Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today announced a 1,70,000-crore food security scheme to help the economically weaker sections to tide over the added challenge of lockdown and job loss during the worldwide outbreak of coronavirus. The Rs 1,70,000-crore scheme, dubbed the "Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan scheme" will "address the concerns of poor, migrant workers and those who need help", she said, adding that the government would ensure that "no one will go hungry". A special Rs 50 lakh medical insurance cover is being offered to the frontline workers toiling to avert the crisis - the doctors and their support staff - she said.
Two more people die due to coronavirus today, with Maharashtra confirming its fourth death in the outbreak and Kashmir its first. More than a billion people have locked themselves after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown to contain the pandemic in the country.
In Delhi, at least 800 people who came in contact with a coronavirus positive doctor in Delhi have been quarantined for 14 days, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said. "A mohalla clinic doctor and four others have been tested positive after they came in contact with an infected woman who returned from Saudi Arabia. The doctor's wife & daughter have also tested positive," the minister told ANI.
Despite the lockdown that has taken buses off the road and trains off the track, many migrant labourers have started on their way home, willing to risk sealed borders and vigilant policemen, who are tasked with ensuring that people not leave their homes except for most pressing need.
In his televised address to the nation on Tuesday, PM Modi had said "21 days' lockdown may seem to be a long time, but this is the only way to ensure everyone is safe". Staying at home, he had repeatedly said, is now a matter of survival.