COVID-19 updates (Updated daily): PM to address nation at 10 am tomorrow | Rapid testing kits from China delayed


March 24, 2020 | Number of cases: 492 | Number of deaths: 9

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be addressing the nation at 8 pm today on the spread of COVID-19. This address comes five days after his initial speech asking for the nation to abide by social distancing rules to curb the spread and calling for the Janta Curfew. In his tweet, the PM indicated that he would talk about on “vital aspects relating to the scourge of the pandemic COVID-19.”

Before that, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is also expected to brief the media soon, amid expectations of a relief package for the economy, gravely hit by the coronavirus breakout and resulting lockdown.

Across the country, in unprecedented manner, there is total lockdown in 30 states and union territories in a bid to halt the spread of COVID-19. The districts that have seen positive cases of coronavirus rose to 80 overall. States have shut inter-state and inter-district borders as a containment measure with limited transport services available only for emergency and essential services. Mizoram and Sikkim are yet to announce lockdown measures. Punjab has ordered a state-wide curfew with few exemptions as it deals with the task of tracking a large population of citizens who returned from foreign nations.

All domestic air traffic will be grounded from midnight of March 24 until March 31. The decision by the Central government came a day after it maintained that domestic air traffic would continue. Cargo traffic would not be affected by the orders. 

Private labs could begin testing for COVID-19 as early as this week with the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) releasing a list of 12 private labs that have been authorised to conduct tests. This is in addition to the 75 testing centers of the government. Between them, the private labs have 15,000 collection centers. 

Last updated, March 24th, 1:30 pm

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