COVID cases surge in India after lockdown eased

But Christians on the ground remain hopeful

The second most populated country on the planet, India, has eased its lockdown restrictions. Yet, a surge during the past week in new COVID-19 cases in capital New Delhi reveals just how hard it is to protect 1.3 billion people during a pandemic.

“It’s been quite traumatic … not knowing how our country would handle the crisis when it gets out of control – with 1.3 billion population – as we were not prepared for it,” shares Rev. Dr. M. Mani Chacko, General Secretary of Bible Society of India, about life in lockdown in his nation.

“… It is certainly difficult to cater to the needs of the poor fully in the midst of the pandemic.” – M. Mani Chacko

India has registered the world’s fourth highest amount of coronavirus infections, with more than 333,000 cases. Despite the recent rise in infections coming after the easing of restrictions, the Indian Government has rejected rumours of a return to full lockdown.

Against this tense backdrop, Chacko stresses how harsh COVID-19 continues to be upon those who are already doing it tough. “Migrant labourers and the poor faced a lot of hardships and are still facing difficulties, although the government is trying to do its best to provide for them,” he says.

“In a vast country like India, with such a huge population, it is certainly difficult to cater to the needs of the poor fully in the midst of the pandemic.”

“Life [will not] be the same in the near future with economic downturn, loss of jobs, unemployment, no religious gatherings, social gatherings, curb on travel, restrictions on eating out and shopping.

“Continuing with all self care measures for a long time to come can be quite a cumbersome job.”

Chacko and his Bible Society team have made “every possible effort to ensure the work and ministry of the BSI continued, to some extent” within the country’s health restrictions. Despite acknowledging a “feeling of helplessness without medication for the virus,” Chacko emphasises the important truth that continues to fuel the work of Bible Society India.

“As always, even in the lockdown, the good news of Jesus certainly provided hope, strength and comfort to people living in fear and anxiety.”

Bible Society India trusts God will “lead us forward and will never forsake us” as it adjusts to the financial constraints and sustainability measures that are the repercussions of the pandemic in Indian society.

“No matter what, we are safe in God’s almighty hands.” – M. Mani Chacko

Chacko points to “unexpected joys” of the lockdown including family bonding, more time for leisure, Bible reading and prayer. He hopes it is not only Indians who have learned these kind of important life lessons from lockdown.

“We are quite sure that not only Indian people, but the people of the whole world have realised the uncertainty and brevity of life – and that they can take nothing in this life for granted,” Chacko tells Eternity.

“As far as benefits of the lockdown, [one is] clearly realising the nothingness of money and all that it can provide, when life itself is at stake.

“But the most satisfying feeling to know is that, in spite of the situation, God is almighty – and God alone is in control of our lives.

“No matter what, we are safe in His almighty hands.”

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