WHO, World Health Organisation, coronavirus, COVID-19, Coronavirus outbreak, Coronavirus shutdown
Nepalese men line up outside a pharmacy to buy face Photo: PTI

COVID-19: Global toll touches 2 lakh as Delhi, Mumbai shut metro

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases touch 2,00,000-mark globally, the World Health Organisation in its situation report on Friday (March 20) announced a new testing protocol.

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As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases touch 2,00,000-mark globally, the World Health Organisation in its situation report on Friday (March 20) announced a new testing protocol.

According to the report, it took about 90 days to reach the first 1,00,000 active cases worldwide, however, within the next 12 days the number doubled and touched 2,00,000 cases.

The new protocol to investigate the extent of COVID-19 infection in the population, as determined by antibody tests in the general population has been developed, read the WHO report.

Interactive: Know the coronavirus stats here

Meanwhile, in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday (March 19) urged social distancing being a key to curb the spread of coronavirus and announced a ‘Janta Curfew’ from 7 AM to 9 PM on Sunday (March 22) in view of the efforts being taken to fight the global pandemic.

The Ministry of Health on Friday, sounded a view similar to the prime minister and appealed to people to maintain social distancing to fight the virus. “We are working on a preventive approach,” Joint Secretary Lav Aggarwal said.

“PM has called for a Janata curfew; one day’s cooperation will help break the chain of transmission,” he said, adding that people are requested to use the toll-free number 1075 and urged them to seek information and steer clear of all kinds of misinformation.

“At 5 PM today the Prime Minister will hold a video-conference with all the CMs of all states,” he said.

Related news: Mumbai, Pune offices shut till March 31 due to COVID-19 outbreak

Amid several preventive measures being taken to curb chances of community transmission, the West Bengal government on Friday, announced the creation of a state emergency relief fund from those who wish to donate.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “State government employees will work in rotation and I request the Centre to send us more medical kits.” She also announced that rice distributed via public distribution system at ₹2/kg will be free for the next six months.

What remained a major concern for people was the metro rails and local trains still being run. However, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation also declared to shut metro services on Sunday, the day PM Modi imposed the ‘Janata curfew’.

The move is aimed at encouraging the public to stay indoors and maintain social distancing, which is essential in the fight against COVID-19.

Related news: COVID-19: Bengal govt offers work on rotation for staff, free rice

In Maharashtra, Health Minister Rajesh Tope warned that the state government will be forced to shut down Mumbai lifeline if crowd is not controlled, while Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that all offices in Mumbai, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Nagpur will remain shut from midnight till March 31.

“All essential services will continue to operate. Grocery stores and milk booths will run as well as public transport. Government offices will run with 25 per cent staff,” the CM said.

The state government  has also cancelled exams of class 1 to 8, Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad announced.

“A decision will be taken after monitoring crowd next 48 hours.People should stay at home. Except for essential services,” Tope said.

Related news: Coronavirus infections have not reached community level: Harsh Vardhan

The ‘Ram Kot Parikrama’, a major religious event that marks the beginning of Ram Navami (Lord Rama’s birthday), has been cancelled due to the rise in the number of coronavirus cases in India. The festival was initially supposed to be held in Ayodhya next week, starting on March 24 but was called off by the organising committee.

According to health ministry officials, the total number of cases of COVID-19 reached 206 on Friday, of which four people have died and more than 6,700 people who have come in contact have been kept under surveilliance.

The government also released a MyGov corona helpdesk and the health ministry urged the citizens to use 1075 toll free number for any query and informed that the Centre is taking a preventive approach.

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