New Delhi: Leading industrialist Anand Mahindra on Monday said that if lockdown is extended for much longer duration then the country will be "risking economic hara-kiri". The Mahindra Group chairman said that while the lockdown has been able to save lakhs of lives, its further extension could lead to severe difficulties for weaker sections of the society. "The number of new cases has risen, despite flattening the previous few days. With higher testing, a continuing rise is inevitable given the low absolute number of cases relative to our population & the rest of the world. We shouldn't expect a swift flattening of the curve," Mahindra said in a tweet. But this doesn't mean the lockdown hasn't helped, he added. "India's avoided lakhs of potential deaths in its collective fight. India's death rate per million is currently 1.4 compared to the global average at 35 & the US at 228. We've also bought time to enhance medical infrastructure," Mahindra noted. But if the lockdown is extended for much longer, the country will be risking economic hara-kiri, he tweeted. "A functioning & growing economy is like an immune system for livelihoods. A lockdown weakens that immune system and most hurts the impoverished in our society," he said. Mahindra said that the country's goal should be to continue preventing avoidable deaths. The country needs to rapidly build field hospitals equipped with oxygen lines, deploy widespread testing and tracing, he tweeted. Besides, the focus should be on containment not through zones but at sub pin code levels, he added. And finally, effort should be made to protect the elderly and the medically vulnerable sections of the society, Mahindra said. "We have to live with the virus. It's not here on a tourist visa with an expiry date," Mahindra tweeted quoting a colleague.
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