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New Delhi, March 24, 2020
India today reported one more death due to coronavirus (COVID-19), raising the toll to 10, and 51 new cases since last night, taking the total number of persons infected by the disease across the country to 519 so far.
The latest death and the spike in new cases came even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a complete lockdown in the entire country for 21 days from midnight tonight in a concerted effort to contain the spread of the virus.
Of the 10 deaths, Delhi and Maharashtra account for two each, while there has been one death each in Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab and West Bengal.
The total number of 519 cases includes the ten deaths as well as 40 patients who have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals. One of the discharged patients is a foreigner who has since left for his country. This means there were 469 active cases of the virus in the country as of this evening.
Of the total of 519 cases, 476 are Indians and 43 are foreigners.
Of the 519 cases so far, Kerala accounted for the highest with 95, followed by 89 in Maharashtra, 37 in Karnataka, 35 in Telangana, 33 each in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, 32 in Rajasthan, 30 in Delhi, 29 in Punjab, 28 in Haryana, 15 in Tamil Nadu, 13 in Ladakh, nine in West Bengal, eight in Andhra Pradesh, seven each in Madhya Pradesh and Chandigarh, four each in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, three each in Bihar and Uttarakhand, two in Odisha, and one each in Chhattisgarh, Manipur and Puducherry.
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 have already been banned, while all domestic flights will stop with effect from midnight tonight.
Train services, suburban railways and metro services across the country have been cancelled and public transport bus services in most states have been curtailed, if not cancelled altogether. In Rajasthan, even private vehicles have been banned.
Essential services have been exempted from the lockdown in all the states.
All states have also sealed their borders with neighbouring states.
Schools and colleges, cinemas and shopping malls have been closed for many days now and most offices -- government, public sector and private sector -- are either shut down or functioning with only skeletal staff as more and more organisations have switched to the "work from home" mode.
Overall, a sense of urgency is creeping in across the country though there continue to instances of people violating the lockdown and ignoring the calls for social distancing.
The Government has 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 today.