Day 1 of coronavirus lockdown: India registers 93 new cases, 3 deaths; Govt says working to deliver essential services

India spent day 1 of the 21 days lockdown scrambling for groceries, vegetables and milk even as the government issued several assurances that essential services and commodities will not be hampered by the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of deadly novel coronavirus.

On Wednesday, India registered 93 new cases of novel coronavirus despite a nationwide lockdown. Total number of deaths due to Covid-19 has reached 12 in India.

Globally, the world tally of positive coronavirus cases has reached at least 427,940 in 181 countries, with 19,246 dead.

In India, the central and state governments held a series of meetings with e-commerce websites, retail chains, vendors and other stakeholders to ensure a seamless supply of essential goods across the nation during the 21-day lockdown period.

While the streets across India bore a deserted look, cops across states ended up booking umpteen number of people for violating norms of lockdown. People were booked for venturing out for no emergency, opening businesses and home quarantine violations.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed his constituents in Varanasi via video conferencing. During the address, he urged people not to discriminate against frontline workers, including healthcare workers and cops. His statement came as several doctors and policemen reported evictions by landlords after being accused of being coronavirus carriers. The PM said that doctors must be treated like Gods during the current situation as they are helping us fight novel coronavirus pandemic.

A report suggests that the central government is set to announce a fiscal package for the 100 million poors and businesses hit by the shutdown amid the clamour for financial assistance by states.

India has evacuated 277 Indians from Iran. The evacuees have been kept at an army facility in Jodhpur.

Here is your capsule on latest developments on coronavirus outbreak in India:

Death toll reaches 12

India on Wednesday registered three deaths due to novel coronavirus. An 85-year-old woman who had been diagnosed with coronavirus died on Wednesday. It was the second COVID-19 death in the state.

“One coronavirus positive patient, female, 85 years, died in Ahmedabad today. She had traveled abroad, and after developing symptoms of COVID-19, she was admitted at civil hospital on March 22,” the government said in a tweet.

“She was suffering from many complications,” it added. On March 22, a 67-year-old coronavirus patient had died in Surat.

In another case, a 65-year-old woman succumbed to coronavirus at a government hospital in Indore, becoming the first case of COVID-19 death in Madhya Pradesh. The woman, who had no history of travelling abroad in recent times, originally hailed from neighbouring Ujjain and was undergoing treatment at the government-run M Y Hospital in Indore.

Tamil Nadu also registered its first case of Covid-19 death on Wednesday. A 54-year-old man infected with the coronavirus died at a hospital in Madurai in the early hours of Wednesday. The man had a medical history of prolonged illness with uncontrolled diabetes.

The Union health ministry clarified that the second confirmatory test of a Delhi patient who died on Tuesday, came negative. Therefore, the death was not included in the updated toll, it said. The death was shown against coronavirus in Tuesday’s tally. The total death of coronavirus in India now stands at 12.

Total cases reach 612

As per the latest numbers available at the time of filing this report, India registered at least 93 new cases of novel coronavirus on Wednesday, mcuh higher than the previous day’s tally of 52. New cases have been reported from Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi and Telangana

As per the Health Ministry, India saw 52 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday. At 99, India had seen the highest surge in infections on Monday.

In Madhya Pradesh, six people tested positive for Covid-19 in Indore on Wednesday morning. Of the five, four are residents of Indore and one of Ujjain. With these new cases, the tally now stands at 15.

Uttar Pradesh has a total of 38 positive cases, including a foreign national. A 33-year-old resident of Pilibhit, meanwhile, tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday. Lucknow’s King George’s Medical University said the patient has no travel history and is a confirmed case of contact transmission,

Three new coronavirus positive cases have been reported in Gujarat. The total number of confirmed cases in Gujarat now stands at 39.

The Maharashtra count has climbed to 128 with 17 fresh cases reported on Wednesday. A 65-year-old coronavirus patient had died in Mumbai on Tuesday, taking the death toll due to Covid-19 to three in the metropolis. The second-highest number of coronavirus infections have been reported by Kerala (109).

After Manipur, a Mizoram resident has now tested positive for Covid-19. The patient is now admitted at Zoram Medical College.

North East saw its first case on Tuesday after a 23-year-old woman from Manipur tested positive for novel coronavirus. Karnataka has recorded 41 cases of coronavirus patients and Telangana has seen 35 patients. Cases in Rajasthan have increased to 36, including two foreigners.

Cases in Delhi stand at 31, including one foreigner.

In Haryana, there are 28 cases, including 14 foreigners, while Punjab reported 2 more cases on Wednesday, taking the tally to 29 cases. Ladakh has 13 cases, while Tamil Nadu has reported 18 cases, including two foreigners.

West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh have reported nine patients each. Chandigarh has reported seven cases.

Jammu and Kashmir tally has climbed to seven while four cases have been recorded in Uttarakhand. With two new cases, the number of confirmed cases in Bihar has risen to four.

There are three cases in Himachal Pradesh and two in Odisha. Puducherry, Manipur and Chhattisgarh have reported a case each.

Violators booked

Cops acted tough of people who violated norms of the lockdown across the nation. UP Police booked nearly 6,000 people under Indian Penal Code section 188 which deals with disobedience to order duly promulgated by the public servant.

In Odisha, the police were rounding up people and even shaming some of them for violating the lockdown order imposed by the central government to contain the spread of Covid-19.

According to a senior police officer, several people in the cities were stocking up on groceries, despite assurances that there would be no dearth of essential items during the lockdown.

Many of them were also seen shoving each other to buy vegetables and dairy products, prompting police to intervene, he said.

Similar scenes were witnessed in Maharashtra, Delhi and Noida.

Govt rushes to solve essential services hick-ups

While the prime minister on Tuesday said that all essential services and goods will be available to the public during the lockdown, the public reacted with panic buying. However, the governments in the Center and states today assured people that they are taking a series of measures to ensure the seamless delivery of the essentials.

The government has said that there is no shortage of essential commodities. Most of the state governments on Wednesday held meetings with heads of e-commerce sites, vendors, retail chains, etc to figure out ways to create a door-to-door delivery system.

Cops in these states have also been sensitised about allowing delivery people to ply on roads during the lockdown. People employed in essential services are being issued with curfew passes, in Delhi e-passes.

The Centre has assured that a door-to-door delivery system will be in place by the weekend.

277 people evacuated from coronavirus-hit Iran reach Army facility in Jodhpur

A batch of 277 people evacuated from coronavirus-hit Iran arrived at the Jodhpur airport in Rajasthan on Wednesday early morning, a defence spokesperson said.

He said preliminary screening of the evacuees, mostly pilgrims, was conducted at the airport upon arrival and thereafter, they were taken to the Army Wellness Facility set up at the Jodhpur Military Station.

They were flown in from Iran, which has been severely affected by Covid-19.

Funds pour in for relief during coronavirus crisis

People’s representatives cutting across party lines have come forward to extend financial help through their Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) and MLA funds for dealing with the crisis arising out of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mathura MP Hema Malini, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, actor-turned-politician Kamal Hassan, BJP leader Upendra Tiwari, BJP Rajya Sabha member Neeraj Shekhar and several other came forward on Wednesday and pledged an amount for the welfare of the communities hit by the virus and lockdown.

The Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation had issued fresh guidelines on Tuesday allowing the use of MPLADS fund for the purpose.

The ministry, based on the requests of MPs, decided that district authorities may utilise MPLADS funds for medical testing, screening and other facilities required to detect and contain COVID-19, an order said.

Several state leaders also donated to CM relief funds.

Fiscal packages for the poor and affected

Keeping in mind the financial burden the lockdown has caused on the poor contractual labourers, several state government have come up with schemes to put money in the accounts of those affected.

Delhi CM has announced a relief fund of Rs 5,000 per person, Bihar has said that all ration card holding families will get Rs 1,000.

The Rajasthan government on Wednesday released a sum of Rs 310 crore in order to deposit Rs 1,000 per family in the bank accounts of economically backward sections amidst the lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus spread.

The Punjab Police distributed food to the poor in many parts of the state and also ensured home delivery of essentials to daily wagers and slum dwellers amid a country-wide lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, clamour rose up from the states demanding fiscal packages for the battle against the coronavirus. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sought a Rs 1,500 crore package from the Centre to support the state government’s efforts to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

The Tamil Nadu government has sought special assistance of Rs 4,000 crore from the Centre to implement measures to tackle COVID-19, saying the state’s revenues have “also taken a hit” in this “unprecedented situation.” Therefore, as a one-time measure, the fiscal deficit limit of three per cent of Gross State Domestic Product may be relaxed for the financial years 2019-20 and 2020-21, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He said that of the Rs 4,000 crore, Rs 3,000 crore will be required for the health sector at “this crucial juncture”.

The Left parties have slammed the government over its “failure” to introduce “concrete measures” to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and questioned why an economic package had not yet been announced for the poor.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said his government has taken no measures to assist poor migrants who are most hurt by the sudden lockdown and a large number of them are stranded without food or shelter.

“It is very disappointing that no concrete measures have been announced so far to provide relief to the poor and the needy, and to alleviate the suffering of those who need urgent help at this moment to survive the lockdown. #COVID2019

“How will they (migrants) reach safe spaces? How will they survive without money or food and with reports of police harassment too?,” he said in the letter.

Economic package for the poor likely soon

As per a report in news agency Reuters, the Centre is set to announce an economic stimulus package of more than Rs 1.5 trillion to fight a downturn in the country that is currently locked down to stem the spread of novel coronavirus. One of the sources, a senior government official, said the stimulus plan could be as large as Rs 2.3 trillion, but final numbers were still in discussion.

The package, which could be announced by the end of the week, will be used to put money directly into the accounts of more than 100 million poor and to support businesses hit the hardest by the lockdown, the sources said.

PM Modi warns of strict action against those misbehaving with medical, police, airline personnel

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has warned of strict action against those misbehaving with people on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus like doctors and airline crew, and sought the cooperation of citizens with administration to deal with the crisis.

Asked about reports of misbehaviour with medical personnel and airline crew during avideo conference with people in Varanasi, he said he was pained by this and has asked the home ministry and state DGPs to take tough action against culprits.

If anybody targets doctors, nurses and all those rendering their service during this crisis, then it will cost them dearly, Modi said, adding people in white like doctors and nurses are like gods.

Citizens should also object if they see anybody misbehaving with these professionals, he added.

There have been reports of medical personnel and airline crew being harassed in their neighborhood by some vigilante residents because they might have dealt with suspected cases.

PM Modi also asked people to cooperate with the government and the administration, and not to pressure them, for better results during the lockdown period.

“There may be incidents of some shortcoming or negligence. But looking for such cases and focussing and publicising them, discouraging some sector will not benefit at this time. There can be a thousand reasons to spread pessimism. I am not saying they are all wrong but life runs on hope and trust,” he said.

Doctors, police personnel and many others have been working very hard and should be encouraged, he said. They should be publicly feted, he said.

Global toll from coronavirus surpasses 20,000

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 20,000 people worldwide, most of them in Europe, according to a tally at 10:30 pm IST on Wednesday using official figures.

A total of 20,334 deaths were reported, of which 13,581 were in Europe.

With 7,503 deaths, Italy is the most affected country ahead of Spain with 3,434 and China with 3,281, the country where the initial outbreak occurred.

The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the United States reached 60,115 on Wednesday while 827 people had died, a tracker run by Johns Hopkins University showed.

The tracker showed 600 deaths around 24 hours earlier. The US has the third-highest number of confirmed cases behind China and Italy, and the US death rate is now 1.38 percent, based on reported cases.

As the governments battle the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, over 3 billion people have been asked to stay at home in almost 70 countries and territories.

For the latest updates on coronavirus pandemic in India and across the globe, please keep checking Indiatoday.in. You can also keep yourself updated using our coronavirus tracker.

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Source – India Today