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Corona cases cross 600 mark; two more deaths; Centre announces subsidised ration to 80 cr poor

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NEW DELHI :

As India moved for a complete 21-day nationwide lockdown to prevent community transmission of coronavirus, at least 42 fresh cases surfaced on Wednesday taking the total to 606 while one person each succumbed in Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh. A 65-year-old Ujjain-based woman, admitted at government-run MY Hospital in Indore and undergoing treatment for the COVID-19 infection, passed away, an official confirmed.

In Tamil Nadu, a 54-year-old man, who tested positive on March 23 and was undergoing treatment at Government Rajaji Hospital, Madurai, also lost his battle with the disease. A total of 11 people have succumbed from the viral infection. Maharashtra remained the most affected state with 128 positive cases, followed by Kerala 109 cases, Karnataka 41, Gujarat 38, Uttar Pradesh 37, Rajasthan 36 and Telangana 35.

In Delhi, 31 cases are reported, Punjab 29, Haryana 28, Tamil Nadu 18, Madhya Pradesh 14, Ladakh 13 while Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal 9 cases each. Chandigarh and Jammu and Kashmir has 7 cases apiece, Bihar and Uttarakhand 4 each, Himachal Pradesh 3, Odisha 2 and Chhattisgarh 1.

As per media reports, the Centre and state authorities have speeded up work to create space of coronavirus patients. Army ordnance factories and central paramilitary forces has created over 2,000 beds. Considering the hardship which people might face due to lock down, the Government announced to provide rice and wheat at Rs 3 and Rs 2 per kg, respectively to the 80 crore poor people.

‘Every person will get 7 kg ration every month,” Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar said after attending a Cabinet Meeting. As the reports surfaced of doctors, para-medical staff and many involved in essential services facing harassment from landlords and others, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he was very pained by the misbehaviour of some people.

Addressing people of his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi via video, Mr Modi announced a WhatsApp helpline number number – 9013151515—for credible information on Coronavirus. He said that epic Mahabharata war was won in 18 days but the war against coronavirus will take 21 days. Several state also announced their respective helpline number for any emergency.

Meanwhile, the Centre postponed the first phase of much-talked-about Census 2021 and updation of NPR exercise, which was scheduled to begin from April. The Railways also suspended its operation till April 14, the last day of 21-day lockdown period.

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