Coronavirus: India's pandemic lockdown turns into human crisis
NEW DELHI – In India, a three-week lockdown to stop spread of coronavirus has triggered a humanitarian crisis.
Streets around the Indian capital Delhi have been filled with people walking to reach their villages in neighbouring states.
Meanwhile, police fired tear gas to disperse a stone-pelting crowd of migrant workers defying the lockdown against the coronavirus. The lockdown has left hundreds of thousands of poor without jobs and hungry.
It came after the world's second largest nation of more than a billion people has confirmed a total of 1,251 coronavirus cases, while 32 people have died so far.
The Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch have called upon India to act with restrain during the lockdown against coronavirus saying that the state machinery has become a larger threat than the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, Amnesty International India Executive Director Avinash Kumar said the lockdown has left millions stranded, struggling to search for food and water.
He said this is unfortunate and the Indian government must ensure that “insensitivity and brute force be replaced by people-friendly measures in battling coronavirus.
HRW South Asia Director Meenakshi Ganguly too urged Indian authorities to ensure that everyone has access to food and medical care, and that the poor and marginalized are not mistreated.
She said the Indian government’s responsibility to protect its people from the outbreak should not come at the cost of human rights violations.
The country's top opposition leader, Rahul Gandhi says Modi Government has no contingency plan to cope with the situation.
Also, in an op-ed published today in the Indian Express, Noble laureates Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo said the crisis will snowball into an economic avalanche in India. They said people will have no choice but to defy locked-down orders.
The coronavirus, COVID-19, is affecting 199 countries and territories around the world and 1 international conveyance (the Diamond Princess cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan).
More than 38,000 people have died and nearly 800,000 infected by the disease as it spreads rapidly to new territories. The epicentre of the outbreak has now shifted from China to Europe, which is recording a rapid rise in new cases every day. Over 169,000 people have also recovered from the mysterious illness.
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