icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
23 Mar, 2020 02:39

First day of ‘self-curfew’ in India: New Delhi relies on isolation-trick to dodge coronavirus — enough after 100s infected?

First day of ‘self-curfew’ in India: New Delhi relies on isolation-trick to dodge coronavirus — enough after 100s infected?

India’s citizens appear to be standing behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to “isolate” themselves to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but there is fear that not enough was done to protect its population of 1.3 billion.

For the moment, Modi’s message for citizens to “stay indoors” is directed at residents of 80 districts in 22 states, which have officially been “shut down.” India has crossed the 300-patient figure from the coronavirus. This figure, if the examples set by the rest of the world are anything to go by, could shoot skywards in the coming days.

Coronavirus spikes

Nations affected by the virus have shown a spike in numbers after the first 250 cases are detected. Italy went from 322 to 41,000 cases in 24 days. Spain (261 to 17,000) and the United States (233 to 14,000) went into a tailspin in just two weeks. Germany (262 to 14,000) and France (285 to 11,000) nosedived in a mere 16 days. The United Kingdom took a dozen days to find its 270 cases balloon to 3,200.

Also on rt.com Omens of the end? Covid-19 not the only thing you should be scared of this spring (or maybe we should just chill)

India is stretching itself thin to buck this trend. Trains have stopped running, and New Delhi, the nation’s capital, is now formally under curfew. Most states are shutting down shops, entertainment malls, restaurants, metros, and other non-essential businesses to ensure people stay indoors. Only medical facilities and grocery stores are allowed to remain in operation.

Fearing the worst

India’s health ministry held a press conference on Sunday and revealed they are mostly using antiviral drugs to combat the virus. 

Also on rt.com ‘Stay indoors & healthy’: India holds coronavirus ‘self-curfew drill’ as infections reach 300,000 globally

Schools are being converted into quarantine-wards, and medical staff in the business of testing suspected cases are complaining about inadequate protection. India would lose this battle if its medical personnel are not properly protected. 

Citizens on the frontlines

A committed, aware citizenry is India’s best bet to stop the spread of the disease at this point. And there is no better man than Modi for the task as millions swear by him. His administration is holding meetings with heads of other states to find real solutions to the situation. 

States are increasingly offering money and food to aid India’s poor, as many have been left without a formal job and now are shunned by the shops and householders who usually employ them.

For the moment, the nation is standing strong. Families are helping neighbors they hadn’t previously noticed, and Indian flags are being unfurled on balconies and rooftops. Citizens even left their self-imposed isolation on Sunday and took to the streets with pots and pans, conch-shells and bells at an appointed hour to extol India’s medical professionals working on the frontlines to combat COVID-19. 

If not for citizens coming together, the eerie, empty streets of the nation would feel like an Orwellian first step to the end of the world.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.