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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

India lockdown diary, Day 48: Karnataka turns buses into health clinics; actor Sonu Sood organises buses for migrants; and more

Here is a curated list of some interesting stories from across the country on Day 48 of India’s coronavirus lockdown.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: May 11, 2020 8:33:01 pm
Workers from rural Maharashtra working in Mumbai assemble outside Parel Bus depot on Monday. (Express photo/Nirmal Harindran)

India on Monday reported its biggest single-day spike of 4,213 infections, taking the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country to 67,152. Of these, 20,917 are recovered patients, while 44,029 are active cases. The death toll stands at 2,206.

In his fifth meeting with state chief ministers to discuss the post-lockdown strategy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the road ahead should be focused on reducing the spread of Covid-19 and ensuring that all precautions were taken by people, including social distancing norms, by observing ‘do gaj doori‘.

“Slowly but surely, economic activities have begun to pick up in several parts of the country. In coming days, this process will further gather steam. We must realise that the fight against Covid-19 has to be more focused now,” ANI quoted PM Modi as saying in the meeting.

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday also issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the movement of people by trains and made it clear that only asymptomatic and confirmed ticket holders will be allowed to travel. In an order, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said all passengers will have to wear face masks and observe social distancing norms while entering a station and during travel. For the first time since March 25, when the lockdown began, a total of 15 trains for different destinations will leave New Delhi on Tuesday, for which bookings begin on Monday.

Here is a curated list of some interesting stories from across the country on Day 48 of India’s coronavirus lockdown.

Leh police facilitates shifting of mentally challenged man to Srinagar

A 37-year-old man from Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda, who had become psychologically maladaptive owing to his inability to get his regular medicines amid the coronavirus-driven lockdown, was looked after by the police, who later shifted him to a mental asylum in Srinagar.

Mohammad Yasin Malik, a psychiatric patient, was residing in a rented room in Leh and had become a threat to the safety and security of self and others because of his inability to get his regular dose of medicines and supervised treatment, a police officer said on Monday.

After consultation with specialists of SNM Hospital, he was provided with medicines and food, the officer said, adding as prescribed by the specialists, the medication for the patient was arranged from Jammu.
Later, with the help of district administration, the official said the patient was shifted to the mental asylum in Srinagar for further treatment, he said.

Karnataka turns buses into health clinics to boost Covid-19 testing

In a bid to enhance COVID-19 testing and step up health surveillance in the state, the Karnataka government has converted several buses owned by the state transport corporation into clinics with beds and testing facilities.

Flagging off the buses on Monday, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said that they would start operating from red zones identified by the state government. “Screening maximum number of residents from such zones will enable the government to identify more people with symptoms. Those testing positive will be quarantined in designated hospitals at the earliest,” he said.

Each bus is partitioned into two zones — consultation and testing. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) claimed that proper hygiene will be ensured throughout.

Each bus is partitioned into two zones — consultation and testing. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) claimed that proper hygiene will be ensured throughout.

“In Bengaluru, four teams in four mobile bus clinics have started plying across rural and urban areas of the city soon after the launch. Each team comprises a doctor, three nurses and a lab technician with several volunteers facilitating the process,” a KSRTC official said.

Sonu Sood organises buses for migrants stuck in Mumbai

Actor Sonu Sood has arranged ten buses for migrant workers in Mumbai to travel back to their homes in Karnataka amid the nationwide lockdown imposed to fight coronavirus.

Sonu Sood Sonu Sood said in times of a pandemic, everyone deserved to be with their families.

The buses left from Thane, Maharashtra on Monday for Gulbarga, Karnataka. The Dabangg star said in a statement that in times of a pandemic, everyone deserved to be with their families.

“I strongly believe that in the current time when we are all facing this global health calamity, every Indian deserves to be with their families and dear ones. I have taken official permissions from the Maharashtra and Karnataka governments to help these migrants reach home in about ten buses.

A Karnataka NGO bridges gap between rural public and the govt with hands-on initiatives

A few days into the nationwide lockdown, the villagers of Agumbe Panchayat in Theerthahalli Taluk of Karnataka’s Shimoga district, found themselves in a fix. While in their part of the world, a patchy mobile network is part of every day, the lockdown had brought its own set of complications. Rations shops were refusing to hand out essentials to the villagers unless provided with a one-time password or an OTP. According to the rules, a ration card holder receives an OTP, which he/she has to show to avail the ration. Unfortunately, for the villagers, no network meant no OTP — and that meant no ration.

This is when The Concerned for Working Children (CWC), an award-winning grassroots NGO, stepped in — they raised the issue with the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (RDPR) after which a revised order was issued: OTPs were no longer mandatory to provide ration and instead, a signature and phone number would be sufficient. And just like that, thousands of citizens in rural Karnataka — not just the folks at Agumbe Panchayat — breathed a sigh of relief.

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