People practising social distancing while purchasing essential commodities at a market, as the 21-day countrywide lockdown to contain  the  spread of the COVID 19-pandemic in India; in Vijayawada on March 25, 2020.
People practising social distancing while purchasing essential commodities at a market, as the 21-day countrywide lockdown to contain the spread of the COVID 19-pandemic in India; in Vijayawada on March 25, 2020. IANS

India reports three more coronavirus deaths, 43 new cases

New Delhi, March 26, 2020

India today reported three more deaths, taking the toll to 13, and 43 new cases of infection since last night, which raised the total to 649 even as the country's 1.3 billion people were trying to cope with the rigours of the 21-day unprecedented nationwide lockdown imposed since yesterday in a bid to contain the spread of the global pandemic.

The new deaths reported today are one each in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Of the 13 deaths, Maharashtra accounts for three, followed by Gujarat with two and Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal with one death each.

The total number of 649 cases includes the 13 deaths as well as 43 patients who have been cured and discharged from hospitals in various states. This means there are 593 active cases of the virus in the country as of this morning.

The total of 649 includes 602 Indians and 47 foreigners.

Of the 649 cases, Maharashtra accounted for the highest number with 124, followed by 118 in Kerala, 41 each in Karnataka and Telangana, 38 each in Gujarat and Rajasthan, 37 in Uttar Pradesh, 35 in Delhi, 33 in Punjab, 30 in Haryana, 26 in Tamil Nadu, 15 in Madhya Pradesh, 13 in Ladakh, 11 each in Andhra Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, nine in West Bengal, seven in Chandigarh, five in Uttarakhand, three each in Bihar, Chhattisgarh Himachal Pradesh and Goa, two in Odisha, and one each in Manipur, Mizoram and Puducherry.

Meanwhile, a complete lockdown for 21 days in the entire country which began yesterday as part of the efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic, entered its second day today.

The outbreak which began in December in China, where it has claimed 3,287 lives, has spread to more than 190 countries and territories around the world and claimed more than 18,500 lives so far.

People in different parts of the country faced some difficulties in getting supplies of food items, including vegetables. The government had said that such items would be available the home delivery systems of e-commerce marketplaces but this has not quite worked out so far, with these companies saying that they faced difficulties due to restrictions imposed by local authorities on the movement of goods.

The government has said that they are sorting out these issues and that all such hurdles would be removed 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.

All flights into and from India as well as all domestic flights are banned. All train services, suburban rail services, metro rail services and bus services in the entire country have come to a halt. All states have sealed their borders with neighbouring states.

Many migrant workers who are forced to return home because of loss of work are now walking the long distances to their villages in states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the absence of any other means of transport. Several of them are accompanied by their families.

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 and colleges are offering learning-from-home options for their students.

Overall, there is a sense of urgency 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.


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