COVID-19: Global deaths cross 30 thousand; positive cases in India cross thousand | The Background

Saturday, October 16, 2021

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COVID-19: Global deaths cross 30 thousand; positive cases in India cross thousand

The Background:

Global deaths from COVID-19 have well surpassed 30,000. In Italy more than 10,000 have died from this deadly virus.

According to Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, the death toll stands at 33,551. Total recovered cases from this virus is 148,900. Total confirmed cases- 710,918. (Updated 1.15 am IST)

Meanwhile, the finance minister of the German state of Hesse, Thomas Schäfer was found on a high-speed train line in the town of Hochheim between Frankfurt and Main, reports DW. Investigators said an investigation on the scene confirmed the identity of the man as Schäfer and that the death was likely a suicide. Schäfer had “considerable worries” over COVID-19 as this 54-year-old regularly appeared in public in recent days to inform the public about financial assistance during the coronavirus crisis.

If we zero in on India, the scene is quite grim. According to the Ministry of Health, people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in India rose to 1,024. The death toll is 27 with two more casualties. In West Bengal, one doctor tested positive.

Meanwhile, as we reported earlier, a disaster of another kind is unfolding in India as migrant workers in thousands attempt to return home amidst nationwide lockdown. This unprecedented exodus has at last made the government to take some kind of action.

The Central government told states and Union Territories to seal their borders. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also asked people to stay where they are. Congress leader Priyanka Vadra write to the chiefs of major telecom companies including Airtel, Reliance, Vodafone and BSNL, asking them to make calls free to ease communication in this time of crisis.

CPIM general Secretary Sitaram Yechury’s tweet on this unprecedented crisis.

As thousands of workers tried to reach home, at least 22 have died so far. On March 23, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi in a nationwide broadcast announced three week lockdown at 8pm (IST). His sudden announcement triggered considerable panic throughout the country. Before that on March 22 (Sunday), there was a Janata curfew from 7 am to 9 pm, which was announced by the prime minister on March 19. On that address to the nation, Modi also told the people that at 5 pm people should come out and clap or bang thalis to express gratitude to those working in the frontlines during this health crisis. Strangely, on that address, he also urged people to practice social distancing. It is clear that the prime minister was not at all serious.

Before March 23, the Central and state governments had not planned any arrangements for those who survive on daily wages. The sudden announcement led these workers to hit the roads and walk hundreds of kilometers to reach home. The police was instructed to implement the lockdown strictly. Thus, they lathicharged the migrants in numerous places with callousness and impunity, which is not only shameful but inhuman as well.

Columnist Tavleen Singh raised questions in one of her tweets,

Did the Prime Minister consult chief ministers before he announced his curfew? Did he warn them to make special arrangements for suddenly jobless and homeless migrant workers? If he did not the responsibility for mistakes is his alone.

PTI adds, hundreds of migrant workers on Sunday hit the streets near Changanassery in Kerala violating the 21-day lockdown announced by the government to prevent spread of novel coronavirus.

Soon after the incident was reported from Payippad village, a shocked Kerala government quickly stepped in to defuse the tension by deploying police force and sending Kottayam district authorities to pacify the agitating migrant workers, who are called guest labourers in the state.

The Kottayam district Collector and Superintendent of Police held talks with the agitating migrant workers on the streets of Payippad village town and managed to send them back to their camps.

They assured them that all facilities would be provided for their comfortable stay in the state during the lockdown period but rejected their demand for travel facilities citing directives issued by the Central government banning movement of people outside the dwelling place.

“They are saying that they want to go to their native places. That is practically impossible”, district Collector P K Sudheer Babu told reporters after talking to the workers.

Kerala Minister P Thilothaman said food, water and shelter were being provided for the migrant workers.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also tweeted.



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