COVID Times: The total number of COVID-19 cases in India crossed 24,000, of which nearly 18,000 are active cases. The death toll is more than 760. More than 5,000 people have recovered.
The rate of doubling of COVID-19 cases in India has reduced because of the lockdown, The cases are now doubling in 10 days, compared to five days during the first week of lockdown, and three days before the lockdown was imposed. Until March 29, the doubling rate stayed at about five, but after April 6, it went down to 10 days. This is the effect of lockdown, referring to a graph maintained by independent researchers. If the lockdown had not been implemented, the number of coronavirus cases would have soared to more than a lakh, instead of the current 23,000 cases, Pointing out that the centrepiece of India’s strategy against COVID-19 was close surveillance, he said 9.45 lakh suspected cases were under watch and upon detection of symptoms, samples were being taken for testing.Said Niti Aayog member and head of a Central panel on the pandemic Empowered Group Dr. V.K. Paul.
- PM address on the occasion of Panchayti Raj Day: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed sarpanches across the country via video conference. He announced the launch of two programmes: e-GramSwaraj, for monitoring of rural infrastructure works and e-governance; and Swamitva programme, which involves mapping of rural housing and land holdings using advanced technology such as drones. The Swamitva programme, would help rural India leverage property assets for institutional credit. The PM also said that the biggest takeaway for India from the COVOD-10 crisis was the importance of self-reliance. “This self-reliance should be at the village, district, state, and national level. We should not look to other countries to satisfy our needs,” he said. He also lauded panchayats and villages across India for successfully implementing lockdown rules and social distancing norms.
- Nobel Prize-winning economist Abhijit Banerjee said in an interview to the BBC that India has not “done anything close to enough” to support its poor during the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that the pandemic was a “double whammy”, as it made the poor lose their earning capacity just when the economy was facing a demand slump.
- His remarks concern the Centre’s welfare package of around Rs. 1.7 lakh crore – equivalent to 0.8% of GDP – to provide extra food grain and cash support to vulnerable sections of the population. Relief packages rolled out by other countries such as the U.S., Canada, Spain and Germany amount to a much higher percentage of their GDP.
- Banerjee suggested that India should print money to fund the expansion of the relief package so that people have cash to spend when the supply of goods and services return to a semblance of normalcy. While a fear of inflation might be holding the government back, this was the best way to bridge the income gap, he said. Ensuring the poor have adequate cash would lift the “mood for demand” after the lockdown ends, added the economist, known for his advocacy of universal basic income.
- At a media briefing, President Donald Trump suggested that sunlight and household disinfectants can help defeat the coronavirus. He indicated he was pushing for research exploring these as potential remedies.