As the corona situation in India is getting further out of hand, criticism is being made of the approach to the crisis. In social media reports and newspapers, Prime Minister Modi‘s government is reproach of weak behaviour. The coronac figures of the government are also questioned. Meanwhile, there are politicians who deny the seriousness of the situation.
India has been hit hard by a second corona wave. Hospitals are crowded and there is a large shortage of oxygen, ventilation equipment and medicines. The number of coronavirus infections and deaths has increased sharply in recent weeks. According to government figures, more than 300,000 new infections and more than 2300 deaths are reported per day.
Many Indians say that the infection and mortality rates are actually higher. This is partly due to the fact that only those who have actually been tested positive are taken into account. “Presumably coronadodes are not included in the figures,” says correspondent Aletta André. “It is clear that the actual number is higher, for that there are also indications of crematoria and cemeteries. They say they cremate or bury many more people according to the corona protocol.”
Previously, André said it takes days to arrange a corontest. Some people with mild symptoms are less likely to be tested.
Both the infection and mortality rates have been rising in recent weeks:
Another explanation for the abnormal death toll is the diagnosis that is reported when someone dies, writes the Indian newspaper The Hindu. Of the people suffering from another disease or disease but dying from corona, the virus is not reported as a cause of death. And so they don’t count.
In the state of Gujarat, 152 and 157 people died of coronavirus last Saturday and Sunday respectively, according to official figures. But The Hindu comes to a different conclusion after a tour of hospitals. For example, in one hospital in Ahmedabad, between 100 and 125 people would die from corona a day. According to The Hindu, obituaries in local newspapers also suggest that there are more deaths.
There is also dissatisfaction with the information made available by the government. “Here in Delhi, people are critical of the website keeping track of how many available beds, oxygen and respiration devices there are,” says André. “That information is not up to date. For example, it says that a hospital still has places available and that turns out not to be the case.”
On social media, Indians inside and outside India criticize Prime Minister Modi‘s crisis approach. For example, people find it scandalous that, until recently, large religious and political gatherings were organised, which were attracted by a lot of public interest.
The government is not happy with the criticism and has asked Twitter to remove dozens of critical messages. These are messages from citizens, but also from politicians from opposition parties and journalists. “Here in India, the rules for Twitter have been changed, the government can influence what needs to be removed. Earlier this year, the same thing happened around the massive peasant protests.”
Meanwhile, there is also a call not to report to crematoria and funeral, while journalist Barkha Dutt, who works for The Washington Post, among others. She calls it “an attempt to purify the extent of this horror”. In the last week, a lot of reports come out that crematoria can no longer handle the work.
Cremations continue day and night, sometimes in the open air:
Last Saturday, there was a case in Delhi’s court about who‘s responsible for the distribution of oxygen. “The representative of the government said that there is no shortage of oxygen anywhere,” says André. “That while people died on the same day because they couldn’t get on the ventilator.”
The Prime Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, also claims that no hospital suffers from oxygen starvation. He also calls for action against people who spread ‘rumors’ and ‘propaganda’ through social media.
Aid from abroad
Countries from all over the world, including Great Britain, the United States, Russia and the European Union, have pledged aid to India.
The Netherlands is also helping: Foreign Minister for Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag announced yesterday that 2.5 million euros are going to the Red Cross for coronanood aid. Of this, EUR 1 million goes to India. The Netherlands is also looking at other ways to help India.