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Coronavirus India Cases Latest Update, March 31: Cases rise to 1,397, death toll at 35; Govt says 6 lakh migrants housed in 61,000 shelters

Coronavirus Cases in India State-Wise Latest Update: On Monday, India registered the sharpest spike in coronavirus cases -- 227 people tested positive over the last 24 hours, taking the total to 1,251. Of these 102 people have been cured and 35 have died.

Written by Astha Saxena , Abantika Ghosh , Tabassum Barnagarwala , Ralph Alex Arakal | Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi | Updated: April 1, 2020 12:43:54 am
Mumbai police seal the Worli Koliwada area after a coronavirus suspect in the area.

Coronavirus India Latest Update: Fresh cases were reported in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday as India entered its seventh day of lockdown. On Monday, India registered the sharpest spike in coronavirus cases — 227 people tested positive over the last 24 hours, taking the total to 1,397. Of these 102 people have been cured and 35 have died. The government maintains there is no community transmission of the virus. Follow LIVE updates

After dip in milk sales, Maharashtra govt steps in to help dairy farmers

The Maharashtra government has decided to procure 10 lakh liters of milk per day to help dairies tide over the steep drop in sales reported due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sunil Kedar, minister for animal husbandry, fisheries and dairy development said the state government plans to create a buffer stock of Skimmed Milk Powder (SMP) with the milk procured.

Since the start of the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19, dairies across the country have been reporting a sharp dip in milk sales as institutional buyers in the form of hotels, restaurants, tea shops, sweet marts remained closed.

Lockdown leads to surge in liquor prices in ‘black markets’

With the announcement of the 21-day lockdown on March 24, and the indication that alcohol shops may remain closed for a longer duration, the price of alcohol in ‘black market’ has skyrocketed. At present, the ‘black market’ price of a 180 ml bottle of foreign liquor has risen to Rs. 500-600 (from MRP of Rs. 130 to 180) and Rs. 2,500 to 3,000 for a 750 ml bottle (from Rs. 550 to 800).

Curfew violators put in one of the open temporary jail at Guru Nanak dev Stadium in Ludhiana Tuesday. (Express photo: Gurmeet Singh)

Bootleggers claim the police is being extremely strict with the lockdown and sourcing liquor illegally has become a big challenge. “Unlike the usual dry days which last for just one or two days or maximum four-five days, as during Ganpati festival, this time it’s going to last for several weeks,” said a 26-year-old man who works at a liquor shop in Shivajinagar area, and since the closure has been procuring the liquor from some retail shops and bars, and selling it illegally at a high premium.

2,100 foreigners visited India for Tablighi activities this year: MHA

Delhi Police Tuesday registered an FIR against Tablighi Jamaat preacher Maulana Saad and others of members of the  outfit under Section 3 of The  Epidemic Diseases Act (1897) for organising a congregation at Nizamuddin West Markaz amid the coronavirus outbreak.

A number of coronavirus cases in Delhi as well as Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kashmir has been traced to the gathering organised in mid-March.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, in a statement, said as many as 2,100 foreigners visited India for Tablighi activities since January 1 and all of them first reported at its headquarters in Delhi’s Nizamuddin. Around 216 persons continue to stay at Nizamuddin Markaz, where several of them tested COVID-19 positive and 824 of them had dispersed in different parts of the country on March 21.

J&K Police personnel detaining members of religious group who allegedly particitated in a religious congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area.

“As on March 21, there were about 1,746 people staying in Hazrat Nizamuddin Markaz. Of these, 216 were foreigners and 1530 were Indians. “Additionally, about 824 foreigners had been, as on March 21, doing Chilla activities in various parts of the country,” it said.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said over the past three days, 1,548 people were evacuated from the Markaz Tablighi Jamaat in Nizamuddin West, of which 441 were symptomatic of COVID-19 and have been sent to hospital for testing, while the others have been quarantined.

Over 1,200 total cases, number of hotspots increased: Health Ministry

The Health Ministry Tuesday said with over 1,200 coronavirus cases, number of hotspots in the country have increased, assuring the Centre is working to ensure availability of protective gear for medical personnel. “We are using cluster containment strategies and doing rigorous contact tracing in COVID-19 hotspots in country,” Joint Secretary Lav Aggarwal said in the daily briefing.

Man on rickshaw on his way to deliver Karyana items in the midst of a curfew in Ludhiana. (Express photo: Gurmeet Singh)

Joint Secretary of the MHA Punya Salila Srivastava assured that 6.6 lakh migrants have been given shelter in 61,000 relief camps and over 21,000 such camps are operational in different states and union territories.

So far, 42,788 samples for the virus have been tested, of which 4,346 samples were tested on Monday, ICMR official R R Gangakhedkar stated, adding that 47 additional private laboratories have received approval to carry the tests. “Not everyone needs to wear masks; following social distancing is more important to prevent COVID-19 spread,” Aggarwal said.

Punjab sees another Covid-linked death

A 65-year-old man, resident of Nayagaon in Punjab’s Mohali district, succumbed to the coronvirus, taking the death toll to four in state, PTI reported. The man was admitted to the Chandigarh’s Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) a week ago after he complained of chest pain and breathlessness, PTI quoted health officials as saying. According to the news agency, the man had no travel history and died around 1 pm on Tuesday.

Delhi’s Nizamuddin in spotlight with 24 cases

Twenty-four people in Delhi have tested positive for coronavirus and many more are feared infected after they attended a gathering at a mosque in Delhi’s Nizamuddin West during mid-March.The event is also being linked to cases in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andaman islands, Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh as well as five deaths in Telangana.

Parts of southeast Nizamuddin West in Delhi have been put under a strict lockdown and the Delhi government, in a statement, said it plans to lodge an FIR against the maulana of the mosque.

People being taken to hospital at the Nizamuddin area in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Over 1,000 people continued to stay at the Tablighi Jamaat’s Markaz even as a 21-day nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 24. In a statement today, the mosque administration clarified that it had tried to comply with the quarantine protocols and that it had no option but to accommodate a large group of stranded visitors at the markaz (centre) as the government suspended all passenger train operations across the country till March 31.

It also said that the concerned Sub-Divisional Magistrate was approached for issue of vehicle passes so that the stranded guests can go back home, but the permission is yet to be granted.

While Assam has traced 299 people who had participated in the congregation, Karnataka has identified 13 people.

People who showed coronavirus symptoms being taken to various hospitals from the Nizamuddin area in New Delhi on Monday. (Express photo by Anil Sharma)

Migrants on road shifted to shelters, Centre tells SC

Chief Justice of India S A Bobde Tuesday told the Centre to ensure all migrants who had been shifted to shelter homes received food, nourishment and medical aid. His instruction came after the government stated that all migrants on the road had been shifted to the nearest available shelters as they pose a risk of spreading the coronavirus if they return home. Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta told the apex court the government was satisfied with efforts to contain the spread of the infection. He added that thermal screening of people returning to the country began at airports much before any case was detected.

The Bombay High Court had made similar observations yesterday. Citing ‘unfathomable’ hardships faced by migrant workers due to the nationwide lockdown, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra Government to make arrangements for their stay, food, clothing, sanitation, and health check-ups. It also asked the government to consider utilising funds from charitable public trusts and Waqf money as per powers given under state Public Trust and Waqf law.

Deaths reported from Kerala, West Bengal

An “extremely critical” 68-year-old man man died of the novel coronavirus in Thiruvanthapuram, taking the number of COVID-19 deaths in Kerala to two. The man had not gone abroad and it is yet to be ascertained how he had contracted the virus. The man had been admitted to the hospital on March 23 due to fever. Though he tested negative on March 26, in the second test on March 29 he was found positive for the virus. The man had attended a wedding and funeral before he fell ill.

In Bengal, a woman in her 40s, succumbed to the infection. She also had no foreign travel history

Kerala to make liquor available based on doctor’s prescription

Amid the lockdown, the Kerala government has decided to issue special passes to those who have withdrawal symptoms to purchase liquor from the Excise department. A Government Order in this regard was issued on Monday night, despite objection from doctors’ association, to supply them alcohol if they have a medical prescription.

While Kerala has seen restrictions on liquor in various ways in the past, this is the first time that total prohibition has come into effect in the state due to the lockdown. Five people with an alleged history of alcohol addiction had committed suicide.

Punjab CM permits police to withdraw VIP security amid coronavirus outbreak

The Punjab government has issued orders to the police to withdraw security to VIPs to ensure strict curfew amid the coronavirus outbreak. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the DGP was permitted to pull out any number of personnel from his personal security and deploy them in any manner he deems fit for COVID-19 crisis management.

Explained

Can virus survive on clothes

Studies have looked at how long the virus can survive on various surfaces — plastic, steel, cardboard — and even in the air, but none has looked at fabric yet. Most viruses, however, have been known to longer on nonporous surfaces such as steel, than on porous ones such as cardboard. And fabric is porous. A good thing about porous surfaces is that they tend to trap the virus, making it tougher to transmit than it would have from, say, plastic.

PM Modi shares video of yoga asana, says it helps relieve stress

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today shared a video of a yoga asana which he practices. “Whenever I get time, I practice Yoga Nidra once or twice a week,” he wrote on Twitter. Yoga nidra is known for relieving stress. “It furthers overall well-being, relaxes the mind, reduces stress and anxiety,” he wrote. He shared a video each in English and Hindi. On Monday, he shared links of yoga videos from his Twitter handle and urged people to practice this during the three-week lockdown.

An otherwise busy junction in Kochi under the lockdown. (Photos: iemalayalam.com)

Click below to read our explainers on coronavirus | Click here to listen to our podcast on migrant workers crisis 

Karnataka asks people in home quarantine to upload selfies on govt app every hour

The Karnataka government came up with a novel idea to ensure those in home quarantine do not venture out and comply with the directions issued by the health department. It has developed an application — ‘Quarantine Watch’ — where it has asked citizens in home quarantine to upload selfies every hour. Each such photo uploaded to the application would include GPS coordinates and a time stamp.

Karnataka Police seize 12,000 fake masks worth Rs 20 lakh in Bengaluru

In a raid, the Bengaluru City Police Central Crime Branch seized 12,000 fake N95 masks worth Rs 20 lakh from a godown of ZIS engineering company in Kalyannagar. “Accused made masks with normal cloth and put fake N95 seal to sell it at a high price,” Sandeep Patil, Joint Commissioner (Crime) said. A case has been filed under Section 420 (cheating) of the IPC. (Read our explainer on if the masks are effective and whether you really need them)

The masks were raided from a godown of ZIS engineering company in Kalyannagar.

Evacuation of foreign nationals starts with first flight from Kolkata

The first flight evacuating foreign nationals, mostly citizens of European countries, took off from Kolkata airport this morning. With 115 passengers on board, the Air India flight marks the start of a four-day process throughout the country. According to Air India sources, such flights will pick up foreign nationals from Bangaluru, Goa, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai and Mumbai from March 31 to April 3.

Passengers at the Kolkata airport

Assam govt exempts construction, tea garden, farm workers from 21-day lockdown

The Assam Cabinet has decided to exempt embankment construction activities, tea garden work and farmers from the 21-day lockdown in view of the upcoming floods and monsoon. Workers will be allowed to resume work from April 1, provided they follow guidelines set by the Union Health Ministry. Other measures announced by the state include free rice to 58 lakh families who have National Food Security Act (NFSA) cards and Rs 1,000 to families in urban and rural areas who don’t have NFSA cards.

Real reason you are seeing reruns on Indian television during lockdown

The three-week lockdown is turning into a bit of a celebration for television with a stream of old classics making a comeback on the small screen. However, there could be a more practical reason behind this pivot to reruns: the Indian television industry has literally run out of stock of new episodes. Interestingly, this is also a Catch-22 situation, because research firms like Nielsen are predicting a 60 per cent jump in media consumption with people stuck at home. This could be the best time for television, but the industry is struggling to produce new content.

The situation is dire for a lot of channel and serials. For instance, Asianet’s signature Malayalam comic strip video, Munshi, is not being produced for the first time in two decades. Similarly, popular Telugu serials ‘Abhishekam’ and ‘Aadade Aadharam’ on ETV Telugu will go off air for the first time since 2008-09. READ MORE

Coronavirus: Symptoms, DOs and DON’Ts

#1. Common signs of coronavirus infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

#2. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap for 20 seconds at least 3 times a day.

#3. Regularly use hand sanitiser

#4. Avoid touching your face, nose

#5. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Discard any tissue used

#6. Avoid sharing water bottles and personal hygiene items like towels

#7. Avoid non-essential travel

#8. Don’t stockpile disposable face masks.

#9. Prevent the spread of medical misinformation

#10. There are no known cures or preventive medicines for coronavirus

Coronavirus Helplines

The Ministry of Health has set up a telephone and email helpline for any queries and emergencies related to coronavirus.

Number: +91-11-2397 8046

Email: ncov2019@gmail.com

For a list of helpline numbers of States & Union Territories, click here.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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