How are we feeling? Mood of the nation in the time of coronavirus
Traders’ associations, markets and even residential societies across the country are taking measures to contain its spread.
As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 271 on Saturday, traders’ associations, markets and even residential societies across the country are taking measures to contain its spread.
Old Delhi’s famed light fixtures market Bhagirath Palace is closed till 25 March. Two condominiums in Gurgaon have reportedly asked residents to stay indoors as foreign-returned students and workers in these localities complete their self-quarantine.
In Chandigarh, which reported its first case a few days ago, gated societies like Emaar Mohali Hills are also sending out communication and posters on the meaning of social distancing and asking licensed medical professionals to volunteer.
On Thursday, the Confederate of Indian Industries also shared a letter from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. In addition to relaxing the rules for meetings with board members and physical meetings “on matter relating to approval of financial statements, board report, restructuring, etc. up to 30th June 2020”, the letter — from the desk of Injeti Srinivas, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs — “expected and strongly advised” all companies and limited liability partnerships to “put in place an immediate plan to implement the ‘Work from Home’ policy as a temporary measure till 31st March 2020”.
Stock markets — the bellwether of the country’s mood for over a hundred years — also closed higher on Friday. Both Sensex and Nifty indices rose by about 6%.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will now test patients with severe acute respiratory illness, shortness of breath, fever and cough for coronavirus infection. This should help to identify — and isolate — patients, naturally. As of 17 March, there are 21 additional ICMR centres testing for the virus, taking the total to 72. They also expect to add 49 more labs to the current list and 2 rapid testing centres in the coming week.
While the country at large seems to be taking a lot of positive steps to fight the pandemic, unfortunately, there are pockets of bad news, too.
News agency PTI reported that on Saturday, Aurangabad police arrested four people in Maharashtra’s Jaina city for hoarding hand sanitizers worth Rs 6 lakh. Maharashtra has the highest number of novel coronavirus cases in the country - data show that there are 63 confirmed cases of infection in the western state so far.
Cases of people abandoning their pets are also on the rise, unfortunately.
Singing away the blues
Internationally, the number of cases rose to 275,434 and the death toll to 11,399. Of these, Italy accounts for 47,021 cases and 4,032 deaths. However, the people of Italy have come up with a novel — and moving — way to keep the spirits up and show solidarity with their neighbours: by coming out to sing in their balconies!
Following Italy’s example, Lebanon is also seeing sporadic shows of “balcony singing” as an expression of solidarity.
In the UK, where the government has announced a wage-support scheme for those who are unable to go to work during these times, people are also putting out Christmas decorations and lights to cheer up family and neighbours in these anxious times.
India, too, is set to experience something similar come Sunday, 5 pm, when many Indians are expected to come out into their balconies or to their windows, to whistle, clap, sing and make some noise to show appreciation for the medical professionals, support staff, karamcharis and everyone who is ensuring essential services in these exceptional times.
Cabin fever and anxiety are very real dangers of social distancing and self-quarantines, respectively. Simple steps like coming out into the sunshine and singing can go a long way to mend the mood in the time of coronavirus .
For more tips, read our article on Coronavirus Infection: Symptoms, Types, Diagnosis and Treatment.
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