With 10 more days of the nationwide lockdown left, Delhi chief minister (CM) Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said he would hold an interactive session with parents and schoolchildren on Saturday about “parenting in the time of corona.”
The CM also launched the Delhi government’s Covid-19 helpline chatbot, through which people can get information related to coronavirus and initiatives of the city administration.
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The total number of positive Covid-19 cases increased from 293 to 386 on Friday, of which 259 are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat that took place in Nizamuddin early March. The death toll went up from four on Thursday to six on Friday. Three of the five deaths were linked to the Nizamuddin Markaz, the biggest hot spot of the Covid-19 infections. Between Thursday and Friday, 77 new positive cases from the Markaz were reported in the Capital.
Kejriwal, during his daily media address, urged people not to panic over the surge in the number of Covid-19 cases and asserted that Delhi is still safe from the community transmission.
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“It (the number of cases) looks worrisome at first. Of the total cases in Delhi, only 38 are local transmission cases. These patients got the virus after coming in contact with the 58 foreign travel patients who tested positive. This figure of local transmission cases has remained almost constant for a while now, which gives us hope that there is no spread of corona in Delhi,” he said.
Kejriwal said it is vital that everyone follows the 21-day national lockdown, to control the spread of the disease, which has killed at least 51,000 people worldwide. “We have to learn from other nations and, follow social distancing and lockdown norms stringently,” he said.
Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal on Friday reiterated the message in his daily meeting with the CM, ministers and bureaucrats. Emphasising on social distancing at all hunger relief centres (HRCs), Baijal also asked the police and revenue officials to keep a strict vigil on all 20,232 home-quarantine cases, and take deterrent action against the violators. “Commissioner of police, SN Shrivastava, said that technology and human intelligence are being used effectively to systematically trace all contacts of patients and suspects. Ninety-five persons who have violated home quarantine have already been booked,” the L-G’s office said in a statement.
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To engage with parents and schoolchildren, who are at home throughout the day since all educational institutions are shut, the CM said he would hold an interactive session at 3pm on Saturday, to bust some of the myths related to coronavirus and also tell them about the Dos and Don’ts.
“Delhi has around 44 lakh students studying in government, MCD and private schools. I am sure they have a lot of questions now that they are sitting at home. Tomorrow at 3pm, Manish Sisodia, a few experts and I will interact with all students and parents of Delhi. Children have many questions about the corona, its symptoms and nature. We will address the children and parents on ‘parenting in the time of corona’ and try to clear their doubts,” he said.
An official in deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia’s office said that the experts would comprise medical practitioners and child psychologists.
Introducing a Covid-19 helpline chatbot, the CM anyone can initiate a conversation by sending “hi” or “hello” to a WhatsApp number — 8800007722.
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“The Delhi government is issuing a WhatsApp number today, which will provide you with all information related to Corona. A menu will appear when you message ‘Hi’ to this number on WhatsApp. Information on hunger relief centres, Covid-19 symptoms, measures taken by the Delhi government to deal with the pandemic and other reports can be gathered from this number,” he said.
In other relief measures, Kejriwal said that 60% of the 71 lakh ration cardholders have received 7.5kg free ration for this month, while the distribution for the rest is underway. The chief minister also said his government will start distributing ration to those without cards in about a week.
Earlier in the day, he held a meeting with all MLAs and asked them to draw up a list of the applicants in their constituencies. The MLAs were also asked to continue supplying ration and meal packets in their areas, while ensuring adequate resources are available at the hunger relief centres.
On his announcement of doubling the pension for widows, senior citizens and the differently-abled, he said Rs 5,000 has been disbursed to the 8 lakh beneficiaries and another Rs 5,000 will be credited to their accounts in a week.
“To ensure no person in Delhi goes hungry, 1780 HRCs have been opened in Delhi, where lunch and dinner are being provided. Yesterday (Thursday), these 1,780 HRCs provided lunch to 652,850 people and dinner to 630,000 people. 328 shelters have been opened in Delhi for migrant labourers and those from other places. These shelters can accommodate 57,270 people, and 11,443 people are living in them. So, we have an excess of food and shelter arrangements as of now,” he said.