COVID-19 updates (Updated daily): India stares at a stark human tragedy as migrant labourers trudge homeward


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[Compiled by Aruna Natarajan and Siddhant Kalra]

India registered its first case of COVID-19 on January 30 in Kerala. Since then, the disease has spread across the world and has acquired the status of a pandemic, as declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The global death toll from the deadly disease has to date surpassed 11,000. In India, fresh cases are on the rise even as the Central and State governments adopt a slew of measures to stop the spread of the virus.

Please stay with us on this page, as we bring you fresh updates daily from around the country on the latest numbers, policies and other key developments in our cities with relation to COVID-19:

March 28, 2020 | Number of cases: 902 | Number of deaths: 20

Two days after the announcement of a nationwide lockdown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a mass exodus of migrant workers from cities continues to be seen. Thousands of workers chose to walk to their hometowns in the absence of public transport. Many such incidents were reported along the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border with migrant families looking to go home. Lack of  daily wages and food security was cited by many as their reason for leaving the city. 

On Saturday, the UP government decided to aid the migrant workers still on the streets by arranging 200 state transport corporation buses to assist them. The buses will operate every two hours over the weekend to ferry the families to their hometowns. The respective district magistrates have been instructed to conduct a screening for the workers at their destination and not down their contact information. 

Kerala saw its first coronavirus death as a 69-year-old man who returned from Oman succumbed on Saturday. The individual had heart disease and high blood pressure. He had been hospitalized in Kochi after he displayed symptoms of pneumonia and tested positive for COVID-19. He had been put on ventilator support. Kerala saw its first case of COVID-19 in January when a group of students who had returned from the epicenter in Wuhan tested positive. The state has reported a total of 176 cases so far. 

Tamil Nadu registered three deaths in the coronavirus isolation ward in Kanyakumari. However, the Health Minister Vijaya Baskar tweeted that the deaths were not related to COVID-19 even as he stated that the samples of the individuals have been sent for testing. The deceased are three males aged 66, 24 and 2 years respectively. The Health Secretary Dr Beela Rajesh said that the deaths are due to underlying conditions. The state has 40 positive cases of COVID-19 as on March 28. 

The Indian Railways has prototyped an isolation ward for treating COVID-19 patients by modifying a non-ac coach. The prototype has the middle berth removed and a partition created to make room for treatment in a secure cabin. Once all related protocols are finalised such isolation units can be manufactured in every railway division and then used wherever the demand for these exists.

Last updated, March 28th, 6:30 pm

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