The number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 114 on Monday, with east India reporting its first patient in Odisha and one new case each in Kerala, Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir. Four new cases were reported in Maharashtra, but the Centre has not yet confirmed these cases.
The Centre’s tally of 114 included 97 Indians and 17 foreigners. Thirteen of these people have been cured and discharged from hospitals, while two died – one each in Delhi and Karnataka. According to the real-time tracker by Johns Hopkins University in the United States, there were 1,69,387 confirmed cases and 6,513 deaths across the world by 5.30 pm on Monday. The virus has spread to 146 countries or territories.
Several states in India have virtually shut down in an effort to tackle the crisis. Educational institutions, and public spaces such as malls, gyms and swimming pools have been closed till the end of the month.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday praised the contribution of healthcare professionals and said there was a coordinated response to the outbreak, showing “the strong spirit of our nation in such situations”. He shared a series of tweets with the hashtag #IndiaFightsCorona.
The first case in eastern India was reported after a 33-year-old researcher who recently returned from Italy tested positive for COVID-19, PTI reported. He is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Bhubaneswar and his condition is stable, Subroto Bagchi, the state government’s chief spokesperson on COVID-19, said.
The patient reached Delhi from Italy on March 6 and took a train to Bhubaneswar on March 12. The next day, he went to a doctor with fever and a headache. “The man then went to Capital Hospital on March 14 where he was admitted to the isolation ward,” Bagchi said. “His blood and swab samples were sent for medical examination and tests confirmed he is infected with novel coronavirus.” He added that the state government is trying to trace all the people he came in contact with, and his family members have been quarantined.
All malls in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack will remain closed till March 31 as a precautionary measure. Officials of the Jagannath Temple in Puri have imposed restrictions for people visiting the temple. Other tourist and pilgrim sites such as Sun Temple in Konark, Shanti Stupa in Dhauli and Khandagiri and Udaygiri caves in Bhubaneswar will be closed till further orders. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code have been imposed in Ganjam district to prevent large gatherings.
In Ganjam, Khurda, Gajapati and Jharsuguda districts, the leave of state government employees have been cancelled to deal with the pandemic.
The Meghalaya and Tripura governments have ordered the shutdown of all schools, colleges, universities, cinema halls, swimming pools and gymnasiums till March 31. However, board examinations will continue.
The Nagaland government, meanwhile, ordered a ban on tourists – both domestic and foreign – in a bid to stop the spread of the virus. It is the first state in India to take such a step, according to the Hindustan Times.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced that his government will bear the expenses of any patient who tests positive for COVID-19. If a patient dies, their relatives will get Rs 4 lakh as compensation, he added. Educational institutions, cinemas and public parks have been closed in Bihar as well till March 31.
“Those with symptoms are being quarantined at government expenses for the stipulated period of time,” Kumar said. “Medical infrastructure is also being strengthened to facilitate early detection and hospitals are being equipped with additional ventilators and isolation wards.”
The Karnataka government said “war rooms” will be created in state-run medical college-cum-hospitals. “In each medical colleges-government hospitals, separate 150- to 200-bed zones will be created [to deal with such cases],” Medical Education Minister Sudhakar K said, adding that there were 13 districts with such facilities.
The Budget Session of the West Bengal Assembly will be cut short due to the pandemic, Speaker Biman Banerjee said. The state has also decided to set up a Rs 200 crore fund to tackle COVID-19. Schools will be closed till April 15.
Civic polls in the state, meanwhile, will be postponed, PTI reported. “We have decided to defer the civic polls for the time being because of the coronavirus outbreak. We will again hold a meeting to take a call on the matter after 15 days,” State Election Commissioner Sourav Das said. Elections to 107 municipal bodies and to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation were scheduled to be held soon.
The Maharashtra government announced on Monday that people who are undergoing home quarantine will be stamped on their left hand. There are 37 patients in the state.
Meanwhile, universities in the state have decided to postpone exams till March 31. All educational institutions will be shut down till then.
The famous Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai will be closed from Monday evening till further orders, while the Ajanta and Ellora caves will be shut down from Thursday.
The Delhi government on Monday banned gatherings of more than 50 persons – including ongoing protests – till March 31 in view of the outbreak. Gyms, nightclubs and spas will also remain closed till that date, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced at a press conference. Weddings will be exempted from the ban for now, but Kejriwal urged people to postpone them if possible. Shopping malls must be disinfected daily, the government said.
The Delhi government has already closed all schools and colleges and cinema halls in the city till March 31.
The Supreme Court on Monday took suo motu cognisance of overcrowding in prisons. The court issued a notice to the director general of prisons and chief secretary of all states and union territories. It sought a response by March 20 on the steps that have been taken and posted the matter to March 23.
Lawyers, litigants and others were scanned in the Supreme Court on Monday. It is hearing only urgent cases right now. Former RSS ideologue KN Govindacharya moved the Supreme Court on Monday seeking live streaming of the proceedings. “It is submitted that the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to embrace technology in the justice system,” the petition said. “Attendance of undertrials through video-conferencing is a step taken in this regard by lower courts. Similarly, this Hon’ble Court by mandating live streaming can usher in a new era.”
Meanwhile, the Himachal Pradesh High Court Bar Association said that it was decided that only regular matters shall be listed before the court and no regular matters. “It has also been decided that the courts shall not pass any adverse orders in the absence of any of the concerned advocates,” the association said, according to ANI. “It has been resolved that only those advocates whose urgent matters are listed will be attending courts during this period.”