Social distancing, washing hands — all these are critically important responses to the pandemic, but such directives assume that residents have adequate space, services and social safety nets to carry out these orders. This is simply not the reality across cities in India and in many countries of the world.
Sirmauris, as natives from Shillai are known, have been living for years in Shimla working as porters, tourist guides, taxi drivers, private security and waiters. So have the roughly 8000 porters from Kashmir. But none of them have faced such a financial crisis ever before, unable to meet even their basic food needs.
Over 90 Indian cities showed minimal air pollution since they were locked down, with many recording their best AQI in months. A briefing paper that examines the impact of COVID lockdown on background pollution across cities and industrial clusters concludes that informed measures and stricter rules can enable cities to achieve their clean air goals.
As coronavirus positive cases near the 6000 mark, an immediate end to the nationwide lockdown on April 15th is very unlikely. Instead, states are looking at containment strategies to keep ‘hotspots’ under total lockdown. Here are the basic guidelines from the Ministry of Health that will drive such containment strategies.