The ongoing COVID-19 lockdown in the country may be extended till the middle of September, according to a new study by American consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Moneycontrol on Friday quoted the report as saying that India will most likely begin to lift the nationwide lockdown only between the fourth week of June and the second week of September.
The delay in lifting of the restrictions could be a result of the challenges posed by the preparation of the country's healthcare sector and the record of public policy effectiveness, said the study. It also suggested that India is likely to witness a peak in the number of COVID-19 cases by the third week of June.
When contacted, a BCG spokesperson said:
"BCG regularly does scenario planning to support our clients with all kinds of business issues. We analyze internally and externally gathered data to formulate these scenarios. For this unprecedented pandemic, with its extreme level of uncertainty, BCG does not claim to provide predictions about duration of lockdown, peak of viral infections, the efficacy of health systems, or other health and societal impacts.
A BCG document, illustrating one scenario of how the COVID-19 virus might progress globally, has been circulating publicly without context or authorization from BCG. The projections contained in the document vary by 100-1000x, and were built to study one range of possible outcomes.
This is an internal working document based on one set of data and not authorized for public release, please correct your story to clarify the following: This is not an official view from BCG, and BCG has not released any data purporting to state how the pandemic will pan out."
The Narendra Modi-led BJP government announced a nationwide lockdown on March 24, in line with similar restrictions imposed by other countries such as the United Kingdom, Poland and Colombia.
As of April 3, the number of coronavirus cases in the country crossed the 2,300-mark, while the death toll stood at 56.
Note: This story has been updated with a statement from BCG