As the pandemic Covid-19 strikes people all over the world, India’s government data has so far recorded 147 cases, taking it to phase 2 of the pandemic. Three deaths and thirteen recoveries so far and counting.
The Indian government has taken stringent measures, banning all flights and passengers including Indian nationals from the UK, the EU, the European free trade association, Turkey. Further, India has also banned flights from the Philippines, Afghanistan and Malaysia. India has taken a combined initiative with other countries of the South Asian region to combat the crisis.
The Asian Development Bank estimates that in the worst-case scenario, the pandemic will cost the Indian economy US $29.9bn.
Most companies are asking staff to work from home and practice ‘social distancing’. We’d urge our members in India to share any corporate strategies for coping with this unprecedented disaster directly. The Indian government is now open to taking help of private sector hospitals for testing and treatment. This may require a step change from the archaic 1897 Epidemic Diseases Act which is silent on the role of the private sector in healthcare in India. Around fifty entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and start up chiefs have written to the Prime Minister for a lockdown in key cities in India as number of positive cases rise.
Meanwhile the health of the economy went further downhill as the GDP growth rate dwindled to 4.7% in the third quarter of the current financial year. Factory output has shrunk further accompanied by a spike in retail inflation.
India’s banking sector woes increased as Yes Bank, the country’s fourth largest private sector bank collapsed, putting depositors in a stressful situation.
This month, there is high-political drama in India’s central province of Madhya Pradesh (MP). Its current government led by the country’s main opposition Congress Party witnessed substantial defection to India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The state government has to face the floor test on Friday.
India needs a comprehensive policy to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak, says Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director, South East Asia, based in Delhi.