India’s coronavirus emergency just beginning as lockdown threatens to turn into human tragedy

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India’s coronavirus emergency just beginning as lockdown threatens to turn into human tragedyA week after Narendra Modi ordered the largest national lockdown the planet has ever seen and Delhi’s Bhogal market is little quieter than usual. Rather than being confined to home to stop the spread of Covid-19, large groups of residents instead huddle together in the shade, drinking tea and playing cards. Street vendors continue to hawk fresh fruit and vegetables and the police watch as daily life in the capital’s backstreets continues, apparently content to enforce movement restrictions only on the capital’s major thoroughfares. The failure to abide by the prime minister’s decree is due to necessity, rather than defiance, said Muhammad Asif, 21, a cycle-rickshaw driver scanning the crowd for customers. The three-week-long social distancing precautions ordered by Mr Modi are an unaffordable luxury for tens of millions of daily-wage labourers.



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