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India COVID-19 Updates, May 3: Cases cross 40,000; relaxations for movement given to migrant workers only, says MHA

Coronavirus India updates: According to latest figures provided by the Health Ministry, the total number of coronavirus cases climbed to 39,980 with as many as 1,301 fatalities.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
May 3, 2020 2:28:37 pm
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Coronavirus India Updates: The Covid-19 tally in India crossed the 40,000 mark on Sunday even as the country prepared for an extended lockdown, for the second time, with considerable relaxations in green and orange zones from Monday. According to latest figures provided by the Health Ministry, the total number of coronavirus cases climbed to 40,263 with as many as 1,306 fatalities. The ministry said 2487 cases and 73 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.

Earlier in the day, the Indian Air Force on Sunday carried out fly-pasts over major cities and towns as helicopters showered petals on hospitals across the country to express gratitude to healthcare professionals, who are at the forefront of the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

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The country has been divided in three zones — Red, Orange and Green – based on coronavirus risk-profiling. The extended lockdown is slated to last till May 17.

Relaxations for movement only for migrant workers: MHA

The Union Home Ministry on Sunday made it clear that the relaxations given for the movement of people during the lockdown was available only to distressed migrant workers, PTI reported.

In a communication to all States and Union Territories, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said the MHA allowed movement of such stranded persons who had moved from their native places or workplaces just before the lockdown period, but could not return to their native places or workplaces on account of restrictions placed on movement of persons and vehicles as part of lockdown measures.

The facilitation envisaged in the orders is meant for such distressed persons, but does not extend to those categories of persons, who are otherwise residing normally at places, other than the native places for purposes of work etc., and who wish to visit their native places in normal course, the communication said.

Military salutes Covid-19 heroes

The Indian Armed Forces on Sunday held flypasts, played military bands, and showered flower petals at hospitals across nations treating coronavirus to express their gratitude to medical professions and staff members fighting the pandemic.

The aerial salute was witnessed in the national capital as a fleet of military jets carried out a spectacular flypast to all those engaged in the coronavirus war. The military jets, including Sukhoi-30 MKI, MiG-29 and Jaguar, flew over Rajpath, Delhi’s centrepiece boulevard, and then orbited over the city for around 30 minutes from 11 am. Premier transport aircraft C-130 also carried out a separate fly-past covering the Delhi and the NCR region. The aircraft flew at an approximate height of 500 metres to 1000 metres keeping aerospace safety in mind.

Similar displays were held in other cities such as Bhopal, Hyderabad, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Jaipur and Raipur by a single Indian Air Force helicopter, respectively. Other cities are also scheduled to hold the same during the course of the day.

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Special train carrying 1,150 migrants arrives in Odisha

The first ‘Shramik Special’ train to Odisha, carrying around 1,150 migrant workers stranded in Kerala, arrived in Ganjam district on Sunday, officials said.

The train had left Ernakulam railway station on Friday evening and arrived at Jagannathpur railway station in Ganjam district this morning. It further proceeded to Khurda Road railway station, where it terminated, officials said. Over 500 passengers, including women and children, got down at at Jagannathpur while the remaining at Khurda Road.

The passengers were first screened and the issued certification for the journey before boarding the train in Kerala, officials said. Those alighting at Jagannathpur railway station were sent to their home districts of Kandhamal, Ganjam, Rayagada, Boudh, Nabarangpur and Koraput, they added.

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500 students stranded in Kota reach Delhi in 40 buses

Over 800 students stranded in Kota for over a month boarded 40 buses to return home to Delhi on Saturday. Delhi’s Transport minister Kailash Gahlot said the students would be sent to their homes from Kashmere Gate ISBT after screening and tests.

“A total of 480 students have been brought from Kota. All the students are reportedly fine,” said Rajiv Singh, ADM (Central) nodal officer for the evacuation operation of the Delhi government.

The students preparing for competitive medical and engineering exams were stranded in Kota for weeks amid the shutdown and appeals were made by their parents to the Delhi government to bring them back.

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Over 800 migrants return to UP from Maharashtra in special train

The first special train for Uttar Pradesh carrying more than 800 workers who were stranded in Maharashtra reached Lucknow on Sunday. The Railways is running Shramik Special trains to ferry migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded in various parts of the country since March 25. The first train left for Jharkhand from Hyderabad on Friday.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said, “The labourers returning to the state should be properly screened at quarantine centres. If they are found fit, they should be given a food kit and allowed to go home to remain quarantined there. If they are found medically unfit, then proper treatment should be provided.”

The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation deployed 32 buses to cater to the migrants from all districts in the state, Lucknow Depot Regional Manager P K Bose said. “The total number of passengers who have boarded the UPSRTC buses is 841. The major destinations covered are Siddharthanagar, Shravasti, Kannauj and Bahraich,” Managing Director of UPSRTC Raj Shekhar said in a statement.

Migrant labourers on a special train in Uttar Pradesh.

Adityanath blames Tablighi Jamaat members for spread of Covid-19

Holding the Tablighi Jamaat responsible for the spread of the virus, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that being infected with a virus is not a crime but to hide it is definitely one.

Speaking at a programme of a news channel, Adityanath said, “The role of Tablighi Jamaat was most condemnable. To get a disease is not a crime but to hide a disease which is infectious is definitely a crime. And this crime has been done by those associated with the Tablighi Jamaat.”

Assuring strict action against the Jamaat members, Adityanath said, “In Uttar Pradesh and other places where the spread of the coronavirus has been seen, Tablighi Jamaat is behind it. Had they not hidden the disease and went about like its carriers, then perhaps we would have controlled the coronavirus outbreak to a large extent,” he had said.

A Tablighi Jamaat congregation held in March in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area significantly contributed to the doubling of Covid-19 cases across the country.

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Provision in Railways SOP for Shramik Special trains draws flak

The Indian Railways has issued a set of guidelines for Shramik Special trains being run to ferry the migrants stranded across the country, saying the trains would ply only if they have 90 per cent occupancy and the “states should collect the ticket fare”. The provision for charging for their services drew criticism.

“If you are stuck abroad during this COVID crisis this government will fly you back for free but if you are a migrant worker stranded in another state be prepared to cough up the cost of travel (with social distancing cost added). Where did ‘PM Cares’ go? Like I said earlier you were better off getting stranded overseas & flown back home!,” tweeted NC leader Omar Abdullah.

A provision in the SOP, which drew a good deal of flak, said the “local state government shall handover the tickets for these passengers cleared by them and collect the ticket fare and hand over the total amount to Railways.”

In the SOP, the Railways said the responsibility for food, security, health scanning, providing tickets to the stranded will be with the state from which the train is originating. It has however taken the burden of providing one meal to passengers whose journey will be of 12 hours or more.

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Mahindra Holidays to reopen resorts near metro cities

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd is planning to reopen resorts that are at drivable distance from the metro cities once the lockdown is lifted, the travel company said on Sunday. The firm has, at present, suspended operations at its resorts in compliance with the government directives.

“At Club Mahindra we have over 255,000 member families and once travel restrictions are relaxed and state borders open up, and people feel comfortable enough to travel again, we expect our members and their families to start travelling to our resorts in their own vehicles, since we are at drivable distances from major cities,” MD and CEO Kavinder Singh told PTI.

The company is gearing up for this by putting in place all the necessary safety related standard operating procedures. It will ensure the highest levels of hygiene standards (hospital grade) to achieve a quick return to normalcy,” he added.

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J&K chalks out plan for phase-wise return of stranded people

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has chalked out a plan for the phase-wise return of the residents of the Union Territory, including students and migrant labourers stranded in different parts of the country. All the returnees, however, will be undergo screening upon their arrival, the administration added.

Besides this, it also announced a 21-day institutional quarantine in Lakhanpur, the gateway to Jammu and Kashmir, in Kathua district for all those who arrive without prior permission of the administration.

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Karnataka announces three-day free travel on buses for migrant workers within state

In a relief for thousands of migrant workers in Karnataka longing to travel back to their native places in the state amid the coronavirus lockdown, the BS Yediyurappa government Sunday announced free travel on state-run buses for the next three days.

“Workers and poor wage laborers have been allowed to travel in KSRTC buses free of charge from district centers and capital city Bengaluru to their hometowns in Karnataka for three days from today (Sunday),” a statement from the Karnataka Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) read.

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