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New Delhi, March 25, 2020
India today reported one more due to coronavirus (COVID-19), taking the toll to ten, and 87 new cases since last night which raised the total so far to 606, even as the country of 1.3 billion people began an unprecedented 21-day nationwide lockdown in a bid to contain the spread of the global pandemic.
The one new death has been recorded in Maharashtra, raising the number of deaths in that state to three. The state also accounts for the largest number of cases in India at 128.
One case of death reported yesterday in Delhi had turned out to COVID-19, the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare said this morning.
Apart from three deaths in Maharashtra, one death each has been reported in Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar.
The Tamil Nadu government reported the death of a coronavirus patient in Madurai this morning, but this does not reflect in the details put out put the Union Health Ministry yet.
The new cases reported since last night included 39 in Maharashtra, 14 in Kerala, seven in Madhya Pradesh, five in Gujarat, four each in Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, three each in Jammu & Kashmir and Tamil Nadu, and one each in Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Mizoram.
The total number of 562 cases includes the nine deaths as well as 41 patients who have been cured and discharged from hospitals, which means there are 512 active cases of coronavirus in the country as of this morning.
Apart from the ten deaths, the total number of 606 cases innlcudes 43 patients who have been discharged after recovery from hospitals, which means there are 553 active cases of the virus in the country as of this evening.
The total of 606 includes 563 Indians and 43 foreigners.
Of the 606 cases, Maharashtra accounted for the highest number with 128, followed by 109 in Kerala, 41 in Karnataka, 38 in Gujarat, 37 in Uttar Pradesh, 36 in Rajasthan, 35 in Telangana, 31 in Delhi, 29 in Punjab, 28 in Haryana, 18 in Tamil Nadu, 14 in Madhya Pradesh, 13 in Ladakh, nine each in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, seven each in Chandigarh and Jammu & Kashmir, four each in Bihar and Uttarakhand, three in Himachal Pradesh, two in Odisha and one each in Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Mizoram and Puducherry.
Meanwhile, a complete lockdown for 21 days in the entire country began at midnight last night in a bid to contain the spread of the global pandemic, which has claimed more than 16,300 lives across the globe so far.
Soon after the announcement of the lockdown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a televised address to the nation last night, there were scenes of panic buying of essential items at shops in many cities of the country, including Delhi and Mumbai.
Large numbers of people swarmed outside groceries, chemists and ATMs to stock up for the next few days, ignoring for the time being all the social distancing norms prescribed by the Government and medical experts.
Similar crowds were seen at groceries and chemists this morning, too, with people uncertain about the availability of essential items over the next few days.
The government had said that food and other items would be available through the home delivery sytems of e-commerce marketplaces but such companies faced problems both with the transport of goods and the last-mile delivery arrangements. The government has promised to remove these hurdles soon by sensitising police personnel and other staff on the ground, who are strictly enforcing the lockdown.
As a result of the lockdown across the country, most cities and towns across India wore a deserted look, with hardly any traffic on the roads. In many places, the police were filing complaints against violators of the restrictions and even wielding the stick and using other harsh measures against some of them.
International flights into India were banned some days ago and all domestic flights have been grounded from midnight last night.
Train services, suburban railways, metro services and bus services across the country have been cancelled. All states have also sealed their borders with neighbouring states.
Essential services have been exempted from the lockdown in all the states.
Schools and colleges, cinemas and shopping malls have been closed for many days now and all offices -- government, public sector and private sector -- are also now closed, except for those employees required to maintain essential services.
Most offices have told their employees to work from home and many schools are offering learning-from-home options for their students.
Overall, a sense of urgency has crept in across the country though there continue to instances of people violating the lockdown and ignoring the calls for social distancing.
The Government has strictly advised people, except those providing essential services, to remain indoors for the next few weeks.
Residential colonies in cities have also imposed restrictions on entry of people, including visitors, domestic helps, drivers and so on. Some colonies have temporarily barred the delivery of newspapers.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced some relief measures related to compliance matters and banks yesterday.