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7/2/2020 11:45:36 PM

Dr. Parveen Kumar, Dr. D. Namgyal

After a series of lockdown, the country has now entered the phase unlock 2.0. Relaxations are given in a phased manner; but schools and colleges are to remain shut till July 31. The Prime Minister of the country Sh. Narendra Modi had first given the clarion call for a nationwide lockdown on March 24 in order to limit the spread of the deadly virus. The lockdown was then extended in phases. It was both a historic and necessary step for countering the spread of the virus. The lockdown paid well and the country did not passed into the community transmission stage which would have proved fatal. Timely preventive measures and an effective strategy also helped in improving the recovery rate and see many infected ones finally going home well.
The Corona pandemic is an unprecedented one in the history of mankind. It took months to understand the nature of the deadly virus. Even the health system of the countries like US, UK, collapsed. In Countries like China, Spain and Italy the death toll was too high. It still continues to spread rapidly around the world. The shocking part is that of the resurgence in countries like China, Singapore and Hong Kong that had effectively contained the virus. India too is witnessing a spurt in the number of cases. Nearly 162 countries steadily went and some are still into the lock down. An effective strategy is required for fighting COVID-19 for minimizing risks and maximizing results, and for that it is crucial to identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and the Threats correctly so that the devised strategy can be effectively put in place to achieve good results. SWOT analysis thus is a strategic planning technique used to help identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a situation. The present article is a SWOT analysis of India in the COVID-19 scenario:
The country’s strength was the lockdown when a population of 1.3 billion was made to stop in one go. Travel restrictions were imposed. All domestic and international travelers and offices are mandated to undergo a compulsory thermal screening check. Many foreign as well as domestic flights are still suspended. In the pandemic situation, when the whole world was searching for measures to contain the spread of the virus and Hydrooxychloroquine (HCQ) was in huge demand; India emerged as the largest producer and supplier of Hydroxychloroquine, a prospective drug for treating COVID-19.The country’s strength also lies in its vast network of educational institutes in the country that were turned into isolation wards of COVID care centers. Besides the railway coaches were also converted into isolation wards. The use of Technology to fight COVID is really appreciable and biggest strength of the country in its fight against pandemic. Asimov Robotics, a start-up based in Kerala, has deployed robots at entrances to offices buildings and other public places to dispense hand sanitizer and deliver public health
messages about the virus. They are also being deployed in hospital isolation wards to carry food and medicines, which eases the pressure on medical staff. In early April, the Indian government launched a COVID-19 tracking app called AAROGYA SETU which uses GPS and Bluetooth to inform people when they are at risk of exposure to COVID-19. Amid COVID-19 pandemic, IIT-Mandi Researchers developed two low cost portable ventilators. IIT-Roorkee developed a low-cost portable ventilator that can be useful for COVID-19 patients and named it ‘PRANA-VAYU’. Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) also developed a ‘UV Disinfection Tower’ for sanitizing corona virus prone areas.
The greatest weakness of ours was the lack of adequate health infrastructure. The doctor to patient ratio in the country is 1: 1445; whereas the hospital beds to people ratio is 0.1:1000. The lack of testing kits and relief materials like medical equipment, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), masks, sanitizers and ventilators initially also made the country more prone to this virus. Peoples were also not aware of the deadly nature of the virus and paid little heed to the measures like social distancing, covering the face with masks, use of sanitizer and frequent hand washing. Social distancing was meant to be geographical distancing but it became emotional distancing too. Most of the old peoples in the country are susceptible and have weak immunity; for they were also the ones who succumbed to the deadly virus.
This pandemic gave the country an opportunity to become a world leader. India is emerging as a world leader by setting example for other nations on how to fight the crisis when Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India Dr. Harsh Vardhan took charge of the WHO’s Executive Board. India scored perfect 100 on ‘OXFORD COVID-19 Government Response Tracker’ by the University of OXFORD and which identified India’s response as one of the most stringent in the world. WHO (World Health Organization) praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiatives to fight against COVID-19. It gave the country an opportunity for development of standard operating policies and procedures in the form of emergency preparedness and response plan for the present and future outbreaks. The academic institutions also took this crisis as an opportunity for providing innovative solutions by technological interventions like on line classes, zoom apps, webinars and video conferencing for carrying out work from home and education.
Although the country has been successful in containing the spread of the disease; yet there is no
room for complacency; the threats from the pandemic still loom large over our heads. Countries like Korea were successful in controlling this virus because they went for rapid tracing, testing and treatment. Any slackness on our part in contact tracing may lead to worsening of the present situation and increase in the probability of being hit by the second wave of COVID-19. The virus has already shown resurgence in countries like China, Korea and Italy. The breach of lockdown protocols and social-distancing norms can undo all the gains achieved so far. The high population density can increase the chance of spread of infections and more infections for front line workers like the doctors, the paramedical staff, the policemen and other associated with this fight against pandemic. The impact on our economy, stock markets as well as a global, national and local trade would definitely lead to recession and lead to unemployment and poverty level across the globe and in the country. International Labour Organization has warned that if another COVID-19 wave hits in the second half of 2020, there would be a global working hour loss of 11.9 per cent equal to 340 million full time jobs. The report further said that there was a 14 per cent drop in global working hours during second quarter of 2020 equivalent to loss of 400 million full time jobs.
The country has all the potential to convert weaknesses into opportunities. The Research and Development (R&D) institutes can be used for rapid development of COVID-19 vaccine/antidote. Many different companies in the country are in different stages produce an Indian vaccine to fight against the pandemic at large. India, which was not manufacturing even a single PPE kit, is now producing 2.06 lakh PPE kits daily within 2 months after the corona virus outbreak.
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