NEWS
24/03/2020 10:04 AM IST | Updated 24/03/2020 8:20 PM IST

Coronavirus Updates In India: 11 Things You Need To Know Today

PM Modi announces complete lockdown in country, tax returns dates postponed to 30 June.

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PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that the entire country would be put on a full lockdown from midnight for 21 days, saying this was the only way to tackle the highly infectious disease. He said in no uncertain terms that India would pay a high price if people didn’t follow social distancing.

Many parts of India were already under a strict lockdown as the number of COVID-19 patients rose to 519 across the country and the death toll rose to 10. According to health ministry data, 39 people have been discharged or have been cured. 

Amid fears over what will happen to the economy, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on Tuesday that the government was very close to formulating an economic package.

The health ministry said 15,24,266 people have been screened at airports. 

Twenty-eight states and Union Territories are under complete lockdown with prohibitory measures in place. Only essential services like medicine and groceries and the likes are available. 

Amid lockdown, the Shaheen Bagh protest site has been cleared by the police 

In Punjab, authorities say that the return of thousands of NRIs mean there could be a huge jump in cases in the near future. 

Here are 11 things you need to know about the coronavirus lockdown today: 

1. India announces complete lockdown

PM Modi announced on Tuesday that India would be put on a full lockdown from midnight for 21 days, saying this was the only way to tackle the highly infectious disease. He said that India would pay a high price if people didn’t follow social distancing and told people to stay where they were for 21 days. He also announced a new acronym, saying that corona means ‘Koi Road Par Na Nikle’.

2. New Cases In Punjab

The Punjab health minister, Balbir Singh Sidhu, announced on Tuesday that three new positive cases were found in Phillaur. 

2. Sitharaman Says Govt ‘Close To’ Announcing Economic Package

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed the media through a video conference on Tuesday announcing that the government is “very close to coming up with an economic package that will be announced sooner rather than later.”

Sitharaman also announced that dates for filing income tax returns and GST will be postponed. 

The last date for income tax returns for the financial year 18-19 was extended to June 30, so was the last date for March, April, May 2020 GST returns and Composition returns. 

The government also postponed the last date for linking Aadhaar and PAN to 30 June.  

3. Two New Cases In Bengal 

Reports say that two new patients tested positive for COVID-19 in West Bengal. Both had travel histories. 

Read more here

4. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal Happy To See People Help Each Other

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said that he was happy to see that people were helping each other in times of crisis.v 

“I am happy to see how people are helping each other - offering food, postponing rent recovery, helping the sick. I am sure we will successfully tide over this crisis soon,” Kejriwal said in a tweet. 

5. Northeast reports first case in Manipur

A 23-year-old woman, who returned to Manipur from UK, has tested positive for coronavirus, an official told PTI.

This is the first Covid-19 positive patients reported in the Northeast.

Meanwhile, West Bengal reported two more coronavirus positive patients, taking the total number of patients in the state to eight, officials said.

6. Delhi Police Clear Shaheen Bagh Protest Site

Shaheen Bagh, the epicentre of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests, was cleared by the Delhi police on Tuesday as prohibitory orders were implemented in Delhi because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

While the Shaheen Bagh protesters were abiding by the orders, with only few people sitting in protest, the site was cleared. 

A video tweeted by ANI showed cranes and tow trucks clearing out the banners, posters and other art installments from the area.  

7. Postponement Of Olympics Inevitable, Says Senior IOC Official 

A senior official of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Dick Pound, said a postponement of this year’s Tokyo Olympics was now inevitable given the situation across the world, PTI reported. 

The IOC said on Sunday that the body would wait four more weeks before announcing its decision on the fate of the July 24-August 9 Games, amid mounting calls for them to be rescheduled.

“My interpretation of the IOC’s communications is they don’t want to cancel, and they don’t think they can continue with the July 24 date,” Pound told AFP. “So you’re looking at the ‘P’ word - postponement.

8. Punjab Govt Fears Rise Coronavirus Patients As NRIs Return

The Amarinder Singh Government In Punjab asked the Centre for funds worth Rs 150 crore saying the return of 90,000 NRIs to the state meant the risk of a sudden rise in number of coronavirus cases. 

NDTV reported state health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu as saying in a letter to Union health minister Harsh Vardhan, “Punjab has the maximum number of NRIs in the country and only 90,000 of them have landed in the state this month. Many have symptoms of COVID-19 and are are further spreading the disease... The number of COVID-19 patients are going to increase alarmingly.”

9. Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand Govts Struggle To Cope With Return Of Migrant Workers 

Migrant workers from the eastern states of India like Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal rushed to return home as panic spread over the coronavirus in India. 

The Indian Express reported thousands of migrants returning from Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Chennai, and states like Punjab and Kerala meant many were stranded at key transit points in the eastern states. 

The report said that in Bihar neighbours of those returning to villages were objecting because the workers were returning from regions affected by the coronavirus. 

10. WHO Says Indian Has ‘Tremendous Capacity’ To Fight Pandemic

ANI reported executive director of the World Health Organisation Michael J Ryan as saying on Tuesday that India had ‘tremendous capacity’ to fight the virus that had affected countries across the world 

“There is a need in the number of labs where a surge is seen. India is a very populous country and the future of this virus will be considered in a very highly and densely populated country. India led the world in eradicating two pandemics, small-pox and polio so India has a tremendous capacity,” J Ryan was quoted by ANIas saying.