Coronavirus India Updates: The number of COVID-19 cases surged to 5274 in India, including 149 deaths, the Union Health Ministry said in its latest briefing on Wednesday. While there are 4714 active cases, as many as 410 persons have recovered. The Ministry also said that the country reported 773 cases and 32 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, earlier in the day, interacted with floor leaders of opposition and other parties in Parliament via video conferencing and said it was unlikely that the nationwide lockdown would be lifted in one go after it ends on April 14. He will also hold a video conference with all Chief Ministers on April 11 in this regard.
“Prime Minister Modi made it clear that lockdown is not being lifted and also that the life pre-corona and post-corona will not be same,” Biju Janata Dal leader Pinaki Misra, who attended the meeting, was quoted as saying by PTI. Those participated in the meet included Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, and Nationalist Congress Party head Sharad Pawar. This was the Prime Minister’s first interaction with floor leaders, including those from the Opposition, after the imposition of the nationwide lockdown on March 25 though he had held interactions with chief ministers of all states including those ruled by non-NDA parties.
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With COVID-19 cases showing no signs of easing in India, the Supreme Court Wednesday ordered that novel coronavirus tests in approved government or private laboratories should be conducted free of cost. It also directed the Centre to immediately issue directions in this regard. “Tests relating to COVID-19 whether in approved Government Laboratories or approved private Laboratories shall be free of cost”, a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Ravindra Bhat, which heard the matter via video conferencing, said.
The apex court also said tests must be carried out in NABL accredited labs or any agencies approved by World Health Organisation (WHO) or Indian Centre for Medical Research (ICMR). Read more here
In a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus through “community transmission”, the Uttar Pradesh government Wednesday decided to seal areas in 15 districts which have emerged as hotspots with more than six positive cases till April 15.Speaking to The Indian Express, Chief Secretary RK Tiwari said, “So far we have decided to seal hotspots in these 15 districts, where in rest of the district normal lockdown would continue. Hotspots are places from where a cluster of coronavirus cases have been reported. These places would be sealed and only medical services and home delivery would be allowed in these areas.”
The 15 districts are Agra, Lucknow, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar, Kanpur Nagar, Varanasi, Sitapur, shamli, Meerut, Bulandhshahr, Saharanpur, Bareilly, Firozabad, Basti and Mahrajganj. Read more here
Changing his stand on the export of hydroxychloroquine from India, US President Donald Trump has praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying “the US bought more than 29 million of hydroxychloroquine from India and the country put a stop because it was needed there”.
Saying that PM Modi was “great” when he sought his help to allow the sale of the anti-malaria drug to treat the growing number of COVID-19 patients in America, Trump said, “I bought millions of doses (of hydroxychloroquine). More than 29 million. I spoke to Prime Minister Modi, a lot of it (hydroxychloroquine) comes out of India. I asked him if he would release it? He was great. He was really good.”
Several small pockets of settlements — lanes, apartment complexes — in many parts of Delhi, including parts of Sangam Vihar, Hauz Rani and Khichripur, have been notified as containment zones, wherein tougher restrictions, including on essential services, will be implemented.
By Thursday, more areas are likely to be sealed, which include Central Delhi’s Sadar Bazar and pockets of West Delhi among others, district magistrates told The Indian Express. Read more here
Sixty new cases in Maharashtra
Maharashtra, which is among the worst-affected states with over 1000 cases, today reported 60 new infections, taking the total number to 1,078. Among the new cases, 44 have been found in Mumbai (including two in Dharavi), nine in Pune, four in Nagpur, and one each in Ahmednagar, Akola and Buldhana. The state has so far reported 64 deaths. Fresh cases were also reported in Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh.
Shab-e-Bara’at: Congregations banned in Srinagar, restrictions on movement of people
In Kashmir, tight curbs are in place on the occasion of Shab-e-Barat. In view of the prevailing health situation, District Magistrate Srinagar Shahid Iqbal Choudhary has issued an order prohibiting all sorts of religious congregations and public movement on the occasion of Shab-e-Bara’at in Srinagar.
With the Tablighi Jamaat gathering in the Capital last month emerging as a COVID-19 hotspot, many Muslim leaders, across sects, have issued a joint appeal asking members of the community to refrain from any kind of fraternising or physical congregation on Shab-e-Bara’at. Asking “all Muslims to spend Shab-e Bara’at at home offering prayers, reciting the Holy Quran and doing zikr and du’a”, the leaders emphasised on social distancing and asked people “not to visit graveyards but pray for their departed relatives while staying at home”.
About 400 million people working in the informal economy in India are at risk of falling deeper into poverty due to the coronavirus crisis which is having “catastrophic consequences”, and is expected to wipe out 195 million full-time jobs or 6.7 per cent of working hours globally in the second quarter of this year, the UN’s labour body has warned. The International Labour Organization (ILO) in its report titled ‘ILO Monitor 2nd edition: COVID-19 and the world of work’, describes coronavirus pandemic as “the worst global crisis since World War II”.
Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district administration has sought the services of 86 senior division National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadets to assist Police in ensuring social distancing in the city localities in fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The types of tasks envisaged for cadets include manning of helpline/call centres; distribution of relief materials, medicines, food/essential commodities; community assistance; data management and queue & traffic management and manning of CCTV control rooms.
In Kerala, men run away after seeing drone during lockdown
— Kerala Police (@TheKeralaPolice) April 6, 2020
The Kerala Police – which has been using drones to enforce the ongoing 21-day national lockdown – shared a video which showed men dispersing on seeing the aerial vehicle. The video was recorded taken at Ponnani in the Malappuram district and shows a group of men running in all directions as soon as they spot the drone. The Kerala Police tweeted the video from their official handle Monday.
A day after Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa warned people against making divisive statements against the Muslim community, his political secretary and MLA M P Renukacharya said the Tablighi Jamaat members who attended the New Delhi event last month should be “shot dead” if they evade the Covid-19 tests. He alleged they are not visiting hospitals for checkup despite repeated appeals. Referring to those not reporting to the hospitals as “traitors”, the BJP MLA on Tuesday said: “Spreading COVID-19 is also like terrorism, and all those who are spreading the virus are traitors.”
Amid the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus and “flatten the curve”, personnel from the police have come up with many out of the box ideas to educate people on the precautionary measures and how to keep themselves safe. From putting up a dance to demonstrate how to wash hands to fight coronavirus, wearing coronavirus-inspired helmets or donning the attire of Yamaraj the police forces in the country are showing their quirky side.
Other developments from across India
- Odisha Government seals the posh Satya Nagar area in the state capital and declared the locality as a “containment zone” after a person without any recent travel history tested positive for COVID-19.
- Curfew to continue in Himachal’s Una as more 9 test positive for COVID-19.
- PM Modi condoles death of veteran Indian-American journalist who died of coronavirus.
- Puducherry CM V Narayanasami told reporters today that, “my government is ready to write to the Prime Minister to extend the lockdown. People isolating themselves is the only cure to stop the spread of coronavirus outbreak.”
- An Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) with Delhi Traffic Police tested positive for coronavirus. Delhi police in a statement said he was tested last week after he complained of Covid-19 symptoms. His reports came on April 7 and was shifted to AIIMS.
- The Centre has asked the states and the union territories to invoke a stringent law to punish those indulging in hoarding and black marketing of essential commodities, saying such acts can’t be ruled out due to the loss of production and labour crisis.
- A 14-month-old boy is likely to be India’s youngest COVID-19 victim. He passed away in Gujarat’s Jamnagar district on Tuesday around 8 pm, following kidney and liver failure as well as sepsis, said Jamnagar District Collector Ravi Shankar.
- Indigo said that its international operations are suspended until April 30.
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