Easing India Lockdowns on Cases Rather Than Vaccines Seen Risky

Customers shop for vegetables in a market in Kolkata, India. (Photographer: Arko Datto/Bloomberg)

Easing India Lockdowns on Cases Rather Than Vaccines Seen Risky

The rush by India’s states to end lockdowns as new coronavirus infections drop, rather than waiting for vaccination rates to rise, risks triggering fresh restrictions and holding back the nation’s recovery, according to Oxford Economics.

“States are easing lockdowns based on lower test positivity rates rather than vaccination progress,” Priyanka Kishore, head of India and South East Asia Economics at Oxford Economics, wrote in a report to clients. “This risky strategy increases the chances of renewed outbreaks that would further delay the recovery.”

Provinces including national capital New Delhi have begun reopening amid signs of infections plateauing, causing mobility rates to improve as of mid-June. While that’s likely to foster return of some demand in the near-term, there’s the risk of consumption and business activity suffering going ahead should newer restrictions be placed to control a resurgent virus wave.

Easing India Lockdowns on Cases Rather Than Vaccines Seen Risky

With only 3.9% of India’s population fully vaccinated, Kishore sees economically important states, including Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu not yet reaching the “safe” levels of vaccination.

“The vaccine situation keeps our outlook cautious,” said Kishore, who maintained India’s growth forecast for this year at 9.1% -- a pace slower than the 9.5% predicted by the nation’s central bank. “Economic data also doesn’t support an upward revision to our growth expectations at this point,” she said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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