All education, training, research and coaching institutions shall remain closed during the corona lockdown, the Amit-Shah led home ministry said. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
The Narendra Modi government invoked the National Disaster Management Act, 2005 to impose 21-day lockdown across the in the mega battle to fight coronavirus pandemic. The Act calls for the establishment of National Disaster Management Authority with the Prime Minister of India as chairperson. The NDMA is responsible for "laying down the policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management" and to ensure "timely and effective response to the disaster". Principal secretary Nipendra Mishra and Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba reportedly spoke to state chief secretaries and DGPs to chalk out the functional aspect of the lockdown. "The Ministries/ Departments of Government of India and State Governments/Union Territory Administrations, have been directed to ensure strict implementation of these Orders," a Union Home Ministry statement said adding it will also monitor the implementation of these measures.
"Experts, keeping in view the global experiences of countries which have been successful in containing the spread of COVID-19 unlike some others where thousands of people died, have recommended that effective measures for social distancing should be taken to contain the spread of this pandemic," the home ministry said to state the need of such a lockdown in the country. Under the lockdown, following services that have been deemed essential will no be affected. They are hospitals, labs, ambulances, ration shops, fruit and vegetable selling points, banks, ATMs, print and electronic media, internet and cable services, e-commerce, petrol pumps, LPG outlets, warehousing services among others. Any person violating these measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, the home ministry statement said.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization says infections and deaths globally from the new coronavirus are expected to increase considerably when global figures are published later Tuesday. Dr. Margaret Harris, a WHO spokeswoman, said overnight reporting showed 85% of the new cases are being reported in Europe and the United States. On Monday, WHO counted more than 334,000 total cases globally. Harris said but in fact the outbreak is accelerating very rapidly and the case numbers we received overnight will put that up considerably. As virus deaths mounted and Americans hoped for some economic relief Tuesday from their divided government, health officials and leaders warned that the world was entering a critical period that would determine just how deeply the pandemic slices through their nations.
(With agency inputs)