As India struggles to cope with the second wave of coronavirus which has virtually crippled its health care systems, we give a look into how the world is watching India and the way it is reacting and dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak.
On May 1 this year, India’s daily COVID-19 case tally hit a global record with 4,01,993 fresh cases and 3,523 deaths reported in the last 24 hours.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders conducted election rallies attracting huge crowds resulting a spike in cases
Further fuelling this was the Kumbh Mela, where hundreds of Hindu pilgrims gathered for a holy dip in the Ganges River. It is reported that as many as 2.5 million people took part, with complete disregard for the Covid-19 safety protocols. The virus had infected thousands of pilgrims, turned super-spreaders in their respective towns and villages.
Opening up of the business and manufacturing activities in May 2020 for economic recovery also added to the cases. The difficulty in maintaining social distance and the gradual removing of the masks, which was a part of life since the outbreak in 2020 was also one of the reasons for the spike in cases. Local Media was quick to point out these mistakes
As several countries cancelled flights from India and issued travel advisories banning Indians into their country, the International media attention grew and led to a series of articles portraying the ground situation in the country.
Reuters reporters on the ground have filed stories from hospitals and crematoriums.” COVID patients die on trolleys outside Delhi hospital,” reads one headline.
“Hospitals overrun as India’s COVID-19 infections top global record for second day,” reads another.
“Mass cremations begin as India’s capital faces deluge of COVID-19 deaths,” is yet a third - with harrowing photos from Delhi’s crematoriums.
— Gulzar Virk (@gvirkhtech) April 27, 2021
India’s plight has worldwide implications. Getting medical help to India is now both a humanitarian and a pragmatic necessity for the outside world, which is beginning to respond. For the US, it may also be a geopolitical necessity, given that America regards India as a crucial ally in its growing rivalry with China. A recent article in The Times proclaimed that “Britain could feel like paradise this summer.” The lesson of India is to guard against premature celebration or hubris. -Financial Times, London
This variant appears to be one factor powering the massive increase in daily new cases. It is not yet clear how well vaccines protect against it, or whether it will spread beyond India. Can India, population 1.3 billion, be isolated? Not easily. Almost certainly, vaccines will have to be tweaked to adapt. -Washington Post
People tend to assume that once their country has a vaccine and a mass inoculation programme Covid-19 is going to go away. But unless vaccine coverage is swift and comprehensive, it is in danger of being overwhelmed by the virus. India’s vaccination centres are running out of doses. And if countries lagging behind do not catch up, no one is safe unless everyone is vaccinated or borders are closed. Given its population size, India is a vulnerable example. It offers an ideal environment for the virus to jump from host to host and mutate. As a result, it has added to new strains of the virus causing global concern. India is also paying the price for underinvestment in public health. South China Morning Post
With the International media and TV channels constantly showing visuals of waiting ambulances, families waiting outside hospitals, reruns of the cremations and burning pyres in Delhi to show India's lack of preparedness, India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on April 30 conducted a virtual meeting with Indian ambassadors and high commissioners across the world instructing them that they should counter the “one-sided” narrative of the international media about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government's failure in handling the second wave of corona.
Jaishankar arrived in London on Monday for a four-day visit at the invitation of UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to join the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers Meeting as one of the guest ministers. On May 5th two members of the small delegation have tested positive for COVID-19, forcing him to conduct the rest of the meetings in virtual mode.
Was made aware yesterday evening of exposure to possible Covid positive cases. As a measure of abundant caution and also out of consideration for others, I decided to conduct my engagements in the virtual mode. That will be the case with the G7 Meeting today as well.— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) May 5, 2021