Thousands of migrant laborers rushed to the CSMT in Mumbai to board the special trains leaving for Uttar Pradesh and Bihar on Tuesday.
With India reporting 4,970 cases in the last 24 hours, the total number of infections due to the coronaviruspandemic crossed the 1 lakh-mark to reach 101,139 from 96,169 on Monday, while the death toll rose to 3,163 on Tuesday. Dharavi in Mumbai reported 26 new COVID-19 cases, taking overall count to 1,353, BMC said.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked states to allow plying of more trains to ferry migrant workers, adding that more clarity is needed about the departure of trains or buses. It also said that lack of clarity about running of trains, buses coupled with rumours is causing unrest amongst migrant workers.
In Bihar, of the 835 samples taken from migrant workers who returned from Delhi, as many as 218 were Covid positive. This works out to a positivity rate of over 26 per cent, while the rate in the national capital is about 7 per cent. Until May 18, the state tested a total of 8,337 samples of migrant workers and about 8% were found to be Covid-positive — double the national average positivity rate which is about 4%.
Globally, 4.8 million people have been infected, while over 3.18 lakh casualties have been reported. World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday said he will “initiate an independent evaluation” at “the earliest appropriate moment”. Beijing, which has been under mounting global pressure, also seemed to have relented on its opposition for an inquiry into the origin of the virus, believed to be a wet market in Wuhan.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) Tracker India, Lockdown News Updates: India's cases cross 1 lakh-mark, shops, markets to open in few places as per the lockdown 4.0 guidelines. Follow LIVE updates. Read in Malayalam, Tamil
Coronavirus India LIVE Updates: Thousands gathered at Ramlila Maidan in Ghaziabad on Monday to register for six trains bound for other parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
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Meanwhile, as the lockdown has been eased across the country, and more migrant workers return to their home states, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Monday revised the testing protocol to include symptomatic “returnees and migrants”, hospitalised patients and “frontline workers”. The lockdown has been extended for two more weeks till May 31.
On Monday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Monday released guidelines on measures to be taken to contain the spread of Covid-19 at workplaces. According to a circular released by the MHA, there are four types of measures to be taken to check the spread of the virus — Basic preventive measures, Preventive measures for offices, Measures to be taken on occurrence of cases and closure of workplaces.
Issuing detailed guidelines for workplaces, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said: “If there are one or two cases reported, the disinfection procedure will be limited to places/ areas visited by the patient in past 48 hrs. There is no need to close the entire office building/ halt work in other areas of the office and work can be resumed after disinfection as per laid down protocol.”
“However, if there is a larger outbreak, the entire building will have to be closed for 48 hours after thorough disinfection. All the staff will work from home, till the building is adequately disinfected and is declared fit for re-occupation,” it said.
“The high risk exposure contacts (those who were in close contact) shall be quarantined for 14 days. They will follow the guidelines on home quarantine and undergo testing as per ICMR protocol,” the ministry said. “The low risk exposure contacts shall continue to work and closely monitor their health for the next 14 days,” it said. If there is a suspected case, employers must inform the health authorities who will assess the symptoms and case history to determine testing, home isolation or other measures.
The government, however, has maintained that there is no community transmission so far.
“Some patients may develop an infection in hospital, so we are testing for that. Also, on the same lines as testing international travellers, we are testing symptomatic domestic travellers with only the migrants,” Dr Manoj Murhekar, Director, ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE), said.
While 23,02,792 samples have been tested so far, the positivity rate has remained around 4% since the beginning of April. However, the government stopped giving the number of individuals tested since April.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal during a digital press conference. (PTI Photo)
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Monday announced that bus service in the capital will resume but only 20 passengers will be allowed at a time. “Screening of passengers will be done before entering. Social distancing will be maintained on each depot,” he said.
“Barbershops, spas and salons to remain closed for now. People will be allowed to step out of their homes between 7 am to 7 pm only. Taxis and cabs will be allowed, but only with 2 passengers at a time,” he announced.
Union Minister in charge of Road Transport and Highways and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Nitin Gadkari, who was the guest at the Indian Express e-adda on Monday, said the vision of the government for the country’s economic revival was “perform, reform, transform”. He also said the Centre and Central PSUs would clear pending MSME dues in 45 days.
Union minister Nitin Gadkari. (PTI/File Photo)
“The govt has pumped in Rs 20 lakh crore. We need maximum investment in power, road, infrastructure sector by increasing liquidity into the market. This liquidity will increase the speed of the country’s economic wheel. We also need economic reforms,” Nitin Gadkari said.