New Delhi: At a time when coronavirus cases are still on the rise, India on Wednesday entered into second phase of unlocking, which is known as ‘Unlock 2.0’, as the month-long ‘Unlock-1’ ended on Tuesday. Also Read - 'America Loves India', Donald Trump Thanks PM Modi For Independence Day Greetings
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday night had issued fresh guidelines for the Unlock 2.0 and said educational institutions, Metro Rail services, cinema halls and gyms will continue to remain closed till July-end. Also Read - 'Malicious and Unsubstantiated', Indian Army Dismisses Allegations Over Medical Facility in Leh
The Centre’s Unlock 2.0 is the phased re-opening of activities that had been shut to contain the coronavirus spread in the country. Also Read - 'Seva Hi Sangathan': PM Modi Praises Bihar, Rajasthan BJP Workers For Relief Work Amid Pandemic
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation and said people not strictly adhering to rules and precautions was a cause of worry.
At this crucial juncture, India’s COVID-19 tally climbed to 5,66,840 with a single day spike of 18,522. From June 1, when relaxations were introduced under Unlock-1, the country has reported 3,76,305 cases. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Gujarat account for nearly two-third of the total cases till now.
Addressing the nation, PM Modi said India is in a better position compared to many countries of the world, as timely imposition of lockdown and other decisions have saved lakhs of lives.
During his address to the nation, PM Modi announced extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) by five more months till November-end.
He said over Rs 90,000 crore will be spent on the programme’s extension, and if the last three months expenditure on account of the free ration scheme is added then the total budget will be about Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
“Keeping all things in mind, it has been decided to extend Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana up to Diwali and Chhath Puja till the November end,” PM Modi said.
He added that the Central government is also working on the ‘one nation, one ration card’ initiative which will benefit people living outside their home for employment.
The country first reported the case of coronavirus infection on January 30 from Kerala when a student who had returned from Wuhan tested positive. At present, India is the fourth worst-affected country in terms of cases after the US, Brazil and Russia.
The death toll rose to 16,893 on Tuesday after 418 new fatalities. It was the seventh day in a row that over 15,000 cases have been reported in the country.
As per latest updates, Maharashtra has the highest number of cases at 1,74,761 with 4,878 new patients while the death toll has risen to 7,855 after 245 more fatalities.
Tamil Nadu’s COVID-19 tally crossed the 90,000 mark, overtaking Delhi to occupy the second spot among the worst affected states with 4,000 fresh cases for the third consecutive day.