Coronavirus India Updates: The number of coronavirus cases in India crossed the 20,000 mark on Wednesday, including 15,859 active cases and 652 deaths. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to interact with all Chief Ministers via video conference on April 27 to take stock of the Covid-19 situation in the country, according to sources.
Even as lockdown restrictions are being eased, Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, has said that India’s resolve in the battle against the novel coronavirus will be tested in the months of June and July. “De-escalation of lockdown is potentially an opportunity for the virus to resurface and spread, and this is bound to happen to an extent,” Dr Paul told The Indian Express in an interview. “There could be new clusters when life and activities become more normal.” Read full interview, here
Follow Coronavirus in India LIVE updates | Catch all global developments here
Top developments of the day
Appoint nodal officers, take action against those attacking doctors: MHA to states
Follow Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s assurance to doctors, the Ministry of Home Affairs requested all states to ensure adequate protection to healthcare professionals, medical staff and frontlines workers. MHA has also asked state governments and union territory administrations to appoint nodal officers at state or union territory level and at the district level, who would be available 24×7 to redress any safety issue on the functioning of medical professionals.
The states and union territories should also take immediate and strict action in case any incident of violence takes place, the ministry said.
Centre brings law on attacks on healthcare workers
Union minister Prakash Javadekar Wednesday said the Centre will not tolerate the attacks on the healthcare workers in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic and has decided to bring an ordinance to make it a punishable offence. Javadekar said the government will amend the Epidemics Diseases Act, 1897 to make the attacks on healthcare workers a cognisable and non-bailable offence, under which a violator may be awarded a jail term of three months to five years with a fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh. In cases of severe injury to workers, the jail term will be increased to six months to seven years with a fine of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) decided to withdraw their symbolic protest after meeting Home Minister Amit Shah. Shah Wednesday interacted with doctors, appreciated their work on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and assured them of their safety. Along with Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, Shah held a video conference was held amid several reports of attacks on healthcare workers. Shah also appealed to doctors to withdraw the symbolic protest they had planned, saying the government was with them.
The IMA had announced “white alert”, a vigil at 9 pm Wednesday where doctors and hospitals would light a candle to urge the Centre to enact a law against healthcare violence.
— Indian Medical Association (@IMAIndiaOrg) April 22, 2020
Maharashtra Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad, who had quarantined himself after his security staff tested positive for novel coronavirus, got admitted to a private hospital in Mulund, early Wednesday morning. He has been admitted as a precautionary measure and will require a check-up for coronavirus. An official from Fortis Hospital official confirmed that the minister was admitted but declined to comment further. The NCP MLA had been self-isolation for some days now.
Aviation ministry employee tests positive for coronavirus
The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Wednesday said an employee of the ministry who attended office on April 15 has tested positive for COVID-19. All colleagues, who came in contact with the employee, have been asked to go into self isolation as a precaution, it said. “An employee of the ministry who had attended office on 15 April, 2020, has tested positive for COVID-19 on 21st April. All necessary protocols are being stringently followed on the premises,” the ministry said on Twitter.
Can virus spread from the faeces of an infected person?
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that the virus has been detected in the faeces of some COVID-19 patients, but what is unknown is the amount of virus in the stool, or whether the virus in stool is infectious at all. As such, the risk of transmission is also unknown. “However, the risk is expected to be low based on data from previous outbreaks of related coronaviruses (SARS and MERS)… There has been no confirmed fecal-oral transmission of COVID-19 to date.”
Amid the tussle between the Centre and West Bengal over lockdown violations, the Mamata Banerjee government on Tuesday assured cooperation to the two Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCT) that landed in the state on Monday to assesses its handling of the COVID-19 situation. The development comes a day after the Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla shot off a letter to Rajiv Sinha, the Chief Secretary, asking him to comply with the Union Home Ministry’s order on easing of restrictions in the state.
Despite the large number of cases being added in the last few days, the spread of the disease in India has slowed down considerably as a result of the lockdown. India took eight days to travel from 10,000 cases to 20,000 cases. Before the impact of lockdown had become evident, the country was witnessing an exponential growth in the number of cases. It had taken around two weeks to move from three cases at the start of March to 100 cases, another two weeks to reach 1000 cases, and a little more than two weeks to touch the 10,000 figure. At that rate, the country would have on its way to reach one lakh cases by the end of the month. But thanks to the lockdown, and other measures taken by the government, all indications are that the total number of cases at the end of this month would be somewhere between 25,000 and 30,000.
News from The Indian Express that you shouldn’t miss
- As the Centre and states jostle over and grapple with strategies for a staggered exit from the lockdown, the country seems — for the first time in 40 years — headed for an economic contraction in 2020-21. If that happens, it won’t be unique to India — the IMF expects the Covid pandemic to severely impact growth across regions.
- A day after some industries were allowed to start functioning with conditions, both small and large companies in pockets across the country have said that the interpretation of punitive measures for violation of safety procedures is proving a big deterrent in resumption of operations. In a set of suggestions sent to the government Tuesday, the CII asked it to clarify this, saying units were being threatened with up to three months of shutdown.
- A premium recruiter working in oilfield services has withdrawn its job offers to graduating students across the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). Schlumberger, the world’s largest oil-field-services company, wrote to the IITs on April 6 that it had decided to “reduce opportunities” in a bid to adjust to the “sudden reduction” in “customers spend”.
- Delhi to Madhubani on a cart: A porter can’t understand the fuss around his journey back home from Delhi to his village — 1,180 km away — in a thela (wooden cart) that he cycled for nine days. “We were okay with the one-day lockdown on March 22, but when they extended it, I knew I wouldn’t survive it. If we don’t earn, how will we eat?” he said.
- ‘Will never step out again’: It is probably the first time in a month that Jadav Gogoi has smiled. And with good reason. On Monday, Gogoi, a migrant worker from Assam, completed a journey of around 2,900 km, partly on foot, partly on a truck, battling storms, hunger and thieves to reach his hometown in Nagaon district.