Nepal | August 04, 2020

India says no plan to extend coronavirus lockdown as poor struggle

REUTERS
Share Now:

NEW DELHI/BENGALURU: India has no plans to extend a 21-day lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the government said on Monday, as it struggled to keep essential supplies flowing and prevent tens of thousands of out-of-work people fleeing to the countryside.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the country’s 1.3 billion people to remain indoors until April 15 saying that was the only hope to stop the epidemic. But the order has left millions of impoverished Indians jobless and hungry.

Defying the lockdown, hundreds of thousands of workers who live on daily wages left big cities like Delhi and Mumbai on foot for their homes in the countryside, many with families. They said they had no food or money.

Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba told Reuters partner, ANI, that there was no plan to extend the shutdown beyond the three weeks, rejecting reports that a prolonged closure was likely.

India has 1,071 cases of the coronavirus of whom 29 have died, the health ministry said on Monday. The numbers are small compared with the United States, Italy and China, but health officials say India is weeks away from a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system.

Neighbouring Nepal, however, announced it would extend its shutdown for another week beginning on Tuesday. The landlocked country has had only five cases of the virus and no deaths, but it is concerned the virus will spread as people start travelling.

“If the lockdown is not extended then the movement of people increases raising the risk of more virus cases,” said Surya Thapa, an aide to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

UNDERMINING THE LOCKDOWN

A major concern in India is that the hundreds of thousands of workers going homes will spread the virus deep into the hinterland, said a top health official.

“It’s an evolving situation with daily new challenges coming up like having migratory populations moving from one place to another. Like non-affected states, adjoining affected states,” said Dr S.K. Singh, director of the National Centre for Disease Control, which investigates and recommends control measures for outbreaks.

The government on Sunday ordered authorities in states to stop the migrant workers from moving and to set up shelters on highways where stranded people can get access to food and water until the lockdown is lifted.

Following is data on the spread of the coronavirus in South Asia’s eight countries, according to government figures:

  • Pakistan has registered 1,526 cases, including 13 deaths.
  • India has registered 1071 cases, including 29 deaths.
  • Sri Lanka has registered 120 cases, including one death.
  • Afghanistan has registered 128 cases, including 3 deaths.
  • Bangladesh has registered 48 cases, including 5 deaths.
  • Maldives has registered 28 cases and no deaths.
  • Nepal has registered 5 cases and no deaths.
  • Bhutan has registered 4 cases and no deaths.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Former king Juan Carlos decides to leave Spain amid corruption allegations

Prosecutors looking into bribe allegations Pressure had been building on royals to take action Former king remains "at the disposal" of prosecutors The 82-year-old helped guide Spain back to democracy MADRID: Spain's former king Juan Carlos has decided to leave his country, a drama Read More...

Ruling party co-chairs stick to their guns

Oli to remain PM till general election, co-chair till General Convention: NCP leader Gokul Baskota Kathmandu, August 3 Co-chairs of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Pushpa Kamal Dahal and KP Sharma Oli held talks today in an attempt to break the current impasse in the party, but failed to Read More...

Airlines seek permission to resume flights

Airline companies have to resubmit their proposal for slots if flight operations are halted for more than 60 days Kathmandu, August 3 The government's decision to resume domestic and international flights from August 17 has prompted airline companies to start submitting their proposals to the Ci Read More...

Dhading bans sand mining during monsoon

Dhading, August 3 In view of increasing deaths related to river mining, the authority in Dhading decided to impose a complete ban on sand mining from rivers in the district during the monsoon season. There is already a rule that bans mining of river products using heavy equipment during the ra Read More...

File photo of Melamchi Water Supply Project tunnel.

‘Technical error caused Melamchi tunnel accident’

Kathmandu, August 3 A committee formed to investigate Melamchi tunnel incident has concluded that one of the sluice gates on the tunnel of the Melamchi Water Supply Project had broken due to a technical error. A project engineer and a driver had died due to the flood resulting from the breakag Read More...

reproductive health, Minister of State for Health and Population, Padma Kumari Aryal

Work responsibly, Minister Aryal directs employees

Kathmandu, August 3 Minister of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation Padma Kumari Aryal has directed government employees to work responsibly as the ministry has the responsibility of protecting the property of over 30 million people of the country. She said this at the annual Read More...

PM visits under-construction museum at his private residence

Bhaktapur, August 3 Prime Minister and Co-chair of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) KP Sharma Oli today visited his private residence at Balkot and met with people from different walks of life. This is the third time the prime minister has visited his private residence after being electe Read More...

‘Harsher punishment against acid attackers’

Kathmandu, August 3 Women and Social Welfare Committee of the House of Representatives has directed the home ministry to make some amendments to the legal arrangement and punishment related to incidents of acid attack, pointing out the need of timely revision. After the discussion held on ‘a Read More...