From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : COVID 19
Mains level : Coronovirus outbreak and its mitigation
Amid diverse opinions on nationwide lockdown, there is a public health/epidemiological significance to the 21-day lockdown period announced by PM.
What led PM to impose 21-day lockdown?
- It seems that rich scientific data has fed this decision to announce a 21-day lockdown period.
- In fact, 21-day quarantines have been discussed elaborately in the context of Ebola and the calculations are based on the estimated incubation period of the virus in a human host.
- The 21-day quarantine value is derived from interpretations of outbreak data, past and present, public health experts said.
Median incubation period
- In epidemiological terms, the logic is that we have arrived at an incubation period of 14 days.
- Give another week for the residual infection to die out, for the tail end, to be entirely safe, and you arrive at 21 days.
- This being a new coronavirus, they have estimated that the median incubation period (the time between the entry of the virus to the onset of symptoms/ disease) falls within this period.
- This is the most effective way of preventing the spread of the infection from those already infected into the community.
- In fact, for infections that are transmitted in this manner, this is the one thing to prevent the rapid spread of infection within the community.
- The lockdown or quarantine also creates some breathing space — to convince people of the seriousness of the situation and build positive public opinion, carry out disinfection of all buildings, vehicles and surfaces, and allows hospitals to prepare themselves for the next phase of operations.