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India coronavirus dispatch: Lessons from the Sri Lankan experience

Why India's jails remain overcrowded during pandemic, the relationship between Vitamin D and Covid-19, and building a quarantine bubble-a roundup of news on how India is dealing with the pandemic

COVID-19 | Delhi | Coronavirus

Sarah Farooqui  |  New Delhi 

A healthcare worker wearing PPE suit checks the temperature of a resident during the door to door Covid-19 related check up, at the slum areas in Mumbai.
A healthcare worker wearing PPE suit checks the temperature of a resident during the door to door Covid-19 related check up, at the slum areas in Mumbai.


Forget doubling incomes, farmers will be happy if incomes grow at all: India’s economy is expected to contract by 4.5 per cent in 2020-21 while the world economy is expected to contract by 4.9 per cent, as per IMF estimates. While India is experiencing a slowdown and its first non-agriculture recession, the “growth of agricultural output has to be matched by rising demand”, else the “excess supply with declining demand will only drive prices down”, says Himanshu, associate professor of economics at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Read more here.


Delhi’s plasma bank: What’s the aim, how effective has the therapy been so far? The government will set up a plasma bank within the next two days for patients at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Monday. The chief minister said that the creation of the repository is a first-of-its-kind initiative in the entire country and appealed to recovered patients to donate their plasma. Read more here.

India’s Covid-positivity rate jumps to 11.4 per cent but that means more testing, fewer ‘missing’ cases: India’s Covid-positivity rate — the number of cases reported among the total samples tested — shot up to 11.4 per cent Sunday, which is the second highest rate of this month. This means of the 100 samples tested, 11 people tested positive for Covid. Experts, however, said high positivity rate means India has optimised its testing and that it has less “missing cases” now. Read more here.

What is a quarantine bubble and how can you build one? After three months of lockdowns, many people around the world are turning to quarantine bubbles, pandemic pods or quaranteams in an effort to balance the risks of the pandemic with the emotional and social needs of life. A quaranteam is a small group of people who form their own social circle to quarantine together – and an example of a harm reduction strategy. Read more here.

Lessons from the experience of Sri Lanka: India’s small southern neighbour has kept its Covid numbers extremely low and the number of deaths from the disease to only 11. How did Sri Lanka do it? The country’s Director General of Health Services, Dr Anil Jasinghe, explains the areas that Sri Lanka focussed on, and the steps that it took.


Grain aplenty and the crisis of hunger: on universal Public Distribution System: Unemployment is high and it will take a while for lost livelihoods to be rebuilt, especially given the fact that India was already facing an economic slowdown along with high levels of inequality. Among other interventions to revive demand in the economy and create employment, it is absolutely essential that food support in the form of free/subsidised grains is made available to all without any disruptions. Read more here.

A new era of accessibility: on persons with disabilities in the post-Covid world: The pandemic simultaneously presents an unprecedented challenge and an opportunity to change the course of accessibility in low- and middle-income countries in the post-pandemic world. As the world continues to re-imagine a new ‘normal’ for its physical and social spaces, there is a window of opportunity to improve accessibility. Read more here.

Why India’s jails remain overcrowded during the pandemic, even as prisoners are released on parole: India’s jails are overcrowded, with the prison occupancy rate at 115.1 per cent in 2017, according to the Prison Statistics of India report. Nearly 69 per cent of the prisoners were under trials while the remaining were convicts. Uttar Pradesh’s prisons were the most crowded at 165 per cent, followed by Chhattisgarh at 157.2 per cent and at 151.2 per cent. The main reason for overcrowding is the large number of under-trials waiting for their cases to be disposed. Read more here.

Understanding Covid-19

Lessons from immune response of most severe Covid patients: A new study has found that even the sickest patients produce T cells that help fight the virus. T cells are a key component of the immune system and their roles include killing infected host cells, activating other immune cells, and regulating the immune response. Read more here.

India’s first vaccine gets DGCI nod for human clinical trials: The country’s ‘first’ indigenous Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin, developed by city-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV), has got the nod for human clinical trials from the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI). Read more here.

Vitamin D and Covid-19: What do we know? It has been suggested that taking Vitamin D may protect people from getting Covid-19. But should we be using supplements to ward off the virus? We need to separate fact from fiction. Some suggest there is no evidence to support vitamin D dosing in preventing Covid-19 while others have produced evidence for supporting the use of supplements. Read more here.

First Published: Tue, June 30 2020. 16:32 IST