Report in September 2021

COVID-19 pandemic in the Indian sub-continent

Dr. Dhivya Bhoopathy, M.V.Sc.,
Assistant Professor
Department of Veterinary Parasitology
Madras Veterinary College, Chennai-600 007
Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Tamil Nadu, South India

Current status of COVID-19 in India
Data as on 12th September, 2021

Total number of cases 33,236,921
No.of new cases confirmed on 12.09.2021 6,595
Active cases as on 12.09.2021 384,921
Total no. of discharged patients 32,409,345
No.discharged on 12.09.2021 34,848
Total mortality as on 12.09.2021 442,655
No. of patients who died due to COVID-19 on 12.09.2021 338
Total no. of samples tested by RT-PCR as on 11.09.2021 1,530,125

COVID-19: I and II wave- lockdown and unlocking

In the Indian sub-continent, the COVID-19 cases started increasing in numbers in March, 2020 and the first nation-wide lockdown was imposed on 22.03.2020 (Janta curfew), then a complete lockdown was imposed in phases which began from 25.03.2020 and continued for months together with all the private companies and government offices except essential services being closed till 17.05.2020. Then unlocking and lock-down alternated each other in a steady phase depending on the state-wise variation in the number of active cases. The second wave of COVID-19 began in early March at Maharashtra and Delhi and started in late April in Tamil Nadu with complete lock down being imposed from 10.05.2021 till 07.06.2021 after which unlocking began in a steady phase. Other Indian states had different lockdown and unlocking guidelines depending on the number of cases. During complete lockdown all public parks, gymnasiums, malls, theatres, public worship places like temples/ churches/mosques, zoological parks, public swimming pools, large grocery shops remained shut. No public transport was available and the private transport was permitted only for essential services and emergency hospital access. Only essential industries manufacturing medical accessories and equipment were permitted to operate during the lockdown period.

Challenges faced and measures taken by the government


  • The major challenge faced in a developing economic country like India is the loss of jobs especially for the daily wage workers like agricultural labourers, auto/ cab drivers, casual labourers, self-employed people like carpenters, electricians and plumbers, road-side vendors are to name a few. This in turn impacted the livelihood of their families and they suffered to make both ends meet
  • All the public transport was shut and government employees especially in essential sectors found it difficult to transit
  • The doctors, hygiene workers and medical supporting staff such as nurses, para- medics were working 24x7, were quarantined and did not meet families even for months together
  • Many of the workers in essential services lost their lives and many children were orphaned owing to the loss of either single/both parents
  • Economy of the country was worse hit due to the pandemic and stock markets recorded historical losses
  • The hospitals ran out of beds especially during the second wave since beds with oxygen facility were limited

Government measures

  • Door-to-door monitoring and testing was carried out on daily basis with thousands of youth deployed for this purpose in the state of Tamil Nadu alone
  • Large number of COVID testing centres were established
  • COVID treatment facilities and quarantine centres with sufficient beds were set up in government schools, colleges, government institutes and in some parts of the country train coaches were also equipped and kept ready to tackle the pandemic in addition to separate units at government and private hospitals
  • Home quarantine was advised in cases where symptoms were mild. However, a physician closely monitored these cases too. Emergency helpline numbers were also provided
  • The number of ambulances were increased and even cars from private companies were deployed to be used as ambulances
  • Wearing masks was made mandatory once people step out of their houses and sanitizers are to be kept in all public places
  • The government distributed free groceries during this pandemic period through public civil supplies to meet the food requirements of the people
  • The Reserve Bank of India announced a moratorium for a period of 6 months for the repayment of loans during this unprecedented pandemic as many people were jobless/ received only half salaries
  • The schools and colleges were completely shut and all the classes as well as exams were conducted online using various online platforms such as Google Meet, CISCO WebEx, Zoom, Google classroom, Microsoft Teams etc.,
  • The Government even started education channels to broadcast education modules through television to reach the rural students where the internet facilities were not available
  • Door-to-door vegetable and fruit vending services were enabled to meet the daily food requirements during the lockdown period
  • Banners and posters depicting the COVID-19 prevention measures were displayed at all public spaces
  • Hotels and eateries were allowed to operate only parcel services and dine-in facilities were not allowed during lockdown period. Their operational time was from 06.00 am to 01.00 pm and 06.00 pm to 09.00 pm (IST)
  • In some states like Tamil Nadu, monetary benefits of INR 4000 were distributed as COVID relief to all the people with a smart card used for public civil supplies
  • The government developed apps such as Arogya Setu, CoWin etc., to monitor and track COVID situation and vaccination status
  • Public awareness regarding the COVID-19 prevention protocols and treatment/helpline were created through various mass media
  • Government ensured un-interrupted supply of drugs such as Remdisvir and oxygen cylinders to hospitals especially to tackle critical cases
  • Government also regulated the treatment charges in private hospitals to ensure that there is uniformity in treatment costs
  • Government also regulated the prices of drugs, medical supplies such as gloves, masks etc.,
  • The Government of the state of Tamil Nadu has issued orders to implement a scheme for rehabilitation and protection of children who lost their parents due to COVID-19. The scheme provides free education up to graduation to all such children and monetary relief for their livelihood is also covered under this

Treatment and Vaccination

Symptomatic treatment was given along with nutritious food supply in hospitals and quarantine centres. A traditional prophylactic namely, Kabasura Kudineer (Siddha medicine) was made available to people and was even distributed door-to-door. Remdisvir was used in treatment of critically ill patients. Homeopathic medicine Arsenicum album which is supposed to boost immunity also gained popularity during the pandemic.

Vaccines available in India

Two vaccines were granted emergency use authorization by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) in India, Covishiled® (AstraZeneca’s vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India) and Covaxin® (manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited). Sputnik-V has been granted EUA in April, 2021. As on 11.09.2021, a total of 7,286,883 doses have been utilized for vaccination of the people. The vaccines (80%) are available free of cost to the public, but 20% of it is supplied to private hospitals where it is chargeable @ Rs. 750/- for COVISHIELD and Rs.1250/- for COVAXIN. Vaccination certificates are to be downloaded from the CoWin portal.


COVID-19 pandemic lockdown did give a break from the monotony to some while majority were worst hit due to loss of their loved ones, loss of jobs and psychological stress due to quarantine and home confinement. It has also made us understand the essential concept of ‘uncertainity of life on earth’. It did open up compassion hidden in the hearts of many who started involving themselves in charity by the way of food distribution to the poor and needy, feeding of stray dogs, etc. A pandemic like COVID-19 with mysterious beginning and history of source apart from the ill-effects, did teach us that love and compassion are the essence of human existence on earth.

Fig. 1. A food outlet in Chennai, Tamil Nadu where spaces are marked for people to stand in queue maintaining social distancing
Fig. 2. A banner displayed at a vegetable and fruit shop by the Greater Chennai Corporation imposing the wearing of masks to enter the shop
Fig. 3. Banner at a COVID-19 Vaccination camp
Fig. 4. People waiting to get themselves vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines