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Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: The total number of COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra has gone up to 215 with 12 more people testing positive for coronavirus, a health official said on Sunday.
Out of the 12 new patients, five have been reported from Pune, three from Mumbai, two from Nagpur and one each from Kolhapur and Nashik, Maharashtra Health Department.
The total number of novel coronavirus cases in India on Sunday crossed the 1,000 mark even as the country continued to be under lockdown. The number of deaths rose to 27, with two persons who had died in Maharashtra on Saturday testing positive for the disease.
According to the Union health ministry, Maharashtra has the biggest share of cases (186) while Kerala has 182.
A group of Union ministers held a comprehensive review meeting at defence minister Rajnath Singh’s residence where they discussed various issues, including treatment of affected people and supplies of petroleum products and essential commodities across the country.
Earlier in the day, the Centre directed states and Union Territories to seal all state and district borders in order to stop the exodus of migrant workers across the country. The Centre also asked the states to make adequate arrangements for providing food and shelter to the workers.
Meanwhile, the Centre has suspended two Delhi government officers, and has issued show cause notices to two others for dereliction of duty during the coronavirus outbreak, PTI reported. The two officers who have been suspended are Additional Chief Secy (Transport), Principal Secy (Finance). The two officers who have been issued a show cause notice are Additional Chief Secy (Home), SDM Seelampur.
Cases in India cross 1,000 mark
In an update posted at 7.30 pm, the Union health ministry said the number of COVID-19 cases in the country had risen to 1,024, including 48 foreign nationals and 96 people who have been cured or discharged. The death count reached 27, said the ministry.
Meanwhile, the toll in Maharashtra reached eight, with the test reports of two persons, who died in Mumbai and Buldhana district on Saturday, coming out positive. A 40-year old woman who was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai with complaints of respiratory distress had died on Saturday and her test results came back positive on Sunday, PTI quoted officials as saying. The woman also suffered from hypertension, they said. In Buldhana, a 45-year-old man died at a government hospital on Saturday. His test reports, which were received on Sunday, confirmed that he was coronavirus positive, Buldhana Collector Suman Chandra told PTI, adding that the deceased also suffered from diabetes.
The total number of cases in the state rose to 203, with 22 new cases reported on Sunday, of which the highest number of 10 are from Mumbai, an official from the state health department told PTI. Five others are from Pune, three from Nagpur, two from Ahmednagar and one each from Sangli, Buldhana and Jalgaon, he said.
Delhi recorded the highest one day increase in case with 23 persons testing positive for the disease, taking the tally in the National Capital to 72. Karnataka recorded seven new cases taking the state count to 73. This included three deaths and discharge of five patients, the state health department said in statement. Jammu and Kashmir and Goa each reported five new cases while four people tested positive in Bihar’s Bhagalpur. Eight new positive COVID19 cases were reported from Erode in Tamil Nadu, said health minister C Viajayabaskar. All were in contact with the Thai nationals who are undergoing treatment at IRT Perundurai, he said adding that the patients were receiving treatment in isolation wards. Eleven persons tested positive in Uttar Pradesh while Kerala reported twenty new cases.
A doctor and a junior commissioned officer in the Indian Army also tested positive, official sources told PTI. The Colonel-rank doctor is serving at the Command Hospital in Kolkata while the JCO is posted to an Army base in Dehradun. Both the doctor and the JCO are understood to have visited an army facility near the National Capital earlier this month and were keeping good health, said sources.
Group of ministers reviews situation
Even as the number of cases continued to surge, a Group of Ministers chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday carried out a comprehensive review of the situation arising out of coronavirus pandemic. Home Minister Amit Shah, Consumer Affairs and Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar were among those who attended the meeting. Sources told PTI that the ministers were informed that petroleum products are available in adequate quantities across the country and that transportation of essential commodities by train, air and road is going on without any difficulty.
The meeting also deliberated on the issue of a vast numbers of migrant workers taking journeys on foot for hundreds of kilometres in various parts of the country to reach home from urban centres after the 21-day nation-wide lockdown came into force.
According to ANI, the Central government also constituted 11 empowered groups for ensuring a comprehensive and integrated response to coronavirus. These groups have been set up under Disaster Management Act. Each group has a senior representative from Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet Secretariat to ensure seamless coordination, said the report.
Centres, states take measure to halt movement of migrant workers
The Centre also issued directives to deal with the exodus of migrant workers across the country. It asked state governments and Union Territory administrations to effectively seal state and district borders to stop movements of migrant workers during lockdown.
During a video conference with Chief Secretaries and DGPs, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla also directed state to ensure that adequate arrangements for food and shelter of poor and needy people including migrant labourers were made at the place of their work.
“States have been also told to ensure timely payment of wages to labourers at their place of work during the period of lockdown without any cut,” said a statement released by the Ministry for Information and Broadcasting adding that house rent should not be demanded from the labourers for the period of the lockdown. It directed that action should be taken against those who are asking labourers or students to vacate the premises.
The officials also issued directives to the state for the quarantine of those who had violated lockdown and asked them to ensure that those who have travelled are subjected to minimum 14 days of quarantine in government facilities.
State governments too announced relief measures for migrant workers. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said that schools and stadiums in the National Capital were being converted into shelters for migrant workers and the government was providing lunch and dinner to four lakh workers each day. He also asked small business owners, contractors and industrialists to ensure that no worker went hungry and appealed to landlords not to force tenants to pay rent for two to three months. The government would pay the rent if the tenants failed to do so, he said.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said the state has already set up 163 centres across the state to provide food and water to the migrant labourers and announced that meals under the Shiv Bhojan scheme would be made available at a lowered cost of Rs 5 from 1 April.
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh ordered industries, brick kilns to resume operations and told them to house migrant workers within their premises if adequate and safe arrangements were available.
Narendra Modi seeks nation’s forgiveness
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought the nation’s forgiveness for imposing a monumental lockdown on the country, but said “we have to win … and we will definitely win the battle” against the unprecedented menace of coronavirus which has claimed over 30,000 lives across the world.
In his first Mann ki Baat radio address after the lockdown, Modi also praised the front-line workers in the fight against the virus as well as countless workers in the essential services who are ensuring the country doesn’t come to a complete standstill.
Modi also reminded people that “we have to maintain social distance, not emotional and human distance” as he urged people to utilise the time spent at home in re-engaging themselves in old hobbies and reconnecting with old friends.
Meanwhile the Union Home ministry issued a clarification regarding the transportation of goods and services and about the exemptions of goods and services in its earlier orders. Transportation of all goods, without distinction of essential and non-essential, have been allowed during lockdown, it said. In a letter to chief secretaries, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla also clarified that groceries included hygiene products such as sanitary pads, shampoos, surface cleaners as well as battery cells and chargers. The letter stated that entire supply chain of milk collection and distribution was also permitted. The ministry also said that the supply of newspapers was allowed during the lockdown.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Mar 30, 2020 09:47:16 IST
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