India coronavirus dispatch: A big blow to fuel consumption in the country

Topics Coronavirus | Lockdown

Photo: PTI
Here’s a round-up of important coronavirus-related article from across Indian publications — from food shortage, to farmers’ distress in Punjab and Haryana, and the economic impact of the 21-day lockdown. 

Citizens Under Lockdown 

A 2-km-long food queue in Delhi during peak afternoon: Hundreds of men and women mostly migrants lined up at Delhi’s Bhalswa where food was being distributed by a community health group called Shri Shiv Sevak Delhi Mahashakti Group. The heart-rending visuals captured by Scroll indicate that the government efforts to provide food and grains to the needy, especially the migrant working class, is short of adequate. Read more here

Lockdown cuts India fuel demand by 50 percent: India’s state owned energy companies sold 50% less refined fuel in the first two weeks of April than the same time a year ago. India’s diesel sales by state retailers in the first 15 days of April dropped by 61% from a year earlier while petrol and jet fuel sales declined by 64% and 94%. State companies - Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Bharat Petroleum - own about 90% of India’s retail fuel outlets. Read more here

3,000 Kota students leave for homes in govt buses: The UP government had sent 250 buses to Kota on Friday, estimating the total number of students to be around 7,500, but more students gathered at the three boarding points in the city after learning about the travel arrangement. The process to send the remaining students whose names are on the list is underway. Read more here

Long Reads 

How farmers are suffering in Punjab and Haryana: They aren’t harvesting their crops because of restriction on movement, unavailability of labour and uncertainty at mandis. This is coupled with unseasonal rain and hail storms in mid-March. At the beginning of this year, the country was expected to produce a record 106.21 million tonnes of wheat in 2019–20, 2.61 million tonnes more than last year. This may not be the case anymore as two of the biggest food producing states are reeling with multiple crises. Read more here

How Covid-19 has changed Narendra Modi's style of governance: While PM's office remains firmly in the saddle, ministers and bureaucrats have become the face of the government’s fight against coronavirus. As the PMO has assigned individual states to all Union ministers, they get daily reports bypassing the lengthy state-to-Centre channel. The respective ministers coordinate with all the DMs, SPs and CMOs of the state on a daily basis regarding measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19, quarantine facilities and lockdown-related problems, and report back to the PMO. There is a dedicated email address, accessed by the ministers concerned, where they get constant updates to be passed on to the PMO. Read more here

Opinion 

Rules to define India’s Covid-19 hotspots are omitting more stressed districts: IIM Calcutta professor Arijit Sen breaks down how the government marks ‘hotspots with large outbreaks’ which is further broken down as ‘red zones’, and ‘hotspots with disease-clusters’. He argues that the logic behind the government’s red-zone categorisation is not quite clear. The categorisation focuses only on disease load, and leaves out rate of growth of infections, which may result in some areas – where the diseases has suddenly spiked – from getting the red zone tag. Read more here

Managing Covid-19 

Delhi now has 76 containment zone: As cases increase, the Delhi government has identified a total of 76 containment zones. These areas are sealed off with no movement allowed from and into the perimeter. It is said that after May 3, the government will have only the containment zones under lockdown. For these areas, the goal is that no new coronavirus case should materialise in at least 28 days, for the said area to be declassified. Here is the complete list.

Women health workers safety is not looked after: Some 900,000 female community health workers are on the frontline as part of India’s battle against Covid-19. But they are poorly paid, ill-prepared and vulnerable to attacks and social stigma, according to a BBC ground report. Several Asha workers said that they use cotton masks which they wash daily and for sanitiser, they have a bottle of spirit that they mix with water. Even the salaries paid are very low and there is social stigma attached with discharging the duties. Read it here

Risk rises in Dharavi, Asia’s biggest slum: Two weeks after the first case of Covid-19, no of reported infections has gone up to 117 and 10 people have died. 600 people (symptomatic only) tested so far. Fever camps have screened 40,000 people. About 52,800 people are told to stay in in isolation at homes. Update here

Understanding Covid-19

Refresher: All you need to know about coronavirus in India

The simple to follow piece is the official information on the fundamental of Covid-19, how it spreads, symptoms, its effects on children and pregnant woman, how India fared, and the must-take precautionary measures. Read more here

Community transmission explained

Community spread implies that the virus is now circulating in the community, and can infect people with no history — either of travel to affected areas, or of contact with the infected person. There are suggestions that community spread is already happening. Read here to understand more 

Podcast

Security issues with the Zoom video conferencing app?

Corporate leaders are weary doing meetings on video conferencing app Zoom, Indian government had directed to not conduct official meetings on the app, and the general public is logging out too. Listen in to understand why Zoom is in the news 



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