- As India faces a second wave of COVID-19 restrictions, the trend of people refraining from unnecessary travel is already emerging.
- Google’s latest Mobility Report shows that there’s a nationwide drop of 22% of people heading to shopping malls, cinemas, restaurants and cafes.
- The most drastic dip is in the state of Maharashtra, which currently has the highest number of COVID-19 infections in the country, with a 39% dip in retail and recreation mobility.
Cases of COVID-19 are beginning to spike for a second time in India and the worst-hit states are already seeing lockdown trends re-emerge. Fewer people are looking to go to restaurants, cafes, shopping malls and theatres, and are heading to supermarkets and pharmacies for necessities instead.
Google’s latest Mobility Report shows that travel to parks, the use of public transport, and travel to offices has also taken a hit in March as compared to the baseline — five week period between 3 January 2020 to 6 February 2020.
However, the fall in mobility across places of retail and recreation is more steep in states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh as compared to the rest of the country.
These states have some of the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours. The impact is likely to increase as states announce region specific lockdowns to control the spread of infections. Maharashtra, for instance, has already announced a night curfew and weekend lockdowns to curb the spike. Districts in Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Odisha and Karnataka are also facing lockdown-like restrictions.
Kerala is one of the few states bucking the trend. As elections loom overhead, the government is refraining from announcing restrictions even as the number of COVID-19 cases surge and mobility has only seen a 3% drop.
In the last 24 hours, India has reported more than 100,000 new cases — a first since the pandemic hit its shores in March last year. The last biggest surge in daily infections was on September 17 when 97,894 infections were recorded in a day.
While staying at home can be an effective way to limit the spread of the pandemic, it also means that it’s a little too early to celebrate India’s economic recovery. The sectors of the economy that are most at risk from a second wave are hotels, restaurants and transportation.
The stress on high contact services is likely to continue as well as the impetus on work-from-home.
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