Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus, 5,42,788 confirmed cases globally, India launches first bailout plan
There are now over 5,42,788 confirmed cases and over 24,361 COVID-19 deaths globally. The count for those who have recovered also grows steadily, with the figure over 1,24,000. Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, tested positive for the novel coronavirus earlier today, after developing mild symptoms. The UK currently has 11,816 confirmed cases of which 576 have died.
The US now has the highest number of recorded cases, climbing towards 86,000 and outstripping the Chinese figure of about 82,000.
The G20 Summit that was held remotely pledged to inject $5 trillion into the global economy to defend against the serious ramifications of the pandemic. According to the United Nations, more than 25 million jobs could be lost worldwide because of lockdowns and containment measures - more than what was lost during the recession of 2008. To give an idea of the financial woes of the world, more than 3
million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week - five times the previous record set in 1982.
The situation in India
India has also seen a rise in cases; at last count, there were 724 confirmed cases and 17 deaths. Maharashtra and Kerala have over 125 cases each. As the national lockdown continued into its second the day, the government launched the Rs 1.7 lakh crore Garib Kalyan Yojana which included measures such as free food for the poorest of poor, income support for farmers, LPG cylinders for those enrolled under the Ujjwala scheme (around 8 crore families) and a small cash transfer for women Jan Dhan accounts.
Two-thirds of the population will be given 5 kgs of wheat and rice each, along with 1 kg of a pulse of their choice per family. A direct transfer of Rs 2,000 will also be made to over 8.5 crore farmers for April. The daily remuneration will increase to Rs 202 from Rs 182 under the MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) scheme, but it remains to be seen how effective this will be during a lockdown.
Various states have come up with their own schemes as well such as free ration and earlier pension payments while facilities for the homeless are being expanded as well.
In a concerning development, there were at least 4 confirmed cases from slums across Maharashtra triggering fears of a more widespread outbreak. Social distancing is not possible for a lot of Indians, and given the high transmission rate of the virus, it is likely to spread like wildfire in crowded, unhygienic areas.
The ICMR still maintains that there is no community transmission yet.
For over a week now, China has reported very few local cases; the vast majority of new cases are from foreign travellers or returnees. Given this, China announced a temporary ban on entry of nearly all foreigners, including all visa holders. Significantly, foreign residents of China will not be allowed entry after Friday midnight as well. These drastic measures highlight concerns about a possible second wave of infections.
South Africa, which also initiated a 3-week lockdown around the same time as India, has seen a steady rise in cases, with the latest figure at 927 confirmed cases.
Elsewhere, in Kosovo, the national government toppled and the country entered a constitutional crisis. Local disagreements on handling COVID-19 were some of the reasons for the collapse.
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Updated Date: Mar 27, 2020 17:50:57 IST
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