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By Francesca Mele
While WHO announced the launch of the Solidarity Respond Fund to raise money in order to tackle globally the spread of COVID-19, in some areas of the world facing the virus and its consequences is becoming more and more challenging.
This is the case of India, a huge country with almost 1.4 billion inhabitants with a percentage of the population living below the international poverty line, that is 1.90$ per day, amounting to 21.2% (the percentage was calculated over the period 2007-2017). It means that there is a high likelihood that around 20% of the population might be brutally affected by the spread of the virus. “Stay home, stay safe”, it’s easy to say when people have a roof over their head.
The biggest lockdown in the world started on March 24th and at the moment it should last for 21 days. In his speech for the announcement of the nationwide lockdown the Prime Minister has recognised that the poor are the most at risk and has reassured that government and civil society are working aiming to provide them with the basic needs; moreover the PM declared that 15.000 million rupees will be invest for strengthening the nation’s health infrastructures making health services the absolute priority.
But only 4 hours in advance before the lockdown entered into force was criticized for the short notice and the drastic decision which led to the exodus of day labourers, informal and migrant workers. Like Al Jazeera wrote,
“in capital New Delhi, tens of thousands of people, mostly young male day labourers but also families, fled their homes as the daily-wage earners were effectively put out of work”.
Not everyone can respect the social distancing and the main rule to wash their hands simply because some families do not have running water.
Currently, India has just over 1000 cases, but in the wake of what happened to other countries in Europe, the Prime Minister Modi preferred to take preventive measures even apologising himself for having taken this decision. The pandemic is not going to make distinctions between poor or rich, Hindu or Muslim, citizens or politicians.
Measures are mandatory and the Prime Minister invited the population to “not believe in such rumours and superstitions”, but follow the guidelines given by state and central government and medical unit. Modi’s responsive decision is certainly a plus point for the country.
- Will it be possible to think an economic plan poor-oriented?
- How can preventive measures affected the spread of the coronavirus? Was the lockdown put in place early enough to prevent the most catastrophic effect?