South Asia Blog

South Asia Blog
“Coronavirus in India: Migrants running away from quarantine'
Geeta Pandey BBC News, Delhi
This BBC article written by Greeta Pandey pulled my eye in because I was not aware of how India was trying to handle the COVID-19 pandemic and how they were actually trying to wrangle it in. As Pandey explains, after India’s Government implemented a lockdown due to COVID-19 in efforts to slow the spread, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers fled major cities like Delhi to rejoin their families and return home to the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In response these State governments implement mandatory quarantine mandates and set up quarantine facilities in local government buildings such as council buildings and schools, for screening, holding and treating these returning migrant workers. Public concern continues to grow in both of these provinces as these efforts seem to be fighting a losing battle. Migrants are escaping quarantine facilities, ignoring quarantine orders all together, and continuing to visit and travel around public areas. This has raised concerns within the local communities due to the high population density already present within these states. Returning migrant workers are leaving these quarantine facilities due to the conditions and lack of basic necessities, with reports of some not having electricity, water or bathrooms. 16 people broke a window to get out of one facility in Uttar Pradesh including men, women, and children, later claiming on a video that they were not given food. Many of these travelers who have escaped complain of poor conditions and facilities, and overcrowding. Given the current situations it seems like the government has an uphill battle. Reading about the numbers of migrant workers, coming into these states, as well as their total numbers in the major cities, makes me think of how hard it would be to tackle trying to track and handle COVID-19 cases. Especially with the movement of all these people and issues surrounding facilities, and people wanting or needing to find work, after being jobless in a city, traveling back to an area with even less opportunity.