India coronavirus: How Kerala's Covid 'success story' came undone

  • 21 July 2020
  • From the section India
Kerala Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Officials say community transmission is happening in some parts of Kerala

There's anxiety and confusion among people living in a bustling coastal village in India's southern state of Kerala these days.

The 4,000-odd families of Poonthura, a hamlet of fishermen next door to the capital city of Trivandrum, have been served with strict stay-at-home orders. Nobody can enter or leave the place. Businesses are shut and transport suspended. Commandos and policemen have patrolled the streets to enforce a stringent lockdown.

Earlier this month, more than 100 people in Poonthura's densely packed villages hugging the Arabian Sea contracted Covid-19 after some of them visited a fish market. This contributed to a sharp spike in infections in a state which, in May, appeared to have tamed the virus.

"People are confused, isolated and tense," Father Bebinson, the vicar of the local church, told me. "They can't make out what has suddenly hit them."

He's right. Barely two months ago, Kerala was looking like a striking outlier in the battle against coronavirus in India. But cases have surged in the last few weeks, and the state government is now saying the virus is locally transmitting through coastal communities, the first such admission by officials in any state since the beginning of the pandemic in India.

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India coronavirus: 'Our neighbours made us Covid-19 pariahs'

  • 20 July 2020
  • From the section India
Corona campaign in Bangalore Image copyright AFP
Image caption Coronavirus lockdown restrictions are being enforced by the police in India

Last week, a bedridden retiree living with his wife in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) began feeling feverish with a bit of tightness in his chest - tell-tale signs of Covid-19.

Satya Deo Prasad, 68, had possibly picked up the infection from his visits to a local hospital to get dialysis for his failing kidneys.

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India coronavirus: Videos by Nobel laureate help fight pandemic

  • 14 July 2020
  • From the section India
West Bengal is seeing a surge in Covid-19 infections Image copyright Reuters

In a video message recorded in early May, a Nobel Prize winning economist exhorted millions of people living in India's villages to take precautions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"Keep away from crowds, maintain social distancing when meeting people. Don't spit in public. If you are coughing or sneezing use your elbow or a cloth or towel," Abhijit Banerjee, who won the Nobel prize last year, says in a calm and measured tone. He is a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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The struggle to keep India's Covid-19 patients breathing

  • 11 July 2020
  • From the section India
India Covid hospital Image copyright Reuters
Image caption India has the third-largest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the world

In April, a sprawling hospital in a village in western India was directed to quickly set up an additional 200-bed ward for coronavirus patients.

Infections were surging in Maharashtra state, where the 934-bed Kasturba Hospital is located in Sevagram village, some 50 miles south of the city of Nagpur. The busy not-for-profit hospital was already getting a million patient visits every year.

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How 'quacks' are guarding Indian villages against Covid-19

  • 2 July 2020
  • From the section India
India village doctors Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Informal providers outnumber qualified doctors in India's villages

When a group of villagers in India's West Bengal state recently insisted that they would hold prayers in their local mosque in violation of social distancing rules amid the coronavirus pandemic, Mohammed Nizamuddin sprung into action.

It helped that locals trusted Mr Nizamuddin. They called their wiry 54-year-old neighbour "doctor" and visited him for treatment and medicines whenever they fell sick.

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Geet: Indian TikTok star faces uncertain future after app ban

  • 1 July 2020
  • From the section India
Geet
Image caption Geet has more than 10 million followers on her three channels

Since Monday evening, Geet's inbox has been overflowing with messages from anxious followers from all over India.

Geet, who goes by her first name only, says she was taken aback when India banned TikTok and dozens more Chinese-made apps because it said they were a danger to the country.

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Why Trump's H-1B visa freeze will hurt India most

  • 24 June 2020
  • From the section India
India tech workers Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Indians get around 75% of H-1B visas

Illegal immigration has long been the subject of fervid debate in the US.

Now President Donald Trump is making "legal immigration a scapegoat" with an eye on the upcoming election, says Poorvi Chotani, a managing partner at Law Quest, an immigration law firm with offices in the US and India.

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How Asia's biggest slum contained the coronavirus

  • 23 June 2020
  • From the section India
Dharav Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Night falls on Dharavi, home to more than 650,000 people

In one of the world's most congested shanty towns, social distancing is not a luxury people can afford. And density is a friend of the coronavirus.

Imagine more than 650,000 people spread over 2.5 grubby sq km, less than a square mile. That's a population larger than Manchester living in an area smaller than Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

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Are more women dying of Covid-19 in India?

  • 22 June 2020
  • From the section India
India testing Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Researchers are wondering whether women are testing late

More men are dying from Covid-19 than women around the world, data shows.

In Italy, China and US, for example, more men have been infected, and a higher proportion of men have died.

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India-China clash: An extraordinary escalation 'with rocks and clubs'

  • 16 June 2020
  • From the section India
India-China border Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The two nuclear armed neighbours have a chequered history of face-offs

"It is looking bad, very bad," says security analyst Vipin Narang, of the deadly clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Ladakh on Monday night.

The most serious face-off on the world's longest unsettled land border in nearly half a century left 20 Indian soldiers dead. India says both sides suffered casualties.

Read full article India-China clash: An extraordinary escalation 'with rocks and clubs'