Armed forces will conduct fly-pasts, light up ships & shower petals on hospitals to thank COVID-19 warriors on Sunday

India’s armed forces will conduct fly-pasts, light up ships at sea and shower petals on hospitals in an elaborate display on Sunday to thank doctors, medical staff and other front-line workers battling the COVID-19 outbreak, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said on Friday evening.
The announcement, alongside all three service chief, came shortly before the Home Ministry released a statement extending the nationwide coronavirus lockdown by two weeks; the lockdown, which has been in force since March 25, had been due to end on Sunday.
“We (wish to) convey our gratitude to each and every corona warrior and all the citizens of our nation. On May 3 there will be some special activities as a gesture of special gratitude by all three forces,” General Bipin Rawat said.
“The nation stood together, it showed resilience to overcome this crisis. In our country, everybody understands that when it comes to the nation we have to stand together,” he added.
The “gesture of special gratitude” will consist of the Air Force conducting fly-pasts “from Kashmir to Kanyakumari (and) from Assam in the northeast to Kutch in Gujarat”.
Meanwhile, the Navy will display its gratitude by lighting up ships stationed along India’s shoreline, General Rawat added.
A third “gesture of special gratitude” will be helicopters showering petals on hospitals and army bands playing outside medical buildings in most districts.
This is the first time General Rawat has addressed the press as Chief of Defence Staff – a post created by the government to integrate the three wings of the armed forces and trim the weapons procurement process.
Last week, General Rawat said the defence services “must operate beyond the mandate to support the people and government in whatever way we can”.
He also said “discipline and patience” had helped the defence forces in checking the spread of the COVID-19 virus within its ranks, noting that the coronavirus had affected the Army, Air Force and Navy in a “limited manner”.
India has over 35,000 cases of infection by the novel coronavirus with over 1,000 deaths linked to it. On Friday evening, shortly before the press conference held by the General Rawat and the three service chiefs, the Health Ministry said India had recorded its highest single-day spike in COVID-19-related deaths.
77 people had died in the past 24 hours, the ministry said, adding that 1,993 new cases were detected in the same period.
Earlier on Friday government data showed the number of “red zones”, or areas that contribute to over 80 per cent of the district’s coronavirus caseload, had fallen by 23 per cent over a 15-day period ending April 30.
However, data also showed that the number of “green zones”, or infection-free districts, had decreased as well, suggesting the virus has spread to previously unaffected parts of the country despite a nationwide lockdown.