IIT Kharagpur researchers have taken an initiative to carry out a study on travel and social distancing perspectives of Indian citizens during the recent outbreak of COVID-19. The study throws light on understanding people's preparedness in case of a lockdown, their travel behaviour and their perceptions during COVID-19 outbreak and assessing impact of travel restrictions and social distancing on different aspects of life as per people's perceptions.
The study was conducted by Dr Saurabh Dandapat, Dr Kinjal Bhattacharyya, Annam Sai Kiran, Kaustubh Saysardar, researchers at IIT Kharagpur's Ranbir and Chitra Gupta School of Infrastructure Design and Management, Department of Civil Engineering, and mentored by Professor Bhargab Maitra.
It covered 400-plus cities in 28 states and 4 UTs of India upto March 22, 2020.
The work will eventually help formulate potential strategic interventions and policy measures for combating any future events of similar nature, a statement from the Institute.
It also aims to formulate and assess the likely effectiveness of different strategic interventions pertaining to travel and social distancing for minimizing the spread of COVID-19.
Explaining the need for the lockdown, Prof Bhargab Maitra remarked, "It was alarming to note that nearly 20% respondents expressed their desire to leave the current city of work in case of announcement of city lockdown. Such acts would increase the risk of spread of COVID-19 in other places and therefore, justify the action taken by the Government of India in terms of one day 'Janata Curfew' and successive lockdown of several cities and towns by various State Governments."
Based on the recent lockdowns and other efforts being taken by the Central and different State Governments, the questionnaire has now been updated to understand the perceptions and reactions of the citizens under current scenario and provide further inputs which might be of help to the Government to make further informed decisions.
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