COVID-19: Cross 600 As India Starts Lockdown
NEW DELHI : The confirmed Coronavirus cases in the country crossed 606 on Wednesday as authorities beefed up preparedness to fight the pandemic, of whom 43 are foreign nationals, said the Union Health Ministry.
There have been ten deaths so far in the country. Incidentally, Wednesday happens to be the first day of the 21-day nationwide lockdown announced by PM Modi on Tuesday evening. with a chain of hospitals of the Army ordnance factories and central paramilitary forces earmarking over 2,000 beds for isolation and treatment of people affected by COVID-19.
The number of active cases are 553. Maharashtra is the most affected state with 128 positive cases, followed by Kerala with 109 cases (including eight foreign nationals). Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, has infected 440,321 people globally and cases crossed 606 in India. As many as 19,721 people have died from it across the world.
A 65-year-old woman succumbed to coronavirus at a government hospital in Indore on Wednesday, becoming the first case of COVID-19 death in Madhya Pradesh, officials said. In a freak chain of events, a journalist, who had attended former Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s press conference last Friday and had received his daughter returning from England earlier in the week, tested positive on Wednesday. His daughter was reported positive on Saturday.
There has been a sudden spurt in the number of positive cases in the state with the virus striking India’s cleanest city, Indore, on Wednesday. With four positive cases being reported from Indore and one from Ujjain, the number of Covid-19 cases has risen 15. State capital Bhopal also reported a positive case on Wednesday.
The world’s largest shutdown began today with concerns about essential supplies and services after PM Modi announced a three-week lockdown to fight the coronavirus. Grocery and milk stores across the country have hit upon an innovative way to ensure social distancing as people queue up to buy and stock up on essential items during the lockdown in an attempt to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country.
“Forget about stepping out of your homes for the next 21 days,” PM Modi said in a televised address to the nation on Tuesday. Health experts have warned of an explosion of infections if harsh steps are not taken.
Amid a scramble for supplies, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged residents not to panic and said e-passes would be issued to vegetable-sellers and grocers among others to ensure essential supplies during the lockdown.
Safal, the fruits and vegetable brand of Mother Dairy, announced that all its outlets would be open. “Our stores’ official timings are from 6 am – 2 pm and then 4 pm – 10 pm, in full capacity,” said Safal Stores on their Twitter handle.
Moments after the PM’s announcement, people in many states were seen rushing to the stores to stock up. People in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru were seen in images crowding around grocery stores. Many complained of soaring prices. As states shut their borders, long queues of trucks carrying milk, fruits and vegetables crawled on the highway.
The government also released guidelines that said fair price shops and those dealing with food, groceries, fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, fish, animal fodder would remain open.
In UP, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said for essential commodities or medicines, people could call a helpline and also assured doorstep delivery. But many people complained that their calls were handled rudely.”Asking people to stay at home is necessary, but that won’t be enough for the majority of the population who cannot afford to sit at home without work and pay.”
The government is likely to agree an economic stimulus package of more than Rs 1.5 trillion to fight the downturn created by a three-week lockdown of the country to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
cp-770x433delhi-road-coronavirus-ptiWhile assuring that the government is making efforts to ensure personal protective equipment (PPE) and N-95 masks are available in adequate numbers to help the medical fraternity in their job, health ministry officials said 29 private laboratories with over 16,000 sample collection centres have been registered so far for testing of COVID-19.
“PPEs and masks have some imported components. There are disruptions with respect to import of certain items. The government is trying to address the issue,” the official said.According to officials, the ministry of home affairs is monitoring the lockdown through a control room.
(With Agency Inputs ).