What Worst-Affected Indian States Are Doing To Fight Coronavirus Pandemic
India has registered 512 active COVID-19 cases, 40 cured/discharged cases and 9 deaths, as of Wednesday, March 25, according to the Ministry Of Health And Family Welfare. Taking cognisance of the situation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, March 24, announced a complete lockdown for 21 days, starting from Tuesday midnight.
However, several of the states worst-affected by the novel coronavirus had already announced a lockdown. Here's a look at the measures these states have taken to fight the pandemic.
Kerala had announced a complete lockdown in the state from Midnight of March 24 to March 31. The state currently has reported at least 101 cases of the virus. As part of the lockdown, the state's borders will remain closed, state-run KSRTC and private buses would be off the roads. However, private vehicles would be allowed.
Banks would be open only till 2 pm. All essential services will be available from 7 am to 5 pm. Medical shops can remain open after 5 pm. While hotels will remain open, only takeaways will be allowed.
The Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, on Thursday, March 19, announced a financial package worth ₹20,000 crore. The money, aimed as a relief to the state's economy that has taken a hit, would be used to cover health packages, loan assistance, welfare pensions, MGNREGS, free food grains, subsidised meals, tax relief and arrear clearance.
The Kerala government will also provide free rice to everyone, regardless of their economic status, for one month.
"Without differentiating families based on Below Poverty Line (BPL) and Above Poverty Line (APL) cards, everyone will be given free rice. APL families will be given a total of 10 Kg of cereal. For this ₹100 crore has been allotted," the CM had said.
Of the designated amount, a loan of ₹2,000 crore would be made available to members of Kudumbashree - the state's poverty eradication and women empowerment scheme - in April and May. In the next two months, ₹2,000 crore would be allotted to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme(MGNREGS).
The payment period for electricity and water bills will also be extended.
In the last state budget, the government had announced that 1,000 subsidised food stalls will be opened in the state. At these stalls, meals would be distributed for ₹20. In the wake of the virus outbreak, these stalls, which were initially slated to be started by September, will now start by April.
Also, the CM said that two instalments of social security pensions, that were slated to be paid in April, would be paid this month. For this, a sum of ₹1,320 crore would be spent. The families in the state which do not receive any social security pension will be given ₹1,000 each. For this, ₹100 crore has been set aside.
With the number of cases in the state nearing 100, Maharashtra had imposed a complete lockdown in the state. From midnight on Monday, March 23, a state-wide curfew has also been imposed.
All state borders shall be sealed other than for the movement of essential commodities. Inter-district transport is also banned. All public transport services including inter-city MSRTC buses and Metro will not be allowed. However, the transport of passengers for accessing emergency medical services shall be permitted.
The state has further prohibited the gathering of more than 5 persons in public places.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced that government offices will function with 25 per cent attendance for now. All the essential services, medical stores, veterinary doctors and their shops will continue to operate during the curfew.
The state government has further decided to set up testing facilities in all medical colleges by March 27th and has made arrangements for 500 beds in government hospitals in Mumbai.
On Friday, March 20, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar informed that the state government is providing three months ration to people under Below Poverty Line (BPL) category.
Karnataka at present has reported at least 41 COVID-19 cases. Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa had announced a complete lockdown in the state from March 24 to March 31.
The state has placed orders for 1000 ventilators immediately to deal with the healthcare challenges associated with the pandemic. Besides, the government is also buying 10 lakh face masks and 5 lakh of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The CM said that the 1700-bed Victoria Hospital will be converted into a dedicated COVID-19 hospital, and a 24/7 'war room' will be set up in Bengaluru to coordinate efforts. He also informed of the setting-up of a task force to coordinate state and district level efforts.
The government also announced that ration for the next two months will be given in advance as part of the relief measures taken by the state government. Furthermore, the CM has announced the free provision of food at all Indira canteens for the daily wage earners and labourers.
Yediyurappa said Karnataka hopes to have more testing labs with an aim of screening at least 200 people per million.
With at least 34 positive cases of the novel coronavirus, Uttar Pradesh had imposed a complete lockdown in the state till March 27.
"Essential goods like vegetables and milk supply will be ensured for every locality to avoid over-crowding in markets. Bulk buying will not be allowed. Supply of necessary items will be ensured. Prices of essential items will be checked and if anyone will be found selling things at a higher price, then, a case will be lodged against them," the CM Yogi Adityanath was quoted by News18.
He added that measures are being taken to avoid unnecessary movement by the public. In case of emergency, passes will be issued for movement. In addition, not more than two people will be allowed to assemble in one place.
Employees of the institutions that will be shut during the lockdown will be paid salaries. Arrangements have also been made for small shopkeepers and daily wage workers.
While 20 kg wheat and 15 kg rice will be given to more than 1 crore 65 lakh families in the state, rickshaw pullers and daily wage labours etc. will get Rs 1000 as compensation.
The government will set up COVID-19 hospitals in 51 medical colleges of the state. As of now, these have 4,500 isolation and quarantine beds for the treatment of coronavirus patients. Instructions have been issued to increase the number of beds to 11,000 within a week.
It has also been directed to have a minimum of 20 beds and two ventilators or a maximum of 200 isolation beds and 20 ventilators in every medical college.
Furthermore, in Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, a COVID-19 hospital is being set up with 210 beds and 80 to 100 ventilators for the treatment of high-risk patients.Also Read: 'Nationwide Lockdown': Ambiguous PM's Speech Lead Panic Buying Among Citizens