India grapples with exodus of migrant workers as virus cases near 900

New Delhi (dpa) – India’s regional governments were arranging transport to take migrant workers home as they gathered in large numbers at inter-state borders that have been blocked to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Hundreds of people, many with small children, had walked to national capital Delhi’s borders with adjoining Uttar Pradesh, where they were stopped.
Many of them were daily wage workers.
"We have no work, no money, we can’t pay rent ... We don’t know when this will end. We want to go back home to our families,” Ravi Kumar from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh told IBN News-18 news channel.
Police at a border checkpoint said the government was arranging transport, and that individuals and private agencies were also helping.
Buses, mini-vans and tractor trolleys could be seen waiting at the roadside.
Similar scenes played out at border posts between Maharashtra and neighbouring Telangana state and other regions, local media reported.
“We have to allow them to go home to their villages on humanitarian grounds,” Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said.
India declared a 21-day countrywide lockdown from Tuesday and stopped all passenger flights, trains and closed inter-state borders to contain a possible explosion of the disease through community transmission.
The country of 1.3 billion people saw its largest jump in positive cases overnight with the number as of Saturday at 873 with 19 deaths, according to Health Ministry data.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to chief ministers of the states with the most cases as the federal and state governments tried to coordinate their measures.

Saturday, March 28th 2020

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