12:57 GMT27 November 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Ever since the first case of coronavirus was reported in India on 30 January, health authorities have asked people to observe social distancing norms to mitigate the spread of the infection. Nevertheless, the number of cases increased, and India announced a national shutdown until 15 April to break the cycle of infection.

    As 1.3 billion Indians braced for the second day of a 21-day countrywide lockdown, their Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the affluent to extend support to stray animals, who are now missing their regular little treats, and urged them to help the needy during the health emergenc.

    ​There have been several complaints of ordinary workers suffering because of lost wages. Amid these critical times, the federal and several state governments have announced that they would provide interim relief, but actual beggars are another story entirely.

    “Since Sunday’s Janata Curfew, food for over 200 people is being cooked at my place. I, along with some of my students have been distributing masks, sanitizers and food among the old strayed people, who do not have the slightest clue about what is happening right now. All they know is that something so terrible is happening that people have locked themselves up in their houses. We are spreading awareness also about the severity of the Coronavirus situation among such people,” Parag Diwan, a teacher from the small town of Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, says.

    Jabalpur, which stands on the banks of holy river Narmada, usually witnesses major gathering of devotees, who flock to the area every day to offer their prayers. These devotees also bring along food and clothing for the homeless, who sleep rough on the banks of the river.

    Amid the lockdown, these humble roadside dwellers are starving, but people like Diwan are helping them out, while keeping all the legal and precautionary measures like social distancing intact.

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    🇮🇳🙌matra Narmade har har 🙏🏻FIGHT FOR HUMANITY 🙌🇮🇳FIGHT AGAINST CORONA 🇮🇳

    A post shared by Parag Arun Preeti Diwan (@parag_arun_preeti_diwan_) on

    “We need the government to think about this section of the people as well, who do not fall under any working category,” Diwan noted.

    Similarly, people who venture out to fetch essential commodities including food and milk are tending to stray animals in their communities.

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    A post shared by M@y@ (@1232.my) on

    In addition, Instagram users are running a story chain from across the country with a message for their friends who stay away from their homes to work:

    “Hey if you are stationed out and your parents are here, please contact me for any help they need,” the message reads.

    Coronavirus – which originated in China in 2019 – has been declared a global pandemic; it has at least a 14-day life cycle and affects the human respiratory system. Multiple countries are working on producing a vaccine for the virus.

    India has reported 13 deaths to date and 649 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 cases, including 47 foreign nationals, according to the latest data released by the federal Health and Family Welfare Ministry. 

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    coronavirus, COVID-19, community, Narendra Modi, curfew, India
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