In Mayur Vihar, a neighborhood in east Delhi, shopkeeper and chemist Rajiv Singhal described the daily phone calls he received when he tested positive for COVID-19 from officials within the Delhi state government, the Delhi police and the federal government to check on his condition.
“Despite our huge population and rampant illiteracy, if we have only 2 million cases so far, it shows that government has played a big role in reducing the spread,” he said.
But state and local governments elsewhere in India were reimposing lockdowns after sharp spikes in cases.
Around 900,000 members of an all-female community health force began a two-day strike on Friday, protesting that they were being roped in to help with contact tracing, personal hygiene drives and in quarantine centers, but weren’t given personal protective equipment or additional pay, according to organizer A.R. Sindhu.
The health workers, known as Accredited Social Health Activists, or ASHA, which means ‘hope’ in several Indian languages, have been deployed in each village on behalf of the Health Ministry. Their work ranges from escorting children to immunization clinics to counseling women on childbirth.
But while their regular work hasn’t reduced, they are increasingly being involved by state governments in the fight against the pandemic, said Sindhu.