Asian Access Supports Indian Church Leaders as They Work to Help the Poor Amid Nationwide Coronavirus Lockdown

Image depicts the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Nityanand Rai, visiting the Coronavirus Quarantine Centre at the ITBP Chhawala Centre in New Delhi. (Photo, caption obtained via Wikimedia Commons)

Will India end or extend its current nationwide shut-down? A national shelter-in-place order went into effect on March 24 and is scheduled to end on Tuesday. However, Prime Minister Modi plans to discuss options tomorrow with state leaders before making a final decision.

India’s coronavirus cases more than doubled last week, and the number of new infections continues to rise. At least one state already extended its restrictions through the end of the month. See our global coronavirus coverage here.

Many people live hand-to-mouth in India, and believers want to demonstrate Christ’s love by helping those in need. David Dayalan of Asian Access says the lockdown makes this practically impossible.

“There are millions of poor who, [even though] they might be in their own town or village, they don’t have the resources [they need],” Dayalan says. “Most states have not received very much [financial aid] to help the poor to tide over this lockdown period.”

India’s COVID-19 lockdown

On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a three-week lockdown of India’s 1.3 billion people to avert a massive outbreak of coronavirus infections. Businesses closed and transportation shut down; in some cases, police enforced the national restrictions with violence.

Authorities want to slow the spread of COVID-19 because a mass influx of patients would overwhelm India’s dilapidated healthcare system. As described here, the pandemic is revealing years of chronic neglect and low investment. “If it turns into a major epidemic… it can be disastrous,” Dayalan says.

As of 1:30 am local time this morning, there were 6,653 confirmed coronavirus cases and 226 deaths in India. “They’re still trying to figure out ways in which to screen people, and the irony is we don’t have enough kits for screening,” Dayalan says.

“Even the numbers we have might not be accurate because there are millions of people and you have [only a] few thousand kits in each state.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth

CALL TO ACTION

  • Pray for pastors and church leaders seeking new ways to help people in need. Ask the Lord to give believers strength and perseverance.
  • Pray for a paradigm shift in the collective Church of India. Pray believers will seek to reach others for Christ instead of fulfilling their own desires.

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