The number of corona infections in India is increasing rapidly. Since this weekend India is the country with the highest number of new infections per day. A record that has recently been in the hands of the United States. Nevertheless, the Indian government is going to further relax the coronavirus measures.
At the beginning of the corona crisis, India seemed to have the virus under reasonable control. Strict measures were put in place and there was a strict lockdown. Yet the virus struck hard in the megacities of Mumbai and Delhi. And now it is spreading more and more over the countryside.
That is precisely where people find it difficult to take up the fight against corona, says correspondent Aletta André: “Care there is seriously inadequate. There are poor facilities in hospitals and there is a shortage of doctors. They were not prepared for the virus.”
Yesterday, 78,761 new coronavirus patients arrived in India within 24 hours. With this, the Asian country breaks the old record of 77,299 new infections established in the United States at the end of last month.
According to André, the increase is also due to the fact that more tests are being carried out: “A month ago, about 300,000 people were tested every day. Now that’s a million a day.”
Despite the increase in the number of infections, measures are being weakened… For example, as of next month, 100 people will be allowed to gather for cultural or sporting events. And in the big cities the subways will start running again.
The government also wants the entrance exams for continuing education to continue this week. Some 2.4 million students will have to take such an exam. These are normally taken in the spring, but have already been resisted twice because of corona. The government wants to let the exams go ahead this time, but many students don’t like it and rebelled last week.
According to André, the fact that the government continues to relax despite the many infections is all to do with the hard-hit economy: “Today, quarterly figures are being published and everyone expects a contraction of 20 percent. This does not even include the informal economy, which is very large in India”
According to André, the Indian people have no other option than to go back to work: “I don’t believe that people feel safe again, but they have no choice. Only the poorest get free food, but that’s it. They have no money for medicine, school or rent. So people can’t afford to sit at home either.”
Prime Minister Modi did, however, call on the population to continue to abide by measures such as keeping a distance and wearing a mouth shield. But it’s questionable how much that call goes hand in hand with easing the other measures. “The trains, for example, are always so incredibly crowded, so how are you going to do that coronaproof? I don’t think they’ve really found a solution for that yet,” says André.
The Indian government wants to implement the relaxations gradually in phases. For example, airports will not open to international air traffic for the time being. And secondary education will largely remain digital.
Likewise, states can wait to introduce a relaxation if they think this is unwise. “In Delhi, for example, they wait to open primary schools. Parents have been asked whether they would like to send their children to school and it turned out that two thirds want the schools to remain closed”, André says.