Coronavirus: COVID-19 updates for March 21

The coronavirus death toll surged past 11,000 worldwide, with 4,000 alone in Italy where the daily number of fatalities has shot up relentlessly over the past week.

The novel coronavirus cases in India rose to 283 cases on Saturday after 60 fresh cases were reported in various parts of the country, the Union Health Ministry said. The total comprises 39 foreign nationals, including 17 from Italy, three from the Philippines, two from the UK, one each from Canada, Indonesia, and Singapore.

The numbers also paint a grim picture globally. While China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said there were no new domestically transmitted cases of COVID-19 reported in Chinese mainland for the third day in a row on Friday, Italy has overtaken China as the worst-hit, with over 4,000 deaths reported so far.

As the global death toll accelerated sharply, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday warned young people that they were “not invincible”. While the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions are the hardest hit by the virus, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pointed out that young people were also vulnerable.

And as COVID-19 rips through the world, blue-collar workers are becoming the most exposed to the virus. In India, many state governments have asked organisations, especially the IT-BT sector, to mandate employees to work from home. But there are thousands of cab drivers and food delivery workers who cannot afford to extend social distancing to their jobs.

To help them cope with their health, ride-hailing unicorn Ola on Saturday announced that it would cover loss of income for driver partners and their spouses in case they test positive for coronavirus. The company has also partnered with online doctor consultation app Mfine to provide free medical help for driver partners and their family members.

Similarly, delivery platforms like Swiggy, Zomato, and Dunzo have provided masks and gloves to their delivery staff, and have also given the option of ‘contactless delivery’ to their customers.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the nation’s 1.3 billion citizens to stay at home as much as possible for the next few days to prevent any “explosion” of coronavirus cases. Amidst the scare of the virus spreading, half the population of India is now staying indoors and strictly following social distancing and self-isolation. This has resulted in a 51 percent drop in footfall on the roads, according to a study by GOQii.

Here's a roundup of YourStory's coverage today of how the government and the Indian startup ecosystem is dealing with the coronavirus outbreak:

Ola offers Rs 30,000 cover for driver partners and their spouses affected by coronavirus. The ride-hailing unicorn said that all the eligible driver partners and their spouses will receive a cover of a floater sum of Rs 30,000, of which they can receive a compensation of Rs 1,000 per day for 21 days from the date they will be tested positive.

Worldwide coronavirus lockdowns as WHO warns young people are 'not invincible'. "Today, I have a message for young people: you are not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks -- or even kill you," WHO chief Tedros said, adding, "Even if you don't get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else."

Lockdown, social distancing due to coronavirus leads to 51 percent drop in footfalls, says study The data was collected from over five lakh users who use GOQii's smart trackers. The average has dropped from 6,432 steps on March 2 to 3,146 steps on March 17.

All employees of IT, BT firms must work from home, says Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DCM CN Ashwath Narayan. A video conference with heads of IT-BT and Startup Companies was held on Friday, where the DCM explained the steps taken to control the outbreak of the coronavirus, and also sought inputs from the industry leaders.

No new local coronavirus cases for third consecutive day in China. While reporting about a steady increase in imported cases, China's National Health Commission (NHC) did not specify whether the infected persons were foreigners or Chinese nationals returning from abroad. China has imposed strict quarantine measures for all those returning from other countries.

Alone at home? Seven activities to do during times of social distancing. With the world currently on lockdown mode due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and since most people have been quarantined or are socially distancing themselves at home, life can be lonely and borderline depressing. YSWeekender brings you seven activities you can do at home to help you feel less isolated and make the most of your time at home…

(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)


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