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45% support stringent lockdown to continue in the 14 high virus load districts: Survey

While the government is getting ready to make public the details of lockdown 4.0 which will kick in from May 18, social media platform LocalCircles conducted a survey asking people how the lockdown should continue.

According to the findings, 45% of citizens voted in favor of extending the lockdown for 2 more weeks after May 17 in the top 14 high virus load districts in the red zones. The survey received more than 21,000 votes from people residing in 277 districts of India. 

Around 19% said lockdown should be significantly relaxed with all offices, markets, and businesses allowed to operate with social distancing norms in those 14 districts. 35% preferred lockdown should be somewhat relaxed and only offices with one-third capacity and standalone shops should be permitted to open. 

The 14 high virus load districts as identified by Niti Aayog include Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Pune, Indore, Thane, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Surat, Kolkata, Agra, Hyderabad and Bhopal where the intensity and number of COVID-19 cases have crossed 500. 

Another similar survey was conducted on May 3 by the platform in which respondents were asked the same question. During that time, 74% of citizens wanted that the high virus load districts should be kept under complete lockdown with no relaxations. The number has significantly come down to 45% as of May 12th. 

The survey also asked about lockdown relaxations in the other 115+ red zones. In response, 24% said lockdown should be relaxed by allowing all the businesses and markets to operate with social distancing norms. 33% wanted the lockdown to be relaxed partially with offices operating with 1/3rd workforces and standalone shops allowed to function, and 16% preferred a complete lockdown for two more weeks.  

It is quite clear from the survey that 81% of citizens support lockdown relaxations with social distancing norms at offices and shops after May 17 in red zones, except the ones which have a high virus load. 

The respondents were also asked to vote on how they are likely to travel in the next 3 months if the government opens up public transport, allowing airlines, trains, and buses to operate. To that, 72% said they will not travel unless it is an absolute emergency and 11% saying they will surely travel.

 Only 9% said that they will not travel at all. It appears that while there may be an initial spike in travel as people would be returning to their hometowns, not many are planning to travel during the next 3 months. 

The government, which is getting ready to bring the country and its economy out of the lockdown imposed since late March, had resumed train services by running 15 pairs of special trains from May 12.

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