Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took to Twitter to post the photos from the religious gathering. (Photo Credit: Yogi Adityanath/Twitter)
In what seems to be a clear violation of the coronavirus lockdown, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held a special function for Ram Lalla, the presiding deity, in Ayodhya hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the stringent measure to combat the spread of the COVID-19 disease. While the Union Home Ministry order clearly stated that no religious function was allowed under the lockdown, seems like the Chief Minister was not aware of such a rule. His function was attended by more than 20 people, a limit that has been set even for the funerals. The Chief Minister took to Twitter to post the photos from the religious gathering. Curiously, he also urged people to follow the lockdown while holding the religious ceremony which attracted a decent crowd! The idol of Ram Lalla was placed on a 9.5-kg silver throne in the new structure where the idol would remain till the construction of the Ram temple is completed on the site, allotted for it by the Supreme Court in a landmark verdict in November. After the idol was placed, the chief minister offered special prayers in the presence of Ram Mandir Trust Secretary Champat Rai. Adityanath in his personal capacity also donated Rs 11 lakh for the construction of the Ram temple. (Coronavirus Outbreak Live Updates)
However, the Ayodhya function doesn't mean CM Yogi is not working to ease people's trouble during the lockdown. There are reports that the state government has decided to deploy as many as 10,000 vehicles to distribute vegetables and milk to the people. There has been a lot of discussion and debate among the people over the shortage of essential items. Though the PM has repeatedly assured that the supply chain won't be broken, the ground reality is quite different. People have been thronging the local kirana shops since PM Modi's 8 pm address in which he had announced the 21-day lockdown.
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Meanwhile, the Indian Army headquarter at iconic South Block at Raisina Hill remained closed on Wednesday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a clarion call for the complete lockdown to fight COVID-19, an IANS report said. The Army headquarter will function with bare minimum staff of around 15 per cent from Thursday onwards, sources said.
In a related development over corona crisis, the latest study has said that there will be a spurt in the number of COVId-19 cases in India by May. India could face between 100,000 to 13 lakh confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus by mid-May if the current trend in the growing number of COVID-19 cases continues, according to a report by an international team of scientists. The report, compiled by COV-IND-19 Study Group, an interdisciplinary team of researchers, said while India seems to have done well in controlling the number of confirmed cases compared to other countries like the US and Italy in the early phase of the pandemic, the country is critically missing a key component in this assessment -- the number of truly affected cases.
This factor depends on the extent of testing, the accuracy of the test results, and the frequency and scale of testing of people who may have been exposed but do not show symptoms, the researchers, including Debashree Ray from Johns Hopkins University in the US, said. "So far, the number of people tested in India has been relatively small. In the absence of widespread testing, it is impossible to quantify the magnitude of ''community transmission'', in other words, estimate how many are infected outside hospitals and health care facilities," the scientists wrote in the report. "Thus our current estimates are at best underestimates for India based on early phase data," they said.
(With agency inputs)