India shines with show of solidarity as COVID-19 cases touch 3,666

As coronavirus cases in India crossed 3,500 on Sunday, millions of Indians embraced a blackout, and lit lamps and candles to show solidarity with the fellow country-people, in response to the appeal made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his April 3 video message.

As coronavirus cases in India crossed 3,666 on Monday (April 6), millions of Indians embraced a blackout, and lit lamps and candles to show solidarity with the fellow country-people, in response to the appeal made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his April 3 video message.

Here are the latest updates:

Spike in cases: The death toll due to coronavirus rose to 109 and the cases climbed to 3,66 in the country on Monday after 505 new infections and seven deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, according to the Union Health Ministry. However, a PTI tally of figures reported by states directly showed at least 126 deaths across the country, while the confirmed cases reached 4,111.

Show of unity: In response to an appeal by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, people across the country switched off lights at 9 pm on Sunday and lit candles, earthen lamps and mobile flashlights to show the country’s resolve to fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Besides, crackers were also burst in several places.

Malaysians caught: Eight Malaysian citizens, who had reportedly attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation last month, were caught at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport before they could board a special flight to their country, on Sunday. They were reportedly hiding at different places in the national capital. The immigration department caught them and will be handing them over to police.

Doubling of cases: The health ministry on Sunday said the rate of doubling of COVID-19 cases in India is 4.1 days currently, but if the cases linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation would not have happened, it would have been 7.4 days. It has also asserted that there’s no evidence to prove COVID-19 was airborne.

What next? Various key ministries and departments have cautiously started to chalk out re-emergence plans and strategies to come out of the 21-day nationwide lockdown. The focus of the central and state governments currently appeared to be on two key aspects: continuing with efforts to contain the virus, and working on exit and “staggered re-emergence” from the lockdown.

Opening of schools: With all schools and other educational institutes closed due to coronavirus lockdown, HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on Sunday said the government will take a decision on reopening of schools and colleges on April 14 after reviewing the situation. He said his ministry is prepared to ensure there is no academic loss to students if institutes needed to remain shut beyond April 14.

PM dials opposition leaders: PM Modi reached out to top leaders from across the political spectrum on Sunday, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, to discuss the coronavirus situation in the country. He also spoke with former presidents Pranab Mukherjee and Pratibha Patil, and former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda.

SC guidelines: The Supreme Court will on Monday take up a matter related to framing of guidelines for functioning of courts via video-conferencing during the pandemic. A bench headed by CJI SA Bobde will hear the matter listed suo motu at 12.30 PM. Since the countrywide lockdown from March 25, the top court has been hearing extremely urgent matters through video conferencing.

FCI record: Food Corporation of India, the nodal agency for procurement and distribution of foodgrains, has transported record quantities of 1.93 lakh metric tonnes of grains on Saturday to different parts of the country for providing relief to poor amid the lockdown. A total of 605 rakes carrying about 16.94 lakh tonne of foodgrains have been transported across the country during this period.

Food camps: Over 75 lakh needy people, including migrant labourers, have been provided with food at 19,460 special food camps across the country in the wake of the lockdown, officials said on Sunday. These special food camps are in addition to 27,661 shelters set up for migrant workers and needy people. They said 12.5 lakh people have been given shelter in these arrangements.

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