Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, continuing with series of talks on Covid-19 crisis, interacted with Johan Giesecke, a well-known Swedish physician and Professor Emeritus at the Karolinska Institute at Stockholm. Giesecke said that no country thought of exit strategy prior to announcing the lockdown.
“All the countries in Europe that instituted the lockdown one or two months ago, did not think about the exit strategy at that time,” said Johan Giesecke.
“I think you will soon create more harm than good with a severe lockdown,” he added.
He said, “Every single country had said that we’ll do this lockdown, we’ll close this school, we’ll close this border, we’ll close the restaurants. I don’t think at that point they thought about how to get out of it.”
“Now everyone is asking the same question, how do we get out of this,” added Giesecke.
He suggested that the exit has to be stepwise. “Take away restrictions in India one by one, you take one away, you soften one restriction,” he suggested.
He further said, “Wait 2-3 weeks and see what happens. If you have more spread of the disease, then take one step back and try another restriction.”
“I think it will take months to really ease out the lockdown. But you must do one restriction at a time and see what happens,” said Johan Giesecke.
However, he said that it is a difficult balance there. “I think the way we have done it in Sweden is that the main thing is to protect the old and the frail. They should be protected from the disease. Everything else comes second.”
“So what we have done is that we have not completely shut down the country. Many workplaces are still open. Many people are working from home if they can. We don’t have restrictions. You can go outside, and meet other people outside. Better than in your home,” he said.
He suggested that for India, “you will ruin your economy very quickly if you had a severe lockdown. I think it’s better to skip the lockdown, take care of the old and the frail, and let the other people have the infection. Most people will not even be sick. They will not even notice they have it.”