India coronavirus dispatch: How an exit from this lockdown may look like

Here is a roundup of articles from news publications in India on how the country is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic — from a proposal for future lockdowns, to mapping of hotspots, and how the civil society could aid government response to Covid-19.

Expert Speak

Quarantine and the Law

Quarantine is considered the oldest mechanism to reduce the rapid spread of bacterial infections and viral onslaughts. The first law on medical isolation was passed by the Great Council in 1377, when the plague was rapidly ruining European countries. Also, while used interchangeably, ‘quarantine’ and ‘isolation’ convey two different meanings. Quarantine is imposed to separate and restrict the movement of persons, who may have been exposed to infectious disease, but, isolation is a complete separation from others of a person known to be infected. Nonetheless, the question whether a public authority or state can promulgate an order for quarantine is a legal issue. Read comments by L.S. Sathiyamurthy, a district judge in Chennai.

Citizens under lockdown

Shelters prepping measures for the elderly

The older section of the society is the most-susceptible to contracting the coronavirus, and weakest when it comes to recovery. And in India many of these, especially widows, live in shelter homes across the country. Here’s a story on how one such shelter home in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, is educating its inhabitants on the importance of social distancing, conducting regular check-ups and keeping them engaged. Read here

Migrant fisherman stuck

Tens of thousands of migrant fish-workers are stuck in different parts of the country due to the Most of them are confined to their make shift accommodations at ports and have not been able to return home. Not only are they stranded, their earnings have taken a hit because the local market has all but closed down. Read more here

Nashik man arrested for wiping nose with money

Sayyad Jameel Sayyad Babu, 38, was arrested this past week because he posted a video on TikTok, a video-sharing social network, where he was seen wiping his nose with a currency note. The video had reportedly gone viral. Read more here

Long Reads

Will the BCG Vaccination Help the World Combat Covid-19?

There are 44 vaccines in early stages of development, but still no cure. Meanwhile, the world is latching on to any and every glimmer of hope. First, it was the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which resulted in some doctors self-prescribing and stock-piling hydroxychloroquine. Now it is the Baccilus Calmette-Gue’rin (BCG) vaccine. Read here


Novelist Arundhati Roy’s take on the coronavirus: “The Pandemic is a Portal”

“…the mainstream media has incorporated the Covid story into its 24/7 toxic anti-Muslim campaign.” Read here

People’s opinion: India did not overreact to Covid-19. In fact, it should have reacted sooner:

The citizens, in their own understanding, have responded to India’s containment efforts. A majority of them, arguably swept by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s folded hand gestures, feel a complete was warranted. But some think that if the government had acted sooner – in things like suspending flights, closing offices and aggressively tracing transmission – the overall stress on the economy and people could have been mitigated. Read this compilation of readers’ comments on Scorll

Managing Covid-19

How India is planning to unwind 21-day lockdown

PM Modi has told state chief ministers to formulate “a common exit strategy to ensure staggered re-emergence of the population”. He has recommended earmarking some days for vehicles and cyclists; offices should allow some staff to report to work; and railways is prepping phased resumption and the civil aviation ministry has allowed flight bookings 14 April onwards. Read more here

Hospitals tell doctors not to be revolutionaries

The shortage of protective medical gear has left doctors in a precarious situation. On one hand they are dispensing their duties at grave personal risk, and on the other, those who protest against lack of equipment are reprimanded. Some 10 doctors from Delhi’s Hindu Rao Hospital even got their resignations rejected. Read in this ground report

Lockdown’s impact on mental health and how to cope with it

The impact of isolation on people is undeniable. Some are feeling lonely, while others are losing body mass. Yet there are others who have lost their close ones due to the infection and are forced to grieve discreetly. It is time we address this consequence and take necessary steps. Read more here

Not Covid-19 test but anti-body tests

In the wake of shortage of testing kits, The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended that people from hot-zones may go for antibody tests. These tests detect viral infections and yield results in minutes. Should one get positive results, he or she would then get a Covid-19 test. Read more here

Understanding Covid-19

Should data models be trusted?

Gautam Menon of Ashoka University explains the workings of simplest epidemiological models or SIR models. He describes in depth the four prevailing models used in India’s study of Covid-19 spread: ICMR Study, Michigan study, Johns Hopkins study and Cambridge-IMS study. Read here


Understanding the different stages of a pandemic

Watch embed video via The Indian Express

Twitter: @elnovw & @sarahfarooqui20

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