Coronavirus outbreak: India leans on social distancing, community kitchens as positive cases near 700

India has settled down into the 21-day coronavirus lockdown with social distancing, technology and home delivery services to break the chain of coronavirus pandemic.

ocial distancing became the ‘it’ thing in the nation on Thursday as Indians settled into the second day fo 21-day lockdown. Several interesting cases of social distancing means came forward, while good samaritans made headlines for helping out poor and needy during the lockdown in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The central and states governments continued to make efforts to sort of glitches in the home delivery services for essential goods like groceries and dairy. MPs and MLAs cutting across party lines, celebrities, business heads and Bollywood celebs came forward to pitch in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, which has claimed the lives of over 22,000 people across the globe.

Fresh casualties reported from Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan took India’s total toll to 17, while the number of cases confirmed as positive for Covid-19 reached 694. It is a jump of 88 cases in one day. During the lockdown, heartbreaking reports of migrant labourers leaving for their homes on foot have emerged. Chief ministers of different states have pleaded others to help these migrants in times of crisis.

The health ministry said that the lockdown has been successful in breaking the chain of transmission as is ‘evident from the stability in the rate of increase in numbers’. However, a ministry official said, that everyone will have to stick to lockdown guidelines issued by the government to ensure that we come out of the lockdown victorious.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended a G20 meet via video conferencing. During the meeting, PM Modi pitched for developing a new crisis management protocol to deal with the global health crisis and urged the powerful G20 grouping to work towards addressing shockwaves triggered by the pandemic. As per MEA briefing, G20 leaders have agreed to take all necessary measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic and protect people.

In a major announcement, the Centre announced a package of Rs 1.7 lakh cr stimulus to help poor hit by lockdown. The scheme includes free foodgrain and cooking gas to poor for three months, and cash doles to women and poor senior citizens as it looked to ease the economic impact of the nationwide lockdown.


India registered five cases of deaths due to novel coronavirus on Thursday. A 65-year-old man infected with the coronavirus died at Chest Disease (CD) hospital Dalgate, Srinagar in the early hours of Thursday. It was J&K’s first casualty due to the virus. The man had a medical history of illness with Sugar, hypertension and obesity.

The test report of a woman who died on March 24 turned out positive for novel coronavirus. The woman, who hailed from Navi Mumbai, had symptoms similar to the coronavirus infection. Thus, as a precautionary measure, her samples were taken and sent for testing, he said. “The test came out positive this morning. We are now taking the necessary precautions for her relatives as well,” the official said.

In a second coronavirus related death in Karnataka, Covid-19 test results of a 75-year-old woman who had died on Wednesday came back as positive.

Rajasthan’s Bhilwara, which is dealing with an outbreak of the virus, registered a death on Thursday. A 73-year-old man who had tested positive for coronavirus and was in coma due to kidney failure died.

Madhya Pradesh also recorded a case of death. A 35-year-old man who tested positive for Covid-19 died in Indore.

In its updated figures, the ministry stated that as at 8 pm Thursday, Gujarat and Maharashtra reported three deaths, Karnataka reported two and Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Punjab, Delhi, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir reported one death each. However, the ministry data has not factored in an earlier case in Mumbai in which the man who had earlier tested positive and the negative had died.

Total number of cases

The number of coronavirus cases climbed to 694 in India on Thursday. According to the ministry data, the number of active COVID-19 cases in the country stood at 633, while 44 people were either cured or discharged and one had migrated.

The total number of 694 cases included 47 foreign nationals, the ministry data said.

Maharashtra has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases so far at 124, including three foreign nationals, followed by Kerala, where the number of cases has climbed up to 118, including eight foreign nationals, according to the ministry data.

The number of cases in Karnataka has gone up to 55 while cases in Telangana rose to 44, including 10 foreigners.

The number of cases in Gujarat has climbed to 43, including a foreigner.

In Rajasthan, the number of cases has increased to 41, including two foreigners.

Uttar Pradesh has reported 41 cases, including a foreigner, while the number of positive cases in Delhi has gone up to 36, including a foreigner.

Punjab has reported 33 cases, while 30 COVID-19 cases have so far been detected in Haryana, including 14 foreigners.

The number of cases has climbed to 26 in Tamil Nadu, including six foreigners. Madhya Pradesh has recorded 20 cases, Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir reported 13 cases each while Andhra Pradesh has reported 11 cases and West Bengal has 10 COVID-19 patients.

Chandigarh has reported seven cases so far, Chhattisgarh and Bihar have reported six cases each while Uttarakhand has five cases, including a foreigner.

Himachal Pradesh has reported three cases while two cases have been detected in Odisha.

Goa has reported three coronavirus cases. Earlier, the ministry had attributed 33 cases to the coastal state but subsequently, the figure was revised.

Puducherry, Mizoram, Manipur and Andaman and Nicobar Islands have reported one case each.

Economic package to help poor during lockdown

The government on Thursday announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore stimulus that included free foodgrain and cooking gas to poor for three months, and cash doles to women and poor senior citizens as it looked to ease the economic impact of the nationwide lockdown.

While over 80 crore poor ration card holders will each get 5 kg of wheat or rice and one kg of preferred pulses free of cost every month for the next three months, 20.4 crore women having Jan Dhan bank accounts would get one-time cash help of Rs 1,500 spread over three months.

Over 8.3 crore poor women, who were handed out free cooking gas connections since 2016, will get free LPG refills for the next three months, while poor senior citizens, widows and disabled will get an ex-gratia cash of Rs 1,000.

“Since the lockdown has been in force (since Wednesday) and therefore we have come out with a package which will immediately take care of the concerns and welfare of poor and suffering workers and those who need immediate help,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at a news conference.



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