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COVID-19: Cases rise to 415; most of India under lockdown

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

COVID cases in India rose to 415, Union health ministry said as much of the country locked down on Monday with the Centre warning of legal action against those violating the restrictions enforced to curtail the pandemic, which has claimed more than 14,500 lives globally.

Punjab on Monday became the first in the country to impose curfew in the entire state with no relaxations and only exempted essential services to prevent the infection, which has killed seven people in the country so far.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also asked state governments to ensure that rules and regulations of the coronavirus lockdown are enforced as he noted that many people are not taking the measure seriously.

"Many people are still not taking the lockdown seriously. Please save yourself, save your family, follow the instructions seriously. I request state governments to ensure rules and laws are followed," he said in a tweet in Hindi.

Faced with unprecedented situation arising out of the coronavirus breakout, the Centre and state governments have decided to take extraordinary measures and impose restrictions.

Delhi, Jharkhand, and Nagaland declared a statewide lockdown while similar curbs were announced in a number of districts in Bihar, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Several states, including Maharashtra, Kerala, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, had earlier imposed a partial or complete lockdown.

Those living in 80 districts across the country, including in the national capital Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai have been placed under travel and movement restrictions with authorities suspending all passenger train and inter-state bus services till March 31.

The Centre has issued directions to state governments, asking them to take legal action against those who are found violating the lockdown orders.

"States have been asked to strictly enforce the lockdown in the areas where it has been announced. Legal action will be taken against violators," tweeted the Press Information Bureau, government's communication wing.

The country registered 55 fresh cases from different parts, taking the tally to 415 which includes 41 foreign nationals and seven deaths. Gujarat, Bihar and Maharashtra reported a death each on Sunday.

Four fatalities were reported earlier from Karnataka, Delhi, Maharashtra and Punjab, the ministry said, adding the total numbers also includes 24 people who have been cured, discharged or migrated.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said 18,383 samples have been tested till 10 am on Monday.

The total number of positive novel coronavirus cases includes 67 in Maharashtra, including three foreigners, and Kerala also at 67, with seven foreign nationals, data issued by the ministry showed.

Till Monday morning, Delhi had reported 29 positive cases, including a foreigner, while Uttar Pradesh recorded 28, also including a foreigner, it added. Rajasthan reported 27 cases, of which two are foreigners. Telangana reported 26 cases, including 11 foreigners. Karnataka has 26 coronavirus patients, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court directed all states and UTs to set up high-level committees to determine class of prisoners who could be released on parole, in a bid to decongest prisons to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

It also said prisoners convicted of or charged with offences having jail term up to 7 years can be given parole. The court also ordered that a high-level committee should work in consultation with State Legal Service Authority for release of prisoners.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 23 2020. 14:22 IST
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