Covid-19 India Press Release

Covid-19 India Press Release

  • By Oxfam India
  • 30 Mar, 2020

Oxfam India writes to Prime Minister, requests urgent measures to fight Coronavirus in India

Oxfam India today released an open letter (attached) to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling for an eight-point plan that includes focus on increasing free testing, ensuring gender and socially inclusive response, and enabling the civil society network to join the fight against coronavirus. 

The pandemic has caused widespread suffering in rich countries, overwhelming some of the best healthcare systems in the world. In India, high levels of poverty and inequality risk accelerating the disease, the public health challenges are even greater.

This is a public health emergency which requires government to provide free healthcare, testing for all. Testing should be made free in both public and private sector in line with the recommendations made by the ICMR; current private sector rates capped at 4500 INR are too expensive given that 74.25% of households earn less than 5000 INR per month (SECC, 2011).

Safety of health workers and those on the frontlines of the response must be ensured by making available personal protective equipment to minimize the risk of their infection and monitor and prevent any discrimination or attacks on health workers.

Measures taken as part of the recovery package announced by the Finance Minister are welcome. However, more could be done. According to the World Bank's Global Findex Database 2017, 20% of Indian adults lack a bank account; 54% of women's Jan Dhan accounts are inactive. Some of India’s most marginalized, like unregistered construction workers and those without Jan Dhan accounts, will remain outside social protection during the pandemic.

Urgent support is needed for migrant informal sector workers including food, temporary housing (for those stranded) and cash transfer. The government should explicitly ban reduction in workforce of MSMEs and other enterprises and put a freeze on any evictions and demolitions in all low-income settlements for the duration of the endemic.

Amitabh Behar, Oxfam India CEO said “These are unprecedented times. We need community support and compassion in these times. We have suggested an eight-point plan which includes allowing the civil society to respond to this public health emergency. Civil society can potentially help by pooling resources, running awareness campaigns and addressing issues of livelihood and providing relief material. To make this happen, we need Indian government to provide guidelines which would help transport relief material and enable volunteers, staff of credible organisations to support the response on ground.”

India has a small window of opportunity to implement prevention measures to stop and delay the further spread of the pandemic. The world into which we would emerge at the end of the pandemic would be a fundamentally different one. All steps need to be taken to ensure that it is a better one.

Oxfam India is coordinating with different inter-state agencies across various states in India to prepare a relief response. We are also appealing people to support our effort and donate


Note To The Editors:

Oxfam India’s spokespersons are available for interviews on different issues- Health, Education, Inequality & Humanitarian Response. To arrange interviews or further queries please contact Himanshi Matta, 91-8860182310

Related Stories

#COVID19: Oxfam India is responding

07 Aug, 2020


Locked Down in Tea Estates

Rantu Munda, a 32-year-old in the tea garden has had no work since the lockdown as he is a temporary worker. With no work in the tea gardens, and the lockdown restricting their move... Read More

#COVID19: Oxfam India is responding

15 Jul, 2020


A Pleasant Surprise

"When they came back and informed us about the distribution, I was sure it would be some small help. But when I went to the distribution site, it was a great surprise for me when I ... Read More

#COVID19: Oxfam India is responding

15 Jul, 2020


A Shopping Experience

The next day she was on time to receive the ration kit and was surprised to see the items that were provided. “I had to run back home to ask my husband to accompany me as I knew tha... Read More

#COVID19: Oxfam India is responding

14 Jul, 2020


Timely Intervention

Abhinaya is a transgender working in a fish market in Chennai. The lockdown left her without work or money. Oxfam India along with NGO BLESS in Chennai and Barclays have been able to reach out to 1550 households like Abhinaya with food and hygiene kits.
Read More

img Become an Oxfam Supporter, Sign Up Today One of the most trusted non-profit organisations in India