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Opinion

Illness travels east – editorials

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Until now, a feature of India’s appointment with coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has been its concentration in urban centers and relatively wealthier states in western India. Each case is, of course, unfortunate, but the concentration in these regions has meant that these state governments have more resources and are better equipped. However, this may be changing as the disease travels to other parts of the country.

A key government policy priority, since the closure, was to ensure that the disease did not spread to the poor and densely populated Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha, where health infrastructure is weak, governance structures are inadequate, and The possibility of fast transmission is high. That is why the Center was reluctant to organize trips for migrant workers. The weakness was that it did not supplement this with social security measures, which left poor immigrants without cash and food, and desperate to return. This forced the government to organize trains. Now that they are returning, cases in their home states are increasing. In Bihar, there is now a wave of cases. And this is the situation when a very large group of migrants has not been analyzed or may be asymptomatic. Odisha represents a similar story, with the Ganjam district, a major migrant hub, now becoming an entry point. These states have low tests. They have inadequate quarantine facilities, and anecdotal evidence suggests that quarantine enforcement is weak. The health infrastructure of his district is poor. India will now have to focus on the east in its battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

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