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Are Night Curfews Helpful In Checking COVID? Check What Experts Say

New Delhi: After daily COVID cases surged past the 1,000-mark, the Odisha government has decided to extend night curfew by an hour from January 7. Night curfew will now be imposed from 9 pm to 5 am.

Several states have also imposed night curfews. But are they helpful? Several experts — in recent days and during past waves — have questioned their usefulness in curbing the spread of COVID-19.

WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan says there is no science behind night curfews.

In a recent TV interview, she said that India must formulate science-based policies for curbing the spread of the virus. “Things like night curfew, there is no science behind it. One has to take evidence-based measures. There is a whole list of public health measures,” she told CNBC-TV18.

Centre for Cellular and Microbiology, Hyderabad, Director Dr Rakesh Mishra, while speaking to a journalist, was quoted as saying, “Night curfew is just absurd. I don’t think it helps in anyway apart from psychological. We should try to minimise density of people in working places.”

“Night curfew does not break the chain of transmission. It might slow down transmission,” Dr Vikas Maurya, HoD, Pulmonology, Fortis hospital, was quoted in an article in The Economic Times last year.

An article in last year quoted Maria Polyakova, an economist at Stanford University, telling the New York Times that the general assumption was that the curfew will help slow down the pandemic, but she wondered if the trade-off was worth the economic risk.