While COVID-19 is rapidly spreading in Europe including Italy, France and the UK, 134 people have tested positive in India as of March 17 evening. So far, three patients who tested positive died. The Central government has proposed “social distancing” measures including the closure of educational institutions, museums, gyms, cultural and social centres, swimming pools and theatres. The government has said that “non-essential” travel should be avoided and encouraged private sector organisations to allow their employees to work from home. But what happens to those who are not able to isolate themselves and depend on daily wages?
To discuss this and more Menaka Rao, Independent Journalist interviewed Dr T Sundararaman, the Global Coordinator of People’s Health Movement to understand the impact of the pandemic in India where more than 20% of people live below the poverty line. The People’s Health Movement released a statement on Monday with 13 demands which foregrounded the rights of people for social security and for the government to address income inequalities. We also spoke about how the government can ensure the control of the pandemic without infringing on people’s human rights.