Will See Baby Girl After Lockdown Ends, Duty First, Says Constable

Coronavirus: The 25-year-old constable appraises the photos sent to him on WhatsApp with careful concentration. This is the closest he has come to his brand-new daughter, born 12 days ago.

Will See Baby Girl After Lockdown Ends, Duty First, Says Constable

Coronavirus: The constable appraises the photos of his newborn daughter sent to him on WhatsApp

Etawah, UP:

In 34 degrees heat on a road in Western Uttar Pradesh, a young constable pauses for a minute to check his phone.

Around him, the precarious quiet of the lockdown fills the air.

The 25-year-old constable appraises the photos sent to him on WhatsApp with careful concentration. This is the closest he has come to his brand-new daughter, born 12 days ago.

Ramakant Nagar has chosen not to go home to his village to visit his first child. "I thought about going home, but then I also thought about how so many of my colleagues are doing continuous duty in this time. And so i decided not to ask for leave ans to stay and do my duty," he says.

Nagar, posted in Etawah, is one of millions of "Corona Warriors", a legion of medical workers, policemen and others who, at considerable risk and with meticulous dedication, are helping India flatten the curve of the invidious virus that has killed 339 people as of today in the country.

"I speak to my wife and family everyday. But I have also made up my mind that I will not go home till the time this lockdown is in place and my duty is required," says Ramakant Nagar.

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Etawah in Uttar Pradesh, with one COVID-19 positive case, is not among the over 150 containment zones in India's most-populous state which have been totally sealed to prevent the infection in their precinct from interloping into the areas around them.

Uttar Pradesh has the seventh highest number of cases in the country, at 558.

Today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in a morning televised address that the lockdown, first announced on March 24, will extend till May 3. The economic cost of this shutdown, he said, is immense - but the lives of each citizen have to be protected.

Tomorrow, his administration is expected to announce what sort of guidelines could inform a decision on April 20 to relax restrictions in those areas which seem to have crossed into safe territory.