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Coronavirus India Updates, 04 May: Record 1,074 patients cured in last 24 hrs; Indians stranded abroad to be brought back from May 7

Coronavirus India updates: Non-essential businesses and cab services resumed today in zones barring red leading to increase in traffic on roads. E-commerce websites also began taking orders for non-essential items but only for areas with less or nil Covid-19 cases.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: May 4, 2020 2:50:59 pm
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Coronavirus India Updates: A total number of 1,074 coronavirus patients were cured and discharged in the last 24 hours, achieving a new milestone of the highest number of recoveries in a day so far. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in its routine presser said, the total number of recoveries now stands at and the recovery rate at 27. 52%. As India entered the second extension of lockdown with considerable relaxations in orange and green zones, the total number of Covid-19 cases jumped to 42,835 and toll to 1,389 with 2,553 new infections. The joint secretary also said that the COVID-19 curve is relatively flat as of now and it was not right to talk in terms of when the peak would come.

Stating that the government will facilitate the return of Indians stranded abroad on “compelling grounds”, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday said the process will start from May 7 in a phased manner. “The travel would be arranged by aircraft and naval ships. The Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) has been prepared in this regard,” said a statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Read | Coronavirus India Updates, 05 May

Non-essential businesses and cab services resumed today in zones barring red leading to an increase in traffic on roads. E-commerce websites also began taking orders for non-essential items but only for areas with less or nil Covid-19 cases. As the third phase of the lockdown kicked in on Monday with several relaxations added, there has been a noticeable increase in road traffic as non-essential stores lifted shutters, including liquor shops, which people made a beeline for, throwing social distancing norms to the wind. The easing of the lockdown measures came with its own set of challenges for police personnel as they struggled to manage the crowds outside liquor shops and in some areas in Delhi, they resorted to lathi charge to bring the situation under control.

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The coronavirus crisis has shown the world the limitations of the existing international system and the need for a new template of globalisation, based on fairness, equality and humanity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday at a video-conference of leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

The prime minister said humanity is facing its most serious crisis in many decades and that NAM can help promote global solidarity as it has often been the world’s moral voice.

Surat: In 2 places, migrant workers take to streets demanding to go home, 120 detained

In two separate incidents on Monday afternoon, thousands of migrant workers came out on the streets in Vareli village of Surat district, and Palanpur area of Surat city, demanding to go home.

In Vareli, migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, working in the textile dyeing and printing factories of Kadodara GIDC and powerloom units, came out on the streets chanting slogans and demanding to go back to their home states.

Highest recoveries in a day, no new case: Kerala takes a giant leap in Covid-19 fight

Monday has been a great day for Kerala in its efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic. For the second consecutive day, the state reported no new cases of infection. At the same time, a total of 61 people recovered from the illness, the highest in a single day, taking the number of active cases from 95 to 34.

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Among those who recovered, 19 were from Kannur district, 12 from Kottayam, 11 from Idukki, nine from Kollam, four from Kozhikode, two each from Malappuram, Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said at his daily press briefing. With Monday’s developments, three more districts – Kozhikode, Malappuram and Thiruvananthapuram have joined the list of Covid-19 free districts. Kannur has the most number of active cases (18) remaining, followed by six in Kottayam and three each in Kollam and Kasaragod.

Will seal areas where people flout social distancing rules, says Kejriwal as Delhi opens up

The Delhi government will be forced to seal areas where people violate social distancing norms, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Monday, expressing concern over reports of crowding across many parts of the city — especially in front of liquor shops — on the first day of lockdown relaxations.

Delhi Police, Delhi Liquor Shops, Social Distancing Cops outside Delhi liquor shops to ensure social distancing. (Express photo: Amit Mehra)

Addressing a webcast, Kejriwal said people should keep in mind that by indulging in such violations, they were endangering their own lives and that of their family members. The onus of ensuring social distancing also lies with shopkeepers, he said.

Governments alone cannot defeat coronavirus, he said, soliciting cooperation from people.

Doubling time is up from 3.4 to 12 days: Health Ministry

“India is transitioning into a new normal. Citizens need to be careful that any district which has not had a case will need to have containment zones even if there is one case”, said Lav Agarwal, Health Ministry’s Joint Secretary in today’s evening briefing.

“Infectious disease spread is a geometric progression. Doubling time is up from 3.4 to 12 days. Lockdown is yielding results. We need to see how to go about easing, said Lav Agarwal, JS, MoHFW. He added central government or railways never said anything about charging the migrant workers for sending them home. “GoI bearing 85% costs, 15% to be borne by states,” he added.

A family in the forefront: Meet the Khans of Begumpet

The Khans are the high-flying superstars of Indian Airlines Colony in Begumpet, Hyderabad. Even as the entire nation grapples with the novel coronavirus pandemic amid a nationwide lockdown, the Khans are at the forefront of fighting COVID-19, as a family.

On May 3, after several weeks, the three doctors in the Khan family were at home together after a felicitation ceremony where they were showered with rose petals by residents of their colony. “They are the real heroes. They are doing a great job, fighting COVID from the forefront. Right from the Prime Minister, everyone appreciates their work,” says Gopal Giridhar, a colony resident.

Tamil Nadu: Amma canteen employee in Chennai tests positive for Covid-19

A 52-year-old woman working at Amma Unavagam (Amma canteen) tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday. She was working at the Gajapathy Lala Street branch near Triplicane in Chennai. Amma Unavagam is a scheme run by the government of Tamil Nadu, providing subsidised food.

The woman has been shifted to Omandhurar Government College and Hospital. Following the report, the Amma Unavagam in Icehouse has been shut and all the employees of the branch are being tested.

In April, the Greater Chennai Corporation, which runs over 400 Amma canteens, said it would serve free food during the lockdown. However, after the government announced that hotels and other food services could operate (only parcel services) after May 4 in non-containment areas, the authorities in-charge of Amma Unavagam instructed respective zonal officers to cancel the free food initiative.

Congress will bear train fare of migrant workers: Sonia Gandhi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday said that the party’s State Congress Committees will bear the ticket expense of the train journey of migrant workers who are being sent back to their homes by various states. In a letter to party workers, the interim party chief said that the party will also take necessary steps in this regard.

Indian National Congress has taken a decision that every Pradesh Congress Committee shall bear the cost for the rail travel of every needy worker & migrant labourer and shall take necessary steps in this regard,” her letter read. “This will be the Indian National Congress’ humble contribution in service of our compatriots and to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with them.”

India’s manufacturing sector activity hits record low in April amid lockdown: Survey

The country’s manufacturing sector activity witnessed unprecedented contraction in April amid national lockdown restrictions, following which new business orders collapsed at a record pace and firms sharply reduced their staff numbers, a monthly survey said on Monday.

The headline seasonally adjusted IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 27.4 in April, from 51.8 in March, reflecting the sharpest deterioration in business conditions across the sector since data collection began over 15 years ago.

Over 2,000 migrants return to UP from Maharashtra

Two special trains carrying more than 2,000 migrant workers, who were stranded in Maharashtra amid the lockdown, arrived in Uttar Pradesh on Monday. “The first train 01901 from Bhiwandi carrying 1,145 passengers reached Gorakhpur railway station at 1.20 am. The other train 00975 from Vasai Road railway station with 982 passengers arrived at the station at around 5.30 am,” Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sadar (Gorakhpur), Gaurav Singh Sogarwal was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Upon their arrival, the migrant workers were sent to their respective homes in buses arranged by the Uttar Pradesh government after proper screening and medical check-up.

The official added most of the passengers were from Khajni, Bansgaon and Gola tehsil of Gorakhpur district.

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Congress to bear train fare of migrant workers

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday said that the party’s State Congress Committees will bear the ticket expense of the train journey of migrant workers who are being sent back to their homes by various states. In a letter to party workers, the interim party chief said that the party will also take necessary steps in this regard.

Indian National Congress has taken a decision that every Pradesh Congress Committee shall bear the cost for the rail travel of every needy worker & migrant labourer and shall take necessary steps in this regard,” her letter read. “This will be the Indian National Congress’ humble contribution in service of our compatriots and to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with them.”

Sonia’s letter comes a day after the railways ordered the states to collect train ticket cost from the migrants. In its guidelines published Saturday, Railways said it would hand over the tickets to the originating states and the state would “collect the ticket fare” and hand them over to Railways.

Congress, BJP spar on Twitter

An exchange of words erupted between the Congress and BJP after Rahul Gandhi today hit out at the government over the railway’s decision to collect train ticket fares from migrant workers. “On one hand, the railways is charging ticket fares from labourers stranded in other states while on the other hand, the Railway Ministry is donating Rs 151 crore to the PM-Cares Fund. Just resolve this puzzle,” Gandhi tweeted in Hindi.

The BJP hit back, saying the railways has subsidised 85 per cent of ticket fare for special trains being run to transport migrant workers and the state government has to pay only the remaining 15 per cent.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra tweeted, “Rahul Gandhi ji, I have attached guidelines of MHA which clearly states that ‘No tickets to be sold at any station’. Railways has subsidised 85% & state govt to pay 15%. The state govt can pay for the tickets (Madhya Pradesh’s BJP govt is paying). Ask Congress state governments to follow suit.”

Bihar govt to bear train expenses of returning students

The Bihar government today announced that it will bear the train expenses of students who were stranded in other states and were returning home. Migrant workers will be reimbursed after they complete the quarantine, it added.

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Beeline outside liquor stores as govt eases lockdown curbs

Alcohol lovers today thronged outside liquor stores across states as officials directed outlets to maintain social distancing. In Karnataka, some performed “special prayers” with flowers, coconuts and incense sticks as they waited for shops to open business this morning.

In Delhi, only 150 out of 850 shops have been permitted to resume activity between 9 am and 6.30 pm.

Bengal to decide on lockdown relaxations in green, orange zones

While the Centre has granted some respite to businesses in the third phase of the lockdown, the West Bengal government said a task force led by Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha will decide on the relaxations, including which shops and establishments will be allowed to reopen in the green and orange zones.

“However, the complete lockdown will continue in the containment zones,” an official said.

“We are waiting for the state government notification before deciding on opening business establishments,” Confederation of West Bengal Trade Unions president Sushil Poddar said.

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JK govt declares entire Kashmir valley, 2 districts of Jammu in red zone

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has declared the entire Kashmir valley and three district of Jammu region as “red zone” based on overall assessment of the Covid-19 situation and expected movement of stranded persons to the Union Territory.

As per the order issued by the Jammu and Kashmir administration, entire Kashmir valley, which comprises ten districts has been declared as red zone. In Jammu region, three districts of Jammu, Samba and Kathua are in red zone, the order read. While four districts of Jammu region – Udhampur, Reasi, Ramban and Rajouri – are in orange zone, Doda, Kishtwar and Poonch are in green zone.

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MG Motor to sanitise 4,000 police vehicles across India

Around 4,000 police vehicles will be sanitised across the country free of cost, MG Motor India said on Monday. The company is undertaking complete car sanitisation including fumigation, car wash, cabin refresh and sanitisation of high touch points of police vehicles, it said in a statement.

“We understand the risks undertaken by the police department especially in these tough times,” MG Motor India President & Managing Director Rajeev Chaba said. In its endeavour to support them, MG Moto is going the extra mile with fumigation of police cars, which ensures complete disinfection of the vehicle’s cabin, he added.

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Nearly 4,800 Indians are Covid-19 positive but with mild conditions in Singapore: Envoy

Nearly 4,800 Indian nationals, most of whom are living in dormitories for foreign workers, have tested positive with for the virus in Singapore till the end of April, the Indian High Commissioner said on Monday.

“Almost all of the infection among Indian workers is mild and their conditions are improving,” Jawed Ashraf, Indian High Commissioner to Singapore, told PTI.

Over 3,500 Indian nationals, including students, have also registered with the High Commission to return home or to seek assistance for accommodation and food due to their unexpectedly long stay here, he said. Over 90 per cent of the 4,800 Indians infected by the virus are workers, most of whom are living in dormitories for foreign workers, he said.

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Eminent personalities slam TMC MP Moitra for criticising NRI doctors

As many as 75 eminent personalities from West Bengal have slammed TMC MP Mahua Moitra for criticising NRI doctors, who had recently written to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressing concerns over theCovid-19 situation in the state.

In a statement issued here on Sunday, the eminent personalities, including filmmakers, actors, music composers and professors, said they are “embarrassed of such a reaction from an MP in the wake of the pandemic”. The signatories include filmmakers Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Tarun Majumder, Kamaleswar Mukhopadhyay and Suman Mukhopadhyay, artist Wasim Kapoor, actor Sabyasachi Chakraborty, music composer Debajyoti Misra, professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and educationist Pabitra Sarkar.

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In a letter to Banerjee in late April, 14 NRI doctors had cautioned the state government against “under-reporting of Covid-19 cases and deaths”, saying, “it will have a direct impact on the spread of the virus and lead to a massive crisis in the state”. Responding to this letter, Moitra had tweeted: “11 of 14 NRI docs writing to WB CM in US, 2 in UK & 1 in Ger.W/due respect you choose to live practise pay taxes elsewhere Suggest you get down to work in yr adopted countries!”

Criticising Moitra for her remarks, the personalities said, “The petty insinuations made were uncalled for diverting attention from the real issues and unnecessarily politicising the pandemic. We are afraid that this reaction from a representative of Parliament could dissuade NRI specialists from coming forward to offer their knowledge and expertise during critical times.”

Shah Rukh, Aamir, Hrithik turn singers to raise funds for Covid-19

Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Madhuri Dixit Nene among others turned signers for a digital concert to raise funds for the frontliners workers fighting the virus pandemic across the country. Facebook collaborated with some of the biggest stars in Indian entertainment industry and Hollywood names like Mick Jagger, Will Smith and Sophie Turner to put together a home-to-home fundraiser concert, ‘I For India’ on Sunday. The line-up was introduced by filmmakers Karan Johar and Zoya Akhtar, with Akshay Kumar kick-starting the concert with a poem penned by lyricist Manoj Muntashir, titled “Tumse Ho Nahi Payega.”

Kerala opens border at six places to enable Keralites return from other states

Kerala on Monday opened its borders at six places for their natives stranded in other states. The government through an order issued earlier had designated six entry points for receiving the stranded persons from other States to enter Kerala.

The stranded Keralites can enter the state through border check-posts at Inchivila in Thiruvananthapuram, Aryankavu in Kollam, Kumily in Idukki, Walayar in Palakkad, Muthanga in Wayanad and Manjeshwaram in Kasaragod.

NORKA (Non Resident Keralites Affairs) department had on Sunday said that at least 1.5 lakh Keralites from other states had registered to return after the Centre opens inter-state borders.

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