Photo: UN Women Asia and the Pacific / Flickr
Photo: UN Women Asia and the Pacific / Flickr

Southasia’s postponed emergency

COVID-19 threatens to strip the region’s health systems bare.

After arriving relatively late in the region, COVID-19 threatens to make Southasia another major centre of the outbreak. Cases across the region are quickly skyrocketing, from Nepal's confirmed cases now almost doubling every week to India having the fourth highest caseload in the world. Since implementing swift and strict lockdowns in March 2020, countries have eased restrictions over the last month or so, and with that has come an inevitable rise in cases.

Lockdowns were never going to be a panacea for a region like Southasia, which contains some of the world's most densely populated cities, such as Dhaka and Mumbai. The measure did slow the spread of the virus, but it didn't reverse the trend of rising cases. As the regions' wealthy and middle classes were able to close themselves off, biblical scenes of millions of impoverished, hungry migrant workers marching home to their villages filled screens around the world.

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Himal Southasian