Morning digest: Spain's coronavirus death toll overtakes China's; aim is to win the war against COVID-19 in 21 days, says PM Modi; and more
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The country is fighting a war against the novel coronavirus and the aim is to win it in 21 days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday, a day after he announced a national lockdown of three weeks to combat the pandemic. Interacting with people in his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi through videoconference, Mr. Modi said: “The Mahabharata war was won in 18 days, this war the whole country is fighting against coronavirus will take 21 days.”
Spain's COVID-19 death toll overtook that of China on Wednesday, rising to 3,434, after 738 people died over the past 24 hours, the government said. The spiralling number of deaths came as Spain entered the 11th day of an unprecedented lockdown to try and rein in the COVID-19 epidemic that has now infected 47,610 people, the health ministry said.
Many e-commerce firms were forced to suspend deliveries to their customers in major cities across the country on Wednesday with local authorities unable to ensure the safety of delivery persons on the first day of the 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
There is scientific basis and epidemiological significance for the 21-day lockdown period announced by PM Modi.
The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday said there was “no community transmission yet,” with the country registering 606 coronavirus (COVID-19) positive cases with 10 deaths. The Ministry’s data indicate that 563 Indians and 43 foreigners have tested positive, with 553 active cases. “So far, 15,24,266 passengers have been screened at our airports and 22,928 samples collected,” it said.
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide 21-day lockdown, the government too tried to get adjusted to this very changed reality. While Mr. Modi himself held a meeting of his Cabinet trying to maintain appropriate social distance, his colleague, Home Minister Amit Shah, is said to have cancelled all appointments with people other than Ministry related, and that too, only if the issue cannot be resolved over the phone.
Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Wednesday called Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nationwide lockdown announcement a “watershed moment” in the country’s fight against Coronavirus and appealed to people to be the foot soldiers of Mr. Modi, whom he described as the ‘commander’ of the fight.
India strongly condemned Wednesday’s terror strike on a Gurudwara in Kabul, and pledged to help the Sikh and Hindu communities of Afghanistan. The attack began at 7.45 in the morning and continued till midday which left at least 11 dead. The attackers temporarily took around 200 devotees hostage during this time.
These are the National AIDS Research Institute, Pune; the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, Kolkata; and the National Institute of Pathology, New Delhi.
Citizens engaged in essential services in Delhi can call 1031 on WhatsApp to avail e-passes to be able to commute to work, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday.
The winners of The Hindu Prize 2019 Fiction and Non-Fiction are Mirza Waheed (Tell Her Everything) and Santanu Das (India, Empire, and First World War Culture: Writings, Images and Songs). The winners for both categories were selected by an eminent panel of judges.