SEATTLE, Washington — In early March 2020, many countries went on international lockdown after identifying the coronavirus. India made the decision to lockdown in late March. As of May 27, the positive tested case number for India as a nation was at 150,793. The number of deaths was at 4,349. By June 19, there were 380,532 cases and 12,573 deaths. However, with 204,711 cases recovered, India is preparing to reopen. It is using tracking applications and promoting local campaigns to raise awareness of the pandemic. This article discusses problems and solutions in India during the COVID-19.
Problems in India During COVID-19
India has slowed the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus but at the expense of the economic structural collapse. India closed Interstate transportation and railroads along with all non-essential businesses. As of April 19, unemployment in India reached 26% (351,780,000 Indian citizens). As of April 20, agricultural-related businesses and cargo transportation began to open back up.
Approximately 40 million migrant workers rely on public transport to travel to where they are needed. Due to COVID-19, they could not get to job sites that were open, nor could they access public transportation to get home due to the lockdown. Migrants had to stay in metropolitan cities that they could not afford or walk sometimes hundreds of kilometers to get back home.
Solutions in India During COVID-19
The police department kickstarted awareness campaigns to raise everyone’s awareness of the COVID-19 virus and encourage the citizens to wear their masks and wash their hands vigilantly. The police department created a video with a horse as the mascot for the campaign, with the local police dances in the streets with coronavirus helmets on. This helped spread awareness both on the streets and on the internet. The horse traveled from town to town to provide information to rural towns without smartphone or internet access. People with the internet could watch the video on the police department’s Facebook page.
The Indian Government developed a relief fund for $23 billion to distribute food and cash to the poor during the COVID-19 virus. Food rations and funds were distributed to informal laborers who make up 86% of the population. That is 1,163,580,000 people that need food rations or support funds. The Salesians of New Delhi went to rural areas to help spread awareness. The group has already provided more than 5,000 masks as well as soaps and disinfectants to those in need. In addition, the Karnataka state of India gathered a group of 30,000 volunteers to reduce the spread of the virus and provide aid to the most vulnerable during the lockdown.
Robots have been developed to sit outside office buildings and “dispense hand sanitizer and deliver public health messages” regarding the COVID-19. Hospitals are also using robots in isolation wards to distribute medical supplies and medicine. This takes a load of risk and effort off of the hospital staff tending to patients.
The government in India developed an app In April. The application, called Aarogya Setu, uses Bluetooth to inform people if they have been or might be exposed to the COVID-19 virus when in certain locations. The application uses GPS tracking to determine if the user has been near someone who tested positive for the virus. Due to a large number of people still working as essential employees, this was helpful in office settings and any transit that reopened post-lockdown.
The COVID-19 virus has caused problems, but India has brought forth solutions through lockdowns and tough economic decisions. These problems and solutions in India during COVID-19 have helped the citizens determine how to reduce the spread of the virus and function at the same time.
– Kim Elsey