Questions over the logic of partial lockdown 

Imkong Walling
Dimapur | August 2

Dimapur will transition into ‘partial lockdown’ mode beginning August 3 after a week of ‘total lockdown’ from July 26-August 2. The total shutdown, except medical outlets and hospitals, was enforced in the hope of curbing or breaking the chain of spread after cases began to alarmingly surge beginning mid-July. 

The purpose was, by all measure, well intentioned, and the weeks ahead would tell whether the total freezing of trade and commerce for a week served the intended purpose. 

Life must go on, people must earn and the government needs revenue, too. The question, however, is on the logic of partial lockdowns and the purpose it serves in a pandemic situation.

With Nagaland’s most populous city moving into another partial lockdown, a medical doctor has flagged concern on the perceived expectation that the people would adhere to the recommended prevention protocol. According to him, it is meaningless in a place where there is almost non-existent social distancing and personal preventive measures in public places.

“I don't understand the logic of partial lockdown. It is a matter of a few minutes for someone spreading it to another. Partial lockdown is meaningless when people do not observe the social distancing and don't wear masks the proper way,” said the doctor, who serves in Dimapur.  

He said that total lockdown, despite claims to the contrary, aids surveillance workers and contact tracing. Further emphasizing the justification, he said, “A person, who may be a carrier but unaware, would certainly travel beyond the confines of the house and the colony. On the other hand, total lockdown doesn't give much cause or incentive to travel to the individual.”  

In a state with limited healthcare facilities and an under-strength medical workforce stretched to the limit, he said that calculated lockdown for a permissible period of time would translate into ‘flattening the (case) curve.’ It would also aid in avoiding overcrowding of the COVID-19 Hospital, while preventing occupational burn-out of health workers. 

“It can't be treated like relaxing curfew for a few hours in a law & order situation. It is a pandemic. We are dealing with a contagious virus. It should be either total lockdown, for a sustainable period of time or no lockdown at all,” he held.