Coronavirus: COVID-19 updates for March 22

India shut down for a one-day janata curfew as across the world nearly one billion people were confined to their homes. The coronavirus death toll crossed 13,000 and factories were shut in worst-hit Italy after another single-day fatalities record.

A divided world has been brought together by its fight against the novel coronavirus.

According to the IMF, the impact of the coronavirus is having “a profound and serious impact on the global economy and has sent policymakers looking for ways to respond”.

Explaining the economic lessons from China's fight against coronavirus, it said: “China’s experience so far shows that the right policies make a difference in fighting the disease and mitigating its impact—but some of these policies come with difficult economic tradeoffs.”

Mitigating the impact of this severe shock means providing support to the most vulnerable, it added.

In India, the number of novel coronavirus cases rose to 324 on Sunday after fresh cases were reported from various parts of the country, the Union Health Ministry said. The total includes 41 foreign nationals and four deaths reported from Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab, and Maharashtra so far.

“The total number of active COVID-19 cases across India stands at 296 so far," the ministry said, adding that 24 others have been cured/discharged/migrated while four have died.

Meanwhile, across India, millions of people stayed indoors, streets wore a deserted look, and a bare minimum of vehicles were on the road on Sunday in an unprecedented shutdown after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal for a janata curfew to help check the spread of coronavirus.

A deserted road at ITO in New Delhi bears witness to the success of the one-day janata curfew. Photo: PTI

As the 14-hour janata curfew got under way at 7 am, people kept themselves indoors as part of the social distancing exercise to help stop the spread of the virus. All markets and establishments, except those dealing in essential goods and services, were closed for the day.

When the clock struck 5 pm, millions across India stepped out into their balconies, terraces, and lawns. Minutes ago, Narendra Modi took to Twitter and reminded people to come out and show solidarity and express gratitude to doctors, nurses, and others involved in providing essential services amid the pandemic.

The sounds of clapping and clanging utensils rang out for minutes across societies and buildings in every city in India, showcasing clearly that the janata was united against coronavirus.

Prominent Bollywood personalities such as Lata Mangeshkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, and Karan Johar came out on their balconies as part of PM Narendra Modi's janata curfew initiative to give a shoutout to people providing medical and other essential services during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

A lockdown has been announced across various parts of India in at least 75 districts to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Cities like Mumbai have even imposed Section 144 till the end of this month. Overall, various parts of India has shut down trains, and other means of transport between states to stem the spread of coronavirus, which has affected more than 2.6 lakh people and close to 11,000 lives (WHO data).

Across the world, nearly one billion people were confined to their homes on Sunday, as the coronavirus death toll crossed 13,000 and factories were shut in worst-hit Italy after another single-day fatalities record.

The raging pandemic has forced lockdowns in 35 countries across the globe, disrupting lives, travel, and businesses as governments scramble to shut borders and unleash hundreds of billions in emergency measures to avoid a widespread virus-fuelled economic meltdown.

More than 300,000 infections have been confirmed worldwide, with the situation increasingly grim in Italy where the death toll spiked to more than 4,800 - over a third of the global total.

Here's a roundup of YourStory's coverage today of how India and the world is dealing with the coronavirus outbreak:

From yoga and auditions to dance classes: Bollywood goes online as coronavirus shuts down industry

The novel coronavirus outbreak may have brought India’s bustling film industry to a halt but it hasn't stopped Bollywood celebrities from utilising their massive online influence to entertain their followers as well as engage them in fitness, dance, and yoga routines. As the government encourages social distancing to deal with coronavirus, Bollywood celebrities, including Shilpa Shetty and Malaika Arora, are finding ways to connect with fans and help them make the best use of their isolation.

Karnataka shuts state borders, announces free ration for two months to deal with coronavirus

The Karnataka government has decided to shut state borders and postpone all exams, including Class 10, to control the spread of COVID-19 virus, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said on Sunday.  Free ration for the next two months will be given to all those who avail it in one go, the chief minister said. He also appealed to people in cities not to travel to villages for the next 15 days to control the outbreak in rural areas.

SBI opens emergency credit line for borrowers as businesses grapple with coronavirus

As businesses get affected due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the State Bank of India, the country's largest lender, has opened an emergency credit line to meet any liquidity mismatch for its borrowers. The additional liquidity facility, COVID-19 Emergency Credit Line (CECL), will provide funds up to Rs 200 crore and will be available till June 30, 2020, SBI said. The loan will be offered at an interest rate of 7.25 percent with a tenure of 12 months.

Amazon to hire 1 lakh new employees, provide jobs for those laid off, says Jeff Bezos

As the coronavirus pandemic rages, ecommerce giant Amazon's Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos addressed his employees through the company's blog. He announced that in this time of health and economic crisis, Amazon will be hiring for one lakh new roles, and raising wages for its hourly workers who have been fulfilling orders and delivering to its customers in this time of stress and turmoil.

Here’s how you can keep children engaged during the coronavirus outbreak

According to UNESCO, the coronavirus outbreak had led almost 22 countries across three continents to close schools, affecting over 290 million students. With COVID-19 shutting down schools and outdoor activities, what can parents do? E-learning platforms, books, comics, and board games can keep children engaged, happy, and healthy. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Paytm commits Rs 5 Cr for developing coronavirus-related medical solutions

Digital payment platform Paytm committed Rs 5 crore for Indian innovators developing medical solutions related to coronavirus, Founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma said on Sunday. “We need more Indian innovators to start building such indigenous solutions for potential ventilators’ shortage and other COVID-19 cures. Paytm commits Rs 5 crore for such teams working on coronavirus-related medical solutions,” VSS said in a tweet.

From good governance to using tech, here’s how Kerala is dealing with coronavirus

The number of coronavirus cases in India has been rising steadily every day. While everyday lives of people have come to a grinding halt, state governments are taking critical measures to control the spread of the virus. Kerala is setting an example on how to deal with the coronavirus outbreak by focusing on good governance, creating awareness, and supplying essentials and meals to its people.

Indian Railways suspends all passenger services till March 31

In an unprecedented move, the Indian Railways on Sunday announced the suspension of all its passenger services from March 22 midnight till March 31 midnight to curb the spread of coronavirus. The Railways had already trimmed down its services on Friday by cancelling a majority of trains. According to a new order, only goods trains will run from March 22 midnight to March 31 midnight.

Soap makers reduce prices and increase production to fight coronavirus

FMCG players like HUL, Godrej Consumer, and Patanjali said they were helping fight the COVID-19 outbreak by reducing the prices of soaps and hygiene products, and ramping up production of these items. Market leader Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) on Friday committed Rs 100 crore to help combat the coronavirus pandemic. It will donate two crore Lifebuoy soaps in the next few months to sections of the society that need it the most.

Delhi Police offer flowers to people on streets, advise janata curfew to fight coronavirus

The Delhi Police offered flowers to people on the streets of the national capital on Sunday, requesting them to stay at home, in view of the janata curfew proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, officials said. The 14-hour-long janata curfew was part of a social distancing exercise to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. It began at 7 am and will end at 9 pm.

Hero MotoCorp, Fiat suspend production till March 31

Hero MotoCorp, the country's largest two-wheeler maker on Sunday, said it had suspended production at all its sites across the globe until March 31, 2020, to safeguard its employees against COVID-19. Besides, automaker Fiat has also suspended manufacturing operations in the country till the end of this month to check the spread of the contagious disease.

(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)


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