As India entered the extended lockdown with considerable relaxations, the total number of COVID-19 cases jumped to 42,835 and death toll to 1,389 with 2,553 new infections. In the last 24 hours, a record 1,074 recoveries were reported taking the total number of cured patients to 11,761 and the recovery rate to 27.52%. With no sign of a let-up in the number of cases in Mumbai, the tally crossed the 9,000-mark with 510 new patients.
Evacuation plan: In what can be touted to be one of the biggest such operations, the Centre decided to evacuate lakhs of Indian citizens stranded abroad due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Citizens will be evacuated in a phased manner starting May 7, arranged by both aircraft and naval ships. It comes after a major controversy over migrant workers being made to pay the train fare for their return to rural homes.
Rural revival: Jharkhand, the state with the second-highest unemployment rate, is going all out to revive its rural economy through a massive push to the Mahatma Gandhi Employment Guarantee Act. CM Hemant Soren launched three rural schemes to enable rural households in the state to start earning again after over 40 days of complete lockdown. One of the schemes assured that 2 lakh acres of unused government land will be used for afforestation.
Discrepancies in data: The Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCT) pointed out discrepancies in COVID-19 data in West Bengal and claimed that the state government has taken an "antagonistic view" of the IMCT. The IMCT team leader Apurva Chandra, in a letter said, “This contrasts with the experience of IMCTs deputed to other states at the same time where daily schedules of visits by the IMCTs were prepared.”
Blame game: Union Health Minister Dr Harshvardhan said that cities like Mumbai and Delhi are not performing well in controlling the spread of coronavirus because people are not following the lockdown guidelines. “Rural (India) has behaved much more responsibly than urban India,” he added. The minister, however, admitted that some of these cities also bore the maximum brunt of international travellers.
Liquor menace: As the lockdown 3.0 kicked with several relaxations added, there was a noticeable increase in road traffic as non-essential stores lifted shutters, including liquor shops. Here people made a beeline at, throwing social distancing norms to the wind. While the police personnel struggled to manage the crowds outside liquor shops, in some areas of Delhi, they resorted to lathi charge to bring the situation under control. With a growing number of domestic violence cases, the opening of liquor stores could lead to further aggression and violence against women at home.
International toll: The Global coronavirus cases surpassed 3.5 million, with deaths nearing a quarter of a million as per the John Hopkins Research Centre. The highest number cases were recorded in the United States at 1,170,719, followed by Spain at 217,466 and Italy recorded 211,938, cases. The United Kingdom has 191,827 infections while France has 168,969.
Meanwhile, nearly 4,800 Indian nationals have been tested positive with the novel coronavirus in Singapore till the end of April, the Indian High Commissioner said.
On Our Specials
Homeward bound: The role of migrant workers in keeping the economic wheels running in India’s biggest urban centres cannot be overemphasised. Their return to these cities is as vital for their income as it is for engineering a rebound in India’s service-led economy. Gaurav Choudhury explains It could be economically rewarding if the workers managed to get back to work in the cities, only if appropriate measures reach them.
Remdesivir test: Minister of Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan said India is part of WHO’s solidarity trials to combat coronavirus and has received 1,000 doses of Remdesivir, which will be tested on some patients across states. In an interview with Marya Shakil, Vardhan said: "Right now, we are in a position to participate in the WHO solidarity trial and have got some 1,000-odd doses. We will be able to use them for clinical trials in some patients”.
The entire country has been colour-coded into Red, Orange and Green Zones. The rules are the strictest in the Red Zone districts and get progressively easier in the Orange and Green Zones.