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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 11th May’20 | PDF Download

 

The trends shaping the post-COVID-19 world

  • Certain geopolitical trendlines were already discernible but the COVID-19 shock therapy has brought these into sharper focus, defining the contours of the emerging global (dis)order.
  • Rise of Asia became clear after 2008 financial crisis.
  • Economic forecasts indicate that out of the G-20 countries, only China and India are likely to register economic growth during 2020.
  • Asian countries have also demonstrated greater agility in tackling the pandemic.
  • The retreat of the USA.
  • America first” looks like “America alone
  • The U.S. still remains the largest economy and the largest military power but has lost the will and ability to lead.
  • European Union’s continuing preoccupation with internal challenges.
    1. Expansion of membership to include East European states
    2. Financial crisis among the Eurozone members
    3. Ongoing Brexit negotiations
    4. Relations with Russia and China
    5. North-South divide
    6. Schengen visa or free-border movement has already become a victim to the pandemic.
  • The emergence of a stronger and more assertive China.
  • China is now ready to assume global responsibilities.
  • Belt and Road Initiative seeks to connect China to the Eurasia and Africa through both maritime and land routes by investing trillions of dollars in infrastructure building.
  • With COVID-19, international and multilateral bodies are nowhere on the scene.
    1. World Health Organization
    2. UN Security Council
    3. G20
    4. G7

  • Energy politics: Growing interest in renewables and green technologies on account of climate change concerns.
  • Now, a looming economic recession and depressed oil prices will exacerbate internal tensions in West Asian countries.
  • Rising nationalism and protectionist responses will prolong the economic recession into a depression, sharpening inequalities and polarisations.

Coming to terms

  • On April 9, the ICMR and Health Ministry researchers — some of them are national task force members for COVID-19 — in a journal paper, provided evidence suggesting the prevalence of community transmission in 36 districts across 15 States.
  • On May 5, even when the total number of nation-wide cases was close to 47,000, the Health Minister said that India’s virus spread had not gone to stage three.
  • The reluctance is surprising given that the total cases reported so far has already crossed 63,500, and the nature of spread is through droplet transmission and contact with contaminated surfaces.
  • Against this background, the latest decision to initiate a study in 75 hotspot districts to confirm community spread and ascertain the proportion of community already exposed to the virus is encouraging.
  • The study had apparently got delayed by about a month due to the non-availability of reliable rapid antibody tests.
  • Due to the unreliability of rapid antibody test, the government will instead use the ELISA test to check for infection.
    1. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, also called ELISA or EIA, is a test that detects and measures antibodies in your blood.

Take it down to districts

  • There are no big problems, there are just a lot of little problems.
  • While over 60,000 Covid positive patients are a big problem for India, 100-200 Covid positive patients for each of India’s 730 districts is a smaller one to manage.
  • This should be India’s strategy on lifting the lockdown on May 17: Convert the district administration into the “centre of action”.
  • Modi’s declaration of early lockdown will bring down deaths from Covid-19 by at least 50%.
  • The other 50% will depend entirely on the way state governments execute their containment strategy.
  • States like Kerala, Karnataka and Goa will continue to have fewer patients, while others report higher numbers.
  • The lockdown has served its purpose.
  • State governments have utilised the time to do their best to contain Covid despite limitations.
  • We must prepare for a resurgence in infection rates once lockdown restrictions are eased.
  • Aggressive ‘test, track and quarantine’ strategy at district level.
  • Tracking app should display real-time data of Covid patients.
  • Districts should be judged on four parameters: number of tests performed, number of negative tests, deaths, and satisfaction score of quarantined patients.
  • Reprimanding district administrators for an increase in Covid-positive patients will discourage them from testing.
  • Every person with influenza like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) must be tested.
  • Pharmacies may be asked to provide data on patients who bought fever and cough medicines in order to ensure comprehensive testing.
  • We need to send out a strong message to everyone that quarantine is a pleasant experience.
  • Each district should have at least one 200 bed hospital dedicated for Covid patients with an ICU, specialists such as anaesthesiologists, nurses and paramedics equipped with ventilators and PPEs.
  • Wearing of masks and maintaining social distancing, especially in markets and public spaces, should be enforced strictly.
  • The administration will succeed in containing the pandemic only if society works together with frontline workers.
  • The district administrations should only be given broad guidelines and allowed to craft their own strategy to deliver results.
  • Empowered district administrations can recreate the success story of Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district in a hundred others.
  • In the end, countries will not be judged by the number of positive cases, but by the percentage of deaths of Covid patients.
  • India’s youthful demographics play to our advantage. The more tests we do, the better will be the statistical probability of India’s low mortality rate.

Food before cash

  • India has launched its largest-ever cash transfer programme targeting women with Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) accounts and increased food subsidies, among other efforts.
  • The cash transfer programme will send Rs 500 per month (roughly $7) to women with a PMJDY account for the next three months.
  • At least 125-175 million poor women and their households will not receive these emergency cash transfers.
  • A final constraint is accessing the cash.
  • To give relief to these households, state and central governments will have to rely on more than PMJDY cash transfers.
  • Access to food is the most pressing challenge during the lockdown when many individuals have suddenly found themselves unemployed and facing significant price inflation.
  • Eligibility still largely relies on the household having a ration card, and the 2018 survey data suggests that nearly 70 million poor women live in households that lack ration cards.
  • India has ample reserves of grain and a well-developed system for disseminating stocks to PDS shops, which are generally accessible to poor households.

NEWS

  • Indian, Chinese troops face off in Ladakh, Sikkim
    1. Two incidents of face-off occurred between Indian and Chinese troops last week, resulting in injuries to several soldiers on both sides, Army sources confirmed.
    2. The first incident occurred in eastern Ladakh on May 5 and the second at Naku La, Sikkim, on May 9. The issues were resolved locally.
    3. Sources said the face-off in Ladakh occurred on the intervening night of May 5 and 6 near Pangong Tso lake, a major part of which China holds. Several soldiers were injured in a scuffle.
    4. Temporary and brief face-offs occur because the boundary is undemarcated, and troops resolve such issues as per the established protocols, the sources said. “Such an incident occurred after a long time,” the sources said, commenting on the Naku La incident.
  • 15 pairs of trains to run from tomorrow
    1. The Indian Railways on Sunday said it planned to restart passenger services in a phased manner — initially with 15 pairs of trains — from Tuesday onwards, almost 50 days after the services were stopped amid COVID-19 lockdown.

  • Norms issued for restart of industrial units
    1. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has issued a series of guidelines for restarting manufacturing industries after the lockdown period. Certain economic activities have already been allowed on gradual lifting of restrictions in some zones.
    2. The State governments have been told to ensure, through the district officials concerned, that the off-site disaster management plan of the respective major accident hazard (MAH) units are up to date.
  • PM, CMs to interact again today
    1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with all Chief Ministers through a videoconference on Monday afternoon, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a tweet on Sunday.
    2. With exactly a week to go before the third phase of the lockdown ends on the midnight of May 17, Mr. Modi will be meeting the Chief Ministers for the fifth time.
    3. Apart from discussing a possible exit policy, the meeting will also discuss the lockdown’s impact on the economy.
  • NIV develops ELISA test kit
    1. National Institute of Virology, Pune, has developed first indigenous antibody-based ELISA test kit, COVID KAVACH, for diagnosis of novel Corona Virus.
    2. This test is expected to change the dynamics of COVID-19 testing in the country.
    3. The kit has displayed high sensitivity and accuracy in the validation tests at different sites.
    4. It can test around 90 samples in approximately two and half hours.
    5. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that ELISA based testing can easily be operated even at district level.
    6. He informed that the technology has been transferred to pharmaceutical manufacturing companies for mass-scale production.
  • National Technology Day
    1. Every year on 11th of May National Technology Day is celebrated to commemorate achievements of innovations and technological excellence in the country.
    2. National Technology Day will be celebrated today focusing on rebooting the economy through Science and Technology.
  • DRDO lab develops automated UV systems to sanitise
    1. Hyderabad based Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) lab has developed automated Ultraviolet systems to sanitise electronic gadgets, papers and currency notes. Defence Ministry said, the device – Defence Research Ultraviolet Sanitiser (DRUVS) has been designed to sanitise mobile phones, iPads, laptops, currency notes, cheque leafs, challans, passbooks, paper and envelopes.
    2. Bundles of currency notes can be sanitised using DRUVS.
    3. The DRUVS is having contactless operation which is very important to contain the spread of virus.
    4. It provides 360 degree exposure of Ultra Violet to the objects placed inside the cabinet.
    5. Once the sanitisation is done, the system goes in sleep mode hence the operator need not wait or stand near the device.
  • Former PM Dr Manmohan Singh admitted to AIIMS, New Delhi

 

 

 

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