From Using Technology to Track COVID-19 Cases to Setting up Community Kitchens, Battle Against Pandemic Has Kindled Innovation, Ways to Connect
COVID-19, a new disease of the coronavirus family, has engulfed almost the entire world. Developed countries such as the US, Spain, Italy, France and Germany seem to have suffered the most. India has managed to keep the number of those infected relatively low, despite its high population density. The government has had to make some hard choices. Saving lives and reducing human casualties was the government’s first priority when it imposed the 21-day lockdown — this was extended by 18 days. An unfortunate fallout of this directive was the sudden loss of income for daily wagers, informal sector workers and those employed in the gig economy. The lockdown made things difficult for migrant workers and many of them were forced to start a long walk back home.
During unprecedented crises, such as the one we face today, administrations across the world take time to organise themselves and initiate relief operations. In India, the first task of the administration was to manage the healthcare system. It took time to stabilise the labour force by make provision for food and shelter. At the same time, the battle against the pandemic has kindled our desire to innovate, learn and find ways to connect and support one another during times of social distancing. We have put technology to great use to achieve this, by rapidly setting up data-based monitoring platforms to manage and contain the spread of the virus, to help each other meet immediate needs and cater to our emotional wellbeing, and support the underprivileged financially. Communities, civil society and corporates have come forward to partner the government in rendering public services. Some of these initiatives have the potential for wider deployment.