QBullet: India Under Lockdown; Essential Services Operational

Catch all the top headlines of the day.

Published25 Mar 2020, 01:13 AM IST
6 min read

1. PM Modi Announces All-India Lockdown Over COVID-19, Will Be in Place for 21 Days

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, 24 March, announced complete lockdown of the entire country, as part of the government’s stringent efforts to tackle coronavirus disease COVID-19.

“Today, I am going to announce a very important measure in our fight against COVID-19. The entire country will be under lockdown from today. The complete lockdown will come into effect from midnight tonight,” PM Modi said in his address to the nation.

This lockdown will be in place for 21 days and more stringent than Janta Curfew, he added.

“This virus has been spreading very fast across the world. It spreads like wildfire. Looking at the experience of these countries, and what the experts say, the only successful way to tackle the spread of the virus is social distancing,” said the Prime Minister.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

2. Grocery, Milk Booth, Vegetable Shops Open During 21-Day Lockdown

People wearing face masks in the wake of coronavirus pandemic stand in queue to buy groceries, at Churchgate in Mumbai, Saturday, 21 March  2020. 
People wearing face masks in the wake of coronavirus pandemic stand in queue to buy groceries, at Churchgate in Mumbai, Saturday, 21 March 2020. 
(Photo: PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Disaster Management Authority on Tuesday evening ordered central departments and states to take “effective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country”. Soon after PM Modi made the announcement of a complete lockdown in his 8 pm address to the nation, the Home Ministry ordered state governments to enforce a 21-day lockdown.

A set of guidelines circulated by the Home Ministry to the states made it clear that all government and private sector offices across the country will remain closed unless they have been specifically exempted. The guidelines have also ordered all educational institutions and places of worship to close and restricted the congregation at any funeral during the lockdown to a maximum of 20 people.

The home ministry also ordered all enforcement authorities to note that these strict restrictions fundamentally relate to the movement of people but not to that of essential goods.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

3. PM Modi to Join Extraordinary Virtual G20 Summit on Thursday

File image of PM Narendra Modi. 
File image of PM Narendra Modi. 
(Photo: IANS) 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join an “extraordinary virtual G20 leaders’ summit” on 26 March to discuss a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic ramifications, two people familiar with developments said on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia, the current president of the G20, called for the virtual summit last week. Though there has been no formal announcement from Riyadh, a person familiar with planning for the summit confirmed it will be held in the evening on Thursday.

The leaders’ summit will be preceded by a virtual meeting on 25 March of the G20 Sherpas or personal representatives of heads of governments of the member states. India’s Sherpa is former commerce minister Suresh Prabhu.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

4. Freed After 7 Months, Omar Abdullah: Coronavirus Fight First, Will Discuss J&K Later

Omar Abdullah with his parents after release from detention.
Omar Abdullah with his parents after release from detention.
(Photo: Twitter)

Ten days after his father Farooq Abdullah’s detention was revoked by the Jammu and Kashmir administration, former J&K Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah was released from the Srinagar subsidiary jail at Hari Niwas where he was held for over seven months.

Abdullah drove the distance from Hari Niwas on Gupkar Road to his residence on the same road. He was detained ahead of the 5 August announcement ending J&K’s special status under Article 370 and its division into two new Union Territories.

In February, Abdullah was charged under the Public Safety Act along with former Chief Minister and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti who remains under detention.

(Source: The Indian Express)

5. ‘Deeply Anguished’ Says Health Minister About Ostracism of Doctors

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.
(Photo: PTI)

Union health minister Dr Harshvardhan expressed his anguish today over reports of medical and paramedical personnel being targeted in their localities as carriers of coronavirus. Asking people not to panic, he said all precautions are being taken to ensure that they are not carriers of the infection.

Under the circumstances, "Any harsh steps will demoralise them, derail the system," he added.

The panic over the spread of coronavirus has resulted in backlash in some parts of the country by vigilante groups. The targets have been medical personnel as well as employees of airlines involved in flying back Indians stranded in various nations.

(Source: NDTV)

6. ‘Sack Smriti Irani, Piyush Goyal’: Congress to PM Before 8 pm Address

People engaged in panic buy in New Delhi after lockdown. 
People engaged in panic buy in New Delhi after lockdown. 
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

The Congress has demanded sacking of ministers responsible for jeopardising the health of medical staff engaged in treating coronavirus patients.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala demanded from the Prime Minister, "As you address the Nation today at 8 pm, please sack Smriti Irani and Piyush Goyal and tell the nation as to how do you propose to punish others for jeopardising Health and well being of our doctors, nurses and health professionals as also those afflicted by coronavirus."

The Congress alleged that the government did two unpardonable acts by jeopardising the health of Doctors and health workers and must be punished.

(Source: NDTV)

7. Punjab: More Curbs, Tracking Teams Formed as Quarantine-Dodging NRIs Spark Alarm

Thousands of NRIs have been pouring into Punjab in the last few weeks, with several of them dodging home quarantine, or even running away from authorities looking to track them down. This has forced the government to form around 200 teams in the state’s Doaba region, which has a large NRI population, to track down such people and forcibly isolate them at home.

The NRI inflow has also prompted the state government to clamp down extremely stringent restrictions to contain the spread of coronavirus.

As per the latest orders, there will be no general relaxations offered to people and they will be required to stay home. District administrations will ensure home delivery of essentials to the people.

(Source: The Indian Express)

8. Hours Into Delhi Lockdown, on 101st Day of Sit-In, Shaheen Bagh Cleared, Police Cite Curbs

Protest site being cleared in the wake of coronavirus.
Protest site being cleared in the wake of coronavirus.
(Photo: Accessed by the Quint)

Early Tuesday morning, as the anti-CAA protest at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh entered its 101st day, the Delhi Police removed protesters and vacated the area citing the lockdown because of the coronavirus outbreak. Nine protesters, including six women, were detained after they refused to leave, said DCP (southeast) R P Meena.

“The SHO and ACP visited the site Monday evening and requested protesters to leave as a lockdown had been implemented due to coronavirus, but everyone refused. In the morning, too, we asked them to leave, but when they didn’t, coercive action had to be taken and people were detained,” said Meena. Protesters were removed from the site around 7.30 am.

(Source: The Indian Express)

9. Nearly 100 J&K Students at Bangla Border, High Commission Tells Them to Stay Back

With India’s international borders sealed since 15 March to check the spread of coronavirus, nearly 100 medical students, all from different parts of Jammu & Kashmir, were stranded at the Benapol-Petrapol border on the Bangladesh side.

The students said that their medical colleges had shut down due to the coronavirus scare and that they were told to leave the hostels and return home.

The Indian High Commission in Dhaka, however, said that it had spoken to the college authorities, who have agreed to keep the hostels open for the Indian students. The High Commission advised the students to not undertake any travel and to not try and cross into India.

(Source: The Indian Express)

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