People in masks outside the Shanghai railway station
File photo of people in masks outside the Shanghai railway station in coronavirus-hit China | ANI
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China must come clean on Covid
Brahma Chellaney | Geostrategist
Hindustan Times

Calling coronavirus a “paralysing pandemic whose costs are immeasurable”, Chellaney squarely puts the blame on China. He asks that if it has been fully transparent about the virus — “Why is Beijing opposing an independent international inquiry into the origins and spread of the virus?”. He refers to the SARS outbreak in 2002-2003 — China has suppressed information then too. With the US, Australia and other countries pointing a finger at China and WHO, Chellaney notes, “If China refuses to come clean, important countries are likely to start economically distancing themselves from it, through new tariffs, non-tariff barriers, relocation of manufacturing and other policy moves.”

Covid-19 will aggravate mental health issues
Achal Bhagat | Senior consultant (Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist), Apollo Hospitals
Hindustan Times

Addressing the effect of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown on mental health, Bhagat points out that those with pre-existing conditions are vulnerable, but even the general population is likely to be affected with an increase in cases of anxiety, depression, and domestic abuse. To ease the situation, Bhagat suggests that online mental health services be facilitated, healthcare workers must also go through sessions and by simplifying policies that govern this sector.

Getting over pandemic stage fright
Jacob John | Retired Professor of Virology, Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore
M.S. Seshadri | Retired Professor of Medicine, CMC, and now Medical Director, Thirumalai Mission Hospital, Ranipet, Tamil Nadu
The Hindu

Listing out numerous instances of Covid-19 cases that had no travel history, John and Seshadri argue that “admitting community transmission does not lower a country’s prestige; instead, it aids the integrity of the health system.” Stating community transmission had started in India by, or before, mid-March 2020, they add, “The lives of many health-care professionals need not and should not have been lost on account of semantic mis-interpretation of epidemiology.”

What good health means
Ela R. Bhatt | Founded SEWA in 1972 and was its general secretary till 1996. She is presently Chancellor, Gujarat Vidyapith
The Indian Express

Coronavirus has opened our eyes to crumbling “healthcare systems, the instability of our economic structures, rising communal hatred, and to the vulnerabilities of our societies,” says Bhatt. She suggests six services that must be worked upon to sustain a post-pandemic life and classifies them into two sets. The primary needs are food, water, and shelter, and primary services being healthcare, education, and banking. “What we eat, what we buy, what we think, and what we do has reverberations and repercussions on all life on earth”, she writes.

The pandemic pivot to low-touch business
Pradipta Bagchi | Communications professional
Business Standard

Bagchi argues that the Covid-19 is likely to persist for another 18-24 months, which calls for “high-touch” businesses such as hospitality, tourism, fitness, entertainment or religious gathering to become “low touch”.  In low touch businesses, automated sign up, onboarding, payments and invoices do the work with minimal or no sales or support required. Information technology firms, such as TCS, have declared that they will move to a 75 per cent work from home model permanently, but sectors like education that have been slow to transit to digital will have to “step up sharply”.

We should use the 80:20 rule to tackle covid and aid a revival
R. Jagannathan | Editorial director, ‘Swarajya’ magazine

Jagannathan argues for the 80:20 rule to tackle Covid-19 — 80 per cent of the outcomes in any situation result from 20 per cent of the causes. He notes that this is not a literal ratio but an indication that a small minority of causes account for a “vast majority” of results. India followed this when it limited testing to those who traveled abroad or showed symptoms of the infection, but with growing cases this strategy needs to move from diligent contact tracing to asking every positive case to list who they have met and asking those people to get tested themselves. We cannot rely on a “posse of policemen” to bring in those who need testing, he writes.

Time to redraw national priorities on health and agriculture
G Chandrashekhar | Policy commentator and agribusiness specialist
Hindu Business Line

Chandrashekhar argues that this pandemic has exposed serious weaknesses in our healthcare and social development system and it’s time that it should receive primary attention. Despite being the world’s largest milk producer and second-largest producer of rice, wheat and sugar, India ranks 102 out of 117 countries when tracked for hunger. which is a matter of “national shame”, the author says. We need to seriously introspect about our priorities and investments, he notes.

Growth lessons for states from Gujarat, Karnataka
TV Mohandas Pai | Chairman, Aarin Capital Partners
Nisha Holla | Technology fellow, C-CAMP
Financial Express

The authors note that the states of Karnataka and Gujarat provide excellent models in driving economic growth via services and industry sectors amid the pandemic. While Karnataka’s economy is driven by its service sector, Gujarat’s economy derives only 37 per cent from services. Both states must study the other and implement complementary strategies for faster and more balanced growth, which can offer effective models to other states.

Today’s Editorials 

The Indian Express: The newspaper comments on the measures announced for MSMEs (Micro medium and small enterprises) and lists various options for the government to provide support for MSMEs. All dues owned by governments and public sector undertakings to MSMEs can be immediately cleared. The government could set up a credit guarantee fund that backstops loans to MSMEs, it suggests.

Hindustan Times: In light of the ‘Bois locker room’ incident, HT argues that boys are the product of a patriarchal society that has allowed ‘locker room’ to go unchecked. This is not just a Delhi problem or an Instagram problem. The incident points to how patriarchal culture has percolated down to the new generation. It can only be fought by changing the very mindset that encourages this violent behaviour by adopting a policy of zero-tolerance, it suggests.

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