India coronavirus dispatch: Continuing legislative work through a crisis

Topics Coronavirus | Lockdown

A health-worker conducts thermal screening of residents in the Mudiali area which was sealed following detection of a COVID-19 positive case, during ongoing nationwide lockdown to contain the pandemic, in Kolkata. Photo: PTI
Here’s a round-up of important coronavirus-related articles from across Indian publications. From a continued shortage of safety gears for health workers, to unforeseeable dangers of mass surveillance, and whether to do rapid tests or not – read these and more in today’s India dispatch.

Citizens Under Lockdown

Is India neglecting its migrant workers abroad? A question that may arise in the case of international migrant workers is of attribution of state responsibility. Should the host country be responsible for the workers who are residing there or should the source country (or country of origin) support its nationals? Arguably, a migrant worker contributes to both countries’ economy. Therefore, shouldn’t the migrant worker’s civil right to good health be a shared responsibility in times like these?

Stroke is an exception, rush to hospital: People in an extremely vulnerable group need to follow the specific advice about their health condition. A healthy diet, regular physical activity (at home) and reduction of anxiety and stress. While the anxiety of contracting the virus is understandable, emergencies like a brain attack or stroke cannot wait. on why prompt attention at the earliest is the only way to achieve the best outcomes.

Opinion

How crucial legislative work could continue in crisis: Many of our MPs are already interacting with their constituents and party colleagues via video conferencing. Therefore, the switch to a virtual meeting for legislative work might be easy. What will require work is the setting up of protocols for ensuring participation, security and robust technology. Read more here.

Implement Aarogya Setu, but only through law: To avoid unforeseeable dangers of mass surveillance and disproportionate restrictions of fundamental rights, it is imperative that the Aaorgya Setu app is implemented only through law, especially since India lacks a comprehensive data protection or surveillance law.

Nurturing air power to meet rising demand: The Ministry of Defence will need all its persuasive powers to generate the required monies from scarce resources with the finance ministry, if Indian air power’s HADR capability is to be at the forefront of its military diplomacy.

Managing Covid-19

Why India’s health workers are still facing shortages of safety gear: The key to fighting the coronavirus pandemic is a country’s ability to create strong supply chains of crucial materials like testing kits and safety gear. The Bureau of Indian Standards issued specifications for the manufacture of “bio-protective coveralls” for frontline workers at risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus. But it did not make any move to issue standards for coronavirus safety gear through February or March.

As India’s Covid-19 cases rise, 11 states and 216 districts still have no epidemiologists: As India struggles with the Covid-19 crisis, state governments have only just begun to hire epidemiologists – specialised health professionals trained in dealing with infectious diseases. More than a quarter of India’s 736 districts have no district-level epidemiologists and 11 states have no state-level epidemiologist either.

Status report from two villages in Latur, Maharashtra: An ethnographic study on the situation of livelihood during the Covid-19 lockdown reports the situation in two villages in the Latur district of Marathwada division of Maharashtra.

How Kerala’s Kasaragod has fought coronavirus: In Kerala, where Covid-19 growth has been much flatter than the national average, Kasaragod stands out with a progressive decline in active cases. What is the Kasargod model being showcased by the Centre?

Understanding Covid-19

No Covid-19 test is 100 per cent right, so their errors and results are both important: During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there is a lot of buzz regarding the possible errors in diagnoses with both RT-PCR tests and the faster antibody-based tests, all over the world. To understand how serious these errors might be during a pandemic, we need to understand the nature of different types of errors.

Rapid tests – to do or not to do? Amid the growth of novel coronavirus disease cases, states have started to look at “rapid tests” — serological or blood tests — as an alternative to the longer, swab-based tests routinely being used. On Tuesday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) advised states not to use rapid test kits for the next two days, saying it would issue an advisory after their teams carry out field validation of these equipment.

Podcast

Lessons India can learn: What lessons can India learn from other countries about containing the Covid-19 pandemic? What is happening across the world, especially in the US? What is required to build sound models, and to what extent can they accurately predict the spread of the disease. , where Dr Christiana Iyasere and Dr Saumya Das of Massachusetts General Hospital, and Dr Nim Pathy, an epidemiologist at Imperial College, London, investigate lessons India can learn from what is happening in other parts of the world.


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