India coronavirus dispatch: Lessons for a future after the pandemic is over

Topics Coronavirus | health care | Lockdown

Health workers conduct thermal screening of passengers who have arrived from Delhi by a special train at Howrah station, during the ongoing COVID-19 nationwide lockdown, in Kolkata
Fighting the disease in communities, seven lessons for the world after the pandemic, and what it means for Covid-19 to never go away and become an endemic. Here is a roundup of pieces from across Indian publications on Covid-19.

Expert Speak 

Covid-19 has to be fought in communities, not hospitals: In Dharavi within Mumbai, the count is higher than in Bihar and Karnataka. As we move towards the end of the lockdown, what is going to happen? Will the hospitals and the healthcare system manage the caseload that will definitely increase? How will they continue to grapple with the continued load of Covid as well as non-Covid cases, which are also now likely to surge? Read this interview with Nachiket Mor, who, until recently, was the country director for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Long reads 

Seven Lessons for the Future: For the world after Covid-19: The pandemic has already taught us that for a better world we cannot have the market as the backbone of the economy; we need a more inclusive politics; decentralised governance is essential; and we obviously need a more harmonious relationship with nature. Here are seven lessons we must learn for the world we need to build after it is over. 

Pay attention to what the hands do all day: We have been exhorted to wash our hands frequently, with soap and running water, scrubbing fingers and palms. However, clean hands are safe hands only as long as we don’t touch contaminated surfaces and then touch our faces. Read here on why practising good hand hygiene, washing hands and keeping them away from faces continues to be critical to saving lives in different settings across the world. 


In a Post-Covid-19 world, the only way ahead for India is economic federalism: The current Centre-state relationship should get redefined in a way that enables the 28 states to become federal in the true sense – as self-sustaining economic territories in matters of energy, water, food production and waste recycling. The economic geography of production, transport and communication has to change – it has to become distributive rather than being focused towards the Centre. Read more here.  

Agri reforms necessary or futile for farmers? Experts weight in: In the third tranche of the Centre’s announcements to redress the impact of the lockdown on the economy, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on 15 May, unveiled a slew of measures for the agricultural sector, where the farmers are facing an acute crisis. But the suggested reforms have virulently divided the experts on whether or not they can aid farmers in the immediate crisis. Read more here.

Citizens Under Lockdown 

How citizens are helping migrants stranded by the coronavirus lockdown: As stranded workers and vulnerable families run out of food, cash and patience, citizen-led initiatives, running out of living rooms and college halls, mapping out the needy via WhatsApp group chats and Google spreadsheets, have stepped in this wide breach. Volunteers and members of civil society organisations have spent hours listening to people in distress, rustling up meals in their tiny home kitchens, and coaxing government officials to send relief. Read more here about how citizens are taking the initiative in times of crisis.  

Children at risk as parents lack information & resources, finds new survey: The Covid-19 lockdown has reduced children’s access to immunisation, altered their eating habits, and left them agitated and anxious, a recent survey shows. Of 1,102 respondents, mostly parents, guardians or caregivers from 23 states in India, nearly half said their children had no access to routine immunisation. Read more here

Managing Covid-19 

How life on the Delhi Metro services will change post lockdown: According to official statements and documents, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is fully prepared to resume operations at short notice. The corporation has framed a detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), in accordance with guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. Once the curbs are lifted, commuters on the Metro can expect a paradigm shift in the way in which they travel. Read more here

Migrants continue to walk from Karnataka even after trains resume: Many migrants are unable to get a ticket despite the ‘Shramik’ train services resuming. Close to 300,000 workers in Karnataka have registered for these special trains services, with less than 100,000 managing to get on them till now. In some cases, the authorities didn't issue tickets due to 'technical reasons’. Read more here

Understanding Covid-19 

Latest updates on cases in India, all you need to know about Covid-19: As India enters its eighth week in lockdown, more than 85,940 cases have been reported in the country, with 53,035 active novel coronavirus cases. Here is a quick reckoner of the pandemic — from information about the virus to safety measures and FAQs.  

What it means for Covid to never go away and become endemic — like HIV, malaria, measles

The World Health Organization (WHO) said this week that Covid-19 may not go away, and eventually become endemic like HIV. So, would it mean a near-complete lockdown forever? Not quite, if we take other endemic diseases as precedent. Read more here.

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