Coronavirus updates: US might be 'next epicentre', first death in Tamil Nadu, harassment of medical staff

Coronavirus updates: US might be 'next epicentre', first death in Tamil Nadu, harassment of medical staff

Hours after Modi implored the nation to stay home, Yogi Adityanath attended a function with at least 20 people.

By NL Team

Published on :

At midnight, India entered Day 1 of a 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19. Countries like New Zealand embarked on similar plans last night even as the WHO warned the US that it risked being the "next epicentre" of the outbreak.

Over the previous 24 hours, WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said, 85 percent of new cases were in Europe and the United States, and of those, 40 percent were in the United States.

The US currently has the highest number of cases globally, after China and Italy, but president Donald Trump said he wants the country "opened up, and just raring to go, by Easter". He also said: "We can socially distance ourselves and go to work."

Brazil's president Jair Bolsanaro went a step further today and attacked administrations for "scorched-earth ideas [such as] the banning of public transport, the closing of commerce and mass confinement".

In India, uncertainly followed Modi's speech on access to essential supplies like groceries, food and medicine during the lockdown. The home ministry was quick to issue a circular detailing the essential services that will be available. However, the ministry warned: "We have observed that people are not abiding by the lockdown. We will be keeping a very strict vigil."

The home ministry also warned people to "check the spread of rumours about shortage of food and other essential commodities".

First death in Tamil Nadu

India currently has 562 cases, of which 512 are active cases. The tenth death was reported this morning in Madurai. Tamil Nadu health minister C Vijayabaskar said the patient had a medical history of "prolonged illness" and "uncontrolled diabetes".

Attacks on medical staff

The Delhi government issued an order directing district administrations and the police to take strict action against landlords and house owners who pressure doctors, paramedical staff, and healthcare personnel to vacate their houses.

The Resident Doctors Association at AIIMS, Delhi, had sent a letter to home minister Amit Shah saying many of their staff were "stranded on roads". Health minister Harsh Vardhan said he was "deeply anguished" by these reports, even as some landlords in Kolkata reportedly evicted or harassed nurses and medical staff, fearing they'd contract the virus from them.

Yogi Adityanath and social distancing

Modi's strict directives notwithstanding, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath participated in a function to move the "Ram Lalla" idol to a temporary structure until the Ram temple in Ayodhya is built.

The puja took place less than 12 hours after Modi implored the nation to stay home. According to NDTV, at least 20 people attended the function. The Ayodhya administration has currently banned entry of pilgrims till April 2.