India coronavirus dispatch: The country's role in a post-pandemic world

Kozhikode: People visit Mobile Bazar for purchasing and repair of their mobile phones in Kozhikode. The Kerala government has announced for the opening of mobile phones sales and service shops on Sundays during ongoing COVID-19 lockdown. (PTI Photo)
Here is a selection of articles from across Indian publications on Covid-19. From a policy road map for containing Covid-19, to human challenge trials and why they are controversial, and whether Aarogya Setu is a surveillance app – read these and more in today’s dispatch.

Expert Speak

Is Aarogya Setu a surveillance app? Experts give some answers, flag some concerns: The Government of India has launched the Aarogya Setu app, which sits on your smartphone if you download it, and then shares data about you via Bluetooth and GPS to a central server, which in turn lets you know if you have been in contact with a Covid-infected person. An app like this could be useful, but it also raises questions about the way the data are gathered and stored, and what happens with them in the longer term. with Lalitesh Katragadda, the founder of Indihood and an iSPIRIT fellow who has worked on this app, and Raman Jit Singh Chima, a senior international counsel with the non-profit Access Now and co-founder of the Internet Freedom Foundation, to understand.

The number of corona tests required per day cannot be the same across India: We need to have enough testing as communities — same in the US and India — to, with reasonable certainty, understand how many people at any one time are acutely infected, whether or not they have symptoms. with Dr Lee Hilborne, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at University of California-Los Angeles, and medical director of Quest Diagnostics at Southern California, on testing and more.

Citizens Under Lockdown

Lockdown extension in red, orange zones – What does it mean? There are different zones that have been defined — what are these zones exactly? How would you know which zone you are part of? to know all about the zones in the coronavirus battleground.

How does govt plan to bring back stranded Indians? The government now faces immense pressure to ease out on its flight restrictions and bring back Indian citizens stranded overseas, especially students, those with medical emergencies, and migrant workers in the Gulf region. Since the announcement of the sudden lockdown, while the embassies and missions have been providing support, including food, medicines and accommodation where possible, the situation has now increasingly become untenable for many, say sources, to stay put where they are.

Long Reads

What next for Mumbai when the lockdown lifts? As May 3 draws closer, people across the country have already started wondering whether the lockdown would be lifted, relaxed or re-imposed in their respective regions. Mumbaikars, however, may have to wait slightly longer for the lockdown to be lifted. Out of over 8,500 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra as of April 28, Mumbai accounted for over 5,500. about some of the essential services in India’s financial capital that will need immediate attention to ensure their revival is seamless.


India in the post-pandemic world: The role that India plays in the post-pandemic world order will be determined by how we deal with the crisis now, and how we emerge from it. on how this depends on fundamental factors — the quality of leadership, the quality of administration at all levels, the robustness of institutional frameworks, the quality of health care, and our social coherence as a people.

A policy road map to tackle Covid-19: Policies to address the worldwide crisis brought about by Covid-19 must satisfy three criteria. First, they must aim to minimise the loss of life directly resulting from the disease. Second, they must restore the elements of economic and social life as soon as possible. Third, they must aim at a glide path out of the crisis – one that can reasonably be projected to end it once and for all. on why the right perspective is not one of business versus life, nor of life versus life, but of life and life, seeking to reconcile goals through sensible measures.

Managing Covid-19

Covid vaccine could come in a year, but life-as-usual years away, says WHO chief scientist: A vaccine for the Covid-19 could emerge in about a year, World Health Organization chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said, even as she sought to highlight the possibility of the novel coronavirus becoming a seasonal virus like the influenza, or an endemic infection. She said it was important to start approaching Covid-19 in a more balanced manner. Eventually, she added, enough people might develop immunity, through antibodies or vaccination, and the disease might no longer be so catastrophic.

After Covid-19 lockdown, will India’s public transport systems be able to maintain social distancing? The Indian Railways is operating only 9,000 goods trains. All its 13,500 passenger trains have been halted. In Delhi, the operation of the Metro and inter- and intra-city buses have stopped. All other transport modes in the country, barring a few essential services, are also suspended. Since India’s major cities have emerged as hotspots for the pandemic, to understand what public transport systems would have to do to deal with the post-lockdown situation.

India working to avert an oxygen crisis during Covid-19: Oxygen is vital for patients of Covid-19, a respiratory disease that mainly attacks the lungs and leads to dangerously low levels of oxygen in the body. About 15 per cent of all Covid-19 patients with “severe infection” will require oxygen, while 5 per cent with “critical infection” will need a ventilator, the World Health Organization has said. The rest of the 80 per cent will be asymptomatic or mildly ill and will not need oxygen. on how India is managing this.

The benefits of testing more – with lots of charts: The question is what more the government needs to know, and what it must do – and how. The lockdown must be accompanied by a commensurate and effective testing campaign, with further efforts to trace, test and isolate. The data clearly show which states are failing the national effort.

Understanding Covid-19

What are human challenge trials, and why are they controversial? While human challenge trials are not new, they are usually carried out in developing medications for diseases which are considered less lethal and have been better understood by scientists over the years, such as malaria. Critics have questioned undertaking such trials for Covid-19, a potentially deadly disease for even those who are less at risk, and which researchers are still in the early stages of studying.

Govt’s guidelines for home isolation of mild and pre-symptomatic Covid-19 patients: Mild or pre-symptomatic Covid-19 patients should seek medical attention if they have difficulty in breathing, feel a persistent pressure or pain in the chest, experience mental confusion or inability to arouse, in case they develop bluish colouration of the lips or the face, or if advised by their treating medical officer.

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