04.04.2020 In Poor Countries, The Lockdown Cure Could be Worse than Disease.
To state the obvious, it is harder to impose a lockdown in a poor country than in a rich one. In huge cities such as South Africa, Lagos, Mumbai or Manila, instructing people to stay at home is to confine millions to cramped housing. In the slums where up to half the population may live, people could be crammed six or eight to a room, with no easy access to water, or even soap. In South Africa, signs of social stress are everywhere. Police have used rubber bullets and tear gas to enforce social distancing in the crowded townships, where the black majority still lives a quarter of a century after the end of apartheid. The police and army have, at times, acted with thuggish abandon in their attempts to enforce the three-week-long lockdown, humiliating, beating, and even shooting civilians on the streets of the commercial capital, Johannesburg, and elsewhere. Above all, there has been the struggle to impose social distancing and effective hygiene in South Africa's poorest, most crowded neighbourhoods, where many fear the virus could yet wreak havoc. In other words, for all South Africa's impressive early steps, the real battle lies ahead and the real test of the country's health system has yet to begin. Credit: QuickTake
Poverty deprives people of adequate education, health care and of life's most basic necessities- safe living conditions (including clean air and clean drinking water) and an adequate food supply. The developed (industrialized) countries today account for roughly 20 percent of the world's population but control about 80 percent of the world's wealth.
Poverty and pollution seem to operate in a vicious cycle that, so far, has been hard to break. Even in the developed nations, the gap between the rich and the poor is evident in their respective social and environmental conditions.