Here is a round-up of important articles from across Indian publications on Covid-19. From reimagining diplomacy, to uncertainty faced by returning migrant workers, and more evidence for why you should wear masks — read these and more in today’s India dispatch.
In era of social distancing, external affairs ministry must reimagine diplomacy: Diplomacy is a human enterprise. How do you win over the other at a time of gesture-less screen-presence during a pandemic? Read this piece by Rudra Chaudhuri on why in the end, diplomatic success or failure will depend on each human interaction, and the extent to which the emotional grammar of anxiety and apprehension can be converted into comfort and contentment.
Ordinances by states to change labour laws are a travesty: Basic necessities like environmental protection, worker safety, hazardous industrial activity and basic rights require regulation. We have to invest in the state capacity to do them right. Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes on why 'reform' should be used only when a particular measure actually achieves a desired objective.
Legal but not appropriate: The legitimacy of state action in a parliamentary democracy comes from the fact that there is constant oversight and check by elected representatives. M R Madhavan explains why Parliament and State legislatures should find ways to meet and examine the measures taken by central and state governments.
Suspending labour laws means paving a road to nowhere: Far from bringing in new business, the wholescale suspension of labour laws by some states poses a real danger of unleashing mistrust among factory workers. The move is fair neither to workers nor to employers. Read more here.
Uttarakhand tries to retain migrants back home due to Covid-19: With thousands of migrants who had left Uttarakhand returning amid the lockdown, the state government is trying to convince them to stay on, offering interest-free loans, subsidies and free electricity to set up eco-tourism and micro-enterprises. However, migrants point out a bevy of problems that made them leave in the first place, including inadequate public healthcare and education, low productivity in agriculture, as well as damage by wild animals, and poor infrastructure. Read more here.
ICMR to check for community transmission in 75 hotspot districts: After being reluctant for weeks to admit that India had reached stage three of the novel coronavirus epidemic within its borders — known better as the stage of community transmission — the Indian Council of Medical Re-search (ICMR) has said that it would undertake a study to check for community transmission in the country’s 75 worst-affected hotspots. Read more here.
Citizens Under Lockdown
In Odisha's villages, returning migrant workers stare at severe uncertainty: Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who have succeeded to return to their villages are finding it difficult to survive in the absence of work. Amid the lockdown, there has been a growing concern among tribal rights activists to ascertain the ground situation in Schedule-V areas, predominantly inhabited by tribal communities. Read more here.
Forgotten children: Orphanages in India have not received adequate support from the government regarding Covid-19 and the lockdown. This, along with severe resource constraints, puts the children they care for at greater risk. Read here on how the Covid-19 crisis will not only add to the number of children residing in child care institutions (CCIs), but also negatively affect the ability of CCIs to take care of the children already there.
All the Covid-19 symptoms you didn’t know about: Clinical manifestation ranges from common cold-like symptoms and bronchitis to a more severe disease like pneumonia, severe acute respiratory distress syndrome, multi-organ failure and even death. The illness may occur as a direct result of viral infection, as well as the body’s response to it. Here’s a snapshot of some of the symptoms Covid-19 causes, including some you might not have heard about.
Covid and summer — still an unsettled question: The arrival of summer may have raised hopes that the novel coronavirus will not survive the temperature, but new studies have observed that there is still no statistically significant data to link epidemic growth with latitude and temperature. Read more here.
New reasons why masks help: The dominant scientific opinion says masks are very useful, and even relatively simple home-made masks can offer a great degree of protection against the novel coronavirus. In the past few days, several new studies have reinforced this advice with fresh evidence. These studies say the spread can be contained significantly if a large proportion of population begins to use these masks. Read more here.