New Delhi: Over four months after India first went into lockdown, Covid cases in the country surged past 13 lakh Saturday, just two days after we hit the 12 lakh mark. Testing is now at an all-time high, with 4.2 lakh tests conducted Saturday, but the positivity rate is worrying.
Meanwhile, as the economy limps on to ride out the rest of the slowdown, businesses and workers are struggling to make ends meet.
ThePrint’s journalists have been travelling across India to find out exactly how the pandemic is affecting different people across strata. This week, we bring you eyewitness accounts from Nagaland, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Vigilantes in Nagaland, newbies steering Chakan out of losses
In Nagaland, Angana Chakrabarti and Yimkumla Longkumer have found that local communities are working independently to keep Covid at bay. They have set up quarantine centres in their neighbourhoods, which they run themselves, including cooking and maintenance. Even after someone has been in government quarantine, they are made to stay in one of these facilities as well, for 14 days.
But these vigilante communities are causing some problems as well, for example for cancer patients. “From a medical point of view, we have to send them for home quarantine because they’re on chemotherapy but the community is not willing to take them — so we have to keep them in our institutional quarantine. And there have been cases, wherein, even if they reluctantly take in these patients, their relatives aren’t allowed to go out,” said Dimapur Chief Medical Officer Dr Tiasunep Pongener. Read more here.
Over in Pune, ThePrint’s Ananya Bhardwaj visited Chakan, the city’s automobile hub. With most of its skilled labour having returned home during the lockdown, Pune’s massive automobile industry is now being revived by returning migrants and locals who are learning on the job, including homemakers, painters and masons.
For instance, before the lockdown, Bhagyadhri Taur was a homemaker who occasionally helped her husband in the cotton and sugarcane fields where he worked. But now she is a welder at the Autoline Industries unit. She told ThePrint that initially she was unsure of taking up this work, but there was no money coming into the house, so she and her husband both took up jobs here.
“When I saw these big machines and sparks flying, I was scared at first and thought I would not be able to do it,” Taur said. “But after I got the training and became familiar with the machines, I am now comfortable and confident.” Read more here.
Gujarat CM says state has more fatal virus strain
Gujarat is reeling from the worst death rate in the country, now at 4.38 per cent, compared to India’s national average of 2.39 per cent. Several doctors and medical officials insist this is because people are self-medicating and only coming to the hospital when it is too late.
But Dr M.M. Prabhakaran, officer on special duty at the Ahmedabad Civil hospital, told ThePrint’s Kairvy Grewal and Praveen Jain that “Gujarat is rich in diseases like diabetes. It is the most common comorbidity”.
In an exclusive interview with ThePrint, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani insisted that the strain of virus in Gujarat was more fatal than that in other parts of India. He also focused on providing a positive spin, claiming that migrant workers are returning to the state, as evidenced by electricity and other utility consumption records.
“This means two things, one that it showcases Gujarat is providing daily income (rozi roti) to many labourers. Second, there is a great possibility of getting an income in the state.” Read more about Covid’s impact on Gujarat here and here.
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