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High Positivity States Should Remain Locked Down for 6-8 Weeks, Says ICMR Head

New Delhi: Lockdown restrictions should remain in place in all districts where the rate of infection is above 10% of those tested, said Dr. Balram Bhargava, head of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in an interview.

Districts reporting a high number of infections should remain locked down for another six to eight weeks to control the spread of the rampaging disease, he told Reuters, News18 reported.

”The high positivity districts should remain (shut). If they come to 5% from 10% (positivity rate) we can open them, but that has to happen. That won’t happen in six-eight weeks, clearly,” Bhargava was quoted as saying.

Referring to the capital city, Bhargava said: ”If Delhi is opened tomorrow, it will be a disaster.”

While not criticising the government, Bhargava conceded there had been a delay in responding to the crisis. ”I think the only discontent we have was there was a slight delay accepting the 10% (recommendation), but that did happen,” he said.

An April 15 meeting of the National Task Force on COVID-19 had made the recommendation to the government to lock down areas with a 10% positivity rate or higher, he was quoted as saying.

Yet, in a televised speech on April 20, Modi dissuaded states and said a lockdown should be used as a” last resort” and the focus should remain on ”micro containment zones”.