New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: India has been witnessing an alarming spike in its daily COVID-19 cases since mid-March that has led to an acute shortage of essential medical equipment, including liquid oxygen, in several states and union territories (UTs).

Amid this, the calls to impose a nationwide lockdown have increased in India with several medical experts and doctors, including AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria, saying the country's health infrastructure has been "stretched to the limit".

However, the Centre has refused to impose a complete nationwide lockdown and has asked states and union territory (UT) governments to impose stricter curbs. According to a report by The Times of India, the Centre has asked states and UTs to focus on "customised lockdowns" to control the surge.

The report, quoting senior officials, claimed that the Centre is concerned about the country's economy which is why it has asked states and UTs to impose "strict and customised (flexible) lockdowns" in districts where the positivity rate is above 15 per cent.

Here it is noteworthy to mention that Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his last address to the nation had said that India should focus on "micro containment" zones to break the chain of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, The Times of India report said that though states and UTs have been given a free hand to impose lockdowns, the Centre is concerned about the country health infrastructure and thus has asked them to build small nursing homes and hospitals for "augmenting the medical infrastructure".

Notably, AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria in an interview with an English news channel had last week said that strict lockdown like the one imposed in March last year is needed in the worst-hit districts of the country, adding that night curfews and weekend lockdowns are "proving to be ineffectual".

"We have to work aggressively to bring this number down. No healthcare system in the world can manage this kind of load. The issue of aggressive containment or lockdown, or whatever, is key," Dr Guleria was quoted as saying by NDTV.

Several states, including Delhi, Maharashtra, Haryana and Goa, have imposed complete lockdowns while many others have imposed weekend curfews and night curfews to control the surge.

Despite restrictions, India has been witnessing over 3 lakh cases daily for the last 10 days. On Monday, 3.68 lakh COVID-19 cases and over 3,400 fatalities were reported in India that pushed the country's total caseload and death toll to 1.99 crore and 2.18 lakh respectively, said the Union Health Ministry.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma