Gurugram, India – Anima Mondal, 46, who lost her husband due to kidney failure and her only son to blood cancer, works as a maid in Gurugram, fully aware of the lurking dangers of the coronavirus.
She realises what lies ahead as India extended the world’s biggest coronavirus lockdown until May 3.
Mondal said she is taking precautionary measures to keep herself safe from the coronavirus pandemic, despite living in a slum.
“We’re living in abject poverty. The shortage of food could starve us to death soon,” Mondal told Al Jazeera.
Mondal is not alone in this situation. Tens of thousands of migrant workers who are stranded in different parts of India are bearing the consequences from being unable to work.
The rapid spread of the coronavirus has wreaked havoc on businesses in India and crippled normal life.
The restrictions on public gatherings have left streets empty, shopping centres deserted and millions behind closed doors.
The country has reported more than 20,000 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. At least 600 people have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The lockdown has had a devastating impact on society, including the poor and homeless.
Daily wage-earners like manual labourers, scrap collectors, rickshaw pullers and auto rickshaw drivers are in danger of starving due to the lockdown.
The densely populated areas, in particular, are more vulnerable.
“Physical distancing is an alien concept for slums,” Shahid Jameel, a virologist told Al Jazeera.
“People living in slums are more prone to the disease because of multiple reasons. They’re nutritionally deficient and have a weaker immune system.”