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India announces nationwide lockdown to stop spread of coronavirus (axios.com)
353 points by JumpCrisscross 5 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 286 comments

As an Indian, here's a more cautious perspective:

1. I am going with the assumption that community transmission might have started at some location; but with that assumption this 21-day lockdown becomes an imperative and excellent step.

2. Will people obey the lockdown? (This is not a curfew, as essential services would be open.) Many people, sadly, would not. That is where the sometimes-criticized high-handed approach of police and other agencies would be useful.

3. I am optimistic about this period. At the end of it, if nothing else, we would have more data points to make thoughtful decisions about how to proceed and what other measures need to be taken.

4. Testing is being ramped up, and I hope it is an exponential ramp-up. Local test kits are also approved and beginning production today.

As a nation with 4X the population of the USA, and 1/3rd the area, the population density in India and particularly in the urban areas is off the charts. Hence, the approach suggested in some other countries, like carrying on with walks, exercises and other outdoor activities while practicing 'social distancing', gets much more difficult.

It is nearly impossible to be outdoors in urban areas and not have people nearby. As such, measures have to be very strict. I imagine the situation was similar in Wuhan in China, and they had to impose a complete lockdown as well.

While I agree that this might have been a necessary step, I am skeptical about the optimism part in your response. There are millions of people (daily wage labourers, vegetable and fruit vendors, petty shop owners etc.) in India who just have enough earnings to survive for a day or two and there are quite a sizeable number who barely earn enough to feed and clothe themselves. I don't know how they are going to survive the lockdown period. The government has (or probably will) announce some remedial measures (like distributing subsidised food grains etc.) but given the corruption I am unsure all of the subsidy benefits will be well used. (Cases like flood/drought relief being misused is not unheard of). Add to it the fact that it is the whole country that is affected (unlike in past cases where a state was flooded and relief poured in from other parts of the country), and due to disastrous nature of this epidemic (need to keep the social distance) running any relief efforts in itself presents a challenge. I just pray, and hope.

Some sectors like sea fisheries have totally shutdown, how the millions of people working in them will get wages, how they will be able to obtain essentials etc are serious questions.

Also no suspension of EMIs, loan repayments, rent collections etc announced till now.

More questions remain.

Many states and the central government is making provisions to do direct-to-account money transfer to people. This is just one of the measures being taken up considering the poorer strata of the society. The money being distributed might not be enough, but should help families through the lockdown.

Better than losing the sole earning member of the family to an avoidable disease. :(

I am more worried that the lockdown/curfew will be too stringent, and cause essential services to be shutdown. Many grocery shops etc are closed, as of now, there is no compulsion on them to remain open. Ideally, it would have been better naming it a partial-lockdown and assure the population that essential services shall be provided for without interruption.

With my privileged position in having the freedom to sit at home and work without interruptions, I can only try to be empathetic and imagine the hardships hundreds of millions of people will face.

There is no compulsion that I know of, but most of these businesses have associations and lobbies that will be dealing with the government and trying to keep things open. I have no doubt there will be disruptions all over the country. There are no precedents of such situations, nor would I expect any kind of Standard Operating Procedures to be in place.

It's gonna be chaotic - but hopefully not deadly. And that is the important thing.

Last few days, I have been thinking how disastrous a widespread infection would be in India. I shudder thinking about the numbers if this goes out of hand. A small percentage of 1.4 billion is a huge number. To avoid that, frankly, I'd accept temporary draconian measures.

I have been preaching "Stay at home" to everyone in my circles who would listen. Hope you do the same. :pray:

Take comfort that various organizations have been giving these situations a great deal of thought and the outcome gamed for optimal results, per an ideological point of view.

The military will deliver the food to you. Only thing you need to ask yourself as an Indian is the degree of integrity, honesty, and uprightness of your ruling class. [edit: and not to forget, + authoritarian tendencies]

India in lockdown feels like some European town in peak hours.

There was so much greenery on Google Maps, it felt like nature :P

Few things I have seen in past couple days here in Delhi(which was locked down earlier):

- Many people are making excuses of getting groceries/milk/medicine to roam.

- Some people are just treating it as picnic and roaming streets to see what a lock-down looks like. Local police was perplexed with this thought.

- People who are in essential services are having hard time to get to their workplaces. For example: my sister is a Bio-medical engineer in local hospital and she is not able to book a cab or take local public transport. Today I went to drop her off and police stopped me twice to ask why I am out. We need to somehow make this easier. So essential services and their support can function.

My dad is a Doctor in U.P(state in India for people don't know) and he was on its way to see a critical patient, he was stopped more than 3 times by local police. Being Doctor and seeing a patient was not a good enough excuse, he said. After few minutes of questioning they let him go. But I think the Government should have some measures for this kind of situations.

Rajasthan govt is doing it right, they are giving special ID cards to people with special services.

You'd think having credentials at hand would be a 10-second check.

What a sad way of handling things.

Ah! You don't know nothing about the Indian state we are discussing. It's Uttar Pradhesh, sorta like Florida of India.

more like West Virginia of India.. Florida is a decent place, not that bad.

What about Bihar then

there's touristy florida, and florida.

People roaming in open areas by themselves or with people they cohabitate with is not a threat as long as physical distance is maintained, especially if masks (even improvised ones) are used. Allowing them to do it will allow the public to bear a longer lockdown than cracking down on it.

You don't seem to have an understanding of Indian society. There's a lot of unemployed/non-working youth who usually just roam around aimlessly. If this lockdown is not strictly enforced such people will make the whole effort fruitless. Indian cities are very densily populated. It is virtually impossible to loiter around without getting in close proximity to another person.

Edit: and most of the people who loiter around do it in groups, everybody from a different household.

Edit2: source: I used to be one of those at some point in my life. Thankfully there was no pandemic at that time.

So not the case of "People roaming in open areas by themselves or with people they cohabitate with" on any aspect is it ?

Mostly not.

The problem is that people soon start misusing this. One person comes, then second, then third and soon you have a crowd. This happened at places where people went for morning jogs.

People should walk around outside and keep their distance from other people. Mental health matters too, and being forced to stay indoors will take a toll. There is minimal danger of transmission by taking walks alone or with your household members. Better to simply walk than to have to make an "excuse" like going in to a store when you don't really need to. Unfortunately, in some places you need to do that because outdoor exercise is not permitted.

Distance is not something Indians are used to, we measure distance between vehicles, while driving!, in centimeters and not meters.

Jokes aside, this was a needed measure in India. I just hope the government gives a helping hand to the poor, even if it means I have to pay double the tax this year.

In delhi they've now started giving curfew passes. So people working in essential services can get them.

Places where you can get them : https://twitter.com/BhardwajAnanya/status/124209734947373056...

In the UK / London, this is happening through a system of employer requested letters confirming to the metropolitan police that the holder is in an essential function and should be allowed to travel.

They are doing something of this sort. But it's not the employer but employee themselves that have to go to local police station and get the PASS made. Though this was the provision set by Delhi and not sure how this lockdown(nationwide) changes that.

Also I am worried about support services to essential workers as well. Like just today, my sister(see GP) called a medical equipment company to come and fix an issue with their device that her team is not able to fix. The company refused and just said to talk over video call.

You might think that in a country the size and diversity of India that such a thing would be impossible to do. But I remember the curfew in 1984 after the Indira Gandhi assassination and it was surprisingly widespread. And I remember people helping each other in a frightening time.

Also newspapers continued to publish and be distributed.

Of course the country is so huge I only have my own experiences and that of family members (I happened to be traveling alone that day so had my own experiences).

I would think that after an assassination the fear would really be about violence, that might keep folks in more than say a curfew for something less direct.

That’s exactly what happened. Violence and riots nevertheless still broke out.

I always see comments about how huge and ungovernable India is because of its diversity... doesn't it make sense to break India down into more governable nation-states then?

I read somewhere that there are districts in India with more people than the entire population of Norway!

> doesn't it make sense to break India down into more governable nation-states

Given India's geography, these nation-states would likely find equilibrium in a permanent state of war. Given India's history, this hypothesis has basis.

You could have, and in fact would have, said the same of Europe before 1945.

I'm not sure that's a model to emulate.

That would never work due to external threats. If northern India became a separate nation state it would be vulnerable to invasion from China or Pakistan due to lack of strategic depth and limited resources.

And indeed, divide and conquer was the technique used by the British to take over the subcontinent with only a small force (and some patience). Much more effective than full scale invasion.

The client states didn't even have to cease to exist once they lost actual control.

If that's true then why is Nepal still indepdent?

Because it has India as a neighbour which will protect it in case of invasion from the Chinese. India helped in the formation of Bangladesh when it was struggling for Independence from Pakistan. We fought a War with Pakistan for its liberation.

We helped Bhutan too during the Doklam crisis. India won't and will never invade. So these small countries feel safe. The only time India failed was when India couldn't stop the invasion of Tibet by China. Subsequently, we also lost a War with China when it occupied a portion of Ladakh (Aksai Chin). That loss made us realise the importance of being a nuclear power. So India strengthened only when we acquired nuclear capabilities. That has kept both Pakistan and China in check and ensured some form of stability for the smaller countries that share borders with India.

I’m particularly going off my hazy memory here but there were two things - invading nepal was not worth the cost since nepal doesn’t have much of natural resources and the terrain is tough. The Indo-Gangetic plains south of it were much richer and easier to control. Second, the British for some reason were very terrified of Gurkhas.

Not for lack of trying by Maoist Communists.


If you broke India down, and with it the Hindu vs Muslim farce, there would be no reason for antagonism with Pakistan.

Wouldn't you just get a proxy buffer state like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria? Doesn't sound like an improvement to the status quo.

None of those states make sense because they were built by colonialists drawing lines on a map without regard for native concerns. If Indians themselves sat down to divide India along actual ethno-cultural-linguistic lines we'd end up with better results. I'm not saying it's likely or even possible... just that if it were to happen, they might themselves be happier and more prosperous.

I don't know what that would look like because I don't know India that well, but I do know that the guys at work from Tamil Nadu are very different from the guys from Northern India. It's not a Texas vs California difference, it's a "we don't even have the same mother tongue" difference.

>it's a "we don't even have the same mother tongue" difference.

What is wrong with that? Belgium and the Netherlands are successful peaceful multilingual countries.

There are no clear internal dividing lines, everyone is mixed together. And there is plenty of antagonism between nation states even without significant religious differences; for example see the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq.

That's not exactly how it works. Pakistan claims Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and it has been financing largely unpopular Khalistan movement which calls for a separate Sikh nation. Smaller nations will be much more vulnerable to incursions from Pakistan.

>If you broke India down, and with it the Hindu vs Muslim farce, there would be no reason for antagonism with Pakistan.

Interesting. Your "solution" to the India-Pakistan conflict is to break up India. You also claim the antagonism is one-sided and coming from India.

What makes you think Pakistan will respect the sovereignty of an independent Jammu and Ladakh? What makes you think the Pakistan and Gujarat border will be peaceful?

You could apply the same argument to Pakistan - it's just less strong because Pakistan is smaller and by extension less diverse. I know the Pashtuns have lots of thoughts about having to straddle Pakistan and Afghanistan.

So you want India to be broken up because it will somehow end antagonism with Pakistan. I don't see how that will work at all. It will be much worse for Pakistan as these independent states would then all acquire nuclear capabilities to stop any sort of incursions from Pakistan and China. Instead of one nuclear India you'll have to deal with 36 (28 states + 8 union territories) Nuclear Mini-Indias. It will be a nightmare for both Pakistan and China to handle.

And Pakistan has thrived on the Hindu-Muslim conflict in India. It'll be counterintuitive for Pakistan to dream of seeing India broken up. The antagonism with Pakistan is deep rooted in the psyche of Indians and is something that will never die out. No matter how you divide and subdivide the country. The reason for that is behavior of Pakistan itself. Indians don't forget atrocities done over them so easily. If Pakistan wants improved relations with India or a hypothetical 36 mini-Indias it needs to get its house in order. That will never happen because of its love for housing Islamic Terrorists (like Osama bin Laden and other outfits).

And speaking of Pakistan, it has more to prove that it is a good neighbor than India does. We have good relations with all neighbours except Pakistan. The same can't be said for Pakistan. Pakistan's only ally in the region is China. The other two are Malaysia and Turkey. India is friendly with the World. We have no problems with anyone else. So no one will buy Pakistan's premise that it is somehow the afflicted one here. It is an immature nation that has ambitions way higher than what it is actually capable of.

What makes it worse for Pakistan is its track record of keeping allies. It backstabbed USA and recently backstabbed Malaysia and Turkey too. Wasn't it Imran Khan who wanted to create a separate Islamic block from OIC with Malaysia and Turkey? Then he skipped the first ever meeting of the new Islamic block backstabbing both Malaysia and Turkey in the process. Mahathir lost his chair too because of his hatred for India. Now Malaysia is trying hard to placate India which had always been friendly with it. All because it believed Pakistan. Malaysia ended up losing a trustworthy friend like India and did not gain a friend in Pakistan. The damage it did to Malaysia-India relations is massive. It negatively impacted Malaysian economy. India never forgets insults and atrocities committed on it. Malaysia was literally begging India to restart palm oil imports after Mahathir stepped down and a new Government came into place. Building allies is a hard task that only mature countries are capable of. You can't behave like immature kids in the International community. People see through lies and deceit and will never work with you again. All these factors weigh against Pakistan unfortunately. Pakistan literally destroyed its own image. India was just a catalyst for it. Nothing more.


1. States have some level of independence in India, and that is quite messy to handle. It would be a bigger mess if it were nation-states. Think EU.

2. People won't accept - it may have been a possibility 20 years back. They have seen the consequences of allowing to create first version Pakistan. And if they were forced to chose sides - the smaller nations would be at war and civil war.

And the ungovernable part comes from the mediocrity and complexity mindset. That is more prevalent in the government. The newer generation is different and we might see sudden improvements to India overall after the next 15-20 years, as the older folks fade away

Whether it makes sense to break India down is a politically fraught question. I think most people would agree that its current extreme size is an artifact of the decolonization process; for most of India's history, even during British dominion, the subcontinent had hundreds of independent sovereigns.

Breaking India into India and Pakistan didn't work really well.

Without India and Pakistan partition i.e muslim hindu divide. The subcontinent would have still broken up but along racial and language differences. India and Pakistan needed each other for reason to exist as separate nations.

Yup. There is a large section of the population now, that believes that the partitionwas a good thing in the sense that without it, unity of India itself would be extremely difficult, perhaps leading to severe fragmentation.

That's actually a profoundly interesting insight I haven't heard before.

The people I know from Pakistan are plenty happy with it, given the anti-Muslim sentiment in the Indian government these days. India itself is a relatively thriving nation, for all its faults. I don't think partition was a failure.

Over 1.5 million deaths, families separated, 4 wars fought and countless other small conflicts, extreme animosity towards each other to this day, all of which can be traced back to the wounds of partition. I don't know how you can say partition was not a failure.

Touche - you are right, the human cost was immense. In that sense, partition was a failure. I guess I meant my comment in the sense of how satisfied people are right now with the status quo.

The anti-Muslim sentiment may have prevailed over time, but Muslims still prosper and grow in India. Do know that mainstream anti Muslim sentiment was a consequence of the Muslim League asking for a separate nationhood for Muslims. It may have been a fringe belief but not as mainstream to ask for a separate country until this. Said differently, if the Muslim league hadn't existed and the countries were united, we may not have seen these divisions fester the way they have with the seeds sown back in the early-mid 1900s

This is indeed quite possible and I won't dispute it. My point still stands though - the current Indian government has given plenty of current-generation Pakistanis (ie. those born three generations after Partition) to rediscover an appreciation for having a separate country. (My sources are Pakistani Americans, so take that how you will)

Or maybe it is the fault of establishing Pakistan as a theocratic islamist country that forments the hatred.

We could be United and stayed secular together, but secularism was not acceptable to the Muslim league.

Are you seriously blaming the formation of Pakistan for Modi's anti-Muslim policies three generations later?

You are using it to retroactively justify creation of a theocratic state.

And yes, creation of that theocratic state, the violence of partition, and the terrorism caused by that theocratic state is the reason most Hindus don't like Pakistan and have an inherent distrust of Muslims.

Btw, my understanding of causality is not agreement of the riots and the violence.

Pakistan was perceived as a secular state by its founders, even if that's not how it panned out.

The riots and violence in India today is directly caused by the current government's policies. I know that before Modi, even my religious but western-educated Pakistani friends would point to India and say we should be like them. Not so any more. Something has changed in India in the last decade - blaming an event from three generations ago does Indians and their intelligence a disservice. It implies that they are not in control of their own destiny and are instead held hostage by a three-generation old event.

re: Creation of Pakistan - You can't create a nation created to serve a religion's interests and expect it to be secular. That's just dumb.

> blaming an event from three generations ago does Indians and their intelligence a disservice. It implies that they are not in control of their own destiny and are instead held hostage by a three-generation old event.

Great point. I have mixed feelings about this statement. We've had 4 wars with Pakistan, countless terrorist attacks, and Kashmir as a never ending problem for both nations. While that should ideally only route Indian ire towards Pakistan as a nation - the problem is that it also somehow festers mistrust towards Muslims in the country. The can of worms is somehow never really closed. The 3 generation old event continues to affect our lives.

It also doesn't help that Muslim society is fairly insular and conservative. They are seen with suspicion as being sympathetic to Pakistan. Example : Reports of celebration of Pakistan's victory over India in cricket matches (which is a very very sensitive issue if you are Indian). This isn't an attempt to blame Muslims in India, but it does contribute to a disconnect between the non Muslim and Muslim populations in India. Muslims are somehow seen as outsiders due to the historical animosity - invasion, conversions, creation of Pakistan etc. Some of the other minorities like Christians do not face such discrimination because they're seen as just being regular Indians.

I agree with you that it is downright stupid. BJP does not make it any easier to bring these communities closer either. Ultimately, it is intelligence v/s decades of animosity, emotions, propaganda, actions etc. I personally think the younger generation (millennials and younger) see through the charade and am optimistic about the future.

> Pakistan was perceived as a secular state by its founders, even if that's not how it panned out.

Good story you tell yourselves. Start a country based on religion, and then act surprised that it turned religious. This is your second prime minister "I do not agree that religion is a private affair of the individual nor do I agree that in an Islamic state every citizen has identical rights, no matter what his caste, creed or faith be ... — Governor-General Khawaja Nazimuddin, 1948–49, [33]"

> I know that before Modi, even my religious but western-educated Pakistani friends would point to India and say we should be like them. Not so any more.

I agree that india's going down a dark path and Pakistan should aim for better. Btw, India is still better than Pakistan for rights of its citizens.

> Something has changed in India in the last decade - blaming an event from three generations ago does Indians and their intelligence a disservice

Saying that they are well meaning and fooled by modi also does the same disservice. There is distrust of Muslims, even Indian ones. Why would there not be? They demanded a partition decades ago, and still hold on to communal Sharia laws.

Such historical events are not and should not be easily forgotten, do we forget the holocaust and not criticize white nationalism?

Add to the fact that Pakistan has constantly delved in terrorism. You said something changed in last decade, maybe because Pakistan committed the Bombay attack in 2008?


This is a very inflammatory comment. Many of the Pakistanis and Indian Muslims I know are proud of their South Asian heritage and actually turn their noses up at the Arabicization of their culture. Not all obviously - but enough that I know that your broadstroke painting of Indian Muslims is an extremely unfair characterization.

Indian Muslims and Pakistans and Bangladeshis are no less natives of the subcontinent than the Hindus or the Buddhists or the Jains are - they just happen to practice a different religion.


I'm not peddling theories, I'm raising honest questions that I hope rational minds on HN can challenge me on. Peddling hate won't convince me. :)

I'll assume for a second that you're Indian... let's say your brother were to become Muslim tomorrow. Would he be any less Indian after the fact? Or any less your brother? No he wouldn't. Muslims in India aren't Arabs who invaded and settled, they're Indians who converted. Go back far enough and you probably have a common, Indian ancestor with most of them.

Wonder why no one likes to talk about what happened to the Hindu population in Pakistan since partition.

>Prior to 1947, Hindus constituted between 14% to 23% of the population of what is now Pakistan, that is more than the current percentage of Muslims in India. Cities like Karachi (about 50%) and Lahore (roughly 30%) had sizeable number of Hindus. Today, as per the 1998 census, Hindus comprise a mere 1.6%.

Meanwhile the Muslim population in India has grown as a percentage.


https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-51719204 it goes both ways, buddy.

It would be better for everybody if there was a whole lot less of that feeling going around.

Oh yes. Sorry if I suggested otherwise. But the OP is naive to think that religion doesn’t make very, very real enemies of people.

It’s actually, better than anything else at making enemies for no earthly reason.

They do have a breakdown into governable regions, together the regions form India. Norway has 5 million people. New York, LA, Toronto, etc has more people. Total population isn't a great reason.

Diversity sure is. I imagine the culture in Mumbai is very different from Chennai... whereas LA and NYC are way more similar. Of course, I do not know for sure, please feel free to correct me.

The culture maybe different but people generally get along fine. There might be bullying here and there but I have yet to meet an Indian who believes that breaking up the country will fix their problems. Culture wars fade away because people have realized that cultural mixing has generally been a net benefit. And I’m speaking about this from experience. I have friends and regularly interact with people from majority of the states and none have expressed a desire to break away from the union. The closest people come to is to have more and smaller states. Some states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Rajasthan are still too large for efficient administration.

It always is a fight between having larger (and federal) countries/regions, and having smaller states. There needs to be a balance. Even with Norway, aren't you in EEA and Schengen?

In any case, the geographical boundaries of my state in India changed thrice within a span of ~70 years. And that happened peacefully. I can't imagine that happening without wars if the individual states are nation states.

we have a federal structure on paper, and autonomy is ensured to various regions where it is necessary, but with the current far right government with its "one nation" policy and hindutva, i see India having a difficult time in the future.

You need research a bit about Indira Gandhi and consolidation of Power, oh by the way Communist Party of India was lovingly called Communist Party of Indira.

Modi is a shallow imitation of Indira Gandhi in his attempt to centralize powers.

The "Far Right" is to news papery editorial opinion written by 20 year olds.

You need to read about what happened to Indira and how the country erupted with protests, and you need to stop validating something bad by comparing it to something else, its called whataboutism. Indira is dead, and Modi is the current PM of India.

"One nation" policy isn't an invention of the current government. It's basically what the Constitution says.

> with the current far right government with its "one nation" policy

This is just false. Every government since independence has fought tooth and nail to keep Union of India united a.k.a "one nation" policy. They have, regardless of political orientation, largely made the same moves wrt Kashmir, Naxalism, insurgencies in eastern India etc. Remember who started the unification process in 1947? The current government, right wing and divisive as they may be, isn't doing anything drastically different than any other government in the past. Seems like this is just a cheap shot against a government you don't like.

Look, I wasn't mature enough to have an opinion when the governments of "past" were in. That said, i am a citizen of India, I can criticize my "Current" government and try to hold them accountable. If you want to engage in whataboutism, refrain from having a conversation. I am talking about the things I see, may it be the one elections thing, or the NIA, or electoral bonds, or removing special status of a region without consulting the general public of the region, all of that is nothing but signs of centralization and abuse of power to me.

It's not whataboutism; it's correcting an inaccurate statement you made that a so-called "one nation" policy is adopted by the current government. The country was founded on the "one nation" principle (hence it's called Union of India) and it's not something Modi invented. It's always been there.

By all means criticize your government, but I suggest you also acquaint yourself with history.

> doesn't it make sense to break India down into more governable nation-states then?

The last three partitions of India led to three of the largest genocides of the 20th century, so I'm not sure that would be a great idea.

> I read somewhere that there are districts in India with more people than the entire population of Norway!

New York City has nearly twice the population of Norway. Not the metro area - the city itself.

European cities and countries are small by global standards; it doesn't make sense to use them as a point of reference.

If it happens it will solve the visa issues for many tech workers. Then they'll be able to better compete for visa with other Europeans nations.

Who gets to decide this ?

The colonial experience basically pointed to this flaw -- that India has to be at military and economic level be a Union. Will India in future fragment, possibly.

But the history from 323 BC till today is the same -- fragmented states and weaker prince seeking bargain with foreign force.

India is imperfect will remain choatic -- top down design of making something out of it will make Syria and Holocaust look like picnic. Be careful what you wish for.

Correct me if I'm wrong on this... but from what I recall the Indian subcontinent was never a Union except as a British territory. Even the Mughals never managed to conquer all of southern India.

There are multiple assumptions I see here.

First: Country as a concept is relatively new. There were Empires and/or Kingdoms.

India as a country is created by British, but that's just about word. India as a big empire existed under many kings.

Ashoka Empire: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashoka Maurya Empire: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurya_Empire

Note that edicts mentioned in the above wikis were found outside modern India as a current country.

Second: It's not just the size that matters always, it's about unifying culture. In India, some kings worked in cooperative manner and did not enter wars. For example, in Southern India history, Hari Hara Bukka Raaya (of Karnataka region) did not face trouble with Tiruvankur Empire in cooperative model. At the same time, we had a continuous war between Cholas and Pandyas.

As recently as 800 years ago, Adi Shankara established four mutts in four corners of India. It would not have been possible if people/kingdoms were not united.

Just to give you another perspective, how easy it is to transfer the culture, rituals for generations in entire sub continent if it were not united in minds.

Most unfortunate issue with India is, history is convoluted on both sides. Extreme hinduists expanded original Mahabharatha to double its size, British sympathizers have masked the co-opearative India.

I also keep hearing that it's because of British that we have industry concept. India was the one of the best ship building industry, one of the best clothing industry before British or Europe even can imagine.

Please read Indian history by non-British and their company.

Another unfortunate thing about history is, Cholas and Pandyas empires are not covered much. They spread outside subcontinent, not saying it's great, but it's just the history to be knonwn.

India also has pioneering metalwork (steel) and surgery history.

Most of the country is very much governable.

Breaking down countries doesn't always work. Most of the African countries are smaller than India and you still have issues.

who would get to keep the nukes?

Great question... I don't know. The USSR did figure something out, so there's that.

How well did giving up the USSR nukes work for Ukraine?

Punjab (the state I'm in atm) Police is handing out light punishment to anyone found flouting the rules of the curfew (Punjab is one of the states which have imposed full blown curfew instead of the lockdown).

Punishments include doing situps, holding ears, rolling around in the dirt, making lines in the dirt with your nose, and light beating with batons.

While some may consider it a human rights violation, I think it's much better than burdening the poor with criminal cases. In fact, in most of the cases people prefer to get this light punishment instead of getting charged with a crime.

I feel that isn't really humane. The people found violating curfew could just be educated on why restriction is necessary and what their rights are in present situation, whom they can appeal to if they are not satisfied with the explanation.

Instead, they are subjected to humiliating corporal punishment. This can't be good advertisement for the country.

I take it you've never been to India. In many parts criminal punishment is still dealt out by a mob literally beating the guilty party.

There's a huge difference between mob justice and a policy set by the state directly.

I've been to India, but I never had the "pleasure" of encountering anything like what you describe. Is that mob beating a kind of sentence (i.e. legally commissioned) or is it something one may face anywhere else with people taking justice in their own hands?

It's the later. Heck, if you crash into someone's car, police might not arrive at the place and the guy whoes new car got fucked, might destroy your face.

> The people found violating curfew could just be educated on why restriction is necessary and what their rights are in present situation, whom they can appeal to if they are not satisfied with the explanation.

Unfortunately, that's not likely to work in all parts of India. We cannot expect all first-world practices to work in developing countries.

I have a feeling this doesn’t work even in the developed countries. Sometimes people are just testing the boundaries of what they can really when a new system is brought in.

I recall seeing a thing about creating curfew laws for high school kids. Most kids on the street after school started were from poor neighborhoods and were on their way to school. They were just running late. Making it illegal for them to be there -- out on the street -- was just compounding their problems and creating additional barriers to getting to school.

A lot of rules get made with little understanding of the actual problems and circumstances of a lot of the people they are supposed to apply to.

Mandatory situps as a punishment sounds like a good idea honestly. I'd have no issues police offering that as an alternative to a fine in the UK for petty crimes.

Not so sure about the others though, but fair enough if it works for you guys.

How about cleaning the pavement with a toothbrush? Worked in Germany in the 1930s.

Seriously, I'm astonished about the rise of people advocating dehumanizing authoritarian measures here.

How is a criminal record and being unable to get jobs for a long time more human punishment?

I'd rather get hit with a switch a couple times than be prosecuted for a crime myself, but it's a terrible direction for society to take. You will never be able to restrict police, who are only human, to physically assaulting people only when society deems it appropriate. We have enough trouble as it is with police abuse

> Mandatory situps as a punishment sounds like a good idea honestly

It's rather unequal (for some people it's literally not a punishment, for others it's tortuous), and (less so if it is a voluntary alternative to a citation which has usual due process) it is also a denial of due process if it is summary punishment instituted by the police without judicial oversight.

dominotw 5 days ago [flagged]

police also executes people they deem unworthy of wasting courts time.

proof: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-50682262

"Eschew flamebait. Don't introduce flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say. Avoid unrelated controversies and generic tangents."

The parent comment had one foot on each iceberg, but this is completely unmoored.


ok I was citing this as an example of slippery slope of this thought process

> I'd have no issues police offering that as an alternative to a fine in the UK for petty crimes

It was completly criticized even india. pretty sure its not controversial flamewar.

Anyways. I understand. won't happen again.

I've seen a few videos shared on WhatsApp. Here's a sample on YouTube

Edit: A better link (warning: police hitting people with a cane): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wNQ_V-Ol78

I also came across this one: https://government.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/governa...

To be clear, I don't think this will actually be enforced

>> To be clear, I don't think this will actually be enforced

In my opinion, Army will be called if the police is not sufficient to enforce this.

In general, though the government and police in India are acting with too blunt a force in this issue. Like UK PM mentioned even the need for going out of doors once per day for exercise, Indian PM says don't go out at all, which isn't practicable at all, since virtually all home delivery systems have been shut down (effectively, that is on paper essential services are to continue, but there is not enough framework done for that in many parts of the country, occasions where even the cops arrested the delivery people for curfew violation, and even more incidents where they were beat up).

Similary some states only allowing trucks with essential commodities to enter and exit. Now trucks coming with vegetables etc, often has to go back empty, but state not allowing entry/exit of empty trucks, likewise myriad issues of logistics are needed to be resolved.

I am not happy with the way this govt has handled the economy and this pandemic, but I support the PM in this decision and the police in their violent enforcement today.

People are being too callous. They are going about the city as though everything is normal. Some are celebrating religious festivals, some are going out on vacations and 'long drives'.

We are poor country with 4x the US population, packed so tightly even 7Zip would be put to shame. We don't have money or medical infrastructure to fight this at later stages.

FYI - Essential supplies are being kept open, govt services are being kept open, food delivery is being kept open. Free groceries (rice, dal etc)are being given to people who need it.

I pray that our country survives this without too many deaths, even as an atheist, because that's the only thing I can do now.

Thank you for a well reasoned and measured take on this situation. My parents (in their 60s and 70s, living in India) made mention of the callous attitude you refer to as well. Culturally and practically (because of population density social distancing will not be effective unless it is implemented strictly/forced upon people. Forced isolation/curfew is a hard thing for people with different cultural backgrounds to reconcile with, but is just about the only way to stem this tide in India.

billfruit says> "In general though the government and police in India are acting with too blunt a force in this issue."

That is OK. After a few days police and government staff will begin to fall ill as a consequence of their actions. They will, as a group, realize how foolish it is to constantly interdict people. Police interdiction numbers will be reduced due to both illness and to "street smarts".

> In general though the government and police in India are acting with too blunt a force in this issue.

Given that the only other option is to pile the hospitals with dead bodies, force short of killings should be used.

I don't see even in China, resorting to police violence in such condition.

Are you in China? Could you explain/give context to the violence shown here: https://twitter.com/AF632/status/1238704923417575424

Honestly? Unless I missed something, that's a totally OK level of force. They did not hit, beat, trample or otherwise assault that guy. They were rough, but not violent. As rough as required to get him out. I'm sure he was bruised, that's part of resisting. But no, I see no violence there. I say this as someone who is European and politically left-wing (i.e. against government authority).

Context matters - we're not talking about making arrests here.

Mostly because the people in China know that violence would happen as the government reminds the people from time to time. So they keep quite and obey.

Since India doesn't do this regularly, they have to give a crash course to people who think that the law won't touch them

In reality though the law can't really touch them. I think the fines are quite small amounts like 4$ dollars for violating containment etc, and its bailable too, so legally police don't have a strong imperative to do anything much except chalk a fine.

That too could be challenged, I doubt if all those quarantined, isolated etc in India has been given formal quarantine orders, considering the chaos at airports.

And additionally at this juncture government wouldn't want to overcrowd the prisons at this point of time.

Containment is technically restricted to passengers who arrived in India after 2/15. There is no such restriction for the rest of the population... Of course, with India, there is the legal theory and its 'practice'. I imagine the police will make a killing with all the bribes in the coming weeks.

I think a fisheries have come to standstill and low chances of fish being available further in the markets. Also I wonder how long poultry and eggs remain available.

Home delivery systems have been shut down??

No - Swiggy, Zomato, Amazon, Flipkart, Grofers, Medlife, 1Mg, PharmEasy and many more are functional, but at decreased capacity.

These services cater only to major cities though. The govt is looking to keep supply lines of essentials open even in villages and remote towns.

Not yet. Aleast in Pune.

Good question. Who will deliver? And drones or drone delivery is mostly banned in India

There is no question of whether lockdown is needed or whether there was other alternatives.

But as usual with everything else, it's the poor who are going to be affected the most.

• Daily wage workers, as it implies should earn every day to feed their family. They have already faced the wrath of COVID-19 for past few weeks due to stoppage of certain work, now there will a complete halt.

•States do have public distribution schemes to distribute food ingredients at subsidised rate, certain states have announced making them free; yet there are several labourers who have travelled outside their states and they wouldn't be eligible to get it.

•Those who can stock up supplies have already did, in-spite of govt. requesting not to do so. Again, those who listened to the request (or) do not have the purchasing capacity would be the most affected in the coming days.

•Essential services personnel e.g. Garbage disposal, health workers, utilities etc. should be provided PPE; unfortunately most garbage disposal/sewage cleaners don't have gloves or masks even on normal days in most areas.

•Even if Govt. decides to send money to the poor directly, many don't have Bank Accounts.

Edit: It seems there was a need to clarify poor. For the sake of discussion, let's consider people below poverty limit($14-$17/month) as poor; i.e. 22% according to 2012 statistics but as you can see the limit itself is set very low when compared to standards of a developed country.

>it's the poor who are going to be affected the most.

since there's more poor than rich, thats just statistics. if you select 1000 random people, most of them will be poor.

Edited to include BPL as definition of poor.

The US federal government has dug the graves of a million Americans by not doing the same already. Reality has a terrible way of smacking you in the face whether you accept it or not.

Nationwide lockdowns don't really work unless you are trying to totally contain it, which is likely impossible in the US, Europe, and India.

Each metro area and state should lock-down when they think they are going to get near their max ICU capacity (of course taking into account that hospital load lags by 2-3 weeks).

It doesn't do any good to lock down a city that doesn't have any community spread yet. It's just pure economic pain without any benefit.

There's no way to know that there is community spread without comprehensive testing.

In order to stop transmission, infected people need to be quarantined. If you have no idea which individuals are infected...the (incredibly painful, yes) alternative is everyone.

You are talking with certainty about things which are completely unprecedented right now. The fact is you don't know for what is and isn't possible, and you don't know what should be done - nobody really does.

The general government has no right to perform such actions. State governments do and have done so where they think it makes sense.

Also, making statements like millions of Americans will die is causing more harm than good. The country with the highest per capita infections in San Marino with 553 infections/100K pop [1]. San Marino is a small city state. Switzerland has the highest per capita cases of "real" countries and is still 5x lower at 107/100k pop. Since the United States is a much larger country with a much lower population density, the infection rate of San Marino likely wouldn't translate. However, even if we do so that would give a total number of cases in the US of 1.8 million. That means there wouldn't even but millions infected let alone dead.

[1] https://direkte.vg.no/coronaviruset/news/5e63e839d2df520011e...

It's too early to say that. But if they do lift it next week like Trump is trumpeting, then it will.

Yes, the doomer narrative is getting old very quickly. Everyone and their mothers are running formulas in Excel to try and prove that in 50 days 3.4783 billion people will be wiped out if you go out to buy groceries.

Let the experts do their work, take your precautions and everything will be fine.

Meanwhile in Spain...

Madrid has converted its largest ice rink into a morgue:


Staff are leaving senior homes and their inhabitants to their own devices. Soldiers have found deserted senior homes with bodies of victims:


Arguably, the planet isn't going to get wiped out. This isn't Hollywood. But rapidly mounting deaths, strained or collapsing health care systems and widespread fear will make these type of stories inevitably more prevalent in many countries in the next couple of weeks.

"everything will be fine" sounds nice.

But it's crystal clear that it won't be fine for many. The vast majority isn't going to die, but many will lose family members, friends, jobs, their current way of living,... And that's just horrible in itself.

You are forgetting that the people deciding the fate of this country is Trump and his billionaire cronies? I don't know how you can put your faith in "experts" anymore when the experts are controlled by these people.

What's the alternative ? Mass hysteria ? Hoarding of basic necessities ? It's like people feed off of this apocalyptic porn atmosphere, very disturbing.

It's been weeks now that people have been throwing the same line: "well wait and see in two weeks".

According to official stats, there are 17k deaths worldwide at the time of writing for 450k confirmed cases, assuming the number of cases grows exponentially, the death rate will eventually be much lower than what people are projecting.

That's a reflection of how wide / narrow is being tested by those who entered health care systems. It's extremely hard to accurately extrapolate that to a global population.

The million dollar question here is how many cases go unnoticed. How many deaths go unnoticed. Nobody really knows.

Nobody knows how mortality is going to evolve either, since nobody knows how well health care systems around the world will be able to cope. Collapsing health care systems will yield a different outcome then those that do cope. And we don't know how they will cope.

So, I'm not accepting either "a few ten thousands" or "multiple millions" of deaths predictions at face value. The right answer is the very uncertain "we do not know".

What is clear is that people die from this, that no one is immune, and that a confusing response of authorities that aren't able to rally together doesn't really spark confidence.

> The million dollar question here is how many cases go unnoticed. How many deaths go unnoticed. Nobody really knows.

Few deaths are going unnoticed. Even without this virus, there are cases every year in the US of isolated seniors dying at home because they were unable or unwilling to seek help. But it is trivial.

As far as actual cases of CV, can't we assume that the highest possible accurate infection rates would be coming from the countries with the best testing - those who are testing randomly or even those who aren't sick. And even in those countries, we're not seeing a death rate any higher than a normal flu season, apparently.

In the US, we're only testing those who show up at the hospital and are already sick. Our infected rate is missing out on all those people who don't need hospital care or don't even realize they already had and recovered from the virus.

So most countries have, in fact, a much smaller death rate than what is being published. If anything, the math here is telling us that we're overreacting, and the only question is by how much.

Those are valid points. But we don't know if the samples we have are representative. Either because of their size, or their composition.

Extrapolating the results from one context into a different context - different parameters (i.e. hospital capacity, treatment, prevention, local culture,...) - also yields a skewed view.

Even experts don't know how ugly it's going to get:


So, I don't want to make any guesses about exact death rates. That's just a number. What we do know is that a substantial number of people who get sick will need intensive care. How bad things will get depends on how well health care and social security systems will be able to cope; and how the other domino's - companies, taxpayers,... - will cope with that reality.

And 1.8 billion people in stay-at-home mode, but you may not think this may have anything to do with it.

Did you simply just woke up and decided to troll?

It will be interesting to see if India is able to be effective in this lockdown. Unlike China, centralized control has been limited in recent history, even at the local level.

But as living standards have risen, some people have developed civic sense. Also, on the individual, family, and community level, there are many traditional practices that are similar to social distancing that, though they have some questionable origins in repressive social structures.

At least they are not in denial anymore.

Yes, but people are very afraid of police and authority in India, so Indian citizens can be made to comply if the police is deployed in force.

Where I think it would falter is in keeping the essential supplies running. Even todays PM speech contained no indication that essential services will have to be running. Without that lockdown could turn ugly.

There was an official document sent out on the official social media and traditional media channels that answers all these questions [1]. td:lr, essential services will continue to work

[1]: https://twitter.com/ANI/status/1242476674710560770

Yes thats all fine, but the local cop maning the check point should be aware of these terms and behave humanely, that is what I fear won't happen. That is what is observed all over the country last 3 days.

Not to mention the massive possibility that the cops at checkpoints will see in the bribes the can collect to let people pass.

What would you rather have cops do to people riding around on motorcycles without helmets in clear violation of curfew? These are likely folks with a mobile phone (safe assumption given mobile phone penetration in India) who have heard the news and know that cops are cracking down on people in the streets.

To go out despite knowing what they know is tantamount to violating curfew with impunity. Cops are not in the streets to provide a PSA about COVID19. They are there to enforce the law. For once they are vs. taking bribes (a common topic shout Indian cops on HN). Now you have a problem with that as well? Please suggest a scalable solution. The time to coddle people into doing their part to “arrest” the spread of COVID19 has passed.

Are cops in other countries swinging lathis to enforce lockdown. I suggest that the cops politely explain the need for the restriction, and what are the citizens rights in this situation, with assurance of due process if people have legitimate reason to go. Remember, in UK even daily exercise, visit to park counts as a legitimate reason.

I believe that people can be allowed around for such activities as long as social distancing is followed.

What do you do when all the polite explanations does is earn you a finger. Not a rhetorical question, wish I knew the answer.

The police is not that well respected by the people and rarely do the cops work for the people at least for their day to day interactions. People see them as rotten institutions there to only to collect bribe and do the bidding of the political party in power. Unless you have some clout even registering a complaint with them like a burglary or theft is a challenge. They would do everything in their capacity to prevent that from happening. Unless the commissioner is your neighbor or a buddy you will have a tough time.

This is harsh on police officers who genuinely want to make a difference, but they are a shrinking breed. Even a driving motivation to become a police officer is for the opportunity to get bribes. Lower level recruitment by the police are a complete sham riddled with corruption. A constable bribes to get the job.

Polite explanation works when there is some mutual respect.

How is social distance enforced when you are riding pillion on a motorcycle?

Name another country with the population of India, level of illiteracy, lack of civic sense, and general disregard for rules. If said country exists and has implemented a scalable solution, let's propose it to the Indian authorities.

Is there no government website? How are people supposed to verify if something is “official”?

There is. But due to the unique social makeup of the internet in India, a lot of people can use social media on mobiles rather that visit websites. It's quicker to use social media for such notifications

They whole county lockdown, is not practical.

I would love to know what's your perspective on this like what else the govt should be doing?

Currently in Bangalore. The one day curfew on Sunday was promising. Just a day before the curfew, you could find large groups of people playing cricket, basketball, going on walks, etc. That's mostly stopped, with the police strictly forcing people to disperse and go back home. A neighboring state chief minister just mentioned during a press meeting that people will be shot at sight if they leave their homes... without debating whether it's healthy to issue orders like that, I'm relatively confident that the quarantine will be executed effectively.

My concern though: the economic pressure of staying indoors will make a 3 week long (minimum) quarantine very tough. Based on certain sources, more than half the workforce are daily wage labors. Every day they don't work, they're not paid and they don't have insurances / safety nets to leverage.

Unless there's an influx of aid (from the government or otherwise) to help these folks pay for food / rent / pay back loans, etc. in the short term, there will be significant suffering, likely riot attempts and suicides. I'm already feeling significant panic from daily wage worker groups. There needs to be some kind of aid announcement ASAP to help them cope.

Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme, said that large, densely populated countries such as India will determine “the future of this pandemic.” It is “exceptionally important” that India take aggressive steps to contain its spread

India has also just approved the use of Hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure with a doctor's prescription.


I would like to give everyone a different perspective of things

1. As an Indian why do I believe community transmission has not started or rampant: Because our hospitals are not overrun with people with breathing issues

2. Is this the right thing to do? Well, we don't have the capacity to treat the entire population, this we need to "cut the curve" rather than flatten it. Will this work? Your guess is as good as mine.

3. Will people obey the curfew: I really hope so

4. Should we test more? Sure maybe, but here is the thing we can't test someone once and be done with it, constant testing will be needed, and at our size, we can't do it, which is why I believe ICMR started with testing patients with some symptoms. Also, if people get the test, and they are negative, it might feel like a license to go back to regular life, which is a risk.

We are in uncharted waters. I really hope we can get to some scale in temperature surveillance at scale in the near future.

> I believe community transmission has not started or rampant: Because our hospitals are not overrun with people with breathing issues

That is a serious, potentially fatal (literally!) mistake. One of the things that makes covid-19 so nasty is that it is transmissible long before the onset of symptoms.

This is still up in the air. The WHO says that, while there are documented cases of pre-symptomatic transmission, it is not the main driver of infection like with the flu, see: https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-...

"First, COVID-19 does not transmit as efficiently as influenza, from the data we have so far.

With influenza, people who are infected but not yet sick are major drivers of transmission, which does not appear to be the case for COVID-19.

Evidence from China is that only 1% of reported cases do not have symptoms, and most of those cases develop symptoms within 2 days."

This report is from March 3rd, so maybe our understanding has evolved.

> Evidence from China is that only 1% of reported cases do not have symptoms

I may be missing something here, but this seems like selection bias. If they're not showing symptoms, they're much less likely to get tested and, as such, reported.

> This report is from March 3rd, so maybe our understanding has evolved.

A speech from the director-general. Not a report?

> With influenza, people who are infected but not yet sick are major drivers of transmission, which does not appear to be the case for COVID-19.

This is the same WHO that claimed "no evidence of human to human transmission" not long ago. Regardless, iirc, the R0 for SARS-CoV-2 is estimated at 2.5 to 3.5, much higher than Influenza's, which is at 1.8. It doesn't matter if SARS-CoV-2 is spread by the infected yet not sick, because the R0 is significantly higher, plus the incubation period is too damn long and there's no therapeutic treatment nor a vaccine.

When the dust settles, and more conclusive and complete research is done to learn about the virus, we will have all the answers, but given the current state of affairs, imo, it is highly unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 is any less infectious than Influenza.

The method of infection matters. Singapore and Taiwan have done amazingly well specifically because they enforce quarantine of infected individuals along with various levels of testing to identify those individuals, for example people having their temperature checked outside public buildings.

Fair point.

Does WHO reference any studies that prove asymptomatic folks don't infect others?

If you happen to know, what explains the higher R0 and higher rate of infection world-wide?

> ...for example people having their temperature checked outside public buildings.

That isn't bullet-proof, tbh. India saw instances of people popping paracetamols to work around temperature checks.

Nothing is bulletproof, all we can do is take actions to reduce probability of transmission and the actions chosen should target the greatest drivers of transmission.

I am not aware of any studies but on the other hand it would be incredibly easy for cases of asymptomatic spread to actually have been infected by a symptomatic person, in a chaotic environment it's difficult to get good data.

> it is not the main driver

That may well be, but "not the main driver" != "not a driver". Do you really want to roll those dice?

I will here simply point you to the countries which have had great success combating this epidemic, such as Singapore and Taiwan. They exercise strict quarantine of infected (note, not uninfected) individuals plus contact tracing.

Yes, and contact tracing involves testing people regardless of whether they have symptoms, and quarantining them if they test positive.

Yes, infected individuals are infected individuals. We are talking about asymptomatic spread. It can be difficult to tell whether you have symptoms or it's just a particularly bad pollen day. For this reason quarantining known-infected individuals is a good idea, rather than having them mill around until the very second they get a sore throat.

Okay, I think we're agreeing...otherwise I really don't understand what your position is about asymptomatic people.

I have wondered for quite a while about this so maybe you can help. How does it spread without symptoms?

Like, I get that you start shedding the virus, but if you don't cough or sneeze and practice generally good hygene it should not spread, right?

> How does it spread without symptoms?

People cough and sneeze all the time even if they are healthy. Also, when you talk, you expel droplets of saliva when you make sounds like "P" or "B" or "K". The virus travels in those droplets. They float through the air, someone else breathes them in, and voila.

I'm speculating, but there are a lot of normal, asymptomatic ways in which a virus may be spread.

1. Mucus. Cold weather can trigger a brief runny nose, which in turn is easy to wipe on sleeves, arms, or the back of the hand without much/any thought.

2. Saliva. Spittle from speaking is just about impossible to stop.

Yeah, totally forgot about the second one. Thanks!

In some cases it's enough just to breath to infect people - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25816216/

I don't disagree it would be a fatal mistake, but the logic I am trying to calm my self with is: it has been 3 weeks, if an outbreak was to happen, it would have drowned our medical infrastructure already

>As an Indian why do I believe community transmission has not started or rampant: Because our hospitals are not overrun with people with breathing issues

Labourer travelling in train (usually it's general class, cheapest ticket) have contracted COVID-19 a week back[1].

Person who has not travelled much outside his home and has no known contact with anyone from foreign travel has contracted COVID-19[2].

How many poor people in India visit doctor for systems similar to common cold/flu? Even if they visit Govt. hospital and die from it, How many deaths of people with such symptoms in Govt. hospitals published?

>Is this the right thing to do? Well, we don't have the capacity to treat the entire population, this we need to "cut the curve" rather than flatten it. Will this work? Your guess is as good as mine.

Yes, should have done 2 weeks back. Unfortunately with any poor country with large inequality; it's the poorest who would be affected by this as well.

>3. Will people obey the curfew: I really hope so

It is lockdown, no curfew. Curfew (144) in India denies people not to gather in groups; now during lockdown every single person outside their house is liable to be questioned by the authorities.

>4. Should we test more?

Yes. But I'm not sure how many would take the effort to visit testing center. Again, it's poor who would not have the mechanism to even get tested.



> As an Indian why do I believe community transmission has not started or rampant

Oh stop it! There have been confirmed cases of folks who do not have travel history but are infected with SARS-CoV-2 [0]. Plus, we aren't even testing enough to know the extent of the spread.

> Is this the right thing to do?

It is absolutely the right thing to do. Should have happened sooner.

> ...we can't test someone once and be done with it, constant testing will be needed, and at our size, we can't do it

This is not even a good excuse. The only way to get out of a quarantine or lockdown before a vaccine is ready is to extensively test anyone that wants to be tested, and if positive, contact-trace everyone else and have them tested too. There's no other way anyone is getting ahead of the spread otherwise. Repeat after me: Testing isn't sufficient by all in itself, but it is absolutely necessary.

> I really hope we can get to some scale in temperature surveillance at scale

Temperature surveillance? Jesus Christ, you do not think tests are enough but want checks for symptoms that close to 80% infected people do not display for days on end, if ever?

[0] https://hindustantimes.com/india-news/coronavirus-is-tamil-n...

Like you, I would also like to put my views on it. I make no claims that I know any more than you do.

> why do I believe community transmission has not started or rampant

We already have many unexplained cases of local transmission. So yes it has already begun.

Nothing you or me say will change this fact.


> Is this the right thing to do?

This is the best we can do in India. If you have anything else feel free to share. Right now I can't think of anything else with the current already crumbling medical infrastructure we have in India. > Will people obey the curfew:


Is there a problem with how India is doing it?


Is there a problem with Indians?


This is human nature. People will panic.

But this is no reason to not apply a curfew.

> they are negative, it might feel like a license to go back to regular life

Finally, I see someone who thinks logically.

Otherwise, people either support whatever Modi says or oppose whatever he says. No common sense applied to understand what is right or what is wrong.

> We are in uncharted waters.

You want to stay in a comfort zone. I am sorry to disappoint you.

Corona virus is not the last pandemic you would see in your life time.

And this is yet far away from the worst humanity has seen.

Search Spanish flew. Just think about medical understanding doctors have back in those days. Yet they fought and we survived.

We would survive this also. Long live Humanity.

I am happy the Govt has imposed strict lock down starting today, but its too little too late, we should have hunkered down in beginning of March. We saw things well in advance with data of progression in China and Italy.

This govt was callous in its approach.

I pray the medical infrastructure is able to handle the upcoming deluge. Peak infection rates are known 14 days after a complete lock down, IF THERE IS COMPREHENSIVE TESTING alongside the lock down. Our testing is woefully inadequate at the moment.

How many people in India live on daily wages. In countries with large poor populations this is a very hard balance to keep. Close down everything and a few million people die of hunger keep it open and few million will die from getting infected.

I get your point, but India is country where most are multi generational homes. Supplying food and essentials to people who need it during a lock down is easy, treating people when medical infrastructure is overwhelmed is a lot harder. Also, when the medical infrastructure breaks down even cases which need basic care like IV hydration could turn fatal.

If we had a lock down in beginning of March it would be over in a week or 2. Now the lock down is 21 days. It may get worse.

It usually takes a week or two after infection for people to get so bad they need to seek help. So them not overloading hospitals yet doesn't tell you very much of the situation today. They could very well be completely overrun in two weeks, which is what happened in Italy.

It definitely can, but we had our first case more than 14 days ago.

It does not go from zero to overload in two weeks and nobody knows where India is on the curve.

Agree there. But all we can do is hope from here on.

It is easy to turn the country into a police state and lock everything down. I think what is required is what the UK called a partial-lockdown, where the essential services including food, medical care, etc remain easily available to people. As of now, India government plans on that direction has been patchy, unclear and execution pathetic.

It is a sad state when the police is beating up and arresting journalists, and those delivering or out to buy medicines/food.

Overall the government trying to be extremely paternal and the language used is lacking a humane touch.

If you follow the news. This is exactly what is happening here.

All the essentital service are avaialable.

News has reports of people getting beat up by police too.

Meds, vegetables and essential services are available. My father was able purchase vegetables without much hassle.

While I don't support police beating those who break curfew, it should be understood that India is severely underpoliced and Police do have a difficult job ahead.

How does healthcare work there? Is there a free-to-use system? Insurance based? Someone tell us.

80% of the population is uninsured [1]. They go to underresourced government or religious-charity run hospitals when severely ill but otherwise have limited access to medical care by western standards.

The upper middle class increasingly have insurance like people in the US, and the very wealthy pay for treatment directly. Both groups seek care at private hospitals that have equipment and staff that would rival those in wealthy countries - often set up and funded by Indian physicians abroad.

My family have to invested in such hospitals and I have toured them. No doubt they do charitable work on the margins, but they likely can't scale to a pandemic.

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_insurance_in_India

There is a pseudo-insurance scheme called Ayushman Bharat[1] which is freely available for people below a specific income limit.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayushman_Bharat_Yojana

That is however extremely underfunded, and has high rates of fraud.

It's also very new (started in September 2018), so it probably has nowhere near the institutional strength or depth (to say nothing of the funding) to deal with a pandemic of this scale. According to the wiki page:

"It covers 3 days of hospitalisation and 15 days of post hospitalisation, including diagnostic care and expenses on medicines."

3 days of hospitalization even with the best facilities is probably nowhere near enough for a serious COVID19 case.

Then again, health insurance providers in the US also recently balked quite strongly at the US administration's suggestion that they cover the full cost of COVID19 treatment, including co-pays:


How this all is paid for - and the delicate question about who has the right to the best treatment (those who can pay?) - are big issues that will soon be faced by health services and governments in all societies, whether wealthy or developing.

Generally, the good ones are paid. For hospitalization one can take insurance where premium is paid annually.

There are government hospitals and they are average. They are better avoided by people who can afford private clinics.

But for epidemic causing diseases the government is very active and proactive when they understand the protocol. If you are in quarantine, they will give your free medicines for you and the people you contacted, free and hygienic food, will sanitize your house and neighborhoods if needed. If you hospitalized yourself to a private hospital, the cost is yours. But otherwise the government will take care of hospitalization. Their quarantine beds are nothing less than world-class. However, things can be drastically different and painful for your care taker once out of quarantine. ICUs (non-quarantine) in government hospitals have a higher rate of passing on a secondary infection.

Even at the costly private hospitals, cost of healthcare is quite low in India compared to the western countries and quality is similar. But they are not adequate for the pandemic of Covid19 scale

Free to use based on need. You can also buy private catastrophic insurance. It's also mostly affordable (unless you need specialist surgery). States have their own hospitals and prioritize their residents. You need a local id card and there are separate queues/checkin procedures for state residents (vs out of state) at government hospitals. Unlike the US, everything is priced (menus) and surgeries and hospitalizations are not seen as a way to gouge patients (i.e. a senior doctor poking their head in your room and glancing at your chart will not incur a 4 figure "consultation fee"). One thing they do there that I wish US hospitals did was: at the end of your surgery, they give you a list of all the consumables used (gauze/gloves/bandages/sutures/ports/i.v. tubes etc) and you're asked to either pay for them or buy those from a pharmacy of your choice and deliver them to the hospital.

There are public hospitals which are very low-cost but lack infrastructure, and there are private hospitals which are expensive but tend to offer better services. Insurance for private hospital chains or groups exists but not everyone has it. AFIAU, even private healthcare is relatively cheaper than many western countries.

Depends on your definition of cheap. An average person in india earns very little and does not invest enough to fight against the inflation rate or growing age.

We have a mix of private and public healthcare. Most of the lifting is done by private healthcare system (government seems to encourage that).

Public healthcare is abysmal unless you are in a tier 1 city or higher. Central government does little and most responsibilities is on the state government so you would see varied healthcare in different states.

I don't see many people using insurance to pay their bills. Most of it is paid by their pockets. It's changing but I don't want a situation where majority of the people have health insurance and companies start abusing the lowest section of the population who wouldn't be able to afford it. It's already happening. If you let clinics know that you are covered by insurance, they will do more quite a lot more tests and make you sit there.

There are free govt run hospitals but they are unhygienic and don't have enough facilities.

The private hospital sector is better though. But not everyone can afford it.

Free to use Civil hospitals, free medical insurance for low income groups, almost free life insurance for low income group. Strong pharma and clinical base, as India is largest manufacturer of generic drugs. Still, hospitals are not proportional to population, so to flatten the curve this was required.

Conditions of Public hospitals hugely depends on the state. States like Kerala has good public hospitals while other states have very pathetic health system.


Healthcare provided by government hospitals is free/subsidized. Though the number of such hospitals/doctors are not sufficient for our population.

I work with some Indians and heard them talk about kids in the street playing "corona tag" ....

Perhaps a lockdown might prevent those sorts of things ?

Given the huge reliance on outsourced IT labor in India, I would curious to see how it would affect operations in the West. The pandemic is already affecting school's and testing centers that rely on online proctoring based in India - most of them not available at least until the end of the week (this is before the announcement).

It has already affected a major bank I work for - we have a lot of outsourced ops people in India and as of today, they're forbidden from coming to the office (while our policies forbid them from working from home, as they are contractors). The management is frantically scrambling to replace them with other random employees with zero hand-over. It's a mess.

I am in India and work full-time a US-based firm. We weren't permitted to work from home by our SOC department. But due to this situation we are being allowed to do it.

Interestingly, Modi has not specified yet how people are supposed to get supplies. That should go over well.

This is being handled at the state level. Message copied from my city's facebook page: Due to corona virus threat there will be complete curfew in xxxx on 25th march 2020 also. public is requested to remain in their homes and not allowed to come out.

However milk, vegetables and other essential goods will be supplied to them at their home door to door by milkman, vendors and rehries etc. we are taking help of best price shop, swiggy, zomoto and other online companies and they will also be supplying grocery items door to door.

but when they reach in your locality , people should not crowd the vendor vehicle and should wait for it to come to their home. they should maintain the distancing norm of 5 feet while making purchase from them. all of them must wear mask and only one person should come out of the home to purchase from the cart. try to make payment online as far as possible.

General public is not allowed to come out of their homes during curfew. if anybody requires any pass to move in the curfew he should apply in the DC or CP office onlone.

However following persons can come out without passes during curfewbut some ID card of the Individual is Mandatory.

1. Doctors & other Hospital Staff of Govt and Private Hospitals. 2. Electricity and water supply Department Employees. 3. Municipal Corporation Staff. 4. ATMs/Banks. 5. Private Security Guards going to duty in uniform. 6. Patients having Medical Emergency cases. 7. Telecom Company Employees on duty during office hours. 8. All types of Goods/Fodder/Supplies carrying vehicles including Interstate goods vehilces. 9. Patrol Pumps (06:00 AM to 08:00 PM) 10. Hawkers of Recognised News papers (05:00 AM to 08:00 AM) 11. LPG delivery vehicles for door to door supply (06:00 AM to 08:00 PM) 12. Milk Plant vehicles and their Employees on duty.

Is that quoted verbatim or did you translate it? It doesn't sound like language government officials would use.

Quoted verbatim actually. This post is by the police, not the government

This sounds like official Indian English complete with phonetic misspellings


You clearly haven't read my post history if you think I'm white.

Which city is this?

Sorry for not adding that. I don't post my location online as a practice.

Thanks for sharing what you could! Stay safe!

Modi didn't say anything but this was decided at a local level. In my town,

1. Vegetable vendors will be open from 6 am to 10 am. 2. Grocery shops will be open from 5pm to 7pm 3. Hospitals/clinics/chemist shops will remain open as usual.

If the entire point is to stop crowding, then govt should open them as long as possible. 2 hour window is going to create crowd.

Indians are practicing Untouchability for 2700 years https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rigveda

#SocialDistancing is not different/difficult http://archive.vn/bEMTt

Ultimately I think this has been a failure of containment and testing in India. The airport based checks has been abysmal, with reportedly much confusion and overcrowding. I wonder many of the people who got the virus got them in Indian airports at the time of their entry.

Also the quarantine legal framework is also no clear. In US people in federal quarantine are issued a quarantine form, indicating the duration, location and terms of medical review with automatic reviews every 72 hours. I have not heard of similar formalized quarantine scheme in India, rather much confusion abounds.

This is just a slightly off-topic thought that I need to get off my chest, sorry for that.

Some time ago I read that Walt Disney (the person) was obsessed with washing his hands. He allegedly washed his hands every few minutes. I never gave this much attention, but if you consider that he was sixteen years old at the time of the Spanish Flu, and if you take a look at us now, this behavior suddenly becomes much more understandable. Let's all try to keep sane during in these strange times.

A somewhat tangentally tech related question: Since (it seems that) all support is now done out of Indian call centers, how badly is this going to affect the ability to get support when needed?

As an example, should I expect support from, say, Cisco or Verizon (two companies that I know from recent experience are running their support orgs out of India), to simply up and cease to exist? Will it somehow get more frustratingly difficult than it is already Or should I expect business as usual?

Is working from home a possibility for the tens of millions of developers and call center workers?

How's India's internet access at homes? I lived in S. India about a decade ago, and the internet was okay at the various IT offices, but it seemed a lot of office workers used their work PCs for a lot of personal business like banking and media (i.e. after hours), and I assumed this was because access was poor in home residences.

But maybe it has improved in the last decade.

It's now better, I am currently in India with 500mbps uplink through local ISP.

Indian here in the midst of things .Overall I think this is the best possible decision modi can take and the public (here in Hyderabad at least) are taking this very seriously , compared to a week ago I can hardly see a single person on the road . Police are there at almost all major signals checking for reasons why people are outside.

The reaction is good, in a way that it buy government and other institutions time to work out better way to tackle this emergency. I think other countries are not so keen to take such actions, why is that ? What should be better solution in long run for the world as a whole ?

But it required a huge amount of continued police presence and threat of vacuous criminal action on top of peoples natural fear for life to achieve that. Police has been using force on people on the last 2,3 days. That would be deemed unacceptable in most advanced countries.

Such draconian measures had to be used as many people aren't exactly serious in India. There are people who are using this situation for "family get-togethers" and other types of fun activities. The PM literally had to plead everyone to remain at their homes.

It's a cute thought. Maybe this will drive India towards improving their internet, healthcare and infrastructure. One can dream...

The whole thing about warmer region being less infected is still very much controversial, and not backed by any strong science.

India, like other warmer regions, has not been very active in the diagnostic. This is also what explains the low numbers you in Africa, Middle-East, and part of Asia.

Right now there is only one way that we currently have to stop this, and it is to do it Wuhan-style. Full lockdown for 8 weeks.

And forget about chloroquinone, studies published over the past 2 days are showing that it doesn't make a dent if you are already infected.

What I believe is that warmer regions would slow it down because it travels through water droplets which won't stay longer in the air in summer.

The virus they have to alive to be killed by sun rays(Yeah UV rays can destroy virus but in that case, we already be having skin cancer by now.)

Difference is that, cells can replace and repair themselves, this virus cannot.

Louisiana is not slouching in number of infected cases so that should put paid to warm weather hypothesis

What are you talking about? Louisiana as a over a 1100 cases and they went in shutdown mode yesterday!

Is not slouching meaning they have plenty, so warm weather is not a panacea. I live here, I know.

How hot is Louisiana right now ? 110 will be normal for a large part of India in a month.

Culturally (I realize India is multi-cultural), are Indian people more likely to wear masks when out in public during times of a pandemic?

Haven't seen it ever happen before. But this time is different. I am seeing almost no one without a mask outside.

It's not been a thing here except for pollution. Recent days lots of people have been wearing though, with current situation I expect it to increase.

A lot of them are wearing masks now. In point of fact, there was a shortage of masks in many cities until recently.

Nope, there is no such precedent.

No, but it has caught on a little

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