The COVID-19 pandemic is the worst pandemic in living memory. Almost every city is on the back foot in coping up with the impacts of the coronavirus spread and the forced lockdowns in their countries. The economies of nations have plummeted, millions of people have lost their jobs, and the fatal contagion has thrown normal lives of citizens out of gear and exposed loopholes in urban health system and disaster response.
The country is now the third-worst affected country in terms of the total number of cases reported and the eighth-worst in the number of unfortunate deaths reported.
Most of the cases, almost 70-90 per cent in different nations, were reported from cities and towns. It has become important to assess the pandemic preparedness of cities, the capacity building requirements of local leaders to strengthen local response, and learn from the success of cities which performed better than their peers.
The lockdown provided the much-required breathing space to state apparatus to prepare itself with the required infrastructure and equipment to combat the crisis. The nation had one of the strictest lockdowns and it did help initially in curbing the contagion. Until the lockdown was lifted, the number of cases in India remained under control but the cases spiked suddenly when the movement of trains, flights, and economic activities allowed. This is obvious that lockdown cannot be a permanent solution and it was just a measure to buy time and get prepared to handle the health crisis better.
This paper further talks about the local responses in the city response plan for the global pandemic.
Vaidya, Hitesh, and Ravi Ranjan Guru. Local Response to Global Pandemic. New Delhi: National Institute of Urban Affairs, 2020.