The economic slowdown has been blamed on the Coronavirus pandemic but in reality, India was already grappling with an economic slowdown and job losses, COVID-19 has just struck at the most inappropriate time. And the inept handling by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government has only worsened the situation.
As always, the down-trodden sections of the society have had to bear the brunt of it. Doctors, nurses, health workers, and police personnel too have to suffer since the country was not prepared for this tragedy.
The damages and miseries caused by the pandemic could have been much less had the government swung into action in time. The warning signals were there in February itself. A note of caution from Rahul Gandhi of the Congress on February 12 to this effect was dismissed by the government as an attempt to create unnecessary panic.
When the government got out of its slumber and imposed a lockdown, it did not bother about migrant workers and daily wagers. The Centre declared the lockdown and imposed other harsh measures without consulting the state governments. The chaos and confusion was predictable. Poor migrant labourers had nowhere to go, nothing to eat and none to look to for any help. The lockdown reminds one of this government’s monumental failures such as demonetisation and flawed GST implementation.
Despite a draconian lockdown, Coronavirus does not appear to be slowing down. With 3,390 new cases and 103 deaths in a single day, the total number of coronavirus cases in India has soared to 56,342, while the death toll is at 1886. Globally, 3,917,999 people have been infected, and the total number of deaths from the disease stands at 270,740. After the US, now Japan has also approved the use of Gilead’s Remdesivir drug for the treatment of coronavirus.
So far this week, the number of cases has gone up by 32 percent (between Monday morning and Friday morning). This is a faster rate of increase compared to the previous four days, when confirmed cases had risen by 28 percent.
Although India’s coronavirus trajectory has tapered since last month, it continues to be steeper compared to other Asian countries such as Japan and Singapore. The rise of infections in India is now faster than in neighbouring countries Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has spread across 187 countries and territories. Today is the forty-fifth day of India’s nationwide lockdown, which has been extended till May 17. Restrictions have been eased, especially in non-hotspot areas. Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi have reported the highest number of cases. A massive exercise to evacuate Indians stranded abroad begins today. The United States, Spain, Italy, UK, France and Germany are the most-affected countries.
The coronavirus pandemic has jolted the infrastructure of the global economy. For the first time in world history, the oil prices have gone below zero. Despite all the joint efforts by the governments all across the globe, the pandemic does not seem to be getting in control.