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India lockdown diary, Day 32: Rohtang Pass opens three weeks early, people observe Ramzan under Covid shadow; and more

From Muslims observing the first day of Ramzan to Railways planning to develop hands-free washbasins, here are the striking stories from across the country on the 32nd day of the lockdown

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | April 25, 2020 10:16:56 pm
coronavirus covid-19, coronavirus news, coronavirus india news, covid-19 india, maharashtra, india lockdown, indian express lockdown diary A street art on Vadodara has a message for the people of the city – Stay at home. (Express Photo by Bhupendra Rana)

On the 32nd day of the nationwide lockdown, the total number of Covid-19 cases in India neared the 25,000 mark while the death toll stood at 779. As many as 5,209 persons have been cured or discharged.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that there was currently “no evidence” that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second coronavirus infection.

coronavirus covid-19, coronavirus news, coronavirus india news, covid-19 india, maharashtra, india lockdown, indian express lockdown diary Health workers being showered with flowers in Chandigarh. (Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh)

Rohtang Pass thrown open three weeks ahead of usual schedule

The strategic Rohtang Pass on the Manali-Leh road axis in Himachal Pradesh was thrown open Saturday, three weeks ahead of the normal schedule, by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).

Dr Ram Lal Markanda, Minister for Agriculture and Tribal Development and Secretary Food and Civil Supplies of Himachal Pradesh led the first convoy of vehicles carrying essential supplies and some 150 farmers to Lahaul Valley.

The news of Rohtang Pass being opened has brought relief amongst the local population. It will facilitate the Union and State governments to bring much-needed relief material and medical supplies for the local population. Also, the agriculture activities in the district can now recommence.

coronavirus covid-19, coronavirus news, coronavirus india news, covid-19 india, maharashtra, india lockdown, indian express lockdown diary Police officials at Jama Masjid Police Station get checked for coronavirus by health officials on Saturday. (Express Photo by Amit Mehra)

People observe Ramzan in lockdown shadow

With forlorn markets and mosques, the first day of Ramzan in the national capital on Saturday lacked the usual festive atmosphere as people stayed indoors and most shops remained shut in the wake of lockdown due to coronavirus outbreak.

Religious places including mosques have been closed for nearly a month now. And with clerics advising all to stay home and social distancing becoming the norm, people are unable to get together for prayers and Iftar, a ritual of breaking fast every evening, that are a key part of Islam’s holiest month.

coronavirus covid-19, coronavirus news, coronavirus india news, covid-19 india, maharashtra, india lockdown, indian express lockdown diary A Muslim family breaks their fast on the first roza of holy month of Ramzan. (Express photo by Vishal Srivastav)

JD(S) MLC, son booked for obstructing COVID-19 test for journalists

MLC K T Srikante Gowda, his son and three others were booked on Saturday for allegedly trying to obstruct a Covid-19 test organised for journalists at Mandya and manhandling media persons.

Gowda, his son Krishik and the others strongly objected to conducting test at Ambedkar Bhavan near his residence at Mandya, during which journalists were allegedly manhandled, leading to chaos, police said. On the directive of the state government, the district administration, along with the Department of Information and Public Relations, had jointly organised the tests for journalists in the district.

The MLC expressed fears that the virus may spread in the locality where his house located as swab samples were being collected there, police said.

coronavirus covid-19, coronavirus news, coronavirus india news, covid-19 india, maharashtra, india lockdown, indian express lockdown diary West Bengal police in North 4 Pargana’s Barasat feed 100 homeless people for a couple of days. The cops have been doing it voluntarily while fishing out money from their own pocket. (Express Photos by Shashi Ghosh)

BSF provides essentials to hundreds of poor families in J-K

The Border Security Force on Saturday provided ration and other essentials to over 500 poor families along the International Border in Samba and Kathua districts, officials said. The border guarding force also reached out to migrant labourers stranded at various parts of the border area due to the lockdown, they said.

“BSF is not only guarding the borders but also regularly carrying out such types of civic action programmes to help needy persons in the border areas,” Inspector General of BSF, Jammu frontier, N S Jamwal said. Jamwal, along with Deputy Inspector General Sukhdev Raj and other officers, distributed essentials to the needy in Samba.

He said “the civic action programme was carried out jointly by different units of BSF for the benefit of the local population and the migrant labourers”.

coronavirus covid-19, coronavirus news, coronavirus india news, covid-19 india, maharashtra, india lockdown, indian express lockdown diary One a hot day Area Resident on Sector 56 sitting on the open space while waiting for their turned during dry ration distributing for BPL card holders in Chandigarh on Saturday. (Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh)

Northern Railways plans to develop hands-free washbasins

The Railways plans to roll out hands-free washbasins at all its stations, field units and hospitals to protect its employees and passengers from coronavirus infection. An order was issued Saturday to develop and carry out trial for similar contactless washbasin system for passenger coaches as well.

In this washbasin, the user has to primarily press a pedal attached to the contactless basin with his feet for water and soap to come out from separate dispensers, without touching any knob with his or her hands.

A Northern Railways workshop has, however, manufactured different models of contactless washbasins with the help of local resources and in-house engineering skills – foot-pedal operated with clutch-wire mechanism, foot-pedal operated with mechanical linkage, electro-mechanically operated system, and a sensor-based automatically operated system.

The timeline for the roll-out of the washbasins will depend on the number of orders being given to the Northern Railways’ workshop which has developed the model, a senior official of the zone said.

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