At a loss

As lockdowns are put in place to combat the virus's spread, businesses are counting the costs. Despite the introduction of vaccines, many are still unsure about the way forward.


Picture credit: pixabay.com

Vaidehi Dhakate

The coronavirus outbreak has spread to nearly every nation on the planet. As policymakers struggle with new lockdown policies to combat the virus's spread, businesses are counting the costs. Despite the introduction of vaccines, many are still unsure about the way forward.

Large fluctuations in capital markets, where companies' shares are bought and sold, can have a significant impact on the valuation of pensions and individual savings accounts (ISA). As the number of Covid-19 cases increased in the early months of the crisis, leading market indicators like the FTSE, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Nikkei all saw significant drops.

As parts of the economy, such as tourism and hospitality, have come to a halt, millions of jobs have been put on government-sponsored job retention programmes in some countries. The pandemic has had an effect on not only foreign exchange earnings (FEE), but also regional changes and employment prospects, disrupting local communities in general. In 2020, there was a significant decrease in international tourist arrivals to India.

Due to the blockage of working capital in the tourism industry following COVID-19, the availability of Input Tax Credit (ITC) will be a major concern, and a mechanism for optimum ITC flow will be needed. Taxpayers can currently claim ITC for the fiscal year (FY) 2019-2020 before the deadline for filing Form GSTR-3B (relating to tax payment) for the period ending September 2020.

In the year 2020, the media sector was also affected by COVID-19, with cost-cutting and suppression of truth. With the spread of the virus, there has also been a spread of falsehood. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has warned that “our enemy is also the growing surge of misinformation.” The second disease which has accompanied this disease is an “infodemic”. An infodemic is an over-abundance of information - some true and some false. This only makes it questionable as to which sources can be trusted.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in China has reported on the Chinese government’s attempts to persuade news organisations to remove articles and stories that contain "negative information." Simultaneously, there is a thirst for knowledge about this virus in the general public and the ways to respond to it.

Journalism is the master key that supplies credible information within the “infodemic.” Journalists continue to face a range of challenges in fighting the infodemic, including the pace at which disinformation spreads, the dissemination of misinformation by public officials and figures, and the ability to distinguish reality from fiction.

Obstruction and obfuscation on the part of public bodies will render a journalist's job more difficult, and disinformation will thrive in this void. This practice is often carried out on social media platforms and private messaging services such as WhatsApp.

Media persons who are in the frontline in high-risk areas like health care centres and vaccination locations are in danger and under pressure without any protective gears.

According to the Telangana Working Journalists Federation, ten journalists in Telangana have died as a result of COVID-19 in the past week (TWJF). During the same time, three journalists from Andhra Pradesh died after testing positive for the coronavirus. M Somaiah, state president of the Telangana Working Journalists Federation (TWJF), said that as of April 22, 150 journalists were working in the state.

The State Government had announced Rs.1 lakh compensation in case of death and Rs. 20,000 in case a journalist tested positive. However, this was discontinued after the first wave.

According to the PEC's (Press Emblem Campaign) results, COVID-19 had killed at least 462 journalists in 56 countries by November 15, 2020. COVID has claimed the lives of journalists in a number of countries, according to PEC statistics, including India (47 deaths), Ecuador (41) and Brazil (41 deaths) (36). COVID-19 has infected over 1,000 journalists from over 200 media outlets in Bangladesh.

COVID-19 has not only caused deaths but it has also influenced mental health, journalists included. The virus has had an influence on income, job security, work habits and locations, alongside the spread of fake news. These fears are unlikely to subside anytime soon, and many journalists covering the coronavirus will continue to have their personal encounters with the pandemic intertwined with the stories they're covering.

COVID-19 has a major impact on almost every industry in the world. Steps are being taken by governments, however, to help the countries cope with the loss and boost their economies.

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