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India coronavirus dispatch: The fate of returning migrant workers

From building capacity to produce cheap test kits, to what is medical protective clothing, and why travel & tourism will return with a bang after Covid - read these and more in today's India dispatch

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Coronavirus | healthcare | Health crisis

Sarah Farooqui  |  New Delhi 

A medic conducts thermal screening of a passenger waiting to board a train to Delhi at Howrah station, during the ongoing Covid-19 nationwide lockdown, in Kolkata. Photo: PTI
A medic conducts thermal screening of a passenger waiting to board a train to Delhi at Howrah station, during the ongoing Covid-19 nationwide lockdown, in Kolkata. Photo: PTI

Here is a round-up of important coronavirus-related articles from across Indian publications. From building capacity to produce cheap test kits, to what is medical protective clothing, and why travel & tourism will return with a bang after Covid — read these and more in today’s India dispatch.

Opinion

Covid-19 could do for the biomedical industry what the Y2K scare did for India’s IT sector: Ubiquitous testing will likely be a worldwide phenomenon over the next year or two. Consequently, world demand for test kits will explode. If Indian businesses can respond to the challenge by quickly building capacity to produce relatively cheap kits, this could spark a boom in the biomedical industry. Read more here.

Lack of social security for women in informal economy needs to be addressed: More than 90 per cent of working people in our country are engaged in the informal economy. The most vulnerable are women who suffer from multiple disadvantages — as women, as poor, as informal workers and as members of the socially disadvantaged castes and communities that predominate the informal sector. As the suffering of informal, migrant workers plays out across India, a vast majority of our citizens, mainly informal workers, cannot seek support from even basic social security. Read more here.

How public health boosts an economy: What is needed is adequate investment in creating a health system that can withstand public health emergencies, deliver universal health coverage and other targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, while creating mutually beneficial synergies between health and the economy. Read more here.

Managing Covid-19

Does Karnataka’s rural economy have space for returning migrant workers? A large-scale reverse migration has dominated headlines over the past two months as workers have walked thousands of kilometres or hitched rides on cramped goods lorries to get home. A majority of these workers have gone back to rural areas, where agriculture is the mainstay. Can this sector absorb the returning migrants? And how do practising farmers perceive this sudden change in demographic? Read more here.

Don’t expect hospital workers to wear water-resistant gowns and still be safe: Water resistance is an ambiguous term, particularly when used in the context of medical protective clothing. There are different standards associated with this specification. Read here to understand what they are.

Without states on board, discom reforms could fail: Power-sector reforms announced as part of India’s Covid-19 economic package could fall short in achieving the goal of a financially healthy electricity distribution sector, unless state governments support these reforms and distribution companies (discoms) deal with legacy issues, such as inaccurate billing and inefficient payment collection. Read more here.

Understanding Covid-19

Why some young Indians are at higher risk of Covid complications: In the absence of a cure or a vaccine, the only ammunition human beings have in their fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is building immunity and staying fit. But what puts India at a higher risk is not only its dense population and weak health infrastructure but also the higher prevalence of a cluster of lifestyle diseases, together called ‘metabolic syndrome’, which includes high blood pressure (BP), diabetes, obesity, and clogged arteries. These make people more prone to cardiovascular diseases. Read more here.

Two antibodies from SARS survivors, and how they react to new coronavirus: In the continuing hunt for antibodies that could fight the novel SARS-CoV-2, researchers have mostly looked at people who have already contracted Covid-19. There have been at least two exceptions, both of which have looked at antibodies developed by survivors of another outbreak, SARS, 17 years ago. Read more here.

Video

Aviation, tourism sectors under increased stress, but they will be back with a bang: Revenues for OYO are down by 80 per cent this year. However, the company has begun to see a recovery in China, where its occupancy has jumped to between 30 per cent and 40 per cent. Watch this interview with Aditya Ghosh, board member of OYO and former president of IndiGo, on why travel and tourism (two sectors that have been hit the hardest by Covid-19) will return with a bang.

First Published: Thu, May 21 2020. 14:50 IST
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