New Delhi: As the coronavirus cases in the country crossed 600, authorities on Wednesday further enhanced preparation to fight the pandemic with the Army ordnance factories and central paramilitary forces earmarking over 2,000 beds in their chain of hospitals for isolation and treatment of patients. Also Read - Vote on Russia's Constitutional Reform Postponed Due to Coronavirus Crisis, Says Putin
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with the people of his constituency Varanasi and said that social distancing and staying indoors were the only solutions to deal with coronavirus. “Around one lakh people infected with coronavirus are recovering, this also needs to be highlighted,” he said. Also Read - Maharashtra Minister Helps Physically Challenged Woman Amid Coronavirus Lockdown
He also highlighted that people need to focus on how deadly this virus is. “This disease doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor,” he added, a day after he announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown. Also Read - ‘Looking Forward For Productive Session on Thursday,’ Says PM Modi Ahead of G-20 Virtual Summit
Here are top developments of the day on the pandemic that has spread fear among people across the nation.
1) While interacting with the people of Varanasi, PM Modi said the Mahabharata war was won in 18 days and his government’s effort is to win this war against coronavirus in 21 days. “The war of Mahabharata was won in 18 days and our effort is to win this war against the coronavirus in 21 days,” he said.
2) PM Modi also warned of tough action against people who are misbehaving with people on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus like doctors and airline crew. He also sought the cooperation of citizens with the administration to deal with the crisis.
3) Addressing a press conference, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that five new coronavirus cases were reported in Delhi in past 24 hours, taking the number of total cases to 35. He also added that his government has decided to issue e-passes for people associated with essential services to commute during the lockdown.
4) Talking about facilitating essential services, Kejriwal further added that people ensuring essential services such as milk sellers, vegetable vendors and grocers can call helpline 1031 to get the passes on their mobile phones through WhatsApp.
5) In another development, doctors at the Ernakulam Medical College Hospital in Kerala said that a British national, who was administered HIV antiretroviral drugs for treating his coronavirus infection, has tested negative. Though the patient had earlier tested positive for COVID-19, responded well to the drugs combination of Ritonavir and Lopinavir.
6) A 65-year-old woman died due to coronavirus at a government hospital in Indore becoming the first case of COVID-19 death in Madhya Pradesh. Having no history of travelling abroad in recent times, the woman originally hailed from neighbouring Ujjain and was undergoing treatment at the government-run MY Hospital in Indore.
7) Addressing a press conference, Health Ministry officials said that Maharashtra has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases so far at 128, including three foreign nationals, followed by Kerala which has recorded 109 cases, including eight foreign nationals.
8) Holding a meeting through video conferencing, the BJP on Wednesday said its one crore workers will provide for meals of five poor persons each during the 21-day lockdown to combat coronavirus. Taking the decision, party chief JP Nadda said a mechanism will be put in place at the earliest in this regard.
9) Holding a separate meeting, Group of Ministers on Wednesday said legal action would be initiated against people who have returned from abroad and are flouting the 14-day quarantine period advised to them to control the spread of coronavirus.
10) Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday asked the traders associations of the state to take steps for controlling prices of food items during the 21-day lockdown period to combat COVID-19. Apart from this, he also asked officials to set up a centralised control room and start a helpline number to address peoples’ queries.
11) Delhi police said it is planning to put about a quarter of its personnel in isolation on rotation basis for 10 days to reduce the coronavirus threat.
12) Issuing an internal communication to police personnel, Delhi Police Commissioner SN Srivastava said a part of the police strength should remain in quarantine for 10 days by rotation and the rest should enforce the 21-day lockdown announced by the government.
13) In an effort to check the curfew matters, Mumbai Police on Wednesday used drones for making a public announcement about the measures to tackle the coronavirus epidemic and the lockdown. Fitted with public announcement system, drones flew over Dongri in south Mumbai and some adjoining areas.
14) Along with other states, the Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday sought a special assistance of Rs 4,000 crore from the Centre to implement measures to tackle COVID-19. The government said that state’s revenues have also been affected in this unprecedented lockdown.
15) Meanwhile, Bihar Police said that more than 500 vehicles were seized across the state on the first day of nationwide lockdown and nine people ended up being arrested for defying the restrictions.
16) Air India said it will operate a ‘relief’ flight to Tel Aviv on Thursday to fly stranded Israeli nationals in the country in the wake of visa and travel restrictions on foreign citizens. As per updates, the airline will fly its 342-seater Boeing 777-300ER from New Delhi and will return to the national capital as a ‘ferry” flight.
17) In a late-night update, one an 85-year-old COVID-19 positive patient passed away in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. She had travelled abroad and after developing symptoms of COVID-19, she was admitted at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital on March 22. She was suffering from many complications, according to updates from Gujarat Health Department.
As per updates, the number of deaths around the world from the coronavirus cases is stated to have crossed 19,000 and more than 427,940 declared cases were reported to have been registered in 181 countries and territories.