Migrants wait to board a bus to their respective villages during a nationwide lockdown, in Ghaziabad | PTI Photo

India crosses 1,000 COVID-19 cases on Day 4 of lockdown, toll at 27

Into the fourth day of lockdown, India’s COVID-19 count skyrocketed past the 1,000 mark while several new deaths from across the country took its total toll to 27. With the nation at a standstill, an exodus of migrant workers from several urban pockets to their native places has added to the risk of spreading the disease.

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Into the fourth day of lockdown, India’s COVID-19 count skyrocketed past the 1,000 mark while several new deaths from across the country took its total toll to 27. With the nation at a standstill, an exodus of migrant workers from several urban pockets to their native places has added to the risk of spreading the disease, prompting the Centre to direct the state governments to effectively seal the state and district borders.

Here are the latest updates from the day:

106 cases, 6 deaths in 24 hours
In the Sunday evening briefing, the Union health ministry said 106 new cases of COVID-19 and six deaths were reported from six states in the last 24 hours. The new deaths were reported from Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Telengana. However, as per the 7:30 pm update, the total count stands at 1,024 cases and 27 deaths. The two new deaths were reported from Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir.

An apology from PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his monthly radio programme, Mann Ki Baat, apologised for the “harsh decision” of enforcing a 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. “I apologise for taking these harsh steps which have caused difficulties in your lives, especially the poor people. I know some of you must be angry with me. But these tough measures were needed to win this battle,” he said.

Effectively seal borders, states told
The Centre has asked state governments and union territory administrations to effectively seal state and district borders to stop movements of migrant workers during lockdown. Only movement of goods should be allowed. Adequate arrangements for food and shelter of poor and needy people including migrant labourers be made at the place of their work, said an official.

PMO sets up high-level panels
The Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday constituted 10 different high-level committees to suggest measures to ramp up healthcare, put the economy back on track and reduce misery of people as quickly as possible post 21-day lockdown period. These committees will work under the overall guidance of P K Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, sources said.

No rent, no deduction of salary
The Union home ministry said employers must be instructed to give full wages to workers on due date without any deduction for the closed-down period and landlords cannot charge rent for this period. It said the workers cannot be forced to vacate the premises. SPs and DMs will be responsible for its implementation, it said, referring to the orders issued to stop mass exodus of migrant workers.

Support pours in for PM’s emergency fund
President, Union ministers, ministries, government-run organisations, private bodies and individuals contributed or made a pledge to donate to the newly created PM CARES Fund on Sunday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tweeted his thanks and praise to people and organisations after they posted their decision to contribute to the fund.

SOP for transporting patients
The health ministry has laid down the standard operating procedure for medical staff attending to or transporting suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases. The SOP says ambulances should be identified specifically for transporting suspect patients. It warned against use of ‘102 ambulances’ for coronavirus patients. The patient and the attendant should be provided with triple-layer mask and gloves, the SOP said.

Helpline for mental health issues
The government has launched a toll-free helpline number — 08046110007 — for people who may face mental health issues due to the ongoing countrywide lockdown. The health ministry said the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, has launched the number.

EPF withdrawal allowed
Labour ministry has allowed over six crore subscribes of retirement fund body EPFO to withdraw an amount not exceeding their three months basic pay and dearness allowance from their EPF account in view of the lockdown. Besides, EPFO has also introduced online claim settlement facility without manual intervention for all KYC complaint subscribers during the lockdown.

Book series on coronavirus
The National Book Trust is working on a series titled ‘Corona Studies Series’ that will include books focused on art, literature, folklore, economic and sociological aspects as well as science and health awareness emerging out of the pandemic and the lockdown imposed by the government. It has set up a study group to prepare books on the sub-series on ‘Psycho-Social Impact of Corona Pandemic and the Ways to Cope’.

Manufacturing PPE
Over 10 domestic manufacturers in India have been identified for producing personal protective equipment, and additional manufacturers are also being identified. “In collaboration with the foreign ministry, PPE, which are available in other countries, we are starting the process to import them too,” it said.

DGCA suspends alcohol tests
Aviation regulator DGCA said it was suspending breathalyser tests, which is done to detect alcohol, for all aviation personnel, including pilots, hours after an Air India union requested it to do so citing these tests could spread coronavirus. The decision comes after SpiceJet said one of its pilots, who did not fly any international flight in March, had tested positive.

Global toll crosses 32,000
Spain reported a national daily record of 838 coronavirus deaths on Sunday while the total global toll crossed 32,000 lives. In Britain, deaths have now topped 1,000. With the pandemic sweeping westward, the US is home to the highest number of confirmed infections globally with more than 124,000 cases, as per a Johns Hopkins University tally. Iran’s death toll now stands at 2,640.

Interactive: Know the coronavirus stats here

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