Shashank R. Joshi | Dean of Indian College of Physicians and a well-known endocrinologist
The Indian Express
With over 100 coronavirus cases confirmed in India, Joshi argues that it is time to contemplate a lockdown. He writes that the country is vulnerable with a “large population constantly travelling and working”. He notes that “we ate a ticking time bomb now with less than 30 days to explode in Stage 3, which will be the virus getting deeper into communities, and which will then be impossible to contain”. “It’s time to halt COVID-19 by smartly locking the country at home so that we can have a better tomorrow. This needs a political will which we currently have,” concludes Joshi.
Devi Shetty | Chairman and founder, Narayana Health
The Times of India
Shetty comments on the rising cases of coronavirus across the globe and what India should do to curb it. He notes that “Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan were the most exposed to China but none of them experienced exponential growth in infections,” by taking “pre-emptive containment measures called ‘Social Distancing’”. He argues, “Since the purpose of testing is mainly for isolation, all NABL accredited laboratories should conduct the test free.”
K. Srinath Reddy | President, Public Health Foundation of India
Reddy presents three scenarios the COVID-19 pandemic can play out in the next three months. The first where “containment measures will succeed, blocking new entrants harbouring the virus from entering the country till mid-April.” The second scenario: “Evidence of community spread would appear in some places. Cases and contacts will be vigorously traced, quarantined, triaged for severity of illness and treated at home (if mild) or hospital (if severe).” While the third scenario, possibly the worst case, shows “The propensity of Covid-19 to sneak in undetected during the asymptomatic incubation period, and speedily spread thereafter.”
Anjana Menon | CEO content pixies
The Economic times
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Menon argues that India may have underestimated the coronavirus, not just on the disease front but also on the economic front. She argues that “global supply chains are already disrupted, especially those dependent on China” and “many Indian manufacturers who count on China have already indicated they are hit”. She warns that “a deep slowdown in the economy is inevitable, everywhere.”
Harsh V. Pant | Professor, King’s College, London, and director of studies, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi
Pant discusses the effects of COVID-19 on globalisation, stating that “The world was at an inflection point even before the threat of coronavirus had entered the lexicon.” As the coronavirus cases and death toll continue to rise, Pant notes that “For a global economy that was already struggling, this shock might just take away even the last shreds of support for enhancing the international flow of money, goods, and people.”
Nitin Pai | Co-founder and director of The Takshashila Institution
Pai argues that the coronavirus may be the last pandemic that we’ll see as “fresh investment and initiatives will attract a lot more talent to virology, epidemiology, bioinformatics and public health”. He states, “Viruses, bacteria and other pathogens will certainly evolve to frustrate humankind’s best-laid plans” but “human ingenuity will limit that success to small outbreaks that will be quickly contained”
Manu Joseph | Journalist and a novelist
Joseph argues, “There seems to be a new-found appreciation for one-party rule while democracy’s aura fades” especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic. He notes that “the emerging voice that we can hear from Western intellectuals is appreciation for the efficiency of a powerful one-party state that is not answerable to a cacophony of activists, and that there is something obsolete and foolish about the chaos of democracy, its bleak dissenters and the notion of individual liberty that come in the way of swift solutions”
Debashis Basu | Editor of www.moneylife.in
Basu comments on the stock market crash Friday, due to coronavirus and notes that the markets may be overreacting to the virus since there is uncertainty around it. He notes that according to Goldman Sachs there are three kinds of bear markets — an event or shock one, a cyclical one and a structural one but this bear market doesn’t fit in any of the three. He warns that “if the epidemic is sharply contained in a month or two, we have a huge buying opportunity. If not, we are staring at a serious economic crisis, the contours of which we are totally unaware of”.
Krishna Kumar | Former Director of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT)
Kumar writes about the effect of the Delhi riots on schools and notes that “in the context of education, the impact of a riot goes much deeper.” On teachers having to deal with students who ask uncomfortable questions about what happened, Kumar says “Any explanation would necessarily involve telling children why the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 has proved controversial. A teacher attempting to discuss this subject is likely to get into trouble, both within and outside the school.” On not holding discussions with the young about what happened, he writes, “Simply ignoring the damage done to the sanity of young minds is tantamount to letting democracy suffer the loss of intellectual vitality that education alone can provide.”
Hindustan Times: HT comments on the need for social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Both individual and institutional actions are required in stemming the spread of the disease, it says. India has taken steps to curtail social engagement and large gatherings but it’s important to step up this effort, the daily notes.
The Times of India: TOI writes that the crash in international crude prices only benefits the government rather than the consumer because every time this happens, the government increases the taxes. It doesn’t make much sense in the times when the economy is already in stress due to COVID-19. Therefore, retail price decontrol has been reduced to a one-way street in India, it writes.
The Indian Express: The Supreme Court referring the UP government’s appeal in the case of naming and shaming posters about anti-CAA protesters to a larger bench is disappointing, writes Express. The daily notes that it should not require a larger bench to see the obvious that the UP government is guilty of trying to undermine the presumption of innocence until proven guilty by due process of law.
The Hindu: The daily welcomes the release of Jammu and Kashmir leader and former CM Farooq Abdullah and notes that it could open fresh political possibilities in the region. Hindu suggests that the Centre should try to undo the damage in the valley by allowing the articulation of various opinions. The government must end its “perilous propensity to paint the demands for autonomy and separatism with the same brush”, it says.
With inputs from Unnati Sharma
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