ANALYSIS COVID INDIA
NEW DELHI: India, getting used to a co-habitation with Covid-19, is normalizing life from the full hit it took from March end and the worst-hit education sector is in revival mode. With the festival season in full flow in most parts of India and people thronging shops and streets in large numbers for shopping, a relief is that the pandemic is still showing a downward trend in infection rates.
In tune with the positive trends in evidence, schools in three states reopened after the seven-month shutdown, while other states too would follow suit soon. The states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Uttarakhand saw classes resuming on Monday for high schools and colleges, while junior-level students will continue with the online class mode for more time.
Social distancing norms will be observed in these educational institutions. With this end in view, an Odd-Even scheme is in place in Andhra Pradesh, wherein classes for VI, VIII and XII will be held at one time, and classes for VII, IX and XI at another time. Class X studies in schools had been resumed earlier, it having board examinations. Each student has been asked to get parent permission in writing for attending the class, as a health risk is likely.
India overall is getting used to a life with Covid-19 around. There have been worries about fatalities too, and a minister in Tamil Nadu died a day ago due to Covid-19 infection and possibly other health complications as well. Public activities have returned to near-normal. Big cities like Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai have resumed the Metro mass rapid transportation system after months of their suspension. Cinemas have begun screening again weeks ago, and restaurants have resumed functioning.
Industrial and agricultural activities are back in form, and markets have revived almost fully as is evident from the hike in Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections, which returned to near normal level. GST – the single market taxation system – is what begets money for the central and state governments for their daily functioning.
India’s Covid infection tally stood at 8.22 million so far, and most of these have recovered, as per statistics provided by the Union Health Ministry. As per latest daily count, some 45,000 people get infected a day in a nation of 1.33billion; and daily deaths due to Covid are now of the order of around 500, as per health ministry data.
The total deaths due to Covid in the country since March last stood at 1,22,600. In terms of the number of infections, India stood at second place worldwide, next only to that of the United States. The recovery rate is impressive; it now stood at over 91 per cent. Active cases are showing a steady downfall, it now at below 600,000 mark.
The health ministry said some 77 per cent of the infections were reported from 10 states, on top of the chart, while the other states have less of the Covid problem.
Worst-hit Mumbai is limping back to normalcy, which though will take its time. Over 7,000 high-rise buildings in the city remain sealed now; meaning its residents will have to stay indoors and cannot come out. A building is sealed when it has ten or more Covid-infected people residing in and not recovered yet from the virus-hit. Mumbai, as also Delhi, is reporting over 5,000 Covid cases a day, and so is Kerala in the south, which too is essentially an urban or semi-urban landscape with large inflow of its overseas workforce population.
On the vaccine front, where all hope now rests, there has been steady progress. India’s Bharat Biotech International Ltd plans to introduce its vaccine candidate between March and May 2021. It is currently planning trials in 12 states. Israel too is in advanced stage of the vaccine production work. It has started human trials and hopes to introduce the vaccine some eight months hence.
Some five crore – 50 million – people across the world were affected by the virus that came out of China since December last year. Some 1.2crore of people have died of the pandemic so far. Europe remains hard-hit. British prime minister Boris Johnson has announced a four-week fresh lockdown across England from Thursday. -IHN-NN
INDIA HERE AND NOW