Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh Lockdown Exit strategy post 14 April

There was visible relief when the 11 am bulletin on 7 April showed an increase of just one Corona virus positive case in Andhra Pradesh. This one reported from Guntur district, took the total number of cases from 303 the previous day to 304. Officials are keeping their fingers crosses, hoping this was not a one-off. 

Update : The figure rose to 314 on the night of 7 March and officials believe the number is seeing some degree of stabilisation.

Andhra Pradesh believes that thanks to its efficient network of 2.7 lakh village volunteers in rural areas and ward volunteers in urban areas, it has been largely possible to do effective health surveillance. These volunteers who were appointed after Jaganmohan Reddy came to power in May 2019, are like a youth army who have now been entrusted with the job of monitoring the population in every village and ward for any Covid19 symptoms. This has also helped ease the pressure on the ASHA health workers. 

Which is why the state is not in favour of extending a blanket lockdown in the entire state, like counterpart Telangana and is brainstorming over a draft plan. On Monday, K Chandrasekhar Rao spoke in favour of extending the lockdown by another week or two, arguing this is the only “weapon to fight Corona Virus pandemic”. Andhra Pradesh that is hoping that the figures that saw a sharp spike after the Tablighi Jamaat numbers came to light, will stabilise and not rise further. 

Andhra Pradesh is not a uniform story. Kurnool, Nellore and Krishna districts account for the maximum number of positive cases. But at the same time, two districts – Srikakulam and Vizianagaram – have not reported a single case so far. 

Which is why a school of thought within the top Andhra administration is to lift the lockdown in these two districts. In other districts like Anantapur, Chittoor and East Godavari where the number of cases is comparatively lower, some mandals could see easing of restrictions. That will enable agricultural operations and regular commercial activity at least in parts of the state.

But it will not translate into life is back to normal kind of situation. Clamps will still be in place on cinema theatres and congregations. Senior citizens will still be discouraged from moving out of home. Also while a person within Srikakulam and Vizianagaram may be allowed to move around the districts while maintaining social distancing, he will still not be able to cross the district border to step into Visakhapatnam that will be under a lockdown. 

The final call on this however, will be taken by the end of the week, depending on whether Andhra Pradesh is able to reduce the steepness of the curve in the next four days. 

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