88 New Cases Take Coronavirus Count Over 700 In India, 17 Dead: 10 Points

Coronavirus: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced a Rs1.7 lakh crore package for the people, promising food security and money to buy the essentials.

88 New Cases Take Coronavirus Count Over 700 In India, 17 Dead: 10 Points

COVID-19: Kerala reported 19 more cases of coronavirus on Thursday

Highlights

  • India reported 88 new coronavirus case today, 2nd-highest one day jump
  • Finance Minister announced Rs 1.7 lakh crore relief package for poor
  • Ban on international flights extended till April 14
New Delhi: The number of coronavirus cases in the country has crossed 700-mark, with a big jump of 88, shows data from the health ministry. The total is now over 700 - including 47 foreigners, 42 people who have been cured or discharged and 17 people who died. Two days into the 21-day lockdown, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced a Rs1.7 lakh crore package for the people, promising food security and money to buy the essentials. Concerned about their migrant labourers residing in other states, the Chief Ministers of Bengal and Bihar have written to chief ministers of other states, requesting them to extend help. Bihar has announced a Rs 100-crore relief package for migrants. The ban on international flights, announced last week, has been extended to April 14.

Here are the top 10 developments in this big story:

  1. The government announced that it would provide five kilograms of rice or wheat and one kilogram of pulses of choice free to poor households for three months. This would be in addition to the existing five kilograms of wheat/rice announced earlier.

  2. Direct cash transfers for eight categories of beneficiaries, including pensioners, women and the specially-abled was also announced as part of the relief package. 

  3. The finance minister's announcement came amid expectations of a big relief package for the industry. But Nirmala Sitharaman said, for now, the government's priority is to consider the poor. "No one will go hungry," she assured, adding that "other concerns" would be "considered separately". 

  4. After a teleconference on Friday, the G20 nations said they were injecting $5 trillion into the global economy to counter the impact of coronavirus. Calling for a concrete action plan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged for the reform of the World Health Organisation, sources said.

  5. The World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said lockdowns will not be enough to eradicate the virus. "Aggressive measures to find, isolate, test, treat and trace is not only the best and fastest way out of extreme social and economic restrictions, but they're also the best way to prevent them," the WHO chief said.

  6. Kerala reported 19 more cases of coronavirus on Thursday, taking the total number of infected people under treatment to 126, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said. Three more cases of coronavirus were detected in Maharashtra, taking the total number of COVID-19 patients in the state to 125. The two states together account for nearly one-third of the cases in the country.

  7. The government has extended the ban on international flights till April 14. The ban will not apply to cargo flights or those specially permitted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. Domestic flights have been banned till March 31.

  8. Earlier on Thursday, the health ministry said 43 new cases have been registered in the last 24 hours. "We have observed that the rate of growth of cases has decreased, but in no way are we being relaxed about anything at this point," Lav Agarwal, senior Health Ministry official, told the media. 

  9. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kanpur said it is developing portable ventilators which will be significantly cheaper than the ones available in the market. Compared to around Rs 4 lakh per unit that are currently available, the IIT's ventilator will be made at a cost of Rs 70,000 per unit as all the components are indigenously produced.

  10. Two days ago, the government had announced a 21-day countrywide "curfew-like" lockdown that came with penal provisions for violation under the National Disaster Management Act. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who made the announcement, said while 21 days might seem like a long time, "this is the only way to ensure everyone is safe". Staying at home, he had repeatedly said, is now a matter of survival.