Coronavirus cases and death toll in India continued to mount on Friday. A record jump of 9,851 cases and 273 fatalities in 24 hours took the country’s Covid-19 tally to 2,26,770 and death toll to 6,348. There are at least 1,10,960 active cases across the country, 1,09,461 patients who have been treated and discharged since the outbreak in January.
Accelerating efforts to restart long-stalled business activities to contain the economic cost of the pandemic, the Health Ministry had on Thursday released SOPs for reopening offices, hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and religious places. Some of them have already re-opened in parts of the country and a few others are scheduled to re-start in the next phase of unlocking from next Monday, June 8.
The standard operating procedures (SOPs) are advisories for states and Union Territories, which have the authority to take the last call. These cannot be enforced in containment zones.
Maharashtra has reported the highest number of cases (77,793 including 2,710 deaths), followed by Tamil Nadu (27,256 including 220 deaths), New Delhi (25,004 including 650 deaths), Gujarat (18,584 including 1,155 deaths) and Rajasthan (9,862 including 213 deaths).
Here’s a curated list of some interesting stories from across the country on Day 73 of lockdown
Migrants returning to Mumbai in hope of a new dawn
A large number of migrant workers who returned home during the Covid-19 lockdown have begun heading back to their previous places of work in hope of a new beginning, realising that they have no jobs matching their skills in their native places.
Two trains leave Gorakhpur daily for Mumbai and one every alternate day, and they are largely carrying migrant workers to their destination. Kushinagar Express and Gorakhpur Mumbai LTT Sant Kabir Dham COVID-19 super fast special trains go daily to Mumbai, while Awadh COVID-19 special, running between Gorakhpur and Bandra terminals, leave Gorakhpur on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Industries in Maharashtra’s green zones have started functioning and calling back workers who returned home during the lockdown. Once the workers reach Mumbai, they will be stamped at railway stations and after spending 14 days in home-quarantine, they will be able to resume their work.
Bengal’s religious places to reopen, but devotees reluctant to return
The coronavirus outbreak in India has led to a rethinking of how people practise their faith. For Christians and Muslims in Kolkata, the pandemic and the subsequent national lockdown coincided with two major festivals, Easter and Eid, both of which were celebrated in ways that the communities have never done before. Although the West Bengal government allowed places of worship to reopen following advisories on June 1, many religious institutions have chosen not to open their doors due to concerns of possible Covid-19 infections.
In April, when churches were forced to hold mass during the Easter week online due to the Covid-19 lockdown, for those accustomed to visiting the church to pray, it was particularly difficult. In two months, with the increase in coronavirus infections, those sentiments have changed for some. Josephine Gurung, 58, who would go to church whenever possible and felt strongly about her inability to do so during Holy Week, has chosen not to visit despite her local church having opened last week. “I think churches shouldn’t open. It is dangerous. I am missing church but mass is happening online and that is important to me,” says Gurung.
Delhi govt to run campaign to promote medicinal plants
Environment Minister Gopal Rai said on Friday that the Delhi government will run a special campaign to promote medicinal and herbal plants in the next one year in view of the coronavirus threat. These medicinal and herbal plants will be given free at the forest department’s nurseries in the city.
These include curry leaves, gooseberry, neem, bahera, jamun, guava, arjun, sahjan, wood apple and lemon, the minister said on the occasion of World Environment Day. “These plants help boost immunity which is crucial in view of the coronavirus outbreak. Anyone can get them for free from the forest department’s nurseries. Pamphlets listing the benefits of the plants will also be given to the people,” the minister told PTI.
Elderly man commits suicide over fear of Covid-19 in Maharashtra
The fear of contracting COVID-19 infection allegedly forced a 65-year-old man to commit suicide in Maharashtra’s Beed district, police said on Friday. The incident occurred at Mangewadi in Patoda on Thursday, when a passerby found the body of Asaram Pote hanging from a tree in his farm, an official said.
The police were immediately alerted and Pote’s body was brought down in the presence of his relatives and locals, he said. A suicide note was found on the deceased’s person, in which he said that he had taken the extreme step as he was scared of contracting COVID-19 infection and no one should be held responsible for his death, the official said.
(With inputs from PTI)
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