Letters

Letters to the Editor — April 9, 2020

Caving in

It is alarming that U.S. President Donald Trump threatened India with retaliation if it refused to export hydroxychloroquine. And, rather than ensuring first that the drug was adequately available for Indians back home, Prime Minister Narendra Modi caved in to pressure. Perhaps, he could have taken a leaf out of the book of former Prime Ministers. Back in 1971, Indira Gandhi did not yield to President Richard Nixon and went on to declare war on Pakistan, liberating Bangladesh. In 2003, veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee withstood international pressure and refrained from sending Indian troops to aid the U.S. during the Iraq invasion.

Adrian David,

Chennai

 

Ending the lockdown

India must plan for a calibrated and calculated exit from the lockdown. Indeed, oiling the wheels of the economy without causing a surge in cases is going to be a challenge for the government (Editorial, “Preparing for exit,” April 8). Therefore, identifying hot spots and selectively implementing a lockdown in those places can be a useful step. But, with the low number of cumulative tests done and low testing rates in the country, even now, it is not clear how well hot spots can be identified. The total number of tests done in various States differs considerably now. Perhaps, these differences may get amplified in some instances, if per capita testing rates are considered. If a State shows a low number of cases, in part because of a lower number of total tests, can the lockdown be removed? Or, what about the State which shows a higher number of cases because of a high testing rate? Won’t lifting a lockdown amount to penalising the State for being aggressive in testing?

A. Venkatasubramanian,

Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu

The challenges in preparing for an end to lockdown are multifold. The country needs to be prepared for rabi harvest, massive procurement effort is needed by governments at the Centre and States to procure food grains, and manufacturing processes need to be restarted. Each of these is a Herculean task. For a greater push to local manufacturing, the societal anxiety caused by the spread of the virus in the country has to be brought down. The administration needs a foolproof plan to bring migrant labourers back to production hubs while maintaining norms of social distancing.

S.S. Paul,

Chakdaha, Nadia, West Bengal

Use of masks

A rapid increase in cases of COVID-19 pandemic will demand more healthcare facilities than now available and wearing a universal mask is a simple way to slow down transmission.(Op-Ed page, “Why everyone should wear masks,” April 6) The lockdown for three weeks has definitely helped in the containment and prevention. Some of the States have openly come forward to suggest that an extension of the lockdown period is essential. A greater use of masks while going out for unavoidable visits and meeting people is absolutely necessary. It is also true that in overcrowded areas such as slums and markets, lockdown will not be able to prevent the transmission of this dangerous infectious disease. Governments, both Central and those in the State, through the Ministry of Health should see to it that people are able to get the masks from medical shops. In some of the places, it could be arranged to distribute the masks free of cost.

P.S. Subrahmanian,

Chennai

Over the past few days, incidents of proliferation of fake news aimed at stoking anti-Muslim sentiments have emerged in plenty. These are directly attributable to the reckless and acerbic conduct of many mainstream media outlets.

Unity of citizens is vital to combat the epidemic challenge we are facing today. By furthering a pernicious agenda even in these testing times, the media risks compromising the fight against COVID-19. Already, minorities in India face exclusion at many levels. It is absolutely important that our citizens have faith in our health system and law and order machinery. Disproportionate action and exclusionary practices will only cause decline of faith in these institutions among our citizens.

Muhammed M.P.,

Kochi

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 1:58:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-april-9-2020/article31293060.ece

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