GR News Desk | New Delhi
The number of confirmed Coronavirus cases rose to 108 in India on Sunday as the government scrambled to control the outbreak across the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the day held a video conference with leaders of the South Asia Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations and proposed joint efforts to tackle COVID-19.
The prime minister pledged $10 million to create an emergency fund for SAARC nations to deal with the viral outbreak. Modi addressing the leaders said, “We were careful to not underestimate the problem, but also to avoid knee-jerk reactions.” He made a series of suggestions which were hailed by the SAARC leaders and representatives. “I propose we create a COVID-19 Emergency Fund. This could be based on voluntary contributions from all of us. India can start with an initial offer of 10 million dollars for this fund. Any of us can use the fund to meet the cost of immediate actions,” Modi said.
An order has been placed for the procurement of an additional over 80,50,000 N95 masks and personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, the health ministry said.
During the day, Maharashtra reported 32 cases surpassing Kerala as the numbers climb amid an increase in isolation wards across India. The Mumbai Police imposed section 144 curbing crowded activities.
While Delhi reported seven positive cases Uttar Pradesh has 11, Karnataka has six patients while Ladakh has three and Jammu and Kashmir two. Telangana reported three cases. Rajasthan also reported two cases. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Punjab have reported one case each.
The total number of confirmed cases includes 17 foreigners — 16 Italian tourists and a Canadian, the ministry officials said. Over 450 stranded Indians were flown back from Italy and Iran, the two worst-affected countries after China, and quarantined. In Kerala, 20 Dubai-bound passengers were detained at the Kochi airport after a UK national, who was under surveillance but sneaked out and joined the group, tested positive for novel Coronavirus.
Elections to rural and urban local bodies in Andhra Pradesh have been put off for six weeks by the State Election Commission in view of the spread of COVID-19, according to State Election Commissioner N Ramesh Kumar.
Meanwhile, to contain the spread of novel coronavirus, film bodies in India including Federation of Western Indian Cine Employees (FWICE) and Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA) on Sunday decided to put shootings of films, TV shows and web series on hold from March 19 to March 31.
The government had on Wednesday suspended all visas, barring a few categories like diplomatic and employment, in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus. India-Bangladesh passenger train services between Kolkata and cities in the neighbouring country were also suspended from Sunday.
The global death toll from the virus has now crossed 6000 as nations struggle to contain the outbreak. More than 125000 people have been infected by the deadly respiratory illness.