With over 1.90 lakh cases, India has climbed to the 7th spot among countries worst-hit by Covid-19. The death toll stands at 5,394. Curbs were relaxed in states today as Centre’s ‘Unlockdown’ strategy went into effect. The lockdown is now limited only to containment zones for a month till June 30, and states are free to resume normal life outside containment zones.
From open shops and markets and milling crowds on roads to the hustle and bustle of railway stations, a semblance of normality seemed to return in various states as the country entered the first of the three-phase unlock plan . With the government allowing unfettered movement of goods and persons within states, more vehicles were out on the roads, leading to snarls in many cities, even though public transport remained skeletal.
Meanwhile, in a bid to boost the fledgling MSMEs, which has been hit the hardest due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the Union Cabinet on Monday approved an infusion of Rs 20,000 crore into the sector, besides announcing a slew of measures to help alleviate the distress in the farm sector. The decision was taken during the first meeting of the Cabinet after the ruling NDA government completed the first year of its second term in office. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Here’s a curated list of some interesting stories from across the country on Day 69 of lockdown.
Chennai businessman sends home UP-based workers by flight
Anxious to return home after being stuck with no work due to COVID-19 lockdown, seven workers from Uttar Pradesh boarded a flight for the first time in their life and reached Varanasi on Monday, thanks to the humanitarian gesture of their employer, running packers and movers firm in the city.
In a refreshing experience amid the heartbreaking scenes of fellow migrant workers undertaking ardous journeys by foot and cycles witnessed in various parts of the country in recent days, the seven, in the age group of 23-37, took the Indigo flight with their boss giving them a send-off.
“Our boss took good care of us, as though we are his family members. He provided us atta, daal and other essentials to help us cook our own food during the lockdown. He even disbursed us our salaries,” Sanjay Kumar, one of the workers, told PTI after landing in Varanasi.
Good samaritans help Bangladeshi boy undergo heart surgery in TN
A 9-year old boy from Bangladesh got a new lease of life after he successfully underwent a heart surgery in Tamil Nadu amid the COVID-19 lockdown, with the help of a Hindu friend of his uncle and several others of nearby Vedaranyam town.
Not only did N Rajasekar help in arranging funds for the surgery for Mohammed Arif, son of poor farm labourers from Chattogram, he also gave shelter and food to the family members for nearly three months in view of COVID-19 lockdown after they came to be stranded in Vedaranyam.
During Ramzan, he made arrangements for their fasting, with his gesture drawing praise on social media. “Earlier, my son couldn’t even walk a few meters. Now, he has become like other children. We enjoyed the hospitality of Rajasekar’s family,” Mohsina Begum, mother of Arif, told PTI.
Shah Rukh’s foundation comes to the rescue of toddler in Muzaffarpur station video
Superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s NGO Meer Foundation has come forward to help the baby whose video trying to awaken his dead mother at the Muzaffarpur railway station in Bihar went viral on social media, PTI reported. The video last week was among the most heart-wrenching images to have emerged out of the massive migrant crisis during the coronavirus-led lockdown in the country.
Shah Rukh on Monday said as someone who understands how it feels to lose one’s parents, his support will always be with the child. The video of the toddler from Bihar went viral on social media last week and Shah Rukh’s foundation was quick to trace the child and help him. “MeerFoundation is thankful to all who helped us reach this child, whose heart-wrenching video of trying to wake his mother disturbed all. We are now supporting him and he is under his grandfather’s care,” the NGO posted on Twitter along with the baby and his brother sitting with their grandparents.
Yoga, music, holy books: How frontline workers keep calm amid COVID-19 storm
From doing yoga routines and listening to music to reading literature and holy books, doctors, nurses and healthcare workers at the frontline of the war against COVID-19 are beating stress and anxiety in a multitude of ways. Aware that they, too, are at risk of contracting the infection — nearly 500 of them have tested positive for COVID-19 in Delhi alone — the frontline health warriors are doing all they can to maintain their own health and positivity.
Dr V K Verma, for instance, begins his day by performing ‘pranayanams’ and other yoga ‘asanas’ before heading to work at the Delhi government-run Babu Jagjivan Ram Hospital. And Dolly Massey, a senior nurse at a Max hospital, says the Bible is her constant companion and keeps her “calm amid the corona storm”.
“I keep a pocket Bible in my bag all the time and even an e-Bible on my mobile phone,” Massey said. “I read Psalms and texts from the holy book during breaks, and before and after finishing work. It keeps me anchored, mentally and physically.”
The 27-year-old said she never felt afraid even in the beginning when coronavirus had just come up or during the lockdown when the cases kept rising, and deaths were happening. “But, now, I’m a little bit afraid that I might get infected too,” she told PTI.
Delhi-born Massey, who hails from Dehradun, said she had been working with the Max Smart Hospital for the past four years.
“I’m a very God-fearing person and so, believe this pandemic is also a sign from Him for us humans to introspect, and repent for the mistakes that we have committed, whether it’s damaging our nature or not being sensitive to fellow human beings,” she said.
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