Covid-19: Tensions remain amid new relaxations

Industry, farming resume: doubling rate increases

GN Bureau | April 20, 2020


#health ministry   #relaxations   #lockdown   #healthcare   #narendra modi   #prime minister   #epidemic   #coronavirus   #COVID-19  
Minister of state for home G Kishan Reddy visiting the emergency kitchen of ISKON temple serving food to five lakh people every day during lockdown due to COVID-19, at Dwarka, in New Delhi on Monday.
Minister of state for home G Kishan Reddy visiting the emergency kitchen of ISKON temple serving food to five lakh people every day during lockdown due to COVID-19, at Dwarka, in New Delhi on Monday.

India on Monday began relaxing some of the movement restrictions in place since the lockdown began on March 24 in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, mostly in safe areas outside the containment zones, even as the number of those infected continued to rise and 36 lives were lost.

It was a day many were looking forward to since prime minister Narendra Modi in his message last week promised relaxations, but the larger cities and “hot zones” had to continue life as before – indeed, restrictions had to be made more severe to contain the virus.

Delhi was among those severely affected states where the chief minister has pledged not to dilute the fight against the virus and hence no relaxations are expected till the end of the extended lockdown on May 3.

The total number of the Covid-19 positive patients in the country rose to 17,265, with the death toll so far standing at 543, according to the official data on Monday. As many as 2,547 patients have been fully cured so far.

Good news was that the doubling rate of positive cases calculated using growth over the past seven days indicates that India’s doubling rate for the week before lockdown was 3.4 and has improved to 7.5 as on April 19 (for the last seven days), the health ministry said.

Among other positive indicators, all Covid-19 patients in Goa were discharged from hospital after recovery, and now the state has no active case. Three districts – Mahe (Puducherry), Kodaggu (Karnataka) and Pauri Garhwal (Uttrakhand) – have also not reported any fresh cases during the last 28 days. There are now 59 additional districts from 23 states/UTs that have not reported any fresh cases during the last 14 days. The six new districts have been included in this list: Dungarpur and Pali in Rajasthan, Jamnagar and Morbi in Gujarat, North Goa in Goa, and Gomati in Tripura.

The centre is taking several steps along with the states/UTs for prevention, containment and management of COVID-19, the health ministry said, adding that these are being regularly reviewed and monitored at the highest level.

Meanwhile, as per the relaxation norms announced last week, farm works, MNREGA, industrial units, financial services and other economic activities resumed. In the national capital, the ministries and other state institutions reopened, giving at least a psychological relief from the long period of people mostly confining themselves to homes. Social distancing norms, of course, remain in effect, and full precautions are being taken.

In consolidation with the home ministry guidelines issued last week for the functioning of government offices, the health ministry has advised its officers and officials to take precautionary measures in containing the spread of the virus. 

They must use reusable/ cloth face cover, strictly follow disinfection protocols, frequently wash hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rub/ sanitizers, maintain adequate distance between each other and avoid the gathering of five or more people.

 

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