COVID .. No plan to extend lockdown beyond three weeks, clarifies cabinet secretary

NEW DELHI: The central government made it clear on Monday that it has no plan to extend the present 21-day lockdown to beyond the three weeks. The lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Wednesday last. Union Cabinet secretary Rajiv Gouba dismissed reports to the contrary as “baseless.” Corona positive cases in India crossed the 1,000 mark this weekend, with Maharashtra and Kerala being in the forefront of detected cases. 

In Kerala, seven people committed suicide in the past three days due to non-availability of liquor, after the Pinarayi Vijayan government closed down all liquor outlets under state monopoly the Beverages Corporation. Curiously, this, when only two covid infections deaths were reported from the state. On Monday, the state government said those with doctors’ prescriptions can be allowed to buy liquor from beverages corporation outlets from now on. However, a doctors’ association said they would not issue such prescriptions.

The Centre  effected relaxation in goods movement via rail, allowing both essential and non-essential goods to move from place to place. More selective relaxations are likely in the coming days as the lockdown is feared to prove deadly to the national economy, already ailing for the past few years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is mindful of the gathering discontentment and despair among the population over the abrupt lockdown of the nation for three weeks. In his Mann Ki Baat radio programme on Sunday, he apologized to the nation’s poor for the harsh measures that are currently in place by way of an offensive against Covid. Over 13 million migrant workers in India are among the worst-hit by the sudden lockdown.

Elsewhere, President Donald Trump made it clear in the US that a cure in the form of lockdown cannot be worse than the Covid disease.

Meanwhile, the total corona cases in India rose to 1073 and deaths to 30. Kerala topped the chart with 194 infections detected so far, and two deaths. Delhi saw a sudden spike on Sunday, with over 20 new cases springing up, taking the total number in the national capital close to 60. Maharashtra has 194 cases so far and Gujarat nearly 60 cases. Telangana reported 69 cases so far and Karnataka 80 cases. Tamil Nadu reported about 40 cases while Rajasthan 57 cases and Madhya Pradesh 33 cases. Uttar Pradesh recorded 75 cases, while West Bengal lay low with 19 cases.

Over seven lakh people worldwide were infected by the virus so far, principally in the US, Italy, Spain and Iran, apart from China which started the saga first, so far. Some 33,000 deaths have been confirmed due to corona virus worldwide. Of this, the US alone accounted for 2,400 deaths, and 139,700 infections. –IHN-NN


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