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India reports 4th coronavirus death, cases rise to 173

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, March 19 - India reported its fourth coronavirus death on Thursday as the total number of cases of COVID-19 rose to 173 while most of the states and UT�s imposed restrictions, inching towards partial shutdown and India banning landing of all international commercial passenger flights from March 22 for a week.

The Union health ministry said the fourth person to die in Punjab after getting coronavirus was an elderly and had co-morbid conditions like diabetes, cardiac ailments.

There were more than 20 fresh cases in last 24 hours with Chhattisgarh and Chandigarh reporting their first COVID-19 patients on early Thursday.

As the virus continued to spread its tentacles across India, several parts, including Kashmir valley headed towards a virtual lockdown with the administration restricting movement of people in several parts and banning all public transport in Srinagar city.

Punjab and the national capital also inched towards virtual shutdown. While the Punjab government announced suspension of public transport services from Friday midnight and restricting public gatherings to less than 20 besides deciding to close down marriage palaces, hotels, restaurants, banquets and dining places, except home delivery services and takeaways in the entire state.

The Kejriwal government in Delhi also announced shutting down of restaurants but said that takeaway and home delivery services will continue.

�Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal has asked all government departments, autonomous bodies and PSUs to segregate activities and suspend non-essential services,� Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said at a press conference.

Non-essential government services will be discontinued from Friday, he added.

Social, cultural and political gatherings with more than 20 people are not allowed across the national capital to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease, he said.

As part of its efforts to detect and prevent the spread of coronavirus, which has claimed over 8,000 lives globally and infected more than two lakh, the government banned all international commercial passenger aircraft from landing in the country from March 22 to March 29.

Moreover, the Central government has requested states to enforce work for home for private sector employees, except for those working in emergency and essential services.

�State governments shall issue appropriate directions so that all citizens above 65 (other than for medical assistance) except for public representatives or government servants or medical professionals are advised to remain at home,� the government statement noted.

�No scheduled international commercial passenger aircraft shall be allowed to land in India from March 22, 2020 for one week,� the government statement said.

�Similarly, all children below 10 should be advised to stay at home and not to venture out,� it added.

�States are being requested to enforce work for home for private sector employees except those working in emergency/essential services,� the statement added. � PTI

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