India has turned to prayers as Coronavirus numbers have gone up. India now reports tens of thousands of new corona cases every day. In many places, there is hardly any medical care. But the government sees itself armed and is relying on a very special “cure”.
Every day he is in his little temple and adores the coronavirus. Anilan tells this on Indian television – and sits with his golden prayer bell in front of a styrofoam ball with red knobs that are supposed to represent the virus.
Above all, he prayed for the corona fighters at the front, says Anilan, for the doctors and the nursing staff. They are now reaching their limits in the villages too.
The Reuters news agency shows video recordings from a health center in Bihar, one of the poorest states in India. Cracked tiles, rubbish on the floor, tattered curtains.
The flood now in the rainy season reaches up to the outer walls of the so-called health center.
“There should actually be four doctors stationed here,” says Dr. Roshan. “But there were only three of us. One of us has now been assigned to a different location, the other has tested positive – and so I am now the only doctor on site.”
Around 17,000 doctors and nurses have already contracted the virus, according to the Indian Medical Association. More than 200 died as a result.
India invests only about two percent of its gross domestic product in the health system. From a global perspective, the country is pretty low in the ranking. Indians are used to being at the bedside with the whole family; they usually have to get the medication for the patients themselves or prepare food for them.
In times of Corona, however, this is forbidden, which has already led to many violent disputes, says Dr. Gaurav, who runs a clinic in Bihar: “You get extremely angry. We even have security guards on duty here, but the families are not giving in. They are even breaking into the intensive care units.”
When the hospitals in the cities quickly reached their limits, the authorities quickly set up large quarantine stations in stadiums, train compartments, and wedding halls.
In rural areas, however, patients like Rajesh Kumar are desperate.
His father had tested positive, he said in an interview with the Reuters news agency: “I can’t leave him alone. Hardly a doctor comes here. And if they do, they take a quick look and are gone again.”
Still, there are few reproaches against politicians. The Indian government itself speaks of having the pandemic under control. Above all, she likes to point out the low death rate in the country. However, as a rule, people rarely find out what their relatives died of. Statistically, four in five deaths in India are not studied.
That seems to come in handy for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He points to rather unscientific facts about the Corona crisis: “Covid-19 shows us that we are leading an unhealthy lifestyle globally. Humanity needs healing, so let’s do everything we can to achieve happiness and harmony on our planet.”
So just pray? The number of infections in India is increasing massively, especially in the past few weeks, and Indians have turned to prayers. Experts assume that the pandemic is far from reaching its peak.
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