Numerous states, counties, cities, and some entire nations are on an unprecedented lockdown right now courtesy of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Roughly one-third of the entire world is forbidden from leaving their house unless it’s for work in an essential industry or to buy food or medicine. Each nation with a lockdown order in place is going about enforcing the rule differently, but the Indian Police take the cake.
Some European nations, such as Moldova and Romania, brought in military troops and armored vehicles to patrol their streets. China instituted the most severe policies, especially in the Hubei province, which is the epicenter of the disease. Policies include door-to-door checks for illness followed by mandatory isolation if they detect COVID-19 symptoms. One such case resulted in the death of a child in Wuhan due to starvation. Authorities removed every other member of his family from his house; this left the child alone and unable to provide for himself. Another video out of China showed a drone with speakers attached scolding people for being out of their homes.
Countries are scrambling to mitigate the damage COVID-19 will do, but none more so than the Indian government.
While China is able to limit information regarding the treatment of their citizens, Indian police have made waves with their enforcement of the country’s 21-day national lockdown. Like many Americans, many Indians have been reluctant to adhere to their government’s advice to stay home. Even after mandating the citizenry stay home, people were finding excuses to venture out of the house. It forced Indian Police to adopt some interesting strategies to curb that instinct.
Videos (like the one above) surfaced of police doing everything from scolding citizens, to forcing them to do push-ups or squats, to violently caning them. The videos are seriously bothersome to Americans used to our cherished “due process” and freedom from “cruel and unusual punishment.”
However, a closer look into India’s precarious situation reveals why such harsh measures are being taken.
India is second in population only to China with 1.3 billion people. India is also one of the world’s fastest developing economies, boasting a GDP similar to the United Kingdom. That being said, India displays problematic levels of wealth inequality. The result is a troubling quality-of-life standard for hundreds of millions of people. Poor public sanitation and cramped living conditions in developing cities means perfect conditions for COVID-19 to run rampant.
With a population that size and the struggles India has with infrastructure, a massive outbreak could overload the country’s already stressed healthcare system in a catastrophic way, leading to many unnecessary deaths. Imagine Italy’s COVID-19 situation multiplied in scale many fold.
Experts say the spread of COVID through India is imminent. Any action the government can take to slow the spread and ease the load on the Indian healthcare system surely must be taken; that includes keeping their pimp hand strong.