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Coronavirus May 5 Highlights: Air India opens bookings for 300 flights to countries including US, UK

The Covid-19 tally in India rose to 2,26,770 on Friday even as the Centre prepared to reopen malls, restaurants and religious places as part of the plan to gradually reopen the country.

As many as 9,851 fresh cases were registered since Thursday evening, according to the latest data provided by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. (Express photo: Gurmeet Singh)

Air India Friday opened bookings for around 300 flights to various countries including the US and the UK under phase-3 of Vande Bharat Mission.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 tally in India rose to 2,26,770 on Friday even as the Centre prepared to reopen malls, restaurants and religious places as part of the plan to gradually reopen the country. As many as 9,851 fresh cases were registered since Thursday evening, according to the latest data provided by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

On Thursday, the government issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for reopening of malls, religious places, restaurants and hotels. Restaurant and food courts in malls will operate at 50 per cent seating capacity with a mandatory distance of six feet between tables. No common prayer mats, physical offerings like prasad, or a sprinkling of holy water, will be permitted in places of worship. Age and health-based restrictions will also be in place for stepping out of home.

Globally, over 6,430,705 cases have been reported, 3,85,947 people have succumbed to the infection and 2,804,982 have recovered. The United States continues to be the worst-affected nation with 1,872,660 cases and 1,08,211 deaths.

Live Blog

Coronavirus India updates: India reports over 9,800 cases in last 24 hours; total infections now 2,26,770; Govt prepares to resume malls, restaurants; Global cases cross 6.4 billion. Follow all the latest COVID-19 updates from across the world here. Read in Tamil

01:58 (IST)06 Jun 2020
‘No benefits’: Oxford stops enrollment for HCQ arm

Even as WHO restarted the hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) arm of the Solidarity Trial, investigators for the Recovery Trial at Oxford University have announced that they would stop enrollment for its HCQ arm as no benefits have been found from the drug.

India continues use HCQ for prophylaxis and treatment of Covid-19. All eyes will now be on the Solidarity Trial.

Peter Horby, professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Global Health in Nuffield Department of Medicine, Oxford University, and chief investigator of the trial, said: “HCQ and chloroquine have received a lot of attention and have been used very widely to treat Covid patients despite the absence of any good evidence. The Recovery Trial has shown that HCQ is not an effective treatment in patients hospitalised with Covid-19. Although it is disappointing that this treatment has been shown to be ineffective, it does allow us to focus care and research on more promising drugs.” Read more

01:32 (IST)06 Jun 2020
Vadodara: Need for ventilators, oxygen support goes up

With Covid-19 cases on a steady rise in Vadodara, the number of patients on oxygen (O2) support, ventilator and BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) has also seen a significant jump since the beginning of June. From 14 cases of O2 and eight cases of ventilator support/BiPAP on May 31, the numbers have gone up to 45 and 28 respectively on June 5. The numbers have doubled in the past three days but officials say that the proportional increase is expected as cases are going up. Read more here

01:15 (IST)06 Jun 2020
Ahmedabad: AHNA wants Covid test in OPD without govt approval

Three days after the state government allowed private hospitals to conduct Covid-19 test without prior approval of government authority in case of an emergency medical procedure if prescribed by a physician, the Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (AHNA) has written to principal secretary health Jayanti Ravi requesting her to allow hospitals to adopt the same testing policy in outpatient department (OPD). The new guidelines issued by the Gujarat government has allowed testing only on indoor patients. Read more here

00:43 (IST)06 Jun 2020
Planning to reduce Covid-19 test price in Pune, other districts: Minister

State Medical Education Minister Amit Deshmukh, who was in Pune on Friday to review the situation in the city, said the price to conduct a Covid-19 test has already been lowered in Mumbai. “Along similar lines, we are also planning to reduce the Covid-19 test price in Pune and other districts,” said Deshmukh. Read more here

00:17 (IST)06 Jun 2020
Mumbai: Central team visits containment zones

A government team visited containment zones in Kherwadi, Bandra east area to take stock of the situation on Friday. According to the BMC, joint secretary, Ministry of Health, K K Kumar, two professors from AIIMS, Nagpur Dr AS Kushwaha and Dr S Banaerjee along with civic officials also inspected the covid facility at BKC.

Officials said that it was a routine visit and the team was overall satisfied with the measures taken by BMC against COVID-19. "They were happy with preparations and also suggested to focus more on vulnerable population like people living in slums with comorbidities," an official said.

The team has also suggested BMC to make mobile app and system on which the worst affected areas can be seen. "They have suggetsed geo-tagging in the areas that have maximum numbers of COVID-19 cases and mobile App can be created to maintain data. They had also told us that to do documentation of all jumbo health facilities to battle pandemic for the reference in future, "said Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner of BMC. (ENS)

23:45 (IST)05 Jun 2020
Tripura: 48 more test Covid-19 positive, tally rises to 695

Forty eight more people tested positive with COVID-19 in Tripura on Friday, raising the state's total corona tally to 695. Among them, 173 have 'recovered' and were discharged from the hospital couple of days back.

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb Tweeted about the new cases late evening and wrote, "48 people found COVID-19 #POSITIVE in Tripura out of 1026 samples tested. All of them have travel history. Stay safe, follow the Gov't norms. #TripuraCOVID19Count".

Earlier this evening, Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath told a press conference that Tripura's recovery rate is impressive and added his government has engaged doctors serving at Tripura Medical College and Dr BR Ambedkar Teaching Hospital, a private society run medical college, to treat coronavirus patients as well.

According to the latest reports, 23,291 out of 36,902 persons placed under surveillance for coronavirus have completed their 14 days observation period and were discharged.

However, 829 others continue to be housed in different quarantine centres and 12,782 are still placed under home quarantine.

30,379 persons were tested in Tripura till date, with the highest testing rate proportionate to the population in NE India.

(Reported by Debraj Deb)

23:34 (IST)05 Jun 2020
1,330 fresh COVID cases in Delhi takes tally to over 26K; death toll rises to 708

Delhi recorded 1,330 fresh coronavirus cases on Friday taking the COVID-19 tally in the city beyond the 26,000-mark, and the death toll due to the disease jumped to 708, authorities said.

In a bulletin issued on Friday, the Delhi health department said the death toll from coronavirus infection has risen to 708 and the total number of cases mounted to 26,334.

A total of 58 fatalities were reported on June 4, which took place between May 4 and June 3, the bulletin said, adding 25 of these deaths took place on June 3. It, however, added the cumulative death figures refers to fatalities where the primary cause of death was found to be COVID-19, as per the report of the Death Audit Committee on the basis of case sheets received from various hospitals.

On Thursday, the total number of cases stood at 25,004 including 650 deaths. With fresh 1,330 cases, the total number of coronavirus cases in Delhi has climbed to 26,334.

Meanwhile, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar on Friday said reports that there is a "shortage of beds" for COVID-19 patients in city hospitals were "misleading". (PTI)

23:08 (IST)05 Jun 2020
Show-cause notice to hospital for turning away two patients

The Pune Municipal Corporation has issued a show-cause notice to a private hospital in the city for allegedly denying treatment to two patients.

Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad issued a notice to Poona Hospital on Friday.

According to the notice, a medical officer at the hospital allegedly asked two patients -- a 60-year-old man and a 75-year-old woman -- to go to another hospital when they sought to be admitted.

"Looking at the health condition of both the patients, the hospital was expected to conduct complete health check-up of the patients and provide the proper medication and also admit them into oxygen step-down ward. But the hospital did not do so.

"Instead of arranging an ambulance, the patients were sent in the auto-rickshaw (to another hospital) which is a shameful act," said Gaikwad. (PTI)

23:07 (IST)05 Jun 2020
Pune MP appeals to Army to treat civilian Covid patients at military hospitals

With the rise in number of Covid-19 cases, Pune MP Girish Bapat urged the Army authorities to treat civilian patients across military hospitals. Bapat was present at a special meeting of the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) held on Friday.

Members of the PCB raised the issue and said civilian patients were not being admitted for Covid-19 treatment at army-run hospitals at Armed Forces Medical College, Military Hospital-Cardio Thoracic Centre, Command Hospital and Military Hospital, Khadki. Read more here

22:41 (IST)05 Jun 2020
Air India opens bookings for around 300 flights to countries including USA, UK

Air India opens bookings for around 300 flights to various countries including USA and UK under phase-3 of Vande Bharat Mission. (PTI)

22:36 (IST)05 Jun 2020
Beijing further relaxes Covid-19 curbs; Wuhan clears all patients

Beijing on Friday decided to lower its Covid-19 emergency response, marking the return of normalcy in China’s capital following the coronavirus outbreak, while the central city of Wuhan, the origin point of the pandemic, cleared all its confirmed cases.

Wuhan recorded zero cases of the virus following testing of 10 million people.

Beijing city will lower its emergency response to the novel coronavirus epidemic from the second level to the third level starting Saturday, a local official announced on Friday.

22:15 (IST)05 Jun 2020
Tremendous progress being made in developing vaccine, says Trump

"We had a meeting on vaccines yesterday, we are doing incredibly well. We can have some very positive surprises. Tremendous progress is being made on vaccines," US President Donald Trump said in a press briefing on Friday.

21:59 (IST)05 Jun 2020
Goa to open restaurants on June 8

Goa will be opening restaurants on June 8, confirmed Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday. Earlier this week, with Mangor Hills, a densely populated cluster showing local transmission, the state government had decided to take a decision once they saw a decrease in the spread of transmission.

On Friday, 131 cases were counted as active with 26 testing positive from the containment zone. Four others tested positive after they returned from Dubai.

Of the 400 swabs collected in the third drive at Mangor Hills, 26 tested positive, allowing the government to make a decision. This means of the wider perimeter radius the confirmed positives were decreasing, allowing the Government to make the assumption that cases and the spread have been restricted.

Chief Minister Sawant also added that the government will be allowing religious worship spaces to open but with a “strict SOP” in place. No mass functions will be allowed, though the government will now open the religious spaces for individual prayers, he confirmed.

Of the SOPs in place, Government has reteriated that most patients who have tested positive have been shifted to Covid facilities allowing for routine operations like restaurants and businesses to function with social distancing measures in place. (ENS)

21:25 (IST)05 Jun 2020
J&K: Govt offices to open at full strength

The Jammu and Kashmir government Friday decided to reopen all its offices across the Union Territory at full strength from Saturday onwards.

However, older employees, pregnant employees and those having underlying medical conditions are not to be given work involving direct contact with the general public, according to a government order issued by General Administration Department in Jammu.

The order read: "All the officers and staff, at all levels, shall attend office on a regular basis on all working days with effect from June 6.’’ However, ``employees who are at higher risk i.e. older employees, pregnant employees and those who have underlying medical conditions should take extra precautions and should preferably not be exposed to any front line work requiring direct contact with the public,’’ it read, asking ``office management to facilitate work from home wherever feasible’’.

The government also ordered a suspension of routine issue of visitors/temporary passes, adding that only those visitors with a proper permission of the officer who they want to meet should be allowed after being properly screened.

20:49 (IST)05 Jun 2020
One BSF personnel among 90 new COVID-19 patients in C'garh

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Chhattisgarh as 90 more people, including a Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, tested positive on Friday, news agency PTI reported. On Thursday, the state had reported 93 COVID-19 cases. The state's COVID-19 count is now 863, though active cases are 630 as 231 people have been discharged and two patients have died, he said.

20:01 (IST)05 Jun 2020
Kerala CM terms situation grim as state records over 100 cases in a day for first time

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Friday termed the situation in Kerala 'grim' as the state recorded over 100 new Covid-19 cases in a day for the first time. He said that 111 new positive cases have been reported in the state today, taking the total number of cases to 1,697, of which 973 are active cases.

19:32 (IST)05 Jun 2020
Bengal’s religious institutions set to reopen, but devotees reluctant to return

The coronavirus outbreak in India has led to a rethinking of how people practise their faith. For Christians and Muslims in Kolkata, the pandemic and the subsequent national lockdown coincided with two major festivals, Easter and Eid, both of which were celebrated in ways that the communities have never done before. Although the West Bengal government allowed places of worship to reopen following advisories on June 1, many religious institutions have chosen not to open their doors owing to concerns of possible Covid-19 infections. Click here to read our dispatch from Kolkata.

Priests sitting outside a closed Kalighat Kali temple wearing facemasks in Kolkata. (Photo: Neha Banka)
19:28 (IST)05 Jun 2020
Tamil Nadu: 1,438 cases in last 24 hours

TN continues to witness a surge in Covid-19 infections. As many as 1,438 cases and 12 deaths were reported on Friday, taking the count to 28,694 and fatalities to 232.

19:27 (IST)05 Jun 2020
Maharashtra: 2,436 new cases and 139 deaths in last 24 hours

Maharashtra records 139 deaths today, the highest number of deaths due to COVID-19 in a single day. As many as 2,436 persons tested positive for COVID-19 in the state today. Total cases in the state are now at 80,229, including 2,849 deaths, news agency ANI reported citing State Health Department.

18:25 (IST)05 Jun 2020
Don’t initiate new schemes, need to use resources for Covid: Sitharaman

The Finance Ministry asked all the other ministries and their departments Friday to not initiate any new schemes in the current financial year, adding that the resources shall be put to better use in the wake of the coronavirus crisis in the country. “It may be appreciated that in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is unprecedented demand on public financial resources and a need to use resources prudently in accordance with emerging and changing priorities,” the Department of Expenditure, which comes directly under the Finance Ministry, said in an office memorandum.

Coronavirus India LIVE updates: Family members of Charan Singh at Delhi border, who came to Delhi by train from Gujarat's Palampur village and going to Kalyanpur village in Kasganj UP. (Express photo by Gajendra Yadav)

Coronavirus India LIVE news updates:

A testing programme necessary for lifting India’s lockdown would cost less than 2.1 per cent of the lockdown’s economic losses, researchers from India School of Business and Imperial College have found. In another metric, the study found that “a resource-intensive (testing) strategy … corresponds to less than half of the lockdown-caused loss in goods and services tax (GST) revenue.”

The pre-print study states that if 20 per cent of the population has Covid-19 antibodies (known as sero-prevalence) by the time lockdown is lifted, then authorities would need to identify and isolate symptomatic cases within five to eight days of their symptoms to prevent an overwhelmed healthcare capacity.

Cash with public up by Rs 1.63 lakh crore in 2 months

The extension of the lockdown and the rising number of COVID-19 infections seem to have pushed the country towards a more cash-driven economy. Even though state governments have started relaxing retail trade restrictions, the relentless rise in currency with the public is continuing with people taking out cash worth another Rs 39,028 crore during the fortnight ended May 22.

Currency with the public has now risen by Rs 1,63,135 crore from April 1 this year to Rs 25.12 lakh crore as of May 22. According to data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday, currency with public has gone up by 18.7 per cent, or Rs 3,95,484 crore, on a year-on-year basis as against Rs 2.63,573 crore, or 14.2 per cent, in the previous year. With the lockdown continuing, people’s reliance on cash is expected to rise further in the next one or two months.

Poaching for meat up during lockdown: report

Also, there has been a “significant increase” in reported poaching of wild animals during the lockdown, which is not restricted to any geographical region or state, or to any specific wildlife area, according to a report released by WWF-India Wednesday. The study was carried out by WWF-India’s programme division Traffic, a wildlife trafficking monitoring network.

Coronavirus India LIVE updates: Poaching of hares, among other small mammals, has shown an increase. (Source: WWF-India)

While reports of poaching incidences for consumption and local trade more than doubled during the lockdown period under study, the report states there was no evidence of stockpiling of wildlife products for future trade.

Railways freight earnings dip by Rs 8,000 crore during lockdown

Meanwhile, hit with the coronavirus outbreak and over two months of lockdown, the Indian Railways has so far suffered a freight earnings shortfall of Rs 8,283 crore when compared to this period last year. Barring foodgrain, the national transporter carried all commodities in its freight basket much less than it did during the corresponding period last year.

Sources said passenger earnings shortfall so far — of April and May — could hover around Rs 9,000 crore by May-end, with all passenger trains suspended since late-March and with only some truncated services running since May 12, over and above the Shramik Special trains.

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