India’s 21-Day Lockdown May Not Necessarily Contain Coronavirus: Raghuram Rajan
India’s weak infrastructure could also make transferring money, food, and supplies to the poor difficult, says Raghuram Rajan.
India’s three-week-long lockdown, the world’s biggest, to combat the Covid-19 pandemic may not necessarily contain the spread of infection, according to Raghuram Rajan.
“This is a very serious concern because not only does the lockdown keep people from going to work, it keeps them at home which is not necessarily that pristine isolated place, but can also be a slum where people live together,” the former Reserve Bank of India governor told Bloomberg in an interview. “It may be hard to prevent infections from spreading.” India’s weak infrastructure could also make transferring money, food, and supplies to the poor, whose livelihoods have been battered by the lockdown, difficult, Rajan said.
The coronavirus outbreak—that has killed 10 people in India and infected more than 600 so far—forced India to seal its borders completely, shutting down businesses temporarily in Asia’s third-largest economy. India’s equity market, too, has been witnessing a massive selloff, tracking their global peers, as the outbreak threatens to push the world into a recession. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi allocated Rs 15,000 crore for additional healthcare measures to curb the pandemic.
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About the lack of co-ordination among nations in fighting the pandemic, Rajan said, “Some of it is understandable. You want to first get medical supplies for your own country before you think about the rest of the world.” But the disease, he said, must be eradicated from all parts of the world or it will “come back to hit you eventually”.
“Think of the poor countries that already start with a paucity of ventilators and are dealing with the same crisis,” Rajan said. He called upon rich countries to get resources to some of the under-developed parts of the world so that they have a fair chance to fight the coronavirus.
Watch the full interview here: