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Coronavirus May 6 Highlights: Centre flags Bengal’s response on Covid-19; Gadkari says public transport to resume

Coronavirus (Covid-19) HIGHLIGHTS: New Delhi has put out guidelines for the screening and handling of travelers as they return to India from abroad.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 7, 2020 9:48:55 pm
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Union minister Nitin Gadkari Wednesday said the public transport services may resume operations soon and the government is formulating guidelines for safe usage adhering to social distancing norms to check the spread of coronavirus. His statement comes even as the Covid death toll in the country rose to 1,694 with 111 deaths reported since Tuesday evening, while the total number of cases increased to 49,391 including the 14,182 people who have been treated and discharged so far.

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The Centre Wednesday came down heavily on the West Bengal government for not allowing movement of essential goods through the Indo-Bangladesh border, saying such acts would have international implications. The Union Home Ministry also told the state government that it had not implemented repeated directions from the Centre for free movement of cargo, in violation of the Disaster Management Act.

Meanwhile, states are gearing up to receive stranded Indians from abroad, who will be brought back by the government through its Vande Bharat Mission. New Delhi, for instance, put out guidelines Wednesday for screening and handling of travellers.

Globally, 257,277 people have died and 3,663,824 have been infected by the coronavirus. The United States has over 70,000 fatalities, followed by the United Kingdom (29,501), Italy (29,315), Spain (25,613) and France (25,537). As many as 1,199,254 people have recovered globally. With scientists worldwide working on a vaccine, an Italian medical firm has claimed to have developed a vaccine that neutralises the novel coronavirus in human cells.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19) Tracker India Updates: Death toll rises to 1,694, infections cross 49,000-mark; Mumbai withdraws relaxations; Centre tells West Bengal to allow trucks to cross Indo-Bangla border. Read live updates in Tamil, Bangla and Malayalam 

00:48 (IST)07 May 2020
Special train from Hyderabad reaches MP with 1,000 migrant workers

The first such train to Madhya Pradesh, carrying more than 300 passengers from Nashik, arrived at Misrod, a small suburban station, last week. On Wednesday, the train reached late by more than three hours.

Passenger trains reached Habibganj, one of the two main stations in Bhopal (Express Photo by Milind Ghatwai)

00:20 (IST)07 May 2020
Patients sleeping next to corpses: Scenes from Mumbai hospital

Maharashtra MLA Nitesh Rana tweeted a video clip of a hospital in Mumbai's Sion which appears to be showing patients in the same room as bodies wrapped in sheets. "In Sion hospital..patients r sleeping next to dead bodies!!! This is the extreme..what kind of administration is this!" he said in the tweet.

According to Dr Daksha Shah, deputy executive health officer in BMC, the Civic body was notified about this now. "The dean is looking in to it," she said.

00:03 (IST)07 May 2020
One standalone hardware store each road allowed to open in Mumbai

The BMC Wednesday allowed stand-alone electronic and hardware shop (not more than one on each road) to remain open in Mumbai, a day after it revoked lockdown relaxations in the city.  

23:46 (IST)06 May 2020
428 new coronavirus cases in Delhi in 24 hours

428 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported from Delhi in the last 24 hours. The total number of cases have reached 5,532 including 65 deaths. 74 more people have recovered on Wednesday.

23:18 (IST)06 May 2020
Karnataka man returning from liquor shop bites snake to death, arrested

In a bizarre incident in Karnataka, a man who was returning from a liquor shop bit a snake that crossed his path while he was riding his motorbike. A video that is viral on social media shows the man shouting and biting the snake.

According to the Range Forest Officer, the man has been identified as Kumar (38) and the incident took place at Mustur village in Kolar district’s Mulbagal. Kumar was later arrested by Mulbagal forest department officials and a case registered against him.

Speaking to, wildlife activist Sharath Babu said, “The snake that the man bit was a rat snake, which is called kere haavu in Kannada. Ptyas mucosa is its scientific name. A rat snake is a venomous viper that may end up killing the person biting it while it also dies.”

23:05 (IST)06 May 2020
Three flights to leave tomorrow to bring back stranded Indians from abroad

Air India has scheduled three flights tomorrow - Kochi to Abudhabi, Delhi to Singapore and Calicut to Dubai - to bering back Indians staranded in these foreign countries. Under the 'Vande Bharat' mission, Air India plans to bring stranded Indians from abroad amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown. However, the flight could not be oeprated today as the crew members' COVID-19 tests were not done on time, senior airline officials said.

22:28 (IST)06 May 2020
Ahmedabad pvt hospitals, clinics to be told to open or lose licence

Private hospitals, clinics and nursing homes in Ahemdabad city will be directed to open their services within 48 hours or stand to lose their licence to practice medicine, officials said, acocrding to PTI. The city has accounted for nearly 70 per cent of Gujarat's total number of cases and death toll. So far, Gujarat has recorded 368 deaths and total 6,245 coronavirus cases. "Private clinics/nursing homes/hospitals to be issued notices to open their clinics within 48 hours and be notified that they will lose their licences otherwise," said Additional Chief Secretary Rajiv Kumar Gupta.

Fresh 25 deaths and 291 coronavirus cases have been reported in Ahmedabad taking the toll to 291 and 4,735 infections, the health department informed, as per PTI tally. 

22:09 (IST)06 May 2020
Here is a list of some striking stories from across the country on Day 43 of lockdown
  • Convict seeks parole from Delhi HC to find a wife, cure depression due to virus

A convict charged with murder, serving life term since 2005, sought parole from the Delhi High Court so he could find himself a wife and cure his “inner stress and depression” due to incarceration which has “exacerbated” due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The petitioner challenged the authorities December 2019 decision to reject his application for parole “to explore the possibility of finding a suitable match, to maintain social ties and family relations, and to curb inner stress and depression due to incarceration”.

  • Approved by FDA to make sanitisers, Mumbai co. manufactures liquor; 6 held

A flying squad of Maharashtra’s excise department has seized a huge quantity of pure spirit, diverted to manufacture liquor instead of sanitisers. At least six persons have been arrested in Mumbai’s Ahmednagar distrcit, including the manager of a warehouse and general manager of Latur-based Siddhi Sugar and Allied Industries Pvt Ltd, an official told PTI. (READ MORE)

21:45 (IST)06 May 2020
MHA flags Bengal’s Covid-19 response: Low rate of testing, highest mortality rate

The number of novel coronavirus cases in West Bengal are characterised by a “very low rate of testing” and “the highest rate of mortality” in the country, the Centre said in a scathing observation Wednesday.

In a two-page letter to West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said stricter enforcement of lockdown was necessary and the problems have arisen due to ostracism of healthcare professionals and lack of quarantine facilities in the state.

21:37 (IST)06 May 2020
West Bengal allows home delivery of liquor

The West Bengal government Wednesday allowed the home delivery of liquor, with the state beverages corp launching a portal for placing orders

21:33 (IST)06 May 2020
Watch today's video with latest Covid figures & news

The total numebr of Covid-19 cases include 14,182 persons recovered or discharged from the hospitals cleared of the coronavirus and 1,694 deaths.

21:06 (IST)06 May 2020
Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal quarantined for 14 days

BJP sitting Lok Sabha member Jamyang Tsering Namgyal along with his family has been quarantined for 14 days at his residence in Leh district of the Union Territory of Ladakh.

Official sources that this followed soon after he reached Leh from Jammu by road on Tuesday. The District Disaster Management Authority has also pasted a notice outside his residence saying 'visitors not allowed'. Pointing out the total number of family members in the house as 'five', the notice mentions the 14 day quarantine period with effect from May 5.

Divisional Commissioner Saugat Biswas when contacted said that it has been done as per protocol prescribed to contain COVID-19 pandemic. Everybody who is coming to Ladakh from elsewhere the country is being quarantined, he said, adding that nearly 1,000 people stranded elsewhere have so far returned to Ladakh during the past over a week.

20:56 (IST)06 May 2020
Coronavirus India LIVE News Updates: Gujarat reports 380 new cases, total cases rise to 6,625

Gujarat reports 380 new COVID-19 cases and 28 deaths, taking total case count to 6,625 and fatalities to 396, PTI quotes state health officials as saying.

20:44 (IST)06 May 2020
Karnataka hikes excise duty on liquor by 11 per cent

The Karnataka government on Wednesday hiked excise duty on liquor by 11 per cent to mop up revenues, two day after allowing its sale, following the easing of COVID-19 induced lockdown. This hike is in addition to the six per cent that was announced in the budget.

"Yes, this 11 per cent increase in excise duty is in addition to the six per cent announced in the budget," Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa told PTI.

According to sources, the hike will translate into a consumer paying Rs 5 more for an 180 ml bottle of liquor.

The hike is applicable on brandy, whisky, gin and rum, but not to beer, wine, toddy and feni, they said. (PTI)

20:38 (IST)06 May 2020
COVID-19: Tamil Nadu records high of 771 new cases

COVID-19 cases continued to surge in Tamil Nadu as the state on Wednesday recorded a new all-time single day high of 771 additions, a big chunk linked to the hotspot of Koyambedu market here, and two fresh deaths, taking the total number of infections to 4,829. The toll due to the disease rose to 35.

While there are a number of children below ten years of age among the freshly infected, as many as 324 were from the state capital, whose tally rose to 2,328 cases, a health department bulletin said. Read our explained on why Tamil Nadu is latest cause for worry in the fight against Covid-19

20:23 (IST)06 May 2020
Public transport may resume soon with guidelines: Nitin Gadkari

Public transport services may resume operations soon and the government is formulating guidelines for safe usage adhering to social distancing norms to check the spread of coronavirus, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday.

"Public transport is likely to resume soon... Guidelines will be there," Road Transport, Highways and MSME Minister Gadkari said addressing members of Bus and Car Operators Confederation of India through video conference.

He said opening of transport and highways will go a long way in instilling confidence among the public and cautioned towards maintaining social distance and adopting all safety measures like hand wash, sanitizing, face masks, etc while operating buses and cars.

On demand of a bailout for passenger transport industry, Gadkari said the government is fully aware of their problems, and will fully support them to mitigate their issues.

He said that he is in regular touch with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who are working overtime to uplift the economy during these difficult days of COVID-19 pandemic. (PTI)

19:51 (IST)06 May 2020
Coronavirus India LIVE News Updates: 34 new cases reported in J&K, tally rises to 775

The total coronavirus cases in Jammu and Kashmir rose to 775 with 34 new cases being reported on Wednesday.

19:41 (IST)06 May 2020
COVID-19 lockdown: How can schools reopen safely? UN agencies, World Bank issue guidelines

Warning that widespread closures of educational facilities present an unprecedented risk to children’s education and wellbeing, the UN agencies have laid down guidelines for reopening of schools that have been closed in most parts of the world due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the guidelines framed by UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank, and the World Food Programme, the best interests of children and overall public health considerations, based on an assessment of the associated benefits and risks to education, public health, and socio-economic factor, must be central to national and local authorities’ decisions to reopen schools.

The guidelines note that while there is not enough evidence yet to measure the impact of school closures on the disease transmission rates, the adverse effects of school closures on children’s safety and learning are well documented. Gains made in increasing access to children’s education in recent decades risk being lost and, in the worse cases, reversed completely. Read more

19:32 (IST)06 May 2020
IN PICS | Long queues continue to gather unabated outside liquor shops

Resident of Panchkula buying liquor at one of the shop after some liquor vends opened on Wednesday. (Express photo by Jaipal Singh)

The long queue at the liquor shop on FC road  with barricades and other preventive measures on Wednesday during the lock down owing to the Pandemic COVID-19 outbreak. (Express photo by Arul Horizon)

19:11 (IST)06 May 2020
No new positive cases, no new hotspots in Kerala

No new positive cases were reported in Kerala on Wednesday, while samples of seven people returned negative and only 30 COVID-19 patients are under treatment. There are no new hotspots either in the state.

Six people from Kottayam, including one from Idukki and another from Pathnamthitta have been declared cured on Wednesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

The total positive cas touched 502, while 30 people are under treatment for the infection and 14,670 are under observation, including 268 in hospitals, he said.

Eight of the 14 districts have zero positive cases, including Kozhikode, Malappuram, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthpuram and there are no new hotspots in the state, the chief minister said. (PTI)

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Coronavirus India LIVE News Updates:

At least 85 personnel of the Border Security Force (BSF) tested positive for Covid on Wednesday, taking the number of infections within the force to 152. A Delhi Police constable died due to the disease; his colleagues are in self-quarantine.

The government Tuesday announced a Rs 13 a litre hike in excise duty on diesel and a Rs 10 a litre hike in excise duty on petrol in an attempt to shore up revenues as demand remains subdued due to the lockdown. Finance Ministry officials said the hike in excise duty, which comes into effect Wednesday, will not result in an increase in retail prices for the consumers.

This is the second hike in excise duty on fuel in two months by the Centre and comes after a hike in value added tax by several states over the last few days. A government notification said the special excise duty on petrol was hiked by Rs 2 a litre to Rs 12 a litre and by Rs 5 a litre to Rs 9 a litre for diesel. Road cess on both petrol and diesel has also been increased by Rs 8 a litre to Rs 18 a litre.

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The government had on March 14 hiked the excise duty, and road and infrastructure cess by Rs 3 a litre each for both petrol and diesel. Government sources said the revenue generated from these duties would be used for infrastructure and other developmental expenditure.

The government has also suspended all visas granted to foreign nationals, barring a few categories, till flight operations remain shut owing to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

All existing visas granted to foreigners — except those belonging to diplomatic, official, UN international organisations, employment and project categories — shall remain suspended till prohibition on international air travel of passengers from and to India is lifted by the government, an order by the Ministry of Home Affairs read.

With the eased lockdown in Mumbai leading to huge crowds and compromised social distancing,Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner Praveen Pardeshi issued an order Tuesday, withdrawing relaxations for Mumbai and disallowing sale of liquor in the city. The order allowed only shops selling essential goods to operate.

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“… It has been observed that the number of positive cases in the city of Mumbai have been rising and the downward trend is yet to set in and gathering of crowds in large numbers without following social distancing will be detrimental to the control of spread of virus and the advantage of the lockdown will be lost due to gathering of people in large numbers,” the order said.

Meanwhile, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School said in the Lancet that a one-size-fits-all approach to the coronavirus pandemic is likely to increase inequalities in the long term, so countries with less resources must let people get on with their lives — to work, earn money and put food on the table.

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