No Lockdown: Public supports restrictions in districts with 500+ active COVID cases; Approves closure of non-essential public places & imposition of night curfew


  • ● For districts having more than 500 active COVID cases and rising week over week case load, people suggest 3-week shutdown of non-essential public places and imposition of night curfew
  • ● Most Indians are against lockdown in districts with 500+ active cases because of its economic impact and disruption it causes in the lives of poor and marginal sections of the population
  • ● 70% of citizens are in favour of some type of lockdown (national or localised) just for Holi to prevent the spread of COVID-19
5 in 6 Indians do not support a 3 week lockdown but believe restrictions should be imposed on non-essential public places in high active case districts

March 25, 2021, New Delhi: Exactly a year ago, India went into a 3 week lockdown which was extended twice in an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19. The lockdown while it helped the healthcare system to add capacity and gear up for COVID cases, it had a huge impact on economy and livelihoods. A year later, India’s daily case load is almost 80 times of what it was when it went into a national lockdown with the country reporting 47,862 cases on March 23, 2021, the key question in the minds of many commoners is: Déjà vu: Will we have a lockdown again?

India’s daily COVID-19 case load in the last 45 days has risen by 4 times from approximately 12,000 to 48,000. States like Maharashtra are now experiencing a surge like they never experienced in 2020. Test positivity rate in many districts is higher than 10% indicating that many who have COVID, are either asymptomatic or choosing to not get tested and carry on with only those having severe symptoms getting tested and even a small percent of those getting hospitalised. A few days back the Chief Minister of Punjab announced that 81% cases in a study in his state were found to be of the B.1.1.7 i.e. the UK variant of COVID. Various states and local administrations have imposed restrictions, some have imposed nigh curfews and some others are implementing a Sunday lockdown. Delhi has announced that no public gatherings should take place over upcoming festivals of Holi, Navratra and Shab-e-Barat. Schools and colleges in most parts of the country have also been shut for a certain period of time, along with workplaces, for instance in Maharashtra, have been asked to operate at 50% capacity. Overall, approximately 75 districts of India account for active COVID cases between 500 and 5000. Of which, 7 districts account for more than 5000 active cases. The remaining 650 or so districts have less than 500 active cases.

Given India’s experience with handing COVID, lockdowns and the unlocking in 2020 and the fact that a massive vaccination drive is under way with 5 crore Indians already vaccinated with atleast 1 dose and approximately 30-50 lakh getting vaccinated with each passing day, LocalCircles via its citizen survey attempted to understand how India should handle this new surge of cases. What kind of restrictions should be placed so we do not have another 4X surge in the next 45 days. The survey attempted to understand citizens’ opinion on need for lockdown, or restrictions in districts with 500+ and 5000+ active case. Also, in view of Holi festival coming over the weekend, which is a festival where people tend to mingle and colour each other and spend time together with family, friends and communities, should certain restrictions be imposed? The survey received more than 35,000 responses from people residing in 304 districts of India.

People want restrictions imposed in districts with week-over-week increase in COVID-19 cases and 5000+ active cases

The first question in the survey sought citizens’ response on their approach that should be deployed immediately to contain spread of COVID-19 in districts with 5000+ active cases and experiencing week over week increase in cases. In response, 19% said (1) 3-week lockdown be imposed, while allowing only essential factories, shops and services to function. 23% said (2) 3-week shutdown of non-essential public places such as cinema hall, malls, markets, restaurant, religious place, etc. 14% said (3) 3-week night curfew between 10 pm and 5 am be imposed in districts with week-over-week increase in COVID-19 cases and 5000+ active cases. Breaking down the poll, 30% of citizens opined for both “2 & 3” approaches from the aforementioned options. There were also 13% of citizens saying that “none of the above restrictions should be imposed”, and 1% couldn’t say. The findings of the poll indicated that the majority of people are in favour of imposing some type of restrictions in districts where week-over-week increase in COVID-19 cases is happening and active cases are more than 5000. The poll in survey received 10,398 responses.

People want restrictions imposed in districts with week-over-week increase in COVID-19 cases and 5000+ active cases

People want restrictions imposed in districts with week-over-week increase in COVID-19 cases and 5000+ active cases

For district having more than 5000 active COVID-19 cases, people suggest 3-week shutdown of non-essential public places and imposition of night curfew; only 19% support full lockdown

Alternatively, if we are to take responses from citizens who said there should be shutdown of sort in districts having more than 5000 active COVID-19 cases, 53% said 3-week shutdown of non-essential public places such as cinema hall, malls, markets, restaurant, religious place, etc. should be imposed, while allowing only essential factories, shops and services to function. 44% also said night curfew should be imposed between 10 am and 5 pm. Only 19% said a lockdown should be imposed. The result suggested that for districts having more than 5000 active COVID-19 cases, people suggest 3-week shutdown of non-essential public places and imposition of night curfew.

For district having more than 5000 active COVID-19 cases, people suggest 3-week shutdown of non-essential public places and imposition of night curfew; only 19% support full lockdown

People want restrictions imposed in districts with week-over-week increase in COVID-19 cases and 500-5000 active cases

The second question in the survey sought citizens’ response on their approach that should be deployed immediately to contain spread of COVID-19 in districts with 500-5000 active cases and experiencing week over week increase in cases. In response, 14% said (1) 3-week lockdown be imposed, while allowing only essential factories, shops and services to function. 27% said (2) 3-week shutdown of non-essential public places such as cinema hall, malls, markets, restaurant, religious place, etc. 9% said (3) 3-week night curfew between 10 pm and 5 am be imposed in districts with week-over-week increase in COVID-19 cases and 500-5000 active cases. Breaking down the poll, 34% of citizens opined for both “2 & 3” approaches from the aforementioned options. There were also 14% of citizens saying that “none of the above restrictions should be imposed”, and 2% couldn’t say. The findings of the poll indicated that the majority of people are in favour of imposing some type of restrictions in districts where there is week-over-week increase in COVID-19 cases and have between 500-5000 active cases. The poll in survey received 9,226 responses.

People want restrictions imposed in districts with week-over-week increase in COVID-19 cases and 500-5000 active cases

People want restrictions imposed in districts with week-over-week increase in COVID-19 cases and 500-5000 active cases

For district having between 500- 5000 active COVID-19 cases, people suggest 3-week shutdown of non-essential public places and imposition of night curfew; only 14% support full lockdown

Alternatively, if we are to take responses from citizens who said there should be shutdown of sort in districts having between 500-5000 active COVID-19 cases, 61% said 3-week shutdown of non-essential public places such as cinema hall, malls, markets, restaurant, religious place, etc. should be imposed, while allowing only essential factories, shops and services to function. 43% also said night curfew should be imposed between 10 am and 5 pm. Only 14% said a lockdown should be imposed. The result suggested that for districts having between 500- 5000 active COVID-19 cases, people suggest 3-week shutdown of non-essential public places and imposition of night curfew.

For district having between 500- 5000 active COVID-19 cases, people suggest 3-week shutdown of non-essential public places and imposition of night curfew; only 14% support full lockdown

For district having between 500- 5000 active COVID-19 cases, people suggest 3-week shutdown of non-essential public places and imposition of night curfew; only 14% support full lockdown

Most Indians against full lockdown in districts with 500+ active cases because of its economic impact and disruption it causes in the lives of poor and marginal sections of the population

The pandemic induced by COVID-19 had caused a giant-fall in the Indian economy and also impacted the personal financial situation of many households as most earning members of the family lost jobs, faced salary cuts and delays within days of the lockdown. Many migrant labourers were forced to go back to their native places with literally no earnings for six to nine months. It was only in September 2020, that the economic situation started to recover and many who had no savings learned about the importance of it the hard way. With case-loads rising once again, the survey sought citizens’ reason why they are against a 3-week lockdown (except essential factories, shops services) in districts where week-over-week increase in caseload and active cases are more than 500. 12% said “lockdown doesn’t help break the chain of spread in India”, 45% said “Lockdown helps break the chain of spread but the economic loss from it outweighs the benefits”, and 39% said “lockdown causes disruption for the poor and the marginal”, while 3% couldn’t say. The findings indicated that most Indians are against full lockdown in districts with 500+ cases because of economic impact and disruption it causes in the lives of poor and marginal sections of the population. The poll in survey received 8,723 responses.

Most Indians against full lockdown in districts with 500+ active cases because of its economic impact and disruption it causes in the lives of poor and marginal sections of the population

Most Indians against full lockdown in districts with 500+ active cases because of its economic impact and disruption it causes in the lives of poor and marginal sections of the population

70% citizens in favour of some type of lockdown (national or localised) for Holi to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Holi, a festival when family, friends, or communities gather to mingle and colour each other lasts for atleast 2 days and up to 5 days in some parts of India. Last year on Holi because COVID was largely unknown, people in most parts of India observed caution though the country wide active cases at the time of Holi were less than 100.

This year, in view of the 4X rise in COVID cases in last 45 days, states such as Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and parts of Maharashtra have restricted public gatherings already. The next question asked citizens what kind of restrictions should be imposed for Holi to prevent spread of the virus? 25% said “national lockdown for 3 days”, 3% said “national lockdown for 1 day”. Breaking down the poll, 19% said “3-day lockdown” and 8% said “1-day lockdown” in all districts with 500+ active cases. Further, 11% said “3-day lockdown” and 4% said “1-day lockdown” in all districts with 100+ active cases”. On the other hand, 26% of citizens said “no lockdown at all”, and 4% couldn’t say. The findings of the poll indicated that 70% of citizens are in favour of some type of lockdown (national or localised) just for Holi to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The poll in survey received 7,559 responses.

70% citizens in favour of some type of lockdown (national or localised) for Holi to prevent the spread of COVID-19

70% citizens in favour of some type of lockdown (national or localised) for Holi to prevent the spread of COVID-19

In summary, the findings of the survey clearly indicate that despite a 4X rise in COVID cases in last 45 days, majority of citizens aren’t in favour of lockdown even in districts with rising case loads and 500+ active cases. This is because of its economic impact and disruption that it causes in the lives of poor and marginal sections of the population. However, for districts with 500+ cases which is approximately 75 districts of India, people are in support of 3-week shutdown of non-essential public places and imposition of night curfew. The only exception to this is the upcoming Holi celebration where 70% citizens in the survey have supported some type of lockdown for 1-3 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

LocalCircles will be sharing the findings of this study with key Government stakeholders at the national and state level so the collective public pulse can be kept in mind as the administrators finalise their approach to contain the new surge of COVID cases.

Survey Demographics

35000+ responses were received from citizens residing in 304 districts of India. 66% respondents were men while 34% respondents were women. 48% respondents were from tier 1, 31% from tier 2 and 21% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants were validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.

About LocalCircles

LocalCircles, India’s leading Community Social Media platform enables citizens and small businesses to escalate issues for policy and enforcement interventions and enables Government to make policies that are citizen and small business centric. LocalCircles is also India’s # 1 pollster on issues of governance, public and consumer interest. More about LocalCircles can be found on https://www.localcircles.com

For more queries - media@localcircles.com, +91-8585909866

All content in this report is a copyright of LocalCircles. Any reproduction or redistribution of the graphics or the data therein requires the LocalCircles logo to be carried along with it. In case any violation is observed LocalCircles reserves the right to take legal action.

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