Last Updated: 14th April, 2020, 02:30 AM IST
PM Modi addressed the nation at 10 am today (14th April), through his 25-minute long speech, which ended with seeking the nation’s support and solidarity during these times of crisis. In his speech, he made an official announcement regarding the extension of lockdown till May 3rd. He also stated that some areas that are not suspected to be COVID hotspots may see relaxations in the lockdown restrictions post-May 20. He allotted 7 tasks for people to do in these coming days, to show support
- Care for elders
- Maintain social distancing while wearing masks
- Enhance immunity by following Ayush Ministry’s instructions
- Download ‘Aarogya Setu‘ app
- Help and feed the poor
- Do not fire employees
- Honor Doctors, Nurses, Sanitation Workers and Police
The health department in UP has magnified random testing in COVID-19 hotspots. Mobile teams across Noida have begun collecting 100-150 samples per day. Sealed areas are seeing samples of people with symptoms being collected from home itself. The same exercise is expected to begin in Ghaziabad soon, to track community testing and the spread of the virus.
Odisha has extended the lockdown till 30th April, and it is the first state to do so. Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik decided on this extension keeping in mind the lives of the people, rather than the economy. He further announced that the State would recommend the Central government to extend the national lockdown as well.
Sealing of COVID-19 hotspots in Noida and Ghaziabad ended up becoming a source of difficulty for many, on the first day. According to a report by Times of India dated 10th April, the gap between “planning and implementation” affected the supply of essentials and access to medical care in these areas.
One of the residents complained, “The vendors promised by the Noida authority did not turn up. Sector markets were shut. Stores outside were not open”.Source: Times of India
The WHO warned on 10th April (Friday) that hasty lifting of the lockdown could spark “deadly resurgence” of the virus.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom said, “I know that some countries are already planning the transition out of stay-at-home restrictions. WHO wants to see restrictions lifted as much as anyone”.Source: The Hindu
According to a report by The Hindu, the Group of Ministers on COVID-19 have suggested further shutdown of schools, colleges and restrictions on all religious activities seeking public partition till May 15th.
According to a report by The Hindu dated 9th April, the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh asked to double current efforts to safeguard personnel and their families, commenting that “if the caregivers become care seekers it would be a big problem”! Regarding the movement of personnel after the lockdown, the Navy Chief said that their movement will not be in haste but in a coordinated manner. He also assigned priorities to all personnel for this time period, some of which are to “ensure operational assets, specifically ships and submarine” and “redouble current efforts”!
Slum residents living in Sector 5, Greater Noida have been taken into quarantine after 4 COVID-19 patients had tested positive from the same area (JJ colony), as reported by Times of India (TOI) on 8th April.
Narendra Bhoosan, Noida’s Nodal Officer for COVID-19 responded, “As a precaution, we have tried to contain all neighbouring families at one place. We will monitor them for the next few days and test those who show symptoms”.
According to a TOI report, the Gautam Budha Nagar Administraton is yet to spot 184 people who had travelled to foreign countries in recent past.
Sunil Dohare, additional chief medical officer said, “ These persons could not be found in the addresses mentioned in their passsports. It is possible that they left the district and have still not updated their addresses on their documents.”
At a video conference of parties’ floor leader in Parliament on 8th April, the Prime Minister addressed the conference referring to the global crisis owing to the pandemic, claiming that the exit strategy for the 21-day lockdown will have to be discussed with chief ministers and that, lifting the lockdown in a go will not be possible.
“Today, the situation in the country is akin to a social emergency; it has necessitated tough decisions and we must continue to remain vigilant,” the Prime Minister said.
Inmates of Greater Noida’s Luksar and Ghaziabad’s Dasna jails have provided 75,000 triple-layer face masks in the past 10 days, for the aid of those working to contain the COVID-19 virus.
Dasna jail superintendent claimed, “We have dispatched boxes containing masks to health department employees, police personnel and administrative officers who are involved with COVID-19 prevention work. Masks have also been distributed at police lines in two districts.”Source: Times of India
Recently, AIIMS director claimed that community transmission has begun in some parts of the country. While clarifying that majority of India is still in stage 2, he commented on 6th April, “Cases have sharply increased at some places and localized community spread has also been noticed in some areas, such as Mumbai. We are in between Stage 2 and 3.”
After the widely circulated news of New York tiger catching the Coronavirus on Sunday (5th April), central zoo authorities in India have put zoos on highest alert.
On 6th April (8:33 pm), Telangana Chief Minister, K Chandrashekhar Rao appealed to the Prime Minister for extension of the lockdown by at least a week or two, commenting that the benefits of the lockdown would be lost if it is lifted up so soon!
In India, people always give nicknames to friends and relatives they are close to or with whom they are mostly around. Similarly, the world has given Coronavirus a nickname, COVID-19! COVID-19 is a household name now, with new cases being discovered every day and death tolls rising like the temperature in summers!
In this modern age, COVID-19 has come out as the black horse for humanity! The only cause to have led to a worldwide fear with governments and citizens coming together to fight as one! Or one could say, that COVID-19 is the only reason to have united people of all ages, religions, and regions.
The Coronavirus Victims in India
As per the latest updates from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the reported Coronavirus cases have risen to about 10363 in India, recording a number of 339 deaths by now, according to the Indian health ministry. Amongst these numbers, the ministry posts that a total of 1036 people were cured of the virus, bringing the number of active cases to 8988.
(*including foreign nationals, as on 14.04.2020 at 02:30 PM)
|State/Union Territory||Total Cases (Including|
|Jammu and Kashmir||270||4||16|
How does COVID-19 Impact India?
The Coronavirus originated in China and then spread from thereon. Italy and China were the only countries that were initially affected by the virus. In India, the COVID-19 came through travelers who had been to Italy and China. Now, the virus has spread all over the country with cases being reported from almost every state and city. As the virus in stage 3 of its life and has a long life, the Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to request a lockdown of the country on 23rd March 2020.
The virus travels on humans and can remain on a surface for almost 12 hours. So if an infected person touches any surface, then others who follow and touch the same surface would also get infected. Keeping this in mind, calling a ‘Janta Curfew’ was the most sensible prevention. As there isn’t any standard treatment that has been found successful to cure patients, prevention is what everybody is banking on to control the spread of COVID-19.
The Government of India received an unprecedented response for ‘Janta Curfew’. Understanding the impact and danger of Coronavirus, people were more than eager to follow the voluntary ‘Janta Curfew.’ As the situation is still not under control, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 23rd March 2020 in his public address, requested people to stay indoors and has extended the ‘Janta Curfew’ for 21 days. That is, the country would stay under complete lockdown till 15th April 2020, until further review.
What is ‘Janta Curfew’?
Janta Curfew is the name Indian Government has given to the lockdown in the country. The term was coined because Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his earlier address, had requested the citizens to stay at home. This was not an enforceable law, but a general request. But the response was as good as a law! The entire country stood still, with streets, roads, and all public places empty as a vessel. Police were deployed on streets and in certain areas, they punished people who were roaming around on the streets.
It is believed that Coronavirus would die at high temperatures and if it doesn’t get a carrier within 12 hours of being on a surface, then also it would die. Therefore, the Indian Government took the initiative of calling for a voluntary curfew. As it was on a Sunday when most of the offices and business centers are closed, there wasn’t much of an impact observed on the economics of things.
A virus that is in Stage 3 of its life could not be defeated in 1 day! The virus has brought a country to its knees, and before anything similar could happen to India, an extension of ‘Janta Curfew’ was all too obvious. The world is calling it social distancing, and India, ‘Janta Curfew’! The extension of the curfew is till 15th of April, 2020 and this time it is not voluntary, it is enforceable! The government has given orders to law and order agencies to enforce ‘Janta Curfew’. During the curfew, the Indian Government has advised people to not panic. These measures are being taken to protect the citizens of the country, and not to restrict them.
All the essential items would be available during the curfew. Medical services would be always at hand. Bless the doctors and the medical staff! Throughout the country, general merchants selling daily need products like pulses, wheat, rice, etc. would be allowed and advised to open for business daily. Medical stores and essentials stores/ daily needs stores/ grocery stores would open daily for a limited period of time. All the store owners are advised to maintain the highest standards of sanitization and to make sure they use gloves and masks at all times. These stores would be open for a limited period during the day, in most of the states it would be from 7 am to 10 am. Citizens have been advised to make sure that they use face masks, handkerchief, and gloves while visiting these stores and wash their hands once they are back.
Hospitals that have isolation wards would be operational as normal. These hospitals would cater mostly to COVID-19 cases and only those illnesses that is fatal and surgeries that cannot be postponed. Space is being made at Hospitals to cater to coronavirus patients. Affected patients are being kept in isolation wards with caregivers treating and providing them in vacuum suits. Ambulances are on high alert and every ready to take patients to hospitals.
Banks have reduced staff at centers! With Government issuing an advisory to all businesses to allow for work from home, banks, which are under the ambit of essential services, are operational with minimum staff. Banking staff at branches and call centres has been drastically reduced. Most of the banks are operational only from 7 am to 10 am from Monday to Friday. Basic transactions, like cash withdrawal, cheque submission and clearing, and cash deposit would be done. Banks have issued an advisory on all platforms and have sent private messages to its patrons requesting them to use the Internet and Mobile banking as much as possible.
ESSENTIAL SERVICES AND THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY
Amidst this unprecedented lockdown, the worst-hit seem to be the daily wage workers who cannot afford to stay indoors, and not earn anything to survive. A large number of construction workers who usually migrate to the cities in search of jobs find it impossible to make it back to their villages since transport facilities amidst the lockdown stand curbed as well. However, the Prime Minister, several state governments like the CPI-M in Kerala, AAP in Delhi, BJP in UP have assured that those affected will be taken care of financially.
Akhilesh Yadav, former CM of UP while addressing this pressing concern said, “All governments need to act lightning fast because the situation is changing every day. We need to activate big community kitchens and deliver food to people who need it. We need to hand out cash or rice and wheat – irrespective of who comes from which state.”
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India has over 52 government-designated laboratories for coronavirus testing. On Monday, the ICMR also announced, “12 private-lab chains have registered after being allowed for Covid-19 testing; they have 15,000 collection centers.” This allotment includes five labs in Maharashtra, two each in Haryana and Tamil Nadu, and one each in Delhi, Gujarat, and Karnataka.
Scientists from around the world are working round the clock for the preparation of a vaccine for the treatment of the virus. According to a report by The Print, about 20 Indian research institutes are currently working for the development of the vaccine, amongst which, The National Institute of Virology (Pune) and the ICMR are some of the institutes involved. According to a report dated 27th March by the Economic Times, India is also to start antibody tests to identify exposure to the virus.
Randeep Guleria, director of AIIMS, commented, “This is not a confirmatory test. The serological test is for the purpose of surveillance to generate data and understand whether people got exposed to the virus”.
Having eight doctors per 10,000 people compared to 41 in Italy and 71 in Korea, the situation in India is a little worrisome, to say the least.
Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group, on 22 March, announced that his company would be offering their resort as temporary care facilities, and figure out ways to make ventilators.
On 28th March (Saturday), the Tata Sons announced additional Rs 1,000 crore to aid COVID-19 related activities.
N. Chandrasekaran, chairman of the Tata Group said, “We will work together with the Tata Trusts and our Chairman emeritus Tata and would be fully supporting their initiatives, and work in a collaborative manner to bring the full expertise of the group”.
New Delhi BJP President J.P. Nadda, tweeted on 28th March (Saturday), “All MPs & MLAs of Bharatiya Janata Party will donate their one month remuneration/salary to the central relief fund to support the fight against Covid19. All MPs of BJP will release Rs 1 crore from their MPLADS fund to the central relief fund in support to fight against Covid-19”.
He further also announced that all MPs of BJP would be releasing a sum of Rs. 1 crore from their MPLADS fun to the Central Relief Fund, to support the fight against COVID-19.