Zero deaths, 126 active infections, a lone case without travel history. Mizoram’s Covid-19 numbers are among the least ominous in the country. Yet, on June 22, it announced what it calls “Lockdown 7.0”: a state-wide shutdown with few exemptions till the end of the month.

In fact, even as India gradually started opening up in May, after five weeks of lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Mizoram never quite left shutdown mode. Restrictions in the state continued to be significantly higher than in most other parts of the country. There were strict controls on the numbers of vehicles that could be out on the street and shops that could open.

These controls have only grown more stringent. The latest edition of the lockdown, which began on June 23, is almost as severe as the first phase of the nationwide lockdown. While government offices are functioning at half capacity, non-essential travel is prohibited. There is a near-blanket ban on public transport; private vehicles, including two-wheelers, require a permit to be on the road; some shops can open but which ones and when is dictated by the “local task force” – ground-level enforcers of the lockdown comprising civil society and church leaders.

Many to test, few labs

The state government insists these drastic...

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