Lockdown pushing millions into unemployment and poverty

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As the Coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc on the livelihoods of the people, at least 49 million people across the world are expected to plunge into “extreme poverty” as a direct result of the pandemic’s economic destruction and India leads that projection, with the World Bank estimating some 12 million of its citizens will be pushed to the very margins this year.

Some 122 million Indians were forced out of jobs last month alone, according to estimates from the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, a private sector think tank. Daily wage workers and those employed by small businesses have taken the worst hit. These include hawkers, roadside vendors, workers employed in the construction industry and many who make a living by pushing handcarts and rickshaws.

The breadth and depth of this economic pain will only increase the pressure on his government as it works to steer the country’s economy back on track.

Ashwajit Singh, managing director of IPE Global, a development sector consultancy that advises several multinational aid agencies said:

“Much of the Indian government’s efforts to mitigate poverty over the years could be negated in a matter of just a few months,” Noting that he did not expect unemployment rates to improve this year, Singh said: “More people could die from hunger than the virus.”

India now has the world’s ninth worst coronavirus disease (Covid-19) case count as the number of those infected in the country rose to 165,799 and its death toll is more than double of China’s official count.

At least 213 countries and territories across the globe have reported more than 5.8 million cases of Covid-19, which originated from China’s Wuhan, and a death toll of 360,332.

The United States is the worst hit with more than 17 lakh cases followed by Brazil, Russia, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, France and Germany. While Turkey is now ranked 10th, China is at 14th place and below Iran, Peru and Canada.

India has also become the most affected country by the coronavirus disease in Asia after reporting 7,466 new novel coronavirus cases in 24 hours, Health Ministry data showed Friday morning.

This is the first time that more than 7,000 COVID-19 cases have been detected in a 24-hour period and follows seven straight days of more than 6,000 new cases per day. The number of deaths over the past 24 hours is 175. The total number of COVID-19 cases is now 1,65,799, the total number of deaths is 4,706 and the number of people who have recovered is 71,106. Late Thursday the country crossed 1.6 lakh coronavirus cases, making it the ninth worst-hit in the world. The surge in cases comes with only two days to the end of the fourth phase of the lockdown.

The government has eased up restrictions over flights and trains but in a surprising turn of events, dozens of trains ended up at wrong stations. Migrant workers have reportedly died on shramik trains because of unavailability of food and water. On the other hand, actors like Sonu Sood have shown the way on how to get the migrants back home by the hundreds.

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