to Diwali, how Covid-19 and lockdown impacted India

Till March 10, 1,10,000 people worldwide had been infected with Covid-19. But the situation started deteriorating rapidly and the global tally reached a million.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by: Amit Chaturvedi | HIndustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 14, 2020 09:11 AM IST

The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic has brought the world to a halt. The year 2020 has seen millions getting affected across the globe by the disease which originated in China late last year.

In India too, Covid-19 wreaked havoc and affected normal lives of the people. Most of the festivals in the country were observed under lockdown.

It started in March this year, when the first phase of the lockdown was imposed by the Centre to check the spread of the disease. Though the festival of Holi was celebrated weeks before the nationwide lockdown was announced (on March 9), the entire country had started to feel the impact of the coronavirus disease.

Many events in national capital Delhi were cancelled in March as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country stood at 47. Delhi has been in severe grip of the pandemic till now, and has been witnessing a record spike in the number of daily cases. The national capital’s tally has now reached 4,74,830.

The spike has been particularly pronounced due to the festive season. In the week ending October 25, when the city held muted Dussehra celebrations, there were an average of 3,663 cases every day. As on Thursday, this number rose to 7,196.

In comparison, the number was 2,627 in the first week of October.

Till March 10, 1,10,000 people worldwide had been infected with Covid-19. But the situation started deteriorating rapidly and the global tally reached a million. India too imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 25 - initially for 21 days - and kept increasing it due to the grim situation. The lockdown remained in place for 75 days.

During this period, movement was restricted, planes grounded and trains stopped. It led to a crisis; people who wanted to go to their native places, were stuck. Due to the immediate curbs, the country saw massive movement of migrant labourers from metro cities to their native places. They walked miles on foot; the ordeal to reach their hometowns lasted many days.

All this happened because many economic activities came to a grinding halt due to the lockdown, and thousands lost jobs. Restaurants, schools, shopping malls and places of worship were shut down too.

Along with the curbs that were put in place, the government also started increasing the testing for Covid-19 to determine the spread of the disease. Soon, the number started swelling, and different symptoms started appearing in infected people. Not just lungs, doctors found out that the Sars-CoV-2 virus, responsible for the disease, affected other internal organs too.

The situation turned grim, the curbs more stringent. The race to find a vaccine too began.

India saw the first relaxation in curbs in the month of June when Unlock 1.0 kicked in. The government allowed opening of hotels, temples, mosques and other religious places from June 8 but laid down protocols to be followed before letting people in. In the containment zones, which had increased since the outbreak was first reported, no relaxation was given.

In the following months, the government ordered phase-wise opening of different sectors of the economy, to help people and businesses but strict measures remained in place in the containment zone.

Though the situation has improved, and the country is past the peak of the disease, the vigil is on. Depite relaxations, the government is constantly monitoring the situation. On Diwali too, there are restrictions in place and authorities have urged people to avoid going to crowded places where the fear of catching infection looms large.

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