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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Coronavirus May 15 Highlights: Farmers’ body upset with changes made to MGNREGA

With more people testing positive for the virus from Kashmir, Kerala, Karnataka, Bihar, the country's total crossed 85,000 while China's official tally is recorded at 84,031, according to Johns Hopkins.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 16, 2020 9:38:01 pm
coronavirus, coronavirus latest news, covid 19 india, coronavirus live news, news, live news, corona news, corona latest news, india coronavirus, coronavirus live news, coronavirus latest news in india, coronavirus live update, covid 19 tracker, india covid 19 tracker, covid 19 tracker live, corona cases in india, corona cases in india, coronavirus latest news in india, delhi corona news Passengers arrive at New Delhi Railway Station to board special trains following the resumption of passenger train services by Indian Railways connecting major cities during the ongoing COVID-19 nationwide lockdown in New Delhi, Friday. (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

Even as indications of greater relaxations in the lockdown 4.0 emerged, the nationwide tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India surpassed that of China on Friday, PTI reported. Going by the numbers of cases declared by different states and UTs, the country’s total crossed 85,000 while China’s official tally is recorded at 84,031, according to Johns Hopkins.

Maharashtra, the most-affected state, reported 1,576 new cases to take its tally to 29,100, while its death toll rose to 1,068. Tamil Nadu crossed the 10,000 mark with 434 new cases, while Gujarat saw 340 more people testing positive to push its tally to 9,932. Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar and Karnataka breached the 1,000-mark in terms of the number of people having tested positive, while testing and containment measures were ramped up in places like, Kerala, Goa and Manipur that were being seen as being mostly virus-free till a few days back.

Globally, over 4.4 million people have been infected with the novel coronavirus, while the number of deaths have crossed 3 lakh. The World Health Organisation has warned that the new coronavirus may never go away.

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Covid-19 Live Cases Tracker, Coronavirus in India Updates: Tally in India nears 82,000 mark; Assam wants lockdown to extend by two weeks; states share draft proposal with Centre on exit strategies post May 17. Follow LIVE updates

02:27 (IST)16 May 2020
Maharashtra: On Day 1, over 5,400 orders placed for liquor home delivery

Three days after the state permitted home delivery of alcohol to avoid overcrowding outside liquor shops, 5,434 orders were placed in Maharashtra on Friday, the first day. Of this, 88 per cent of the orders were received from the districts of Nagpur and Latur.

State Excise Commissioner Kantilal Umap said: “Of the total, Nagpur alone accounted for 2,700 orders. Latur saw another 2,100 orders being placed.” Almost 95 per cent of the orders were for purchase of hard liquor, he added.

For now, the Nagpur and Latur municipal corporations, both of which permitted liquor sales for the first time on Friday, have restricted sales to home deliveries only. “This was also one of the reasons for the high number of bookings in these districts,” said an official.

02:14 (IST)16 May 2020
Maharashtra govt tells private hospitals to reserve 60 per cent beds for Covid patients

Even as cases in Maharashtra rose to 29,100 on Friday, or one-third of the country’s burden, health officials said there was a slight improvement in the doubling rate. From 10 days, cases are now doubling in 11 days. Mumbai, with maximum cases in India, has 17,671 Covid-19 cases. It recorded 933 fresh cases on Friday. The city is close to reporting over 1,000 cases a day, officials said.

Mumbai took two months to record the first 7,061 cases. In only 15 days of May, it recorded over 10,000 cases. Maharashtra now has a total of 29,100 cases with 1,068 deaths while Mumbai has 17,371 cases with 655 deaths.

With cases increasing rapidly and public hospitals already working to their full capacity, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Friday directed private hospitals to reserve 60 per cent beds for Covid-19 patients.

02:03 (IST)16 May 2020
Will announce train details for migrants on local channels: Gujarat Govt to HC

The state government has told the Gujarat High Court that it will start announcements on vernacular TV channels about the Shramik Special trains for migrants, stranded due to the Covid -19 lockdown, to prevent them from crowding at the assembly points or the administrative offices. The court had taken suo motu cognisance of media reports on migrant workers, including two of The Indian Express.

The government said this to the court, on Thursday, in response to the citation of an Indian Express report on migrants being made to wait 19 hours before boarding a train home. Read more here

01:36 (IST)16 May 2020
In Gujarat, death toll crosses 600, Ahmedabad tally the 7,000-mark

With Gujarat reporting 340 new cases, the total number of positive cases reached 9,968, just short of 10,000-mark, on Friday. Moreover, the death toll crossed the 600-mark with 19 more succumbing to the disease, seven of whom had no other serious ailment.

Three children, aged three, five and 13, were among the 261 new cases reported from Ahmedabad, which crossed 7,000-mark. Surat’s tally also crossed 1,000 with 32 new cases. Even as the state has seen a high mortality rate attributed more to high risk and co-morbidities, there was a silver lining in a Vadodara case of a 90-year-old woman who recovered even as her 65-year-old daughter succumbed.

In an outlier of a case, principal secretary, health and family welfare Jayanti Ravi shared the story of the 90-year-old woman from Vadodara’s Navapura Marathi Mohalla who was discharged earlier this week after she tested positive on April 27 and was admitted at the SSG Hospital.

01:27 (IST)16 May 2020
Queues outside shops as week-long lockdown lifted in Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad residents were seen queuing up for vegetables and grocery essentials as the week-long strict lockdown was lifted on Friday. The shops were allowed to remain open from 8 am to 3 pm.

Before this lockdown was lifted, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) conducted a massive screening drive for the superspreaders where 33,500 of them have been screened, so far.

“In last 7-8 days, major screening of superspreaders has been undertaken in which 33,500 have been screened. Of them, 700 tested positive. This is an effective exercise conducted to ensure that in future coronavirus does not spread through superspreaders,” additional chief secretary, forest and environment department, Rajiv Kumar Gupta said in a pre-recorded video message released Friday.

00:44 (IST)16 May 2020
Five deaths reported, Pune toll rises to 186

Five deaths were reported due to coronavirus disease in Pune district on Friday and the toll has now climbed to 186. On Friday, 141 new cases were reported, taking the number of patients to 3,567.

The deceased include a 39-year-old man from Ghorpade Peth, who was admitted on May 12 at YCM Hospital. He had diabetes and suffered from septic shock related to acute respiratory distress syndrome. He succumbed to the infection on Friday.

In another case, a 60-year-old woman from Yerawada, who was also admitted to YCM Hospital on May 12, succumbed to the infection on Friday. She had hypertension and bilateral pneumonia. An 80-year-old man fromYerawada, who was admitted on May 13 at YCM Hospital, had bronchial asthma and succumbed to the infection on Friday.

00:28 (IST)16 May 2020
US to donate ventilators to India to battle Covid 19

The United States will donate ventilators to India to help fight Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. "I am proud to announce that the United States will donate ventilators to our friends in India. We stand with India and Narendra Modi during this pandemic. We’re also cooperating on vaccine development. Together we will beat the invisible enemy!" US president Donald Trump tweeted late Friday

00:13 (IST)16 May 2020
Gujarat: Health dept issues fresh Covid testing parameters; ICMR approves 12 labs

The Gujarat Health Department laid down further parameters of testing and for patients availing other medical procedures in government-run, private or corporate hospitals, in a fresh notification issued on Friday. The same allows for the testing of those who are due for delivery and are to undergo major or minor operations in the state. The notification stated that every month, nearly a lakh are admitted for delivery, minor and major operations across Gujarat. For the Covid-19 testing of such patients, 12 laboratories in the state have been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Read more here

23:48 (IST)15 May 2020
Western Rly to refund tickets of those who deboard special trains

The Western Railway will refund ticket fares of all passengers who are not allowed to board special trains, in case they are not found to be fit for travelling owing to Covid-19 symptoms. The refund is applicable for the 41 passengers who deboarded the New Delhi bound train at Sabarmati Railway Station in Ahmedabad on May 5, as they had all reported high body temperatures.

Western Railway officials cited a circular issued by the Ministry of Railways on May 13, which stated, “If during the screening, a passenger has very high temperature/ symptoms of Covid-19, they shall not be allowed to travel despite having confirmed tickets and in such cases, full refund shall be provided.” Read more here

23:33 (IST)15 May 2020
Vadodara: History-sheeter taken for Covid test flees hospital, nabbed

A history-sheeter who fled the SSG hospital in Vadodara, where he was taken to undergo the test for Covid-19, was nabbed by the Dahod police near Jhalod on Friday afternoon.

The accused, Anil Gangwani, was caught in a joint operation by the Vadodara rural and Dahod police.

Gangwani was an accused in the murders of gangster Mukesh Harjani in Vadodara and Alpesh Chaka, a corporator from Anand. As many as 14 cases were registered against him under various charges including murder, attempt to murder and possession of arms.

22:55 (IST)15 May 2020
Ordnance factories to resume work as per local lockdown rules, 3 units in Pune to start from Monday

THE three ordnance factories in Pune — Ammunition Factory Khadki, High Explosives Factory and Ordnance Factory, Dehu Road — will start production activities from Monday with 33 per cent of the staff allowed on the premises at any given point. The ordnance factories across India will also start functioning in the coming days as per the directives and restrictions of local authorities and state government orders.

The main production activities in 41 ordnance factories across India were suspended from the last week of March following the nationwide lockdown. Personnel involved in only essential and skeletal services have been reporting to work in these factories. However, in the following days, some factories started producing safety utilities like hand sanitisers, PPE kits and other Covid relief items. Only these sections of the ordnance factories have been operational.

22:35 (IST)15 May 2020
Farmers' body upset with changes made to MGNREGA

Farmers' body Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan in a press statement on Friday said that they were disturbed to read about draft recommendations made by the Group of Ministers on Employment merging Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act with skill development programmes to create a wage subsidy programme.

'News reports (Indian Express, 14th May 2020) suggest that the GoM is recommending that MGNREGA be merged skill development programmes to create a wage subsidy programme, where the MNREGA amount is extended to companies as wage subsidy for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME). It also suggests that works in private enterprises such as factories, construction sites and shops can be considered as eligible work under MNREGA. This will lower the cost of wages and make industries competitive, creating a local employment wave,” it added.

According to them, entitlements under MGNREGA as mandated by the law, must be protected and honoured. 'Any efforts related to expanding the scope of MGNREGA such as increasing the number of days households are entitled to, nature of works that can be permitted under MGNREGA, extension of works in urban areas are necessary issues which need to be provided for in addition to the already legally mandated entitlements, and not instead of them,' MKSS said.

The body put forward following demands:

1. Government of India share the draft report of the Group of Ministers on Employment which is currently under discussion, in the public domain

2. The Group of Ministers on Employment establish and follow a transparent process of consultation with all relevant stakeholders to take inputs to finalise the recommendations

3. A Policy be drawn to lay down the terms and conditions in which MGNREGA will be expanded in addition to what it already is mandated to deliver by Law. The expansion of MGNREGA in the current times should not be a piece meal approach but should be directed by a sound and practical policy drawn up in consultation with workers, State Governments, civil society organizations, social movements, trade unions, academicians and subject matter specialists

4. Any attempt to modify guidelines of the MGNREGA should be done by consulting the statutory Central and State Employment Guarantee Councils set up under the Law to advise and review the implementation of MGNREGA in the country

22:22 (IST)15 May 2020
Central team visits Tripura Covid care centres; state govt to arrange corona jail for lockdown violators

A three-member central team in Tripura to investigate the source of coronavirus outbreak in BSF camps, where 156 cases were recorded, visited state-run GB Panth Hospital and few other COVID-19 care centres in Agartala today. They said actions taken by the government were satisfactory so far. The state government earlier requested BSF to hold internal enquiry to find out source of outbreak among their jawans from the force’s three battalions deployed in Dhalai district, which was declared ‘red zone’ due to successive cases testing positive over the last one week. State Law minister Ratan Lal Nath said the state government has decided to take stern action against those who violate quarantine regulations. He said all those put under quarantine would have to stay put at home. If they don’t comply, they would be kept in police station. A corona jail would be arranged to accommodate them for the time being, he said.

22:03 (IST)15 May 2020
Your responsibility to ensure migrants don't walk on roads, railway tracks: Home Ministry to states

Home Minister's Office in India has told the states that it is their responsibility to ensure that migrant workers do not walk on the roads and rail tracks and that they must adequately publicise all the measures being taken by the govt to help them reach their homes.

21:59 (IST)15 May 2020
With 85,000 cases, India surpasses China tally

Even as indications of greater relaxations in the lockdown 4.0 emerged, the nationwide tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India surpassed that of China on Friday, PTI reported. Going by the numbers of cases declared by different states and UTs, the country’s total crossed 85,000 while China’s official tally is recorded at 84,031, according to Johns Hopkins. Maharashtra, the most-affected state, reported 1,576 new cases to take its tally to 29,100, while its death toll rose to 1,068. Tamil Nadu crossed the 10,000 mark with 434 new cases, while Gujarat saw 340 more people testing positive to push its tally to 9,932. Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar and Karnataka breached the 1,000-mark in terms of the number of people having tested positive, while testing and containment measures were ramped up in places like, Kerala, Goa and Manipur that were being seen as being mostly virus-free till a few days back.

21:12 (IST)15 May 2020
WATCH | When people flouted social distancing norms

Although certain lockdown restrictions have been relaxed, there were many instances where people flouted social distancing norms. Watch this video.

21:01 (IST)15 May 2020
16 new cases today, total 80 patients under treatment

16 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Kerala today. Five persons from Wayanad district, four in Malappuram district, two each from Alappuzha and Kozhikode districts, and one each in Kollam, Palakkad and Kasargod districts are those who have tested positive. Seven of them have come back from overseas - four from UAE, two from Kuwait and one from Saudi Arabia. Six have returned from other States - four from Tamil Nadu and two from Maharashtra. Three cases have got infected through primary contact. Meanwhile, no patient under treatment for Coronavirus has recovered today. The total number of Covid-19 cases in the State is 576 and 80 patients are currently under treatment in different hospitals with Wayanad district having the maximum of 19 patients.
 

20:57 (IST)15 May 2020
'Will help our hardworking farmers': PM Modi welcomes Sitharaman's Covid package announcements

Prime Minister Narednra Modi welcomed the announcements of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Taking to Twitter, Modi said, "I welcome today’s measures announced by FM Nirmala Sitharaman. They will help the rural economy, our hardworking farmers, fishermen, the animal husbandry and dairy sectors. I specially welcome reform initiatives in agriculture, which will boost income of farmers. #AatmaNirbharDesh"

20:51 (IST)15 May 2020
Special trains to bring back stranded Keralites from eight states

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Friday announced that the Railways has agreed to arrange trains from eight states to Kerala to bring back the stranded Malayalees. Railways has also announced that the Bengaluru-Thiruvananthapuram Island Express is scheduled to operate daily. It is trying to make it a non-AC train. Meanwhile, five states have granted approval for the return of the migrant labourers from Kerala. 28 trains will be sent to West Bengal from May 18 to June 14.

20:48 (IST)15 May 2020
Kerala reiterates demand to Centre in increasing the borrowing limit

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Friday repeated the demand of the state government to increase its borrowing limit from the current 3% to 5%. “Because of the lockdown, there has been a drastic fall in the revenue collection and to overcome the financial constraints, we need a hike in the borrowing limit. The Central Government has recently increased its borrowing limit to 5.5% but the State’s limit is still at 3%. Despite repeated requests, the Centre has not bothered to increase the borrowing limit. It is not in line with the basic principles of a Federal system,” he said.

The Chief Minister also said there is nothing new in the announcement of the Union Finance Minister’s allocation of more money to the states for the welfare of workers working in other states. The amount allocated to the Disaster Relief Fund is just a share of the Centre. The 15th Finance Commission had allocated a central share of Rs 314 crores to Kerala but the State has only half of it, Rs 157 crores.

“We have asked the Prime Minister to allow special grants to the states in the context of Covid situation and make this an additional consideration for inclusion in the Second Report of the 15th Finance Commission. It is inappropriate to portray the central contribution to the Disaster Relief Fund as help for Covid19 prevention,” he added.

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19) Tracker India Live Updates:

The number of fatalities reported so far is 72 including five deaths today. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a jibe at the central government over its Covid preparedness on Friday, saying the "geniuses" at the Niti Aayog had predicted that the nationwide lockdown would ensure no fresh coronavirus cases from May 16.

Meanwhile, as part of the 20-lakh crore Covid economic package, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Friday announced a number of relief measures for the agricultural sector and its allied activities which included creation of a Rs 1 lakh crore Agri-Infrastructure Fund for farmers. The World Bank approved a $1 billion loan for India towards efforts in providing social assistance to the poor and vulnerable households adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Assam government on Friday urged the Centre to extend the lockdown for another 14 days after May 17 to contain the spread of coronavirus which has infected nearly 82,000 across the country so far. The state governments were scheduled to share their draft proposals on post May-17 strategies with the Centre today.

The Supreme Court, on the other hand, refused to entertain a public interest litigation seeking the top court's intervention in the movement of migrants across states. Stating that it is not possible for it to keep an eye on labourers on the road, the court left it upon the states to take the final call.

With scientists and researchers racing against time to find a cure for the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 4.4 million people, this week has seen considerable developments from firms like Moderna and Novavax in developing a Covid-19 vaccine.

From Moderna Therapeutics getting fast-track approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Covid-19 vaccine to Novavax moving to humans trials, the world is trying its best to lay its hands on a vaccine.

American biotechnology company Moderna Therapeutics said earlier this week it received “fast-track approval” from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its potential Covid-19 vaccine and would conduct its phase 2 trial, according to USA Today.

In the second phase, Moderna will enroll 600 healthy volunteers, half of whom are 18-55 years old and the rest over 55 years old, for the trial of its experimental mRNA vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273.

US-based Novavax, which recently received a $384-million funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, said it would start human tests of its NVX-COV2373 vaccine. The vaccine has showed promising results in animal trials and its next phase will see tests on 130 humans from Australia.

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Meanwhile, the World Health Organization’s emergencies chief said it’s possible the new coronavirus may be here to stay, warning it’s impossible to predict when the pandemic might be controlled.

This virus may never go away, said Dr. Michael Ryan, in a news briefing on Wednesday. He said that the number of people infected by COVID-19 so far is relatively low.

Without a vaccine, he said it could take years for the population to build up sufficient levels of immunity to it. I think it’s important to put this on the table, he said.

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