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HomeOpinionLessons from Italy on Covid-19 and how India's lockdown turned shambolic

Lessons from Italy on Covid-19 and how India’s lockdown turned shambolic

In episode 430 of #CutTheClutter, Shekhar Gupta analyses Italy's mistakes while tackling Covid-19 and the lessons that emerge out of them.

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New Delhi: An article published in the journal Harvard Business Review analyses the responses made by Italy to handle the coronavirus pandemic in their country. Even though Italy is considered to be a rich country with a good healthcare system, it has faced a large number of deaths and infections. The article essentially provides a lesson that can be learnt from Italy so that the rest of the world doesn’t make the same mistakes.

The authors of the article mentioned Italian ministers who kept on denying the severity of the coronavirus, saying there is nothing to it and kept shaking hands with people to prove that there was no fear of the coronavirus being so contagious. One of those ministers has now tested positive.

Also read: Modi govt could extend coronavirus lockdown by a week as migrant exodus triggers alarm

A tale of two provinces

The article compares two provinces in Italy, Lombardy and Veneto. Lombardy, with a population of 10 million, has had 5,000 deaths and 35,000 cases due to Covid-19. Veneto, on the other hand, had only 7000 cases and 287 deaths. Veneto carried out much more testing and made sure the hospitals weren’t overwhelmed. People were encouraged to stay at home to ensure the healthcare system was not overwhelmed. This prevented the hospitals from becoming hotspots and they could treat critical cases at the same time. 

The head of the National Epidemic Management Authority said the virus moves faster than the bureaucracy. This means time must be bought at all costs by implementing mitigation and suppression measures like lockdown. Italy has lost some time by not taking the pandemic seriously, but it can still do a lot. It should stock up on ventilators, medicine and personal protection equipment. 

According to a New York Times article, Germany’s death rate is 0.72 per cent whereas in Italy, it is more than eight per cent. According to the article, Germany protected its older people very well. Only three per cent of the infection occurred in people over the age of 80. The average age of those infected in Germany is 46, whereas the number is 63 in Italy.   

Lockdown in India

In India as well, the response was light at first, but now the the government has locked down the entire country. The lockdown appears to be a good step, but the implementation has been shambolic. Migrants in cities have been suffering because they don’t have proper housing and no savings. They have been walking for many kilometres to reach their villages and stay with their family. 

Epidemiologists in India have still been saying that there has been no community spread. However, with the rural migrants heading home, the virus may spread to rural areas.

Watch the full episode of CTC here:

Also read: Jaipur mirrors Delhi scenes as ‘30,000-40,000’ migrants crowd bus stands to get back home


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  1. To understand you must interact with these people,why they are leaving eventhough govt ready to provide food,shelter and money.India is populated country where implementation is difficult. Difficult times, desperate measures.

  2. At this point of time too there’s so much negatively in your article…I think you don’t have real idea at ground level..problem is not of implementation it’s abt migrants fear n mentality…. National and state govt in cities and city people r ready to provide essential things and support but still they walking to their villages.

  3. I think you don’t have real idea at ground level..problem is not of implementation it’s abt migrants fear n mentality…. National and state govt in cities and city people r ready to provide essential things and support but still they walking to their villages

  4. Considering your big nonsense article, I think we should allow you to run country . You seem to be highly intellectual person. May god bless you with more brain cells.

    • Strangely India’s shambolic response has resulted in some of the lowest infection and death rates, due to Coronavirus. Guess every affected country in the world would be more than happy to emulate this response.

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