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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

India lockdown diary, Day 4: PM seeks donations for Covid-19 fight; Railways prepares isolation coach, workers struggle to return home

While the lockdown has severely hampered the country's supply chain, state governments are working with the Centre to ensure uninterrupted distribution of essential services.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: March 28, 2020 11:56:31 pm
India lockdown diary, Day 4: PM appeals people to donate against Covid-19; Indian Railways isolation coach Migrant labourers, carrying their belongings, walk several hundred kilometers from cities to reach their towns/villages (Express Photo by Gajendra Yadav)

As India completes Day 4 of the lockdown Saturday, the death toll touched 19 while the confirmed positive cases crossed the 900-mark.

While the lockdown has severely hampered the country’s supply chain, the state governments are working with the Centre to ensure uninterrupted distribution of essential services. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, appealed to masses to contribute to the PM-CARES relief fund to tackle the spread of the virus, whereas Home Minister Amit Shah assured assistance for migrant workers and labourers.

Here is how the states, and union territories in the country are dealing with the outbreak:


Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged people, including the migrant workers, to follow the 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. “I have asked MLAs to request migrant workers to not leave Delhi as we have made arrangements for all. I will appeal that initiative of lockdown taken by PM is necessary to contain this epidemic. If people will migrate then COVID-19 cases will rise,” he said. Kejriwal assured that food is being served to the needy at nearly 800 centres set up by Delhi government.

Ishamuddin Khan, a street magician, is out of tricks. Khan and several street artists at the Anand Parbat Transit Camp, where around 2,800 families from Kathputli Colony live, have been hit by the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdown .

Several migrant workers working in Delhi continued on their arduous trek to reach home in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other neighbouring states even as CM Kejriwal urged people against it.

Days after the government mooted the idea, the Indian Railways has converted one of its coaches into an isolation ward for COVID-19 patients. Each coach can house 10 patients, in separated bays of the non-AC coach, which has undergone a number of modifications.

Here is what the coronavirus isolation railways coaches look like Indian Railways transformed its coaches into quarantine facilities to help state governments contain the spread of novel coronavirus. Passenger operations had been stalled on March 22. (Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

In the first phase, the 16 workshops of the Indian Railways will be making two rakes each. Each rake will have 10 coaches. So to begin with, there will be 32 such rakes of 10 coaches each in the next two weeks.

Uttar Pradesh

In an effort to prevent migration of labourers in the wake of the 21-day lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Noida administration has ordered landlords to not collect rent for the coming month. In the last two days, thousands of labourers staying in rented accommodations across Noida and Greater Noida have been walking towards parts of UP to reach their homes.

The number of positive cases in Uttar Pradesh rose to 66 today, a day after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath asked natives stuck in other states to remain where they are. The state government on Saturday accused the Delhi government of indulging in “cheap politics at a time of crisis and playing with the lives of people of this country”.

Uttar Pradesh government ferried migrants on buses to ensure they return home safely. (Express photo)

At 4.15 pm on Friday, the third day of the countrywide lockdown, six young men carrying small backpacks walked on a near-empty Lohia Path in Lucknow. The men, coming from Rewari in Haryana, covering the 550-plus km partly in packed buses and mostly on foot, and headed for anywhere between 25 and 125 further kilometres, desperately tried to thumb a ride. But no luck.


Eight new cases of coronavirus were detected in Maharashtra as of Saturday evening. One person tested positive in Nagpur, whereas seven others were infected in Mumbai, however, the figures are yet to be updated on the health ministry website.

Maharashtra Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta has been given three-month extension in view of the outbreak of COVID-19 in the state. Mehta, who was set to complete his tenure on March 31, has been given extension till June 30. Mehta, an IAS officer of 1984 batch, took charge as chief secretary in May last year after the then chief secretary UPS Madan took voluntary retirement.

BMC on Friday asked food delivery apps like Zomato and Swiggy to tie up with local grocery stores ad deliver items to doorsteps. Meanwhile, four migrants who were turned back from Bhillad on the Maharashtra Gujarat border and were walking back to Vasai were killed after being run over by a truck at Virar on the Mumbai – Gujarat highway around 3 am on Saturday.

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan Express Interview on India coronavirus lockdown A policeman distributes bananas, during the lockdown in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, in Kochi, Thursday. (PTI Photo)

Across Maharashtra, police personnel down the ranks have termed the ongoing nationwide lockdown as an unprecedented situation they simply weren’t prepared for. Until curfew passes were distributed beginning Wednesday, the past week has been marked by confusion in the constabulary over allowing the movement of ancillary services vital for the functioning of essential services, continuous briefings to stay abreast of the changing list of exempted services and orders not to use force

North East

Two cases of COVID-19 infection have been reported so far from the Northeast— in Manipur and Mizoram— region characterised by remote settlements. To prevent a large-scale outbreak, several village communities have introduced their own ways to enforce the nationwide lockdown.

assam coronavirus, coronavirus cases assam, coronavirus india cases, coronavirus news, assam news, latest news, indian express In the Northeast, one case each has been reported in Mizoram and Manipur. (Express file photo)

In Arunachal Pradesh’s Lower Dibang Valley and East Siang districts, there are reports that people are sacrificing dogs and hanging the carcasses at the village entrance, believing that they will ward off evil spirits. The district administration has now issued a warning against killing of animals and ordered removal of carcasses. In Mizoram, the scare has intensified after a 50-year-old pastor tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.

In Assam, twelve people were arrested Saturday for allegedly pelting stones at policemen during the lockdown in two separate incidents in Assam, officials said. In Bongaigaon district, when policemen went to shut down shops, they were pelted with stones on Saturday morning. In retaliation, police had to fire in the air.

From the South

Kerala and Telangana reported its first Covid-19-related death on Saturday. In Kerala, six new positive cases were reported today, taking the total number of infections to 165, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said at a presser.

At a time when Kerala and the rest of the country are under severe lockdown as part of measures to tackle coronavirus, the food that get sent out from this makeshift community kitchen in Thrikkakara municipality are central to the hunger-free project of the state’s Left government. And powering this kitchen and scores of others across the state is the ever-dependable army of Kudumbashree, a powerful self-help network of 43 lakh women.

In Chennai, a city-based artist is helping the city’s police force tasked with enforcing the national lockdown raise awareness about the COVID-19 virus and the dangers it poses. B Gowtham’s coronavirus-inspired helmet for the personnel manning a checkpoint in Chennai received national fame after a news agency reported about it.

coronavirus, coronavirus india, coronavirus police awareness initiative, chennai police coronavirus helmet, corona helmet chennai artist, chennai news, tamil nadu news, chennai coronavirus update, indian express, The helmet created for policemen by Chennai-based artist. (Source: Art Kingdom/ Facebook)

On an average day, anywhere between five and 15 persons visit the Drug Treatment Center (DTC) at Hyderabad’s Institute of Mental Health (IMH). The Center, which works in coordination with AIIMS-Delhi, offers free consultation and treatment for alcoholism and substance-abuse cases. Amid the novel coronavirus crisis and unprecedented lockdown, the mental healthcare professionals in Telangana are staring at an exigency worse than what they have experienced a decade and a half ago.

As lockdown puts cap on liquor sales, withdrawal issues could become new headache for government Hyderabad: Police personnel wearing protective masks stand guard near Charminar during Friday prayers amid the nationwide lockdown, in Hyderabad. (PTI Photo)

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, while speaking at a press conference on the evening of March 22, categorically announced that all liquor outlets, like other non-essential establishments, will remain closed till March 31.

From other parts

A 46-year-old woman from Jamalpur-Astodia area of Ahmedabad died due to the novel coronavirus Saturday afternoon. She was tested positive a day after she was admitted with co-morbid conditions (hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis). Four members of her family have been under home quarantine. The state’s tally stands at 53.

Jharkhand has tested 137 samples so far and reported zero COVID-19 cases Saturday. According to the health department, all the samples turned out to be negative. With the state having 3.2 crore population as per the 2011 census data, experts said the situation could be “worrying”.

coronavirus, coronavirus punjab, punjab coronavirus nris, punjab nris, coronavirus india A homeless man sleeps under an overbridge near bus stand, in Patiala on Friday. (Express photo by Harmeet Sodhi)

People in Jharkhand could be sitting on a “time bomb”, said Dr Mohammad Azad, Secretary of the Jharkhand Chapter of the Association of Surgeons of India.

In Goa, the government, in a relief measure, announced e-commerce operator like Swiggy, Zomato, and home delivery networks to delivery food and grocery and other essentials. The government, earlier today, appointed Hemant, Commissioner, Commercial Tax and Shashank Tripathi, Addtl Collector, North for managing food supply and helpline for Goa.

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