India coronavirus dispatch: Will sports behind closed doors be new normal?

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Here is a selection of important articles from across Indian publications on Covid-19. From the challenge of economic recovery, to structural constraints faced by farmers, and whether dogs can be trained to sniff out Covid-19 — read these and more in today’s India dispatch.


Expert Speak



India faces a major economic catastrophe, PMO can’t handle by itself, says Raghuram Rajan: The threat to India’s economic prospects is such that the government must consult the best talent in the country and not worry about who is across the political aisle. The challenge of recovery is as important as the fight against the virus and the strategy to emerge out of the lockdown. Read this interview with former RBI governor and former IMF chief economist Raghuram Rajan on why the situation might get too ugly for the PMO to be able to handle by itself.


Interview


Will sport be the same in empty stadia? Last weekend’s return of Bundesliga — German football’s premier division — marked the revival of top-flight international sporting action after a two-month hiatus. But physical distancing measures necessitated by Covid-19 ensured that matches were played without fans. India is a long way from starting tournaments, with the government having just given its nod for individual training to resume under spectator-less conditions. Read this discussion with Sunil Chhetri and Sunil Yajaman on whether sports behind closed doors would be the new normal and what might lie ahead for the sports industry.


Opinion


Problems farmers face are rooted in structural constraints, require regulatory intervention: The problems that farmers face are not only a result of vested, monopolistic interests but rooted in larger structural conditions that significantly weaken their terms of engagement in agricultural markets. The former may be addressed by regulatory intervention. But the latter will need location-specific policies, well-directed investment, and well-functioning agricultural institutions. Read more here.


Workers, and those who speak for them, must be heard on labour laws: Images of jobless workers and their homeless families scrambling to reach their homes, far away from where they were employed, have starkly revealed the fragility of their contracts with their employers. India must remain a democracy. Workers, and those who speak on their behalf, must be heard while framing or changing regulations. Their voices must not be silenced by ordinances. Read more here.


Managing Covid-19


Their lives broken, people in coastal areas say Covid-19 no more a priority: A day after cyclone Amphan lashed the coastal areas of West Bengal, destroying livelihoods and inundating agricultural land, people most hit by the calamity said on Thursday that social distancing and precautions to prevent Covid-19 were no longer a priority as they tried to rebuild their lives. Read more here.


Has community transmission taken root in Chennai? The Tamil Nadu government has claimed that the spike in Covid-19 positive cases in Chennai was because of the Koyambedu cluster. On May 13, chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had said the traders and vendors operating out of this large market had not been willing to accept changes necessary to contain the spread. However, according to public health experts, many incidents clearly point to the emergence of community transmission in Chennai. Read more here.


Health insurance benefits for workers remain on paper due to low awareness: Nearly 45 million Indian workers are enrolled under the central government’s Employees State Insurance scheme, which provides them a measure of social security and health insurance out of their own earnings. This scheme can provide a crucial buffer to workers during the coronavirus pandemic. A survey of 96 workers revealed that more than 75 per cent of workers did not know about these measures. The lack of awareness not only means they are missing out on the benefits but also that they are losing money from their own pockets. Read more here.


Understanding Covid-19


Can dogs be trained to sniff out Covid-19? The UK government has allocated a sum of over 500,000 pounds to a specialist team of researchers who will work on finding out if dogs could detect Covid-19. The aim is to see if dogs could be trained to identify humans with the novel coronavirus before symptoms appear. Read more here.


Running with a mask on — experts feel starting slow, listening to the body will be key: Wearing a training mask to reduce the flow of the air one breathes with an aim to improve lung capacity has been a practice followed by elite athletes for quite some time, but the question to ask is whether it is fine for recreational or amateur runners to train with masks on. Most experts believe that it is better not to. But if using masks when outdoors becomes a norm in the current scenario, it is better to take some initial precautions. Read more here.


Covid cases from Diamond Princess cruise ship reveal pattern of disease: Months after the coronavirus infected more than 700 people on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, scientists are still gleaning insights into the patterns of illness it causes. A detailed analysis of cases found the disease could be very mild, causing a sore throat, dry cough and runny nose, without fever or lower respiratory tract symptoms, a study published in the June edition of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases showed. Read more here.



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