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Top US disease expert Dr Fauci urges India to impose nationwide lockdown for ‘few weeks’



Top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on Saturday urged India to go into a nationwide lockdown in response to the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases.

“I think the most important thing in the immediate is to get oxygen, get supplies, get medication, get PPE, those kinds of things,” The Indian Express quoted Fauci as saying.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an address following the surge in cases had said that he was not going to impose a national lockdown but left the onus on states to take the call. “But also, one of the immediate things to do is to essentially call a shutdown of the country,” Fauci said during the interview.

He further said that the COVID-19 lockdown need not be extremely long. “And if you shut down, you don’t have to shut down for six months. You can shut down temporarily to put an end to the cycle of transmission,” he said.

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Fauci also said that “no one likes likes to lock down the country”, while urging Indian authorities to lock down the country for a “few weeks”, which in his opinion would have a considerable impact on the degree of the outbreak.

Currently, India is witnessing the worst surge reported among any country in the world with over 400,000 new cases reported nationwide on May 1. In April alone, India recorded over seven million infections which has overwhelmed healthcare system in the country.

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New states and regions in the country have imposed lockdowns – namely the state of Maharashtra and the Union Territory of Delhi. On Saturday, Delhi extended its lockdown by a week for the second time.

(With inputs from agencies)

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