Vulnerability of Migrant Workers in the Face of Pandemic

Government of India has notified states to seal the interstate borders in the backdrop of exodus of thousands of migrant workers from National Capital Region (NCR) Delhi. The government has urged migrant workers to stay where they are and assured that food, shelter, and wages will be provided to them.
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Crux of the Matter

Exodus of Migrant Workers
Thousands of migrant workers of Uttar Pradesh (UP) working in Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana, had begun migrating back to their hometowns amid the Coronavirus lockdown. Workers who survive on daily wages and who have been housed in factories or construction sites were apprehensive about going hungry, penniless and having no shelter.

UP government in a statement said that the Delhi government disconnected the electricity and water connection of these people. It added that they were not even provided with food and milk. There were rumors that buses are waiting at the UP border to drop these migrants to their hometowns and DTC buses dropped people at the Delhi border, said the statement.

Thousands of workers gathered at Delhi’s Anand Vihar bus station were taken to UP border. Many migrants were seen walking from Delhi to UP border as well. UP government announced that it will run nearly 1,000 buses to bring back the migrant workers to their domicile state.

While this exodus massively dilutes the whole purpose of lockdown – to stem the spread of COVID-19 – the Indian government has ordered to seal all inter-state borders and put those who have already migrated in a 14-day quarantine. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also suspended some Delhi government officials over lapses in ensuring a lockdown. It also issued a 5-point guideline to cope with the issue:

  • Creation of temporary shelters for stranded migrants
  • Provision of food for them and the poor
  • 14-day quarantine for those who have migrated
  • Regular wages for daily wagers and migrant workers
  • Exemption for migrant workers to pay rent for a month

Kejriwal’s Belated Appeal
After the images of lakhs of migrant workers stranded at Delhi’s Anand Vihar bus terminal went viral, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal made a public appeal to all migrant communities to stay back and adhere to the lockdown protocols. He further mentioned that stranded population will be housed temporarily in Delhi’s schools.

India’s Situation
Delhi houses about India’s 1.3 million migrant workers as per the 2011 Census. India’s urban region has around 13.4 million interstate workers. A large exodus would put many lives at stake. Moreover, the Capital also saw the largest one day spike in the number of cases on Sunday, taking the toll to 72.

Migrants from various states began their journey back home after PM Modi announced the lockdown. Telangana, in order to battle the migration, announced that all the migrant workers will get Rs. 500 cash and 12 kg of rice. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) also announced that ‘Annapurna’ centres where a full meal is available at just Rs. 5 will remain open.

As of 30th March 2020, India has more than 1,000 COVID-19 patients and more than 25 deaths.

Curiopedia

Unorganised Sector of India – Over 94 percent of India’s working population is part of the unorganised sector. Unorganised sector, also known as own account enterprises, refers to all unlicensed, self-employed or unregistered economic activity such as owner manned general stores, handicrafts and handloom workers, rural traders, farmers, etc. The unorganised sector has low productivity and offers lower wages. Even though it accounted for over 94 percent of workers, India’s unorganised sector created just 57 percent of India’s national domestic product in 2006, or about 9 fold less per worker than the organised sector. The productivity gap sharply worsens when rural unorganised sector is compared to urban unorganised sector, with gross value added productivity gap spiking an additional 2 to 4 fold depending on occupation. Some of lowest income jobs are in the rural unorganised sectors. Poverty rates are reported to be significantly higher in families where all working age members have only worked the unorganised sector throughout their lives. More Info

East Asia Braces itself for Second Wave of Coronavirus

Coronavirus Second Wave

China and South East Asia are preparing for a second wave of the Coronavirus that may be caused from asymptomatic cases and the infected people who have come from abroad. With the number of cases rising rapidly in the US, Italy, and Spain, nations worldwide are aggressively enforcing lockdowns as the world awaits a cure.
Complete Coverage: Coronavirus

Crux of the Matter

Is the Second Wave of Virus Looming Over?
As reported by South China Morning Post, China, in its 80,000 patient tally, did not include 40,000 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 but showed mild or no symptoms. As the number of positive cases coming from abroad seems to be growing in China – in the last week China has reported 313 imported cases, they pose a great threat of a second wave of Coronavirus in the nation. Travel restrictions and other lockdown restrictions were lifted in China which will lead to more human movement, leading to more chances of asymptomatic people or “silent carriers” infecting others.

Japan also saw a surge in the number of cases recently. With Singapore, Thailand, Pakistan, India and other South Asian nations seeing a rise in the number of cases, experts have debunked the World Health Organisations’ previous claim that pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic transmission was ‘relatively rare’. Studies from Japan, South Korea, Italy, and the USA substantiate that silent spreaders are the latest threat to the community. In view of the threat of second wave, China has ordered all cinemas and other important places to shut down again.

Approximately half of all residents with positive test results did not have any symptoms at the time of testing, suggesting that transmission from asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic residents—who were not recognized as having [the coronavirus] infection and therefore not isolated—might have contributed to further spread.

– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

New Hotspots
Italy was the first hotspot of Coronavirus outside of Mainland China. A few days back, it reported the highest one-day death toll from that virus, 919. The number of cases in Italy is nearing 100,000 with a fatality rate of nearly 10%. The US, on the other hand, is nearing 150,000 cases. However, it only has around 2,500 fatalities. There is a growing number of cases in Spain as well followed by Germany France, Iran, and the UK. The global toll of infections has crossed 700,000-mark with a death toll of around 34,000.

Curiopedia

Coronavirus is the common name for Coronaviridae and Orthocoronavirinae, also called Coronavirinae. Coronaviruses cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, the viruses cause respiratory infections, including the common cold, which are typically mild, though rarer forms such as SARS, MERS and COVID-19 can be lethal. Symptoms vary in other species: in chickens, they cause an upper respiratory disease, while in cows and pigs coronaviruses cause diarrhea. There are no vaccines or antiviral drugs to prevent or treat human coronavirus infections. They are enveloped viruses with a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and a nucleocapsid of helical symmetry. The genome size of coronaviruses ranges from approximately 26 to 32 kilobases, the largest for an RNA virus. The name “coronavirus” is derived from the Ancient Greek word ‘korone’, meaning crown or halo, which refers to the characteristic appearance of the virus particles (virions): they have a fringe reminiscent of a crown or of a solar corona. More Info

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News Round-Up: Viruses, Recession, Lockdown, Insider Trading, Budget Session

Coronavirus pandemic has caused havoc around the world. However, to combat it, it is imperative to understand how viruses work and how do they spread. The lockdowns around the world can be considered to be the only cure that this virus has right now. PM Modi also declared that India will be under lockdown for 21 days. The real economy has come to a halt. Therefore, the threat of an even worse financial recession hovers over the globe. India’s Budget Session 2 had to be concluded before the scheduled date for the first time due to a health crisis. Many important bills were passed in the Budget Session. Have a quick roundup of what happened in India and across the globe by clicking the top stories of the week: