COVID-19 epidemic: unlocking the lockdown in India

Team Lead: Rajesh Sundaresan

Note: This is a working paper which has not been peer-reviewed yet.

The public health threat arising from the worldwide spread of COVID-19 led the Government of India to announce a nation-wide ‘lockdown’ starting 25 March 2020, an extreme social distancing measure aimed at reducing contact rates in the population and slowing down the transmission of the virus. In this work, we present the outcomes of our city-scale simulation experiments that suggest how the disease may evolve once restrictions are lifted. The idea of modelling a large metropolis is appropriate since the spread in Maharashtra, NCR, Tamil Nadu, etc. is mostly in well connected large cities.

We study the impact of case isolation, home quarantine, social distancing of the elderly, school and college closures, closure of offices, odd-even strategies, etc., as components of various post-lockdown restrictions that might remain in force for some time after the complete lockdown is lifted. More specifically, the post-lockdown scenarios studied, beginning with the most restrictive, are lockdown for an unlimited period, lockdown until 03 May 2020, lockdown until 19 April 2020, with various other restrictions either (1) until 31 May 2020, or (2) until 03 May 2020, or (3) with only case isolation but no other restriction starting from 20 April 2020. In all post-lockdown scenarios, we assume that case isolation will continue to be active with 90% compliance.

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