India Coronavirus Dispatch: Tripura reels under deficient infra, neglect

The surge in Covid-19 cases in Delhi has also been causing a spike in the caseload of neighbouring Faridabad and Gurugram. | (Bloomberg)
Children and Covid: The indirect impact of Covid-19 on children is now becoming noticeable: dry eyes, speech delays, Vitamin D deficiency, temper issues and poor sleep. The sedentary lifestyle, experts say, has begun having its impact on toddlers. Mental health development of those aged under 5 has been especially hit. Increased screen time, meanwhile, is leading to back and neck pain and dry eyes — a condition where the eyes hurt and turn red from increased exposure to the screen — in more number of children than noticed before. Perhaps the most noticeable change is behavioural issues including increased irritability and a loss of appetite. Doctors have also noticed an uptick in cases of Vitamin D deficiency among children who then have to be injected with calcium. The WHO has predicted that due to closure of schools, children may be left without a “sense of structure and stimulation that is provided by that environment.” Read more here.

Trouble in Tripura: Tripura government is fighting charges of institutional neglect and lack of infrastructure. Even the state’s High Court has asked the government for a break-up of all treatment centres, medicines, workforce and funds available to fight against Covid-19. The state has only one Coronavirus-dedicated hospital. Photos from the hospital showing bodies wrapped in containment bags lying on the floor went viral on social media. The Covid hospital, meanwhile, also suffers from a shortage of vehicles to transport bodies. Residents have blamed medical negligence for some deaths as they recall the hospital unable to provide oxygen support to critical patients for hours. Tripura Chief Minister has since embarked on a journey to district hospitals in the state to take stock of the situation. To add to the state’s woes, it has only one Covid-testing laboratory for RT-PCR testing. Read more here. 

Delhi’s neighbours feel the pinch: The surge in Covid-19 cases in Delhi has also been causing a spike in the caseload of neighbouring Faridabad and Gurugram. These two districts account for the highest caseload in Haryana and are also among the top 10 districts in the country that are also suffering from among the highest transmission rates. Officials say the surge in these districts is a result of porous borders with Delhi. Some say the spike in cases is the natural course of things and the numbers are a reflection of high testing rates. However, the high transmission rates--higher than the national average--remain a cause for concern. Faridabad also has the second-highest slum population in the country after Mumbai which may have contributed to the spread. In Gurugram, experts blame the ‘Unlock’ measures for the recent spike. Read more here. 

Diamond Industry hit hard: The president of Surat Diamond Polishers Union committed suicide earlier this week, apparently over financial difficulties resulting from the Covid-19-induced lockdowns. This, however, is not an isolated incident with 13 diamond workers resorting to the same. The city, once a bustling hub of commerce, is now reeling pretty badly due to the slowdown. Industry officials say factories continue to remain shut as there’s hardly any demand for polished and cut diamonds abroad. A factory owner says over 200,000 diamond workers left for their homes in the Saurashtra region after the lockdown was first imposed and the situation has only deteriorated since then. Besides, factory owners point towards the fact that the business cannot practically be run with social distancing measures. Read more here. 

Photo Post

Lockdown, through a lens: In early April, a photographer hit the streets of Delhi to capture the reality of lockdown. The project, which ranges from photos of desolate Lutyens’ Delhi to grim scenes at crematoriums, has yielded over 10,000 images so far. She couldn’t capture red zones, migrants leaving from Anand Vihar or the ICU at AIIMS, but the project has garnered quite a bit of attention. Particularly haunting, she says, was her experience of shooting a crematorium in action. She also reminisces scenes from Delhi’s North Avenue where a group of Rhesus monkeys took over both sides of the road. Dream-like images of Old Delhi, however, stand out from the book which is otherwise heavy on information. Her photographs of migrants, meanwhile, moved followers who then decided to help out the workers in whatever way they can. Read more here. 


Hybrid work model: The world is moving towards a hybrid-work model to adapt to the changes brought about by the pandemic. However, the columnist warns, this can lead to deepening of workplace inequalities and a rise in joblessness in formal sectors of the economy. While the digital divide has been given enough space for discussion, the living divide also needs to be looked into. Work from home assumes that there is adequate space, both physical and recreational. If we do not want to go back to the ways of old then there may be a need to re-engineer the economy to create new jobs. Governments, meanwhile, will also have to shift gears and focus more on local needs and invest in communities. As the world opens up again, we should think about the most treasured aspects of the disruption and decide if we want things to continue the same way. The future will have to be re-worked accordingly. Read more here. 

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