India under covid-19 


Rise & impact of covid-19 in India

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which originated in the city of Wuhan, China, has quickly spread to various countries, with many cases having been reported worldwide. As of May 8th, 2020, in India, 56,342 positive cases have been reported. India, with a population of more than 1.34 billion—the second largest population in the world—will have difficulty in controlling the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 among its population. Multiple strategies would be highly necessary to handle the current outbreak; these include computational modeling, statistical tools, and quantitative analyses to control the spread as well as the rapid development of a new treatment. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India has raised awareness about the recent outbreak and has taken necessary actions to control the spread of COVID-19. The central and state governments are taking several measures and formulating several wartime protocols to achieve this goal. Moreover, the Indian government implemented a 55-days lockdown throughout the country that started on March 25th, 2020, to reduce the transmission of the virus. This outbreak is inextricably linked to the economy of the nation, as it has dramatically impeded industrial sectors because people worldwide are currently cautious about engaging in business in the affected regions.

Current Scenario in India

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19), was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan city, China, and later spread to many provinces in China. As of May 8th, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) had documented 3,759,967 positive COVID-19 cases, and the death toll attributed to COVID-19 had reached 259,474 worldwide. So far, more than 212 countries and territories have confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection. On January 30th, 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The first SARS-CoV-2 positive case in India was reported in the state of Kerala on January 30th, 2020. Subsequently, the number of cases drastically rose. According to the press release by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on May 8th, 2020, a total of 14,37,788 suspected samples had been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, and a related testing laboratory. Among them, 56,342 cases tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Nearly 197,192 Indians have recently been repatriated from affected regions, and more than 1,393,301 passengers have been screened for SARS-CoV-2 at Indian airports  with 111 positive cases observed among foreign nationals. As of May 8th, 2020, Maharashtra, Delhi, and Gujarat states were reported to be hotspots for COVID-19 with 17,974, 5,980, and 7,012 confirmed cases, respectively. To date, 16,540 patients have recovered, and 1,886 deaths have been reported in India. To impose social distancing, the “Janata curfew” (14-h lockdown) was ordered on March 22nd, 2020. A further lockdown was initiated for 21 days, starting on March 25th, 2020, and the same was extended until May 3rd, 2020, but, owing to an increasing number of positive cases, the lockdown has been extended for the third time until May 17th, 2020. Currently, out of 32 states and eight union territories in India, 26 states and six union territories have reported COVID-19 cases. Additionally, the health ministry has identified 130 districts as hotspot zones or red zones, 284 as orange zones (with few SARS-CoV-2 infections), and 319 as green zones (no SARS-CoV-2 infection) as of May 4th, 2020. These hotspot districts have been identified to report more than 80% of the cases across the nation. Nineteen districts in Uttar Pradesh are identified as hotspot districts, and this was followed by 14 and 12 districts in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, respectively. The complete lockdown was implemented in these containment zones to stop/limit community transmission. As of May 8th, 2020, 310 government laboratories and 111 private laboratories across the country were involved in SARS-CoV-2 testing. As per ICMR report, 14,37,788 samples were tested till date, which is 1.04 per thousand people.

Impact of COVID-19 in India and the Global Economy

As per the official government guidelines, India is making preparations against the COVID-19 outbreak, and avoiding specific crisis actions or not understating its importance will have extremely severe implications. All the neighboring countries of India have reported positive COVID-19 cases. To protect against the deadly virus, the Indian government have taken necessary and strict measures, including establishing health check posts between the national borders to test whether people entering the country have the virus. Different countries have introduced rescue efforts and surveillance measures for citizens wishing to return from China. The lesson learned from the SARS outbreak was first that the lack of clarity and information about SARS weakened China's global standing and hampered its economic growth. The outbreak of SARS in China was catastrophic and has led to changes in health care and medical systems. Compared with China, the ability of India to counter a pandemic seems to be much lower. A recent study reported that affected family members had not visit the Wuhan market in China, suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 may spread without manifesting symptoms. Researchers believe that this phenomenon is normal for many viruses. India, with a population of more than 1.34 billion—the second largest population in the world—will have difficulty treating severe COVID-19 cases because the country has only 49,000 ventilators, which is a minimal amount. If the number of COVID-19 cases increases in the nation, it would be a catastrophe for India. It would be difficult to identify sources of infection and those who come in contact with them. This would necessitate multiple strategies to handle the outbreak, including computational modeling as well as statistical and quantitative analyses, to rapidly develop new vaccines and drug treatments. With such a vast population, India's medical system is grossly inadequate. A study has shown that, owing to inadequate medical care systems, nearly 1 million people die every year in India. India is also engaged in trading with its nearby countries, such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan, Myanmar, China, and Nepal. During the financial year 2017–18 (FY2017–18), Indian regional trade amounted to nearly $12 billion, accounting for only 1.56% of its total global trade value of $769 billion. The outbreak of such viruses and their transmission would significantly affect the Indian economy. The outbreak in China could profoundly affect the Indian economy, especially in the sectors of electronics, pharmaceuticals, and logistics operations, as trade ports with China are currently closed. This was further supported by the statement by Suyash Choudhary, Head—Fixed Income, IDFC AMC, stating that GDP might decrease owing to COVID-19.

Economists assume that the impact of COVID-19 on the economy will be high and negative when compared with the SARS impact during 2003. For instance, it has been estimated that the number of tourists arriving in China was much higher than that of tourists who traveled during the season when SARS emerged in 2003. This shows that COVID-19 has an effect on the tourism industry. It has been estimated that, for SARS, there was a 57 and 45% decline in yearly rail passenger and road passenger traffic, respectively. Moreover, when compared with the world economy 15 years ago, world economies are currently much more inter-related. It has been estimated that COVID-19 will hurt emerging market currencies and also impact oil prices. From the retail industry's perspective, consumer savings seem to be high. This might have an adverse effect on consumption rates, as all supply chains are likely to be affected, which in turn would have its impact on supply when compared with the demand of various necessary product items. This clearly proves that, based on the estimated losses due to the effect of SARS on tourism (retail sales lost around USD 12–18 billion and USD 30–100 billion was lost at a global macroeconomic level), we cannot estimate the impact of COVID-19 at this point. This will be possible only when the spread of COVID-19 is fully controlled. Until that time, any estimates will be rather ambiguous and imprecise. The OECD Interim economic assessment has provided briefing reports highlighting the role of China in the global supply chain and commodity markets. Japan, South Korea, and Australia are the countries that are most susceptible to adverse effects, as they have close ties with China. It has been estimated that there has been a 20% decline in car sales, which was 10% of the monthly decline in China during January 2020. This shows that even industrial production has been affected by COVID-19. So far, several factors have thus been identified as having a major economic impact: labor mobility, lack of working hours, interruptions in the global supply chain, less consumption, and tourism, and less demand in the commodity market at a global level, which in turn need to be adequately analyzed by industry type. Corporate leaders need to prioritize the supply chain and product line economy trends via demand from the consumer end. Amidst several debates on sustainable economy before the COVID-19 impact, it has now been estimated that India's GDP by the International Monetary Fund has been cut down to 1.9% from 5.8% for the FY21. The financial crisis that has emerged owing to the worldwide lockdown reflects its adverse effect on several industries and the global supply chain, which has resulted in the GDP dropping to 4.2% for FY20, which was previously estimated at 4.8%. Nevertheless, it has been roughly estimated that India and China will be experiencing considerable positive growth among other major economies.

Anirban Ghose