Dr Owain Williams By: Dr Owain Williams
Lecturer in IR and Human Security
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26 Mar 2020 : India in Lockdown

Spent the day hammering away at diary entries – it is very strange to see hand written entries on the new website. Diary system seems to be working except for registration difficulties (Simon Rushton and Grepin) Jake has done a fab job of getting the system up. In shocking new Jan Selby tweets about Sussex university taking costs saving measures and axing all on short-term contracts. The VC there is a former ‘radical’ neo-Gramscian scholar, or some such. What a piece of work he is, and to do it now. But escalating fears about the viability of the sector. The UK has 120,000 Chinese students. That is quite low internationally and compared to Australia peanuts. The sector is vulnerable as are all I guess. Good to have World Service buzzing in the background as I work. I am compulsive washing clothes and the machine is also a background noise. I wonder what routines people are falling into. WHO recommends against alcohol causing hilarious responses on Twitter.

Sophie Harman has produced an online COVID-19 course and I see Gavin M-Skinner on CNN with his protocol for self-isolation. Pretty impressed by the global health community on this crisis. People are really getting stuck in where they can. Data coming out today is shocking. While the North of Italy seems to have got on top of it with great cost, but it seems to be moving south, where the health system is not as robust and people are poorer. New York is in a similar state, as is New Jersey. Kylie came around for half hour with supplies and news. We had a beer and toasted 7 days of self-isolation. After I emerge we will isolate as a family.

India went into complete lockdown today with little warning. Initially it is for 21 days. It has 1.3 billion people. So far it has 649 confirmed cases, but I am sure that in some of the poorer states (if not most of them) reporting and testing will be low, health information systems weak. The data is therefore poor as with so many countries. The BJP will probably capitalise on this. There are already pictures of thousands of migrant workers starting to walk back to villages, unpaid and without work. Of course, thousands also live on the streets, even in the glitzy IT and contract research hubs like Hyderabad. There are also reports of transport grinding to a halt at state borders. Cash and supply chains are effective stuck or in a chaotic state. Hope the direct cash transfers work there. Brazilian leadership increasingly bizarre and hostile to the truth. Denialism seems in embedded in the populist psyche after all. Hostility to science and evidence in places of power is a dangerous combination.

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