Zone system initiated . . .
India is extending its national lockdown for another two weeks, until May 17, as the virus spreads at an increasing but controlled rate. The new lockdown rules, which will begin on May 4, will differ across districts based on the degree of risk. Green zones, where no cases were confirmed in the past three weeks, will have less strict rules and include the resumption of bus services. At the other extreme, in red zones or hotspots, all types of community transportation and most non-essential commerce will remain closed. However, in rural areas throughout the country, industrial and construction activities and outdoor shops will be allowed to operate. Across India, schools remain closed and inter-state travel by air, metro, or land remains prohibited.
Finally hope for migrant workers . . .
India’s Ministry of Home Affairs announced this week plans to help millions of migrant workers stranded due to the recent and sudden inter-state travel restrictions to get back to their home states. Many migrant workers have already embarked on journeys to walk back to their villages, some of whom have died along the way. Many states have requested special trains to help transport migrant workers, but it is unclear how many people will be able to benefit. And in states where intra-state travel remains prohibited, it remains to be seen how people that make use of trains will get from stations to villages.
Kerala’s model . . .
The government of the state of Kerala takes pride in its treatment of so-called “guest workers.” As opposed to many in India, migrant workers stranded in about 20,000 camps across Kerala have access to clean facilities where their basic needs are met. Kerala has been relatively successful in its response to the novel coronavirus. While the total number of active cases doubled in India over the past two weeks, it declined by 25 per cent in this state. The state government set-up isolation wards in hospitals and rapid-testing facilities early-on. It also conducted broad contact tracing, efficiently promoted social distancing, and ordered longer quarantine periods. A fight with a similar virus (NIPAH) in 2018, as well as massive investments in health care, helped prepare Kerala for the current pandemic.
- Jagran English: Lockdown 3.0: Complete list of new guidelines for next two weeks from May 4, here's what's allowed and what's not
- BBC: India coronavirus lockdown: Train leaves with stranded migrants
- National Post: The Kerala model: How the Indian state’s response to Patient Zero helped flatten the COVID-19 curve