New Delhi (CNN) – Millions of Indians live together Restrictions imposed by the corona virus At the local level, the federal government opposes calls from leading medical professionals for a national medical strike.
The Medical Association of India said earlier this month that a “comprehensive, well-planned and anticipated national strike” of 10-15 days would give the country’s overcrowded health system “time to recover and replenish the manpower you need.”
On May 9, Dr. Anthony Fucci, the United States’ top adviser on the corona virus, announced of India: “We must close … we must break the exchange chain.”
However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has done this before and has learned a very painful lesson. Experts say closing the country again is unreliable.
When The first wave of the virus It struck India in March 2020, just hours before it came into force, announcing a broad national lockout, closing state borders, halting interstate travel, halting trade and demanding that people stay home.
The strike, which lasted nearly four months, helped India control the spread of the corona virus, but came at a high cost because it was the country’s poorest and most vulnerable without income or food, and was often abandoned from their homes.
This time, Modi says a national strike is “the last resort”.
“We have to save the country from closing down,” Modi said in a speech to the nation on April 20. “We should try to avoid closures.”
Since then, 35 leaders in 36 states and union territories of India have imposed their own restrictions, including night curfew orders, partial closures and week-long locks. These types of short-term and localized measures are very different from the approach taken when India last encountered the corona virus.
Some experts say this makes a lot of sense because it gives regional leaders the freedom to control the size of a local explosion and the needs of their residents.
They say a siege will not work for a country of 1.3 billion people.
The poor of India are most affected
Has recorded more than India 24 million cases Since the onset of the epidemic, it has only been surpassed by the United States. More than 270,000 have died.
According to a project model Indian Institute of ScienceAt current rates, the number of cases in the country could reach 50 million by June 11, with 400,000 dead.
The model states that a 15-day national lockout could save 100,000 lives and prevent 20 million people from being infected with the virus. Depending on the model, the longer the closure, the lower the number of cases.
However, a national lock-up has its own health risks, especially for the poor in India.
About 100 million people in India are migrant workers, mostly from rural to urban areas. During the first period of isolation, many were without work or food, resulting in mass exodus from the cities.
Hundreds of people tried to travel home for weeks and thousands of miles as the national rail system was suspended and national borders closed. Many do not do it and die from fatigue, dehydration, hunger or road accidents.
“Last year’s experience shows that economic closures have a devastating effect on the poorest sections of society,” said one. April Report Lancet Govt-19 Commission of India Working Group. “In urban areas, day laborers, informal sector workers and less skilled workers are poorer as economic activity closes.”
Ajnesh Prasad, a professor and holder of the Canadian Research Head of the Royal Rhodes University School of Business, said only “certain types of individuals” can stay at home and maintain physical detachment.
“If we talk about the urban poor, they will not be able to follow these orders,” Prasad said. “They will tell you that following these steps is tantamount to starvation.”
Population density complicates matters further: The World Bank estimates that about 35% of India’s urban population lives in slums where there is insufficient living space and adequate sanitation.
In dense slums, an entire family often lives in a small room, sharing a bathroom with other families. It is impossible to distance yourself from others, and it is unrealistic to expect movement without the risk of spreading the virus.
You need access to resources such as a stable internet connection and laptops and electricity for things that make locking possible and effective, such as staying at home, working and going to school far away, and physically distancing yourself. These luxuries are simply not available to the majority of Indians and most of them do not even have access to doctors or oxygen because the second wave will engulf major cities.
Millions of people in poverty
India’s dangerous economy makes it very difficult for the government to impose a second national strike.
The first strike plunged much of the country into a cycle of poverty: the number of people earning $ 2 a day or less a day in India is estimated to have risen by 75 million due to the Govt recession. According to the Pew Research Center.
“The strike had a huge economic and social impact,” said Chandrika Bahadur, chairperson of the Lancet Govt-19 Commission India working group. “The suddenness of the announcement is that … the majority of the country is not ready for the implications for income, food, tenure and security. In turn, the federal and state governments are not ready for the immigration crisis.
Bahadur added that the economic upsurge of the first strike had left the Indian government “with little room for political maneuvering”.
For example, India has a weaker financial system than countries like the United States or the United Kingdom. There are less money and fewer systems to send to those who need the most money.
In some parts of the country ration kits were distributed to the poor during the first strike, but it was not enough to keep people at home. They still had to earn a salary to feed their families.
“Strikes are not possible without a government that establishes a solid structure of social support through public policies that appear in the form of incentives or subsidies,” said Prasad of the Royal Rhodes University.
In early April, as cases began to escalate in the capital, New Delhi, many migrant workers returned to their hometowns before sanctions were imposed. Many feared that a surprise shutdown might leave them stranded once again.
India’s diverse population density is concentrated in specific nuclei, and although the virus can spread everywhere, its effects are most acutely felt in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Each state has different levels of resources, including health capacity.
Nationwide locking will leave state and local governments with little space to respond to the epidemic appropriately to their local circumstances. Now, there are night curfew orders in some states, restrictions on public transport and localized measures in some districts.
In its April report, the Lancet Govt-19 Commission India Working Group recommended that “the blanket should not be closed at the national or state level”.
Instead, he supported measures such as closing places for large gatherings and encouraging office workers to work from home, but urged the government to reduce restrictions on the rural and urban poor.
Bahadur, the task force has now called for localized but synchronized closures based on two variables: disease transmission and medical readiness.
Modi agreed with these recommendations in his April speech, calling on state leaders to focus on “micro-control zones” rather than total closures.
Union states and territories are now adopting this approach, for example, Delhi has imposed multiple closures for short periods of seven or ten days, with the exception of several essential workers, as opposed to closures from last year.
“The basic feature is that there are no simple yes or no answers to the most complex questions,” Bahadur said.
“In a country with so much diversity, localized results are driven by a common approach based on science and evidence, the best bet for success with a strong integrated response.”
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