COVID-19 Update | Government proposes India lockdown to contain spread of coronavirus

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The novel coronavirus continues to impact lives across India. The Sensex and Nifty, those two great barometers of economic well-being these days, have both bled. This on a day when markets the world over are soaking in big blows.

In Tamil Nadu, which has had only one coronavirus case, the government on Monday ordered the closure of all malls, clubs, bars, amusement parks, swimming pools, gymnasiums, museums and zoos till March 31.

A short while after the Tamil Nadu order came news that the Ministry of Health had proposed detailed social distancing measures across India that included urging states to close down all schools, universities, theatres, swimming pools, gyms and museums till March 31 while “exploring the possibility of postponing all examinations.”

The economic implications of all this will be clearer in the days to come but RBI governor Shaktikanta Das in an unprecedented inter-monetary-policy-committee meeting admitted that India is not immune to this pandemic as more than 100 cases have been reported.

“Efforts are being mounted by the govt on war-footing. COVID-19 could impact India directly through trade channels, in which exposure to China is relatively high,” Das said.

Kerala, meanwhile, saw 43 doctors from the famed Sree Chitra Thirunal Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram being quarantined after a colleague tested positive.

In other developments, Odisha on Monday reported its first coronavirus case after a 33-year-old man with travel history to Italy tested positive.

Madhya Pradesh, where a political drama is going on, saw its Assembly being adjourned by Speaker N P Prajapati till March 26 with the coronavirus scare being cited as the reason.

India set to be locked down? Government proposes extensive social distancing measures

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases crossed 120 in India, the Centre on Monday proposed detailed social distancing measures that included urging states to close down all schools, universities, theatres, swimming pools, gyms and museums till March 31 while “exploring the possibility of postponing all examinations.” The government also said that ongoing examinations should be conducted after ensuring distance of one meter amongst students. Students should be advised to stay at home and online education should be promoted, it added.

“Social distancing is a non-pharmaceutical infection prevention and control intervention implemented to avoid or decrease contact between those who are infected with a disease-causing pathogen and those who are not, so as to stop or slow down the rate and extent of disease transmission in a community,” the advisory by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

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