QBullet: 80 Indian Cities Under Lockdown; Trade Suspended
Catch all the top headlines of the day.
1. 80 Cities Across India Go Into Lockdown Till 31 March
Eighty cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru are going into complete lockdown this month as India fights to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The states going into lockdown till 31 March include those where coronavirus cases have been reported – Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Telangana, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, West Bengal, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Puducherry and Uttarakhand.
Trains, metros and inter-state buses have been suspended across the country. Markets, malls, cinemas, schools, colleges and gyms are already shut in most of the states. Many have also imposed Section 144, a law that bans more than five people from gathering.
2. Businesses Shut as Delhi Closes Border to All But Essentials
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged people in the national capital to stay home as much as possible as he announced a complete lockdown on Sunday and said that “extraordinary times called for extraordinary measures” to fight the public health threat triggered by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Under the lockdown, which was to begin from 6 am on 23 March, all public transport services, except 25 percent of DTC buses, will remain suspended. These include the Delhi Metro, private buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws.
Kejriwal said that India needed to learn from the mistakes of nations such as Italy and Iran, which have been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, reporting thousands of deaths. Italy now has the highest death toll, surpassing China, where the disease originated and has affected about 82,000 people.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
3. Air India Hits Out at Vigilante RWAs, Demands Due Respect for Crew
Amid the coronavirus pandemic which has gripped the nation, national carrier Air India on Sunday hit back at vigilante resident welfare associations which have been ‘ostracising’ crew members for travelling to coronavirus-hit countries to evacuate stranded Indians.
“It is alarming to note that in many localities, vigilante Resident Welfare Associations and neighbours have started ostracising the crew, obstructing them from performing their duty or even calling in the police, simply because the crew travelled abroad in the course of their duty,” Air India said in a statement.
“These vigilantes have conveniently forgotten that many a spouse, parent, sibling, and child and near and dear one have been brought home safe and secure from affected countries, thanks to the heroic efforts of these Air India crew,” it added.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
4. Ex-Civil Servants Write Open Letter in Defence of Activist Mander Over Alleged Derogatory Remarks Against SC
A group of 95 retired civil servants, under the aegis of Constitutional Conduct Group, Sunday wrote an open letter in defence of activist Harsh Mander, accusing the Solicitor General and the Delhi Police for distorting his case in the Supreme Court.
In a plea before the apex court, Mander had sought registration of FIRs against BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Sahib Singh and Abhay Verma for their alleged hate speeches in the run-up to the Delhi assembly elections. The Delhi police, in its counter-affidavit, had claimed to have come across a video clip of Mander’s speech at Jamia Millia Islamia instigating violence and making derogatory remarks against the top court.
(Source: The Indian Express)
5. Odisha Doctors Write to Govt: Short of Critical Equipment, May Enter Coronavirus Stage 3
The Odisha Medical Service Association (OMSA), which represents state government doctors, other than those serving in medical colleges, shared a letter with The Indian Express, which calls for “immediate steps for supply” of personal protection equipment (PPE) kits to health care providers and doctors at district level and in peripheral areas of the state.
“There are insufficient masks, santitizers and PPE kits. So there is heavy chance of infection to health care providers. If that happens, we will enter into phase III of pandemic and that is very dangerous,” the letter to the state health department warns.
According to a senior doctor with OMSA, Stage III of pandemic means when an person or animal carrying the virus can produce sporadic cases or small clusters of disease in population. Incomplete human-to-human transmission can occur in specific circumstances. Cases of the virus are confirmed with both proficient and continual human to human transmission.
(Source: The Indian Express)
6. Amid Coronavirus Outbreak, Stranded Indians Seek Embassy Help to Find Accommodation
With the government banning the operation of international flights amid the coronavirus outbreak, Indians stranded in the UK and Malaysia have approached the Indian missions for help in finding accommodation as they wait for flights after 31 March.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told The Indian Express, “There maybe be many people returning from abroad who would be feeling inconvenienced. The government is fully aware of the situation and is doing its best. Officers and employees are putting in hours and days of work to make their safe return possible.”
About 280 Indians are stuck in Kuala Lumpur. The Indian High Commission there has tied up with some local NGOs to provide temporary accommodation to them. In London, about 19 Indians are in the Indian High Commission and have demanded that they be put on a flight immediately.
(Source: The Indian Express)
7. Lockdown Not Enough To Defeat Coronavirus, Says WHO
Countries can't simply lock down their societies to defeat coronavirus, the World Health Organization's top emergency expert said on Sunday, adding that public health measures are needed to avoid a resurgence of the virus later on.
"What we really need to focus on is finding those who are sick, those who have the virus, and isolate them, find their contacts and isolate them," Mike Ryan said in an interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.
"The danger right now with the lockdowns ... if we don't put in place the strong public health measures now, when those movement restrictions and lockdowns are lifted, the danger is the disease will jump back up."
8. Suspected COVID-19 Passengers On Board, AirAsia Pilot Exits From Window
As there were suspected coronavirus-infected passengers aboard AirAsia India's Pune-Delhi flight last Friday, the pilot-in-command after landing chose to come out of the plane through cockpit's secondary exit, which is a sliding window.
An AirAsia India spokesperson said, "There was a case reported of suspected Covid-19 passengers aboard I5-732, Pune to New Delhi on 20 March 2020, seated in Row 1. The passengers were subsequently screened and tested negative."
As a safety measure after landing, the aircraft was parked at a remote bay and suspected passengers disembarked from the front door, the spokesperson noted.
All other passengers, escorted by the crew, disembarked from the rear door of the aircraft, the spokesperson added.
9. Delhi Officials to Check If 35,000 Foreign Returnees Self-Quarantined
The Delhi government has directed top district officials to verify that the 35,000 people, who returned from abroad since 1 March, have put themselves in mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. The officers would have to ensure that all those who have come in contact with the foreign returnees spend at least two weeks in isolation.
The Arvind Kejriwal government has also ruled that those tested positive for coronavirus would be put in isolation in hospitals. They will only be discharged when the doctors say so.
Delhi was placed under lockdown today till 31 March – part of the imposition of nationwide restrictions to battle the highly contagious coronavirus, which has killed over 11,000 globally and infected nearly 350 people in the country. Seven people have died in the country after contracting the virus.
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