The armed forces have made elaborate arrangements to conduct aerial fly-pasts, light up ships at sea, and shower flower petals on several hospitals across the country on Sunday to express gratitude to lakhs of doctors, paramedics, sanitation staff and other front-line workers engaged in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
On Friday, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat announced that the three services will carry out a series of activities to thank the “corona warriors”.
The thanks-giving activities will start with laying of wreaths at the police memorial in Delhi and in several other cities on Sunday morning to honour the police personnel deployed in the enforcement of the nationwide lockdown, officials said.
It will be followed by fly-pasts by fighter and transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force, covering a sizeable number of cities and towns across the country between 10 AM to 11 AM, officials said.
“These aircraft will cover major towns starting from Srinagar to Thiruvananthapuram and Dibrugarh to Kutch. Helicopters from the IAF and Indian Navy will fly over hospitals treating coronavirus patients and shower petals as a tribute to the corona warriors,” Army Spokesperson Col Aman Anand said.
He said some of the aircraft will be flown as low as 500 metres so that people can witness the fly-pasts from the safety of their homes.
Military bands will play “patriotic tunes” outside various civil hospitals treating coronavirus patients to express gratitude to doctors, nurses and paramedics, he said.
Separately, Indian Navy helicopters would shower petals on hospitals treating coronavirus patients at Mumbai, Goa, Kochi and Vizag between 10 AM to 10:30 AM.
Navy officials said the Western Naval Command will illuminate five naval ships from 7:30 PM to 11:59 PM off Gateway of India in Mumbai.
They would display banners like “India Salutes Corona Warriors” and would sound the ships’ siren and fire flares at 7:30 PM at anchorage. Additionally, the Naval air stations at Goa would organize a human chain on the runway to honour the ‘corona warriors’.
The Eastern Naval Command will illuminate two ships at anchorage from 7:30 pm to midnight at Visakhapatnam coast.
Anand said Indian Coast Guard ships will be seen at 24 places, including in Porbandar, Okha, Ratnagiri, Dahanu, Murud, Goa, New Mangalore, Kavaratti, Karaikal, Chennai, Krishnapatnam, Nizamapatanam, Puducherry, Kakinada, Paradip, Sagar Island, Port Blair, Diglipur, Mayabundur, Hut bay and Campbel Bay.
“The nation stood together and showed resilience in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. On behalf of armed forces, we want to thank all the corona warriors — doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, police, home guards, delivery boys and media,” Gen Rawat said on Friday.
So far, the coronavirus has infected 37,336 people in India while it claimed the lives of 1,218 people, according to the Union Health Ministry.
Gen Rawat’s announcement about the special activities came shortly before the Union Home Ministry said the current spell of the lockdown will be extended by another two weeks from Monday.
The lockdown came into force on March 25 and was to end on April 14. It was first extended till May 3.