Updated: May 19, 2020 10:49:14 pm
Coronavirus India update: India has recorded 0.2 COVID-19 deaths per lakh population as against the global figure of 4.1, the Health Ministry said as the number of fatalities due to coronavirus infection in the country rose to 3,163 on Tuesday and the total cases reached 1,01,139. Also, a record number of 1,08,233 samples were tested for COVID-19 on Monday in the country. So far a total of 24,25,742 samples have been tested, the ministry said. Referring to data from WHO situation report-119, the ministry said 3,11,847 COVID-19 mortalities have been reported till Tuesday worldwide which is about 4.1 deaths per lakh population.
Over three months after the first infection was detected in the country, the coronavirus cases in India crossed the 1 lakh mark. Of the 101,139 cases, 58,802 are active, while 39,173 people have recovered. With 134 deaths in the last 24 hours, the number of casualties has climbed to 3,163.
A day before the Centre revoked the clause of states’ consent for the movement of migrant workers through railways, it had written to all states asking them to requisition more trains from the Centre, ply more buses, alleviate the fear of long quarantine and adequately publicise the arrangements made for their travel.
The May 18 letter sent to all states by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) came in the backdrop of migrants continuing to hit the road due to limited availability of trains and buses.
Here’s all the latest COVID-19 news from India
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday said she would attend the opposition parties’ virtual meet convened by the Congress to discuss the Covid-19 situation in the country and the impact of the lockdown. The meeting, which will be chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, will take place on Friday.
“Yes, there will be a meeting of opposition parties on Friday evening through videoconferencing to discuss the present COVID situation and the lockdown impact. I will be there,” PTI quoted Banerjee as saying.
Around 17 opposition parties have agreed to participate in the meeting, which will be held via videoconferencing. The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party have not yet confirmed their participation.
Liquor shops will be allowed to be open across Jammu and Kashmir from Wednesday with the Union Territory easing restrictions as part of its new lockdown guidelines till May 31.
Apart from liquor shops, all private hospitals, clinics and nursing homes (including OPD services) will resume normal functioning including OPD services, the order said, adding the other activities including all E-commerce and courier services; all agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry and related activities; home delivery by restaurants and hotels; banks and financial services; self-employed service providers like plumbers, technicians, electricians etc, will be allowed.
The canteens/eateries at bus stands, railway stations and airports have also been allowed to open in the UT, but with passes in Red districts. Similarly barber shops, salons and parlours will also open in all the areas except within the limits of Municipal Corporations of Jammu and Srinagar cities.
Ten trains, every day: Pune administration’s plan to send home lakhs stranded here
With the Union government scrapping the need of obtain the consent of destination states to dispatch a Shramik Special train, the Pune district administration plans to send out 10 such trains per day to various states, especially Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, to ferry the lakhs of workers stuck here. Till now, authorities have been running four to five trains a day.
Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said following the Union government’s amended directives, he held discussions with Divisional Railway Manager Renu Sharma, and a policy to increase daily departures has been devised.
“The railway authorities have conveyed to us that they can operate seven Shramik Specials from Pune station, two from Uruli station and two from Daund station. Thus, 11 trains can depart Pune every day,” said Ram.
Dharavi COVID-19 cases rise by 26 to 1,353: BMC
Dharavi slum sprawl in Mumbai on Tuesday recorded 26 new COVID-19 cases, taking the overall tally to 1,353, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.
As no new COVID-19 death has been reported in the last 24 hours, the number of fatalities stood at 56 so far, an
official said. At 8, the highest number of the new cases were reported from Matunga Labour Camp, which is a worst-hit area in the densely-populated slum colony, he added.
Health Ministry issues guidelines for dental clinics on coronavirus
Dental clinics in the COVID-19 containment zones will remain closed, however, they can continue to provide teleconsultation to patients, according to the guidelines issued by the Union health ministry for dental professionals in view of the ongoing pandemic.
Stating that dentists, auxiliaries as well as the patients undergoing dental procedures are at high risk of cross-infection as most dental procedures require a close contact with the patients’ oral cavity, saliva, blood and respiratory tract secretions, the ministry has advised that all patients must be treated with due precautions.
“Saliva is rich in COVID-19 viral load. Many patients who are asymptomatic may be carriers. For this reason, it is suggested that all patients visiting a dental office must be treated with due precautions,” it underlined.
According to the advisory, dental clinics will remain closed in the containment zones. However, they can continue to provide teleconsultation and the patients in these zones can seek ambulance services to travel to the nearby COVID dental facility.
Emergency dental procedures can be performed in the dental facilities falling under “red” zones. (PTI)
The Delhi High Court Monday expressed anguish over the failure on part of the Delhi government in implementing its previous “clear cut” directions that “no citizen currently residing in Delhi should go hungry”.
“We express our disappointment and dismay,” a bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh said, after noting that the orders passed to the Delhi government by the court on April 27 and May 6, has not been implemented in “letter and spirit”.
The bench reiterated its previous orders and observed that the objective sought to be achieved in that regard remains unfilled, therefore, the Delhi government should immediately ensure that the food grains are distributed to poor, needy and marginalised non-PDS residents from the Public Distribution System (PDS), as well as, other distribution centres.
Warning people against crowding, the Gujarat government on Tuesday said that it will be forced to shut shops or withdraw certain relaxations if crowds continue to swell in public places.
“Today being the first day of lockdown 4.0, people were seen crowding in some places… It is the responsibility of the shop owner as well as the clients to see that there is no unnecessary crowding at tea shops, paan parlours, saloons and spas,” said Ashwani Kumar, Secretary to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, on Tuesday.
He suggested that saloons and spas should give prior appointments over the phone to ensure that crowding does not happen. “If crowds are seen at such shops due to the lack of arrangements by the shop owner, then some shops at certain locations will be closed,” Kumar warned.
The Maharashtra government on Tuesday retained most of the lockdown curbs it had imposed in the previous phase, including ban on taxis and hair saloons in red zones. The revised guidelines for lockdown 4.0 will be applicable post May 22. Areas outside municipal corporation in Mumbai and Pune have been excluded from the red zone.
There are also restrictions on private vehicles — both four and two wheelers — in red and orange zones. Only those stepping out on essential work are allowed in red zones. In orange, taxis and rickshaws are allowed with limits on number of passengers. Similar restrictions are also imposed on private vehicles — maximum of two passengers and drive for cars and no pillion rider for two-wheelers.
Private offices are not allowed to reopen in red zones and only 5 per cent staff is allowed in government offices. The restrictions don’t apply in orange zones. The government has also advised companies “on best effort basis” to ensure that Aarogya Setu app is installed by all employees having compatible mobile phones. It also said district authorities may advise individuals to install the contact tracing app and regularly update their health status.
As many as 35 persons were arrested on Monday after a group of migrant workers employed at the IIM Ahmedabad site in Vastrapur area vandalised office property, government vehicles and assaulted police personnel and other workers, demanding that they be allowed to return home.
Police said they fired tear gas shells and resorted to lathicharge when the irate group assaulted other workers, pelted stones at police teams and vandalised properties. All 35 arrested are from Jharkhand, they added.
According to police, around 10 am on Monday, Vastrapur police station received a message that a mob of over 250-300 migrant workers had assembled at the GMDC Ground behind Alpha One mall, demanding that they be allowed to go back to their home states.
Twenty-six-year-old Anu Jacob Kurishingal had come to Ahmedabad in December 2019 after she got a job at an academic institution in the city. Faced with an uncertain future, a workplace that closed down, and no money to sustain her rental accommodation, she is among the 5,000-odd Keralites who have registered to leave Gujarat.
“I ran out of money and food few days ago. I am currently being supported by Ahmedabad Kerala Samajam which gave me a kit of essentials items,” said Anu who occupies a single room in Nirnaynagar locality of Ahmedabad.
“I have not paid the rent of Rs 5,000 for April… And I cannot afford to fall ill here,” she said adding that she hardly steps out of her room for the fear of contracting Covid-19.
As the lockdown eases across the country, and more migrant workers return to their home states, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Monday revised the testing protocol to include symptomatic “returnees and migrants”, hospitalised patients and “frontline workers”.
According to the revised strategy, “all hospitalised patients who develop lLl (influenza like illness) symptoms “, “all symptomatic ILI among returnees and migrants within 7 days of illness”, and all symptomatic “frontline workers involved in containment and mitigation of Covid-19” will now be tested.
Also, asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of a confirmed case will now be tested once between the fifth and tenth day of coming in contact (earlier, they were tested once between the fifth and fourteenth day).
Even as 500 fresh Covid-19 cases and six deaths were reported in Delhi on Tuesday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the main priority of the government was to bring down the fatality rate.
The total number of cases in the city now stand at 10,554, while 166 people have died. Of the total cases, 4,750 have recovered or been discharged.
Delhi’s Covid-19 fatality rate is 1.57 per cent at present. The rate among patients below the age of 50 is 0.46 per cent and among those above the age of 60 is 5.79 per cent. In 84.94 per cent of the deaths, the patient was suffering from co-morbidities such as cancer, diabetes or a respiratory disease.
A lot has been said and written about the do’s and don’ts of the novel coronavirus pandemic, but some basic questions about day-to-day living continue to be asked. Dr Sonu Goel, Professor at the Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health at Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, clarified some common doubts and misconceptions to Hina Rohtaki of The Indian Express.
Almost all shops have been allowed to open in the latest phase of the lockdown that began on Monday (May 18), and many of us will again start going to the market in the normal fashion. How can we ensure vegetables and fruit are safe?
This virus is generally likely to remain active on fruit and vegetables for 6-8 hours, but for less than four hours if the fruit and vegetables are exposed to heat. As a general rule, try to not handle vegetables and fruit immediately after you bring them in — rather, keep them aside within the packets that you bring them in, for at least four hours. (This obviously means planning a little ahead for your shopping.) After this time, dispose of the packets and soak the vegetables and fruit in warm water for a while. For complete safety, wash them in warm water and a little baking soda.
The 100,000 mark has been delayed by almost three weeks due to the nationwide lockdown. Computer modeling projections early last month had shown that at the rate the disease was spreading in the country at that time, if no lockdown had been put in place, this figure would be reached by the end of April, if not earlier. But as lockdown restrictions get progressively eased, to varying degrees in different states, the number of cases being reported daily are expected to shoot up, and signs of that already happening have begun to emerge.
Top ten states with maximum caseload
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The Ministry of Home Affairs Tuesday asked the states and the union territories to operate more special trains in coordination with the Indian Railways for transportation of migrant workers, adding that special attention should be given to women, children and elderly.
In an official letter, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla underlined that fear of Covid-19 infection and apprehension of loss of livelihood are the main driving factors for the movement of stranded workers towards their homes. He asked district authorities to ensure that migrant workers moving on foot should be guided to designated rest places nearby bus terminals or railway stations by arranging transportation, enlisting the migrants with their addresses and contact numbers, which may be helpful in contact tracing in due course and involvement of NGO representatives at rest places etc, said Bhalla.
Paswan’s office, food ministry in Krishi Bhawan sealed after staff tests positive
Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s office and part of his ministry located in Krishi Bhawan building in Central Delhi has been sealed, after an official in the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying was tested positive for COVID-19. “Due to one recent corona positive case found in the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, it has been decided that the Department of Food and Public Distribution office at Krishi Bhawan shall remain closed on May 19 and May 20 for intensive sanitization,” an official order said.
Some airlines start bookings for June travel: Report
Some airlines have started bookings for flights from June onwards, sources said, news agency PTI reported. Commercial flights remain suspended till May 31 in wake of the nationwide lockdown. A SpiceJet spokesperson, however, said its international bookings are closed till June 15. Sources at IndiGo and Vistara said they were taking bookings for domestic flights.
Migrants killed in road accidents in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar
Migrant workers were killed in separate accidents this morning. Nine migrants were killed on Tuesday morning after the truck they were travelling in collided with another vehicle in Naugachhia town in Bhagalpur district. The truck was carrying 15 migrant workers who had deboarded from a train coming from Bengaluru.
Three migrant labourers and a bus driver were killed and 22 others injured after their vehicle hit a stationary truck in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district in the early hours of Tuesday.
In Uttar Pradesh, three women were killed and 17 injured after a truck carrying migrant labourers overturned on the Jhansi-Mirzapur highway. The labourers had come on foot from Delhi and had boarded the truck near Harpalpur along the UP-MP border. The truck overturned into a roadside ditch after a tyre burst, killing three women on the spot, Mahoba district, SP, Mahoba, Mani Lal Patidar, told news agency PTI.
UP govt asks Priyanka Gandhi to provide migrant buses to Noida, Ghaziabad
Hours after a letter war broke out between the Yogi Adityanath government and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra over buses to take migrant workers home, the Uttar Pradesh administration has written another letter to the Congress leader, asking for 500 buses each to be sent to Noida and Ghaziabad. The development comes hours after Congress derided the UP government’s demand that the party handover the 1,000 proposed buses to the state administration in Lucknow by 10 am Tuesday.
Reacting to the development, UP Congress Convenor (Media) Lalan Kumar told PTI, “It is a victory for the migrant labourers who are stuck at UP’s border. We feel happy that they will now be reunited with their families.”
Stories that you shouldn’t miss from The Indian Express
- In Bihar, 1 in 4 from Delhi tests positive: Testing migrant workers who had returned to Bihar has indicated that many of the carriers are asymptomatic. 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%, while the rate in the national capital is about 7%.
- Testing umbrella to now cover migrants: The ICMR has revised the testing protocol to include symptomatic “returnees and migrants”, hospitalised patients and “frontline workers”. Also, asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of a confirmed case will now be tested once between the fifth and tenth day of coming in contact.
- ‘Was given 30% survival chance’: State housing Minister Jitendra Awhad said he had lived to see another day because of the doctors who had treated him and the nursing staff who motivated and gave him hope. The minister, who had tested positive for the coronavirus, was in intensive care for most days between April 22 and May 10.
- Telangana could be ‘sitting on a crisis’: Telangana’s impressive numbers could have a lot to do with its woeful record on testing. As of May 14, the state had conducted just 22,842 tests, which was among the lowest in the country. Neighbouring Andhra Pradesh had, by that date, conducted 2.1 lakh tests, almost ten times more than Telangana. Tamil Nadu had conducted more than 2.9 lakh tests by then. Telangana is the only major state that does not reveal its testing numbers in the daily bulletin.
- From our Explained page: In this first edition of E-Xplained last week, Prof K Srinath Reddy, president, Public Health Foundation of India, explained a range of issues related to India’s battle against Covid-19 to a large Zoom audience from across the country. How have we fared in the battle so far? How reliable is doubling time as a metric?
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