Coronavirus Updates: PM Modi Apologises For Hard Decisions But Says Tough Measures Needed; Global Death Toll Crosses 30,000, And More….

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today apologised to the nation for the “hard decision” which especially affected “the poor” as the nation entered the fifth day of the three-week lockdown, and thousands of migrant labourers across the country desperately tried to reach their homes. But the decision, he underscored, was the “only solution” to combat the highly contagious virus, which is playing havoc across the world.

“People must be wondering what kind of Prime Minister I am … But lockdown is the only solution in front of us,” PM Modi said on his monthly radio address “Mann Ki Baat“. “I apologize for taking these harsh steps which have caused difficulties in your lives, especially the poor people. I know some of you would be angry with me also. But these tough measures were needed to win this battle,” he added. 

Over 30,000 people have died due to the coronavirus pandemic across the world with over 10,000 deaths in Italy alone. The United States has also recorded over 2,000 deaths due to the virus. US now has the maximum number of infections in the world, above Italy and China. In India, the number of cases has crossed 1,000. As PM Modi announced the nationwide lockdown for 3 weeks putting a ban on any movement in public spaces, thousands and thousands of migrant workers in Delhi started a long arduous journey towards their villages in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Bengal and other states. With no public transport, the workers and their families have started walking in thousands on the highways putting the aims lockdown goals at risk.

England women’s cricket team captain Heather Knight has joined the National Health Service (NHS) as volunteer to help the healthcare system fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom. The 29-year-old Knight who has played 7 Tests, 101 ODIs and 74 T20Is for England will help in transporting medicines and spreading awareness about the pandemic in the United Kingdom that have reported at least 14543 cases of the novel coronavirus. “I signed up to the NHS’ volunteer scheme as I have a lot of free time on my hands and I want to help as much as I can,” Knight wrote in her column for BBC. Knight, who returned from Australia after leading England to the semi-finals of the Women’s T20 World Cup recently, is now living under the UK’s lockdown rules.

With a nationwide lockdown in place, over 90 cities, including Delhi, recorded minimal air pollution in the last few days. Welcoming the reduction in pollution, environmentalists urged the government to treat it as a “wake-up call” and stop its “obsession” with “development” at the cost of the environment. India is currently under the biggest lockdown with around 130 crore people asked to stay home in view of the coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed 19 lives and infected over 900 people in the country. The government has urged people to avoid unnecessary travelling, significantly reducing the traffic movement across the country. 

The number of COVID-19 casesin Madhya Pradesh rose to 39 on Sunday morning with five more persons testing positive for coronavirus, officials said. The five new patients include a 17-year-girl from Ujjain and four men – aged 21, 38, 40 and 48 all residents of Indore, a bulletin issued by the Government Mahatma Gandhi Medical College here said. The girl is undergoing treated at a hospital in Ujjain while the four men were being provided medical care in Indore. These patients do not have any foreign travel history, the bulletin said. So far, 20 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Indore, eight in Jabalpur, four in Ujjain, three in Bhopal, and two each in Shivpuri and Gwalior, a health official said.

A 45-year-old COVID-19 patient died in Ahmedabad on Sunday morning, taking the total number of deaths due to coronavirus in the state to five, the health department said. The man was also suffering from diabetes, it said. With this, the number of deaths due to coronavirus in Ahmedabad has gone up to three. Earlier, one death each was reported from Bhavnagar and Surat. Till Saturday evening, the number of coronavirus cases in the state stood at 55.

The United Nations along with the US Mission to the UN has donated 250,000 protective face masks to the medical professionals in New York City. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took possession of the masks near the UN Headquarters on Saturday. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the face masks, kept in United Nations stores in New York, are in surplus to the UN requirements and “will be given to the medical professionals in New York City who have been working courageously, selflessly and tirelessly in response to the spread of COVID-19 across the boroughs in the hope that they play some small role in saving lives”. 

Cristiano Ronaldo and his Juventus teammates along with coach Maurizio Sarri agreed to forgo 90 million euros ($100 million) in wages on Saturday to help the club during the coronavirus crisis. The club said the money amounted to four months worth of wages, a third of players’ salaries. The first agreement of its kind in Serie A since play was halted three weeks ago means Ronaldo, the highest-paid player in the Italian league, will give up 10 million euros (more than $11 million). Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini, who has an economics degree, led the negotiations with the club and fellow players. 

North Korea on Sunday fired two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea, South Korea said, calling it “very inappropriate” at a time when the world is battling the coronavirus pandemic. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected the projectiles flying from the North Korean eastern coastal city of Wonsan into the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan on Sunday morning. The projectiles flew about 230 kilometres at a maximum altitude of 30 kilometres, the statement said

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