India coronavirus dispatch: Is extending the lockdown a good idea?

Topics Coronavirus | Lockdown

Migrant workers is arguable one the worst hit strata of the society
Here’s a round-up of important coronavirus-related article from across Indian publications — from understanding what extending the lockdown means, fake news crisis among migrant workers, and the economic impact of the 21-day lockdown.

Expert Speak

Is a longer lockdown a good idea?

It has not been formally decided upon but most state chief ministers, who spoke with Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday, urged for an extension. The lockdown has undoubtedly helped contain the spread, but a longer extension could mean more burden on economic activity. Three experts- M. Sivakami, professor and chairperson, Health and Social Sciences, at Tata Institute of Social Sciences; Jacob John, professor of community medicine at Christian Medical College, Vellore, and Abdul Ghafur, microbiologist and infectious diseases expert- share what they think. Read here

Citizens Under Lockdown

Fake news crisis among migrant workers gone home

Migrant workers is arguable one the worst hit strata of the society. Most of them have gone home to their village as city life, without wages and food, is untenable. And back at home, some of them are struggling to get verified news and updates. As this ground report from Telangana points out, migrant workers are increasingly relying on speculations floating around on WhatsApp, which is become another fake news crisis. Read more here 

In Manipur, five held for questioning government handling of Covid-19

Manipur’s Deputy Chief Minister Yumnam Joykumar Singh was recently stripped of his portfolio after he criticized CM Nongthombam Biren Singh’s assurance of food supplies during the lockdown as “gibberish” and “hogwash”. Joykumar Singh is from National People’s Party, BJP’s alliance partner in the state. At least five other men, unrelated to this incident, have been nabbed for alleged defamatory remarks against leaders. Read more here

Long Reads

India’s lockdown will further impact its already-slowing economy

Financial indicators point to a mild recession. Crisil Ratings has slashed India’s GDP growth rate for FY21 to 3.5 percent from the 5.2 percent expected earlier. Care Ratings forecasts the economic hit of the lockdown at Rs 35,000 to 40,000 crore on a daily basis, cumulatively taking the total to Rs 6.3 lakh crore and 7.2 lakh crore. The informal sector has been gravely hit and little has been said about how and when the services will be resumed. Read more here


Denying community transmission is a big risk

A paper in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, by ICMR and Health Ministry researchers, now provides evidence that community transmission occurred in 36 districts in 15 States. The study is based on sentinel surveillance by the task force among severe acute respiratory infections patients who have been hospitalised in public sector institutions. This confirmation must lead to an expansion and change in testing strategy especially in high focus areas for the lockdown to be more meaningful. Read more here (

Managing Covid-19

The Kerala model: Aggressive testing, contact tracing, cooked meals

Even though Kerala was the first state to report a coronavirus case in late January, the number of new cases in the first week of April dropped 30 percent from the previous week. With just two deaths, 34 percent of positive patients have recovered in the state, higher than elsewhere in India. Read how they did it 

Most of Aarogya Setu’s benefits will come up after lockdown eases

The government has asked social media companies, and others like banks, etc, to promote the use of the app among its users. A closer look at the app’s privacy policy, and some off-hand research, reveals that its true benefits are supposed to come out ‘after’ the nation-wide lockdown is eased. When people finally start moving around, Aarogya Setu, it is envisaged, will be highly useful in contact tracing, create heat-map of areas, and offer a ton of statistical data and analytics. Read more here 

How Ladakh put the lid on Covid-19

Ladakh is an isolated region, with the only mode of connectivity being air travel as Srinagar-Leh road is shut since the snowfall season began in November. It is also a place where a lot of pilgrims descend from many countries. So far only one person has been tested positive in Ladakh, but there is ground for caution since people live in remote homes in villages and taking medical services there will be a challenge. Read more here

Understanding Covid-19

How do temperature and humidity affect the coronavirus’s spread?

The WHO declared the coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, and since then confirmed cases have risen to over 1.5 million. The rate of spread is different across countries, for various reasons. A new study has found that warmer and more humid climes could diminish the virus’s transmission rate. MIT researchers found that, between January and March, 90% of people who tested positive had done so in non-tropical countries, with temperatures in the range of 3º to 17º C. Read more here

Memory refresh: Frequently Asked Questions about coronavirus

How does the disease affect people? Different quarantine strategies? Should you be weary of touching packages at grocery stores? Gautam Menon, professor biology at Ashoka University, separates facts from myths. Read here 


Ayurveda in the time of coronavirus. Watch video here

Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has suggested the government should consider opening up Ayurvedic facilities across the country to treat Covid-19 patients. “Indigenous medicines are even recommended in China,” he says, adding that it will “lessen the burden on the allopathy doctors”.

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