On December 31, 2019, China reported a new virus to the World Health Organization (WHO), which later came to be known as COVID-19 -- the “CO” stands for coronavirus, “VI” for virus and “D” for disease. The coronavirus itself is called “nCoV-2019”. The virus, which causes symptoms ranging from an itchy throat to pneumonia, has killed thousands globally and infected millions. Several countries, including India, have implemented lockdown measures and other restrictions in a bid to stop the tranmission of the coronavirus. There are global efforts to find a cure or vaccine for the coronavirus, with several studies underway and in different stages of development. Scientists are also trying to understand the origin of the virus and how it is transmitted. An indigenous vaccine for the coronavirus is being developed in the country by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in partnership with Bharat Biotech International Limited (MMIL).
India initiated a lockdown on March 24 due to the coronavirus, and has gradually eased restrictions in phases. The country stopped rail and air services to contain the coronavirus. The Centre announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore package to that would largely benefit the unorganised sector workers, especially daily wage earners and the urban and rural poor. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also taken several relief measures to mitigate the economic fallout due to the coronavirus.
The Centre initiated Shramik Special trains in May to help stranded migrants, tourists students and others return to their home states. It announced the Vande Bharat Mission and Operation Samudra Setu to help Indian nationals abroad return to the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic is altering beviour across the world. From social distancing to wearing masks, from washing hands to working from home, people have been forced to change their habits. And not just humans, the coronavirus pandemic has led to cleaner air, blue skies and a change in animal behaviour.