Recently, because of the increasing cases of coronavirus in China, it was decided to impose a strict lockdown on its largest city Shanghai. Mass testing of covid-19 is being done in Shanghai. Along with, a large number of tests are being done by the local government from Monday to Friday in the nearby areas. Not only in China, increasing cases of coronavirus have been registered by the developed countries of the world.
Amidst the dispute between Russia and Ukraine, the risk of a fourth wave of coronavirus is rising in front of the world. Once again surging cases of coronavirus was reported in Europe. Recently UN Secretary addressing to the world and said that “a large outbreak spreading across Asia and the cases are reported 1.5 million every day”.
He added that the new XE variant of coronavirus is showing the upswing of cases and emerging a warning of large outbreaks across Asia. In Europe, the death toll and the number of hospitalized cases have been constantly increasing over the last few weeks.
Is the rising coronavirus cases now exposing a new threat to the world?
It was said by the World Health Organization that there was a decline in the cases of coronavirus for a few months, but since last week, a tremendous surge in the cases of covid-19 has been registered once again.
It was also said by WHO that with the increasing cases of coronavirus, its new variants are highly transmissible which also include the omicron variant and its sublineage BA.2, all are posing a warning to the public health and the world. While addressing the world the WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed that due to the alleviation in testing in some countries, there has been a sudden jump in the cases, which means the cases we are seeing are just the tip of the iceberg. Along with omicron is not the last mutation of coronavirus there are more highly transmissible variants that will hit the global.
The biggest jump is registered in the West Pacific region, which includes South Korea and China, where cases show an upswing trend standing by 25% with a 27% mortality rate. The cases of new variants rose by 8% globally with 11 million new cases or 43,000 death toll.
China has registered the largest outbreak of coronavirus in the past 2 years. Along with this, taking strict steps by the government, massive testing or home isolation were done with new strategies of lockdown.
Status of India
It has been almost two years since the coronavirus pandemic, but still, the same question arises in front of us in a loop how long will the coronavirus keep the world under its grasp? the outbreak of the corona pandemic is at its peak in the continent of Asia, which is also a warning sign for India. The Omicron variant with more than 50 genetic mutations indicates a new threat to the world.
The covid-19 new surge in wave has been reported once again in India with the new 2,380 cases being registered across the country. Apart from this, a jump of 65% has been recorded in daily cases compared to last week. Along with 13,433 active cases of the new variant have been reported.
The national capital has been soaring in the number of active cases. The positivity rate has been reported above 5% with the fresh 1000 covid-19 cases. Maharashtra has reported the highest number of cases followed by Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The IIT Kanpur in their studies reported that the possibility of the fourth wave in India will hit in June. As per the data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is that the total tally of coronavirus cases in India stood at 4,30,52,425 with 56 mortality as of now. Nonetheless, the statistics of active cases is 0.03% of the total epidemic whereas the recovery rate stood at 98.76%.
The country has reported 5,22,062 mortality since the pandemic began including 1,47,830 from Maharashtra whereas Kerala stood at 68,702 along with 40,057 from Karnataka and 38,025 from Tamil Nadu whereas 26,161 from Delhi and 23,502 from Uttar Pradesh and 21,200 from West Bengal.
Is the fourth wave bringing another lockdown in India?
The number of fresh coronavirus cases has been gearing up in the national capital or Maharashtra. In a recent talk, J Radhakrishnan the health secretary of the Tamil Nadu government said that whether the fourth wave of coronavirus will hit India or not depends on the new variant of coronavirus. Although it was echoed earlier by the IIT Kanpur that the fourth wave will likely hit India by June and last for four months.
In the recent talk, a Niti Ayog member told that India is in a good state along with Dr. V.K Paul added that India has geared up for a possible covid-19 wave.
While having words with ANI the scientist of Epidemiology and the Indian Council for Medical Research spoke that “the fourth wave is not likely to spread across India and also emphasized the continued use of face masks. Along with wearing a mask is mandatory for those who are at risk of the infection.
On the flip side, the number of jumps in the coronavirus cases has been significantly reported. As per the state health bulletin, the capital has registered 632 fresh cases with a positivity rate of 7.7% although there is no death has been reported so far. Whereas Dr. V.K Paul while addressing the nation said that India is prepared for any other wave of new coronavirus variants as of now and the mass population has been immunized with both doses of vaccination. So, there would be no instances of lockdown as of now but wearing a mask is mandatory.
Is India’s economy crumbling due to the covid-19 pandemic?
The reports disclosed by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme implementation state that a massive shrink of 7.3% is registered in the April-June quarter of the fiscal year of 2021. The Indian economy registered the worst decline ever since 1996.
As per the estimated data for 2020, over 10 million migrant workers had returned to their native places. Also, the lockdown was not less than a dilemma for the workers working in the informal sector, in which they had lost their jobs along with a lack of food security. And the startling fact is that neither the central nor the state governments had this crucial data.
After the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, urban unemployment has been upswing to 12.6% in the April-June quarter of 2021 as compared to 9.3% in January-march. With the rise of unemployment, 24% have been recorded among literate youth, compared to 7% among those who have taken primary education.
The data disclosed by International Labour Organization (ILO) states that in India the lockdown has now forced more than 40 crore workers involved in the informal sector to be below the poverty line. Also, the coronavirus pandemic has broken the back of the middle-class people.
Industries such as accommodation, retail and wholesale business services, hospitality along with construction sector are the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Along with after the lockdown a sudden change in the expenditure pattern of customers. The expenditure on non-essential commodities reduces to necessary commodities, as a result, the economy is going towards a demand crisis.
Inflation pushed the poor to depend on their savings
The sudden spike in the food supply chain due to the nationwide lockdown. The recent upward trend in food inflation result in a hike in the price reported in the essential vegetables.
Who will answer, what the poor man will eat in such inflation? Although the middle class is now living on its savings and running out of income is a major threat in most households across the country. Notwithstanding, it’s a jeopardized condition for the recovery of the economy.
Since the pandemic hit the country, the sudden lockdown disturb the food supply chain or recorded a major hike in food prices. Also, improper storage of foodgrain during the lockdown result in 2,000 tonnes of foodgrains damaged in the FCI.
Although prior to a pandemic, there was a continuous slack in the Indian economy, and the major four sectors of the economy which drive growth are in a critical state namely- investment, consumption, export, and public expenditure.
The GDP of household savings is recorded a major fall down from 24% in 2012 to 17% in 2018. The upswing trend of taxes on fuels is the most significant reason for higher inflation. The policies of the government approaching towards fuel industry would have an adverse impact on tens of lakhs of people who have lost their jobs and workers in the informal sector are the worst hit by these exploiting policies.
Even after the lockdown, there would be a surge in unemployment and tens of millions of people would be still struggling to fill their stomachs, in the same scenario with the highest inflation in India the government free ration policy of Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana would not be constituted beyond November. The discontinuation of the policy would lead to an impact on nutritional poverty meanwhile the price hike of essential commodities results in a cut in food expenditure by low-income and poor households.
This would also be seen in the Global Hunger Index that India stood at 101st out of 116 countries. It shows that India’s hunger is in the serious category. But the irony is that in the recent dialogue with US President, Prime Minister Modi said that India is enough self-reliant to export foodgrains to the world. Although the people with low income and deprived a section of the society are being fought even for one time’s bread.
Once again, due to increasing cases of coronavirus, its threat is looming across the country, although it has been said by the governments that the situation is under control. But the question is if the situation of lockdown arises, will there be a second wave-like situation again in India as well as India’s economy has not fully emerged from the first lockdown. The rising rate of unemployment and poverty is a major crisis in the Indian economy.
edited and proofread by nikita sharma