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India COVID-19 updates, May 11: Cases cross 67,000; govt junks reports of religion-based mapping of hotspots

The Delhi airport is using mobile towers, handheld torch and baggage tunnels that deploy ultraviolet rays to disinfect surfaces, Delhi International Airport Limited said today.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: May 11, 2020 11:56:00 am
Over 4,000 fresh Covid-19 cases were reported in India on Monday. (Express photo/Pavan Khengre)

Coronavirus India updates: India on Monday reported it’s biggest single-day spike of 4,213 infections, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 67,152. Of these, 20,917 are recovered patients, while 44,029 are active cases. The death toll stands at 2,206. In his fifth meeting with state chief ministers to discuss the post-lockdown strategy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the road ahead should be focused on reducing the spread of Covid-19 and ensuring that all precautions were taken by people, including social distancing norms, by observing ‘do gaaj doori‘.

“Slowly but surely, economic activities have begun to pick up in several parts of the country. In coming days, this process will further gather steam. We must realize that fight against Covid-19 has to be more focused now,” ANI quoted PM Modi as saying in the meeting.

Dispelling apprehensions that mild and moderate COVID-19 patients could transmit the disease if not tested before being discharged, the Union health ministry said in today’s evening briefing that available evidence does not indicate any increase in risk of the infection’s transmission in such cases.

When asked about certain media reports claiming that the government is mulling religion-based mapping of hotspots, Health ministry’s Luv Agarwal said it is a very irresponsible, baseless and incorrect news. “It is a very irresponsible news. Even the Supreme Court has already said that no fake news should be published, and any news should be published after checking facts,” Agarwal said. “I appeal to everyone not to encourage non-factual news,” he said, asserting that the spread of COVID-19 has nothing to do with race, religion, area and spreads due to lack of precautions and when dos and don’ts are not followed.

This is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fifth meeting with the state CMs.

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the movement of people by trains and made it clear that only asymptomatic and confirmed ticket holders will be allowed to travel. In an order, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said all passengers will have to wear face masks and observe social distancing norms while entering a station and during travel. For the first time since March 25, when the lockdown began, a total of 15 trains for different destinations will leave New Delhi on Tuesday for which bookings begin on Monday.

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Resume domestic flights with special guidelines: Kerala CM to PM Modi

During the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief ministers, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan Monday said all domestic flights should resume except from containment zones. However, those with symptoms should not be allowed to board, Vijayan said.

“Domestic flight services could be resumed with special guidelines, except from the containment zones. Medical tests could be conducted at the airports and those with symptoms should not be allowed to travel,” Vijayan said.

Vijayan also said each state should be allowed to make changes in the lockdown guidelines according to the conditions prevailing in their respective areas.

India lockdown diary, Day 48: Karnataka turns buses into health clinics; actor Sonu Sood organises buses for migrants; and more

In a bid to enhance COVID-19 testing and step up health surveillance in the state, the Karnataka government has converted several buses owned by the state transport corporation into clinics with beds and testing facilities.

Flagging off the buses on Monday, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said that they would start operating from red zones identified by the state government. “Screening maximum number of residents from such zones will enable the government to identify more people with symptoms. Those testing positive will be quarantined in designated hospitals at the earliest,” he said.

IRCTC opens booking for special trains, Howrah-Delhi tickets sold within 10 minutes

Bookings for 15 special trains began Monday evening on The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website two hours behind the scheduled time. However, despite delay, all AC-1 and AC-3 tickets for the Howrah-New Delhi train were sold within the first 10 minutes, news agency PTI reported. The train is scheduled to begin its journey Tuesday from Howrah at 5:05 pm.

Now, around 1,700 passengers, three stoppages for 'Shramik Special' trains For the first time since March 25, when the lockdown began, a total of 15 trains for different destinations will leave New Delhi on Tuesday for which bookings begin on Monday. (Express Photo: Pradip Das)

As per the ticket availability on the website, all AC-1 and AC-3 tickets for the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi special trains were also sold by 6.30 pm.

‘Not the time for politics’: Mamata Banerjee at meet with PM Modi

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lashed out at the Centre for “playing politics” over the issue and opposed the resumption of passenger train services. “We have been cooperating with the Centre but why are you playing politics. This is not the time for politics. We are doing our best but why is the Centre attacking West Bengal,” Mamata Banerjee reportedly said in the meeting.

Underscoring the federal structure, Banerjee asked the Centre to talk to states before ending the lockdown and allowing resumption of other services.

A Karnataka NGO bridges gap between rural public and the govt with hands-on initiatives

A few days into the nationwide lockdown, the villagers of Agumbe Panchayat in Theerthahalli Taluk of Karnataka’s Shimoga district, found themselves in a fix. While in their part of the world, a patchy mobile network is part of every day, the lockdown had brought its own set of complications. Rations shops were refusing to hand out essentials to the villagers unless provided with a one-time password or an OTP. According to the rules, a ration card holder receives an OTP, which he/she has to show to avail the ration. Unfortunately, for the villagers, no network meant no OTP — and that meant no ration.

This is when The Concerned for Working Children (CWC), an award-winning grassroots NGO, stepped in — they raised the issue with the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (RDPR) after which a revised order was issued: OTPs were no longer mandatory to provide ration and instead, a signature and phone number would be sufficient. And just like that, thousands of citizens in rural Karnataka — not just the folks at Agumbe Panchayat — breathed a sigh of relief.

IRCTC website goes unresponsive, train ticket bookings to now resume from 6 pm

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website — the online ticket booking portal of Railways — went unresponsive as booking for 15 special trains began Monday afternoon.

Indian Railways is gradually restarting passenger trains operation from May 12 after they were suspended in view of the nationwide coronavirus-induced lockdown in March.

The bookings were supposed to start at 4 pm but the site was not working. However, responding to the delay, the Railway Ministry in a tweet said that data pertaining to special trains is being fed and that bookings will be available from 6 pm.

Health ministry revises guidelines for home isolation

The Ministry of Health Affairs has said that patients in home isolation can end the quarantine after 17 days of onset of symptoms and no fever for 10 days. As per the revised guidelines issued on Sunday, patients with mild coronavirus symptoms will need no further testing after the home isolation period is over.

The guidelines also said that the patient should regularly inform his health status to the district surveillance officer for further follow up by the surveillance teams. The caretaker and all close contacts of such cases should take Hydroxychloroquine as a preventive medication according to the protocol and as prescribed by the treating medical officer.

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Ensure migrants do not walk on roads, rail tracks: MHA to states

Taking note of the several mishaps, the Home Ministry today directed all states and Union territories to ensure migrant workers do not resort to walking on roads, rail tracks and use available special trains:

The states should also cooperate with railways in running more ‘Shramik’ special trains available for migrant workers, the ministry added.

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Not stopping migrants walking home on humanitarian grounds: Maharashtra minister

The Maharashtra government, however, has decided to allow thousands of migrant workers wanting to return home on foot on humanitarian grounds despite them violating lockdown norms, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh told news agency PTI.

Deshmukh said the sufferings of the labourers would have been much less had train services commenced earlier, as demanded by the state government. “It is true that migrant labourers who are walking back to their home towns hundreds of kilometres away are in a way violating lockdown norms, but we are letting them go on humanitarian ground,” he said.

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Bring your own food, blankets: Services on special ‘Rajdhani’ trains that begin tomorrow

Bring your own food and blankets and bedsheets from home if you are going to be travelling in one of the 15 special trains modeled on the lines of Rajdhani Express that are starting tomorrow. The tickets will be available from 4 PM today on the IRCTC website.

Unlike the actual Rajdhanis, these will be a frugal affair. While pre-packed snacks, biscuits will be available with the onboard catering staff, they will be sold to passengers who need them, just like the airlines do. These trains are Rajdhani identical in terms of fare, speed, and route.

So far the decision is to carry the trains with full capacity and not cap the occupancy to two-thirds like has been for the Shramik Specials to ensure social distancing in the coaches. However, waiting lists will not be allowed so that the number of passengers will be equal to the number of berths, unlike in normal times.

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On National Technology Day, PM hails Covid-19 warriors

On the occasion of National Technology Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday hailed all those at the forefront of research and innovation to defeat the virus and remembered the “exceptional achievement” of the country’s scientists in carrying out the 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests.

Taking to Twitter, Modi said, “On National Technology Day, our nation salutes all those who are leveraging technology to bring a positive difference in the lives of others. We remember the exceptional achievement of our scientists on this day in 1998. It was a landmark moment in India’s history.”

He added, “Today, technology is helping many in the efforts to make the world free from COVID-19. I salute all those at the forefront of research and innovation on ways to defeat coronavirus.”

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Delhi airport uses ultraviolet disinfection technology to fight Covid-19

The Delhi airport is using mobile towers, handheld torch and baggage tunnels that deploy ultraviolet (UV) rays to disinfect surfaces, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) said on Monday. The mobile towers are placed in properly cordoned areas of a terminal and the UV lamps inside them are used, it added.

Once an area has been disinfected, the UV power is switched off and the towers are manually re-located to other areas for a similar process, the DIAL noted. Handheld disinfection torch is also being used to disinfect desktop, laptops and other devices, it said. “These are germicidal lamps that produce ultraviolet light. This short-wave ultraviolet light…leads to the inactivation of bacteria, viruses and protozoa,” it noted.

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Air India flight brings home 323 Indians from London to Bengaluru

An Air India repatriation flight (1803), carrying 323 passengers, arrived from London in Bengaluru at around 4.47 am on Monday after a nearly two-hour delay and a stopover in the national capital.

The passengers were screened and checked and were also handed over a self-declaration form by the health department officials. They will be shifted to hotels for a 14-day quarantine in 16 BMTC buses, officials said.

Besides this, the body of techie Shivaraj Gadegeppagowda Patil, a Hubballi resident who had committed suicide in the UK, also arrived at the Kempegowda International Airport.

Ensure uninterrupted movement of doctors, paramedics: Govt to states

The Centre on Monday asked states to ensure the movement of doctors and other medical workers is uninterrupted during the nationwide lockdown as it can affect COVID and non-COVID patients.

In a letter to chief secretaries of all states and Union Territories, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said inter-state movement of doctors and paramedics “should be facilitated wherever required”.

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