© Reuters. Outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ahmedabad
By Rajendra Jadhav and Ruma Paul
MUMBAI / DHAKA (Reuters) – Millions of Indians turned off the lights on Sunday and illuminated balconies and thresholds with lamps, candles, and flashlights in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal for the "Challenge of Darkness" caused by the coronavirus crisis to challenge.
Modi, who had imposed a three-week nationwide ban on March 25, urged all citizens to turn off the lights for 9 minutes at 9:00 p.m. Local time on Sunday, and lamps and candles to show in a sign of solidarity.
Modi's call was well received and many people lit up their balconies. Others set fireworks on fire, played musical instruments and sang patriotic songs. Network data showed that India's national electricity consumption fell by more than a quarter in just a few minutes.
The unit's demonstration came when the total number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 3,577 while the death toll rose to 83.
Some officials have warned that the blockage in parts of India where new cases have been discovered could continue beyond April 14th.
As the number of cases continues to increase every day, India has restricted the export of most diagnostic test kits.
The government, which has banned the export of certain drugs, respirators, masks and other protective equipment that is needed by both patients and medical personnel in recent weeks, passed the latest directive late Saturday.
The move even came when U.S. President Donald Trump asked Modi in a phone call to release supplies of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which is being tested as a possible treatment for patients with COVID-19, a disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
"The two leaders agreed to stay in touch on the issue of global critical drug and medical supply chains and ensure that they continue to function as smoothly as possible during the global health crisis," said the spokesman for the White House, Judd Deere, on Saturday.
In a briefing to the interview, India said the two heads of state and government had "agreed to use the full strength of the US-India partnership to fight COVID-19 resolutely and effectively."
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Asia, in which around 1.9 billion people live, was over 7,000 on Sunday, although the death toll from respiratory disease in the region has increased to 149.
While the numbers are relatively low compared to the United States, China, Italy and Spain, health experts fear that the spread of the pandemic in South Asia could overwhelm already weak public health systems in the region.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced on Sunday a $ 727.50 billion taka ($ 8.56 billion) stimulus package to help the economy survive the effects of the corona virus outbreak.
"The amount is equivalent to 2.52 percent of gross domestic product," Hasina said in a television speech.
Reuters reported earlier this month that Bangladesh, the second largest apparel manufacturer in the world after China, is likely to lose around $ 6 billion in export revenue this fiscal year due to order cancellations from some of the world's largest brands and retailers.
Bangladesh has registered 88 cases of the disease with nine deaths.
Government figures for the spread of the coronavirus in South Asia are listed below:
* India has 3,577 cases, including 83 deaths
* Pakistan has 3,059 cases, including 45 deaths
* Afghanistan has 349 cases, including 7 deaths
* Sri Lanka has 175 cases, including 5 deaths
* Bangladesh has 88 cases, including 9 deaths
* Maldives has 19 cases and no deaths
* Nepal has nine cases and no deaths
* Bhutan has five cases and no deaths