No one knows how long the pandemic will last, says Paswan

Coronavirus update: Confirmed coronavirus cases in India have reached 11,555, and the global tally of infections has surpassed the 2-million mark. Catch COVID-19 LIVE updates here

BS Web Team | New Delhi

Last Updated at April 15, 2020 12:12 IST

Coronavirus cases in India: The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India has reached 11,555, and 396 people have died from the highly contagious virus so far. Globally, 126,757 people have died from COVID-19 and confirmed infections have reached 2,000,231. The Ministry of Home Affairs today issued coronavirus guidelines for lockdown 2.0, permitting all agricultural, e-commerce and construction activities from April 20 in regions that have been successful in containing the spread of the virus. The government has also allowed manufacturing in special economic zones (SEZs). Services like plumbing and electricals have also been permitted.

Police personnel try to control migrant workers as they gather outside Bandra West Railway Station defying lockdown norms and request to leave for their native places. Photo: PTI

Even so, the problems faced by migrant workers, especially in metro cities, continue. Yesterday, thousands of migrant laborers had tossed away social distancing norms and swarmed at Mumbai’s Bandra railway station. “We just want to go home,” one worker had told a TV channel.

ALSO READ: COVID-19: Govt allows e-commerce, Agri industry to resume from April 20
Coronavirus world update: President Donald Trump said on Tuesday, that the US would halt funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) because it was “severely mismanaging” the coronavirus pandemic. There are 614,246 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US and 26,064 fatalities.

Migrant labourers gather on streets in Surat, Mumbai

A large group of migrant laborers gathered in Bandra, demanding permission to return to their native states.

According to reports, heavy police deployment was seen in the area and the police resorted to lathi-charge in order to disperse the gathering.

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The migrants originally hail from states like West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

One of the laborers, who did not reveal his name, said that NGOs and local residents are providing food to migrant workers, but they want to go back to their native states during the lockdown which has badly affected their source of livelihood.

“Now, we don’t want food, we want to go back to our native place. We are not happy with the announcement (extending the lockdown),” he said, looking dejected.

Asadullah Sheikh, who hails from Malda in West Bengal, said, “We have already spent our savings during the first phase of the lockdown. We have nothing to eat now. We just want to go back to our native place. The government should make arrangements for us.”

Daily wage workers have been rendered jobless ever since the lockdown was announced late last month to stem the spread of COVID-19, making their life a constant struggle.

An FIR has been registered in this regard against about 1,000 migrant workers, but no arrests have been made yet and the workers are being identified, a police official said.

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray appealed to migrant workers in the state to stay put and take up the challenge against the coronavirus, while also seeking to assure them that “lockdown” was not a “lock-up”.

“Today what happened in Bandra was unfortunate. It might have happened because they thought that trains will start from 14 April, and so they would be able to go back to their villages,” he said.

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Stating that the highest number of coronavirus tests have probably been carried out in the state, Thackeray said between 20,00-22,000 tests have been carried out in Mumbai alone and between 10,000 to 15,000 tests have been carried out in the rest of the state till Tuesday morning.

Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh said that a probe has been ordered to find out who spread the rumor about train services resuming to take migrants home.

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