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India COVID-19 latest updates, April 20: 1,553 cases, 36 deaths in last 24 hours

Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jay Pratap Singh on Monday cautioned Noida residents against the Covid-19 pandemic, saying Gautam Buddh Nagar is a sensitive area and that the people must practice social distancing.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: April 20, 2020 2:20:14 pm
Government employees arrive at Parliament for duty on Monday. (Express photo/Anil Sharma)

Coronavirus India Updates: With the biggest single-day spike in the number of Covid-19 cases within a span of 24 hours, India on Monday recorded 17,265 cases even as some easing of lockdown measures came into force. The death toll stood at 543. The total number of cases included 2,546 patients who have been discharged and one who has migrated.

Meanwhile, in a communication to chief secretaries of state governments and Union Territory administrations, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said some states and UTs were issuing orders allowing activities that have not been allowed as per the guidelines issued by the Home Ministry under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

“I would again urge you to ensure compliance of the revised consolidated guidelines, and direct all authorities concerned for their strict implementation in letter and spirit without any dilution and to ensure strict compliance of lockdown measures,” he said.

Here is a look at all the latest Covid-19 developments:

To address mental health problems, govt launches helpline for rural & tribal regions

With a view to provide counselling and care for those suffering mental health problems or emotional distress due to the prolonged lockdown and deepening economic hardships, the state tribal development department on Sunday launched a helpline number especially for rural and tribal regions. The helpline is being operated by non-profits Prafulta and Project Mumbai.

Already, 30 trained counsellors have been appointed and work has begun to spread awareness about the helpline. The counsellors, who are trained to speak in Marathi, Hindi and English, fielded over 100 calls on Sunday and an equal number on Monday. All 30 were continuously on the phones during their shift, with callers keeping the helpline busy throughout.

Amid pandemic, Centre to use ‘surplus rice’ for making hand sanitisers

The central government on Monday decided to convert “surplus rice” available with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) into ethanol for use in making alcohol-based hand-sanitizers.

The decision was taken during a National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC) meeting headed by Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan.

“A meeting of NBCC was held today under the Chairmanship of the Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, wherein it was approved that the surplus rice available with Food Corporation of India (FCI) may be converted to ethanol for utilization in making alcohol-based hand-sanitizers and in blending for Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme,” the government said in a press release.

Here is how the lockdown restrictions have changed in your state from today

As revised guidelines for the nationwide coronavirus lockdown came into effect from Monday, leading to easing of restrictions to mitigate economic hardships, several states permitted industrial activity, MNREGA work and government office functioning outside the containment zones. However, Karnataka joined Delhi, Telangana and Punjab in opting not to ease the lockdown restrictions till May 3 on a day India reported 1,553 fresh cases — the biggest single-day spike.

As of Monday, the total number of positive cases stood at 17,265, including 543 deaths. The Centre has also allowed movement of migrant labour between districts within a state.

Doubling rate now 7.5 days; 80 of 100 patients have no or mild symptoms, says ICMR

About 80 out of 100 COVID-19 patients have no or mild symptoms of the disease, the ICMR, Delhi, said on Monday. Stating that infection prevention management is an important part of the disease management, Health Ministry said the doubling rate of the cases have gone down from 3.4 days before lockdown to 7.5 days now.

Home Ministry said it has written letters to state governments pointing out lockdown violations in some areas in their respective states. States have been told that they can make the lockdown guidelines more stringent depending on the need in specific areas, but can’t dilute them. Kerala government has been informed about the concerns, Punya Salila Srivastava Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health Affairs, said.

Some test kits in West Bengal are reported to have defects. ‘The problem is it has to be stored below 20 degrees. This sometimes happens when you reuse,’ said Dr K K Gangakhedkar of ICMR, Delhi. “Told the state government that we will give 10,000 kits to West Bengal to temporarily tide over the present,” he added.

Barbers live on razor’s edge, see livelihood shaved off

“Govt should add barbers in essential service list, otherwise after quarantine there will be umer abdullah in every house,” read a joke tweeted by former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah. Though the joke was shared on a lighter note, the situation remains grim for barbers in the country.

The stalemate effected by the coronavirus lockdown does not apply on the growth of human hair. But for innumerable barbers that groom the country of 1.3 billion, the lockdown has pushed them to a razor’s edge.

“Things have become very difficult ever since I shut my salon on March 22,” said Shailendra, a barber from UP’s Jhansi, who made Rs 500 from his two-seat salon. “Sometimes people call me home for grooming, that helps me earn Rs 100-200,” he adds.

Noida is Covid-19 sensitive, people need to practice social distancing: UP health minister

Gautam Buddh Nagar is a sensitive area and the public here needs to be more cautious about the COVID-19 pandemic, Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jay Pratap Singh said and urged people to practice social distancing during the lockdown.

Singh, who is also the state government’s minister in-charge of the district, made the remarks during a video conference with Jewar-Greater Noida MLA Dhirendra Singh and a few journalists on Sunday.

Gautam Buddh Nagar, adjoining Delhi in western UP, is among the districts worst-hit by the pandemic and has so far recorded 97 positive cases of coronavirus even as 38 of these patients have been cured and discharged, according to officials.

What restrictions have been relaxed for Mumbai from today and list of containment zones

To mitigate economic hardships brought on by the shutdown, Mumbai has been allowed a few activities from Monday, including work at infrastructure projects and wedding events, only if these are outside designated containment zones and follow strict safety procedures against coronavirus.

Guidelines issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Sunday said other than essential services — medical and grocery stores — fisheries and related work, cable services, DTH and call centres can resume work in non-containment areas, with minimum staff. Further, those allowed to resume operations also have to apply for and obtain permission passes from the BMC.

After MHA letter, Kerala govt denies dilution of lockdown rules

The Ministry of Home Affairs has shot a letter to the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government over its decision to ease curbs for the phase-II of the Covid-19 lockdown, saying lifting of certain restrictions amounted to dilution of the Centre’s guidelines. The state government, however, said there was some “misunderstanding” and that they share the same stand with the Centre to fight the pandemic.

In the letter to the Kerala government on Sunday, the Centre said the decision to reopen restaurants and book shops is in clear violation of the lockdown measures issued by the home ministry and violation of its April 15 order issued under the Disaster Management Act 2005.

“I would urge you to rectify the guidelines of GoK in line with the consolidated revised guidelines dated 15th April and 16th April 2020 without any dilution and to ensure strict compliance of lockdown measures,” the letter said. It has also reminded the Kerala government that the Supreme Court had asked all states to abide by the directions of the Centre in efforts to fight the virus pandemic.

In the letter to the Kerala government on Sunday, the Centre said the decision to reopen restaurants and book shops is in clear violation of the lockdown measures issued by the home ministry and violation of its April 15 order issued under the Disaster Management Act 2005.

Flight restrictions to be lifted when COVID-19 is controlled: Govt

The restrictions on domestic and international flight operations will be lifted once the government is sure that the pandemic is under control, and poses no danger to Indians, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday.

In a series of tweets, the minister also said a directive was issued on Sunday to airlines, restraining them from doing open bookings since they did not heed to government’s advice in the matter.

“I want to once again say that flight restrictions that are in place as a result of India’s fight against COVID-19 will be lifted once we are confident that spread of the virus has been controlled and it poses no danger to our country and people,” he tweeted.

Newborn tests positive for COVID-19 in Rajasthan’s Nagaur

A newborn baby tested positive for coronavirus in Rajasthan’s Nagaur district, an official said Monday. “The baby born on Saturday is coronavirus positive. Her mother, father and other family members too are COVID-19 patients,” Nagaur chief medical and health officer Dr Sukumar Kashyap was quoted as saying by PTI.

In Nagaur, 59 people have tested positive so far. A 62-year-old man from the district, who was admitted at SMS hospital in Jaipur, died on Sunday night.

Traffic on the highway near the industrial hub of Changodar in Ahmedabad amid partial relaxation of lockdown curbs. (Express photo/Javed Raja)

Noida is Covid-19 sensitive: UP health minister

Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jay Pratap Singh on Monday cautioned Noida residents against the Covid-19 pandemic, saying Gautam Buddh Nagar is a sensitive area and that the people must practice social distancing.

Gautam Buddh Nagar, adjoining Delhi in western UP, is among the districts worst-hit by the pandemic and has so far recorded 97 positive cases of coronavirus even as 38 of these patients have been cured and discharged, according to officials.

“From Monday onwards, there could be some relaxations for industrialists and essential services but the need of the hour is to strictly follow the guidelines of the lockdown which has now been extended till May 3. People must practice preventive measures like social distancing to combat coronavirus,” the health minister said.

Amit Shah speaks to Uddhav Thackeray on Palghar lynching

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday spoke to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to enquire about the lynching of three persons in the state’s Palghar area.

During the telephonic conversation, Thackeray apprised the home minister about the incidents and the steps taken to nab those involved in the incident, they said.

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On April 16, three Mumbai residents, who were on their way to Silvassa, were lynched by local residents in Gadakchinchale village of Palghar district on the suspicion that they were thieves. At least 101 people, including nine minors, were detained by police for their alleged involvement in the incident.

Madhya Pradesh: Covid-19 toll in Indore rises to 52, cases reach 897

The death toll in Madhya Pradesh rose to 52 on Monday after three more patients succumbed to the infection within a span of 24 hours, PTI reported. Besides this, seven others tested positive for the virus, officials said. Of these, 71 patients have been discharged so far.

The deceased included two men and a woman, in the age group of 42 to 47 years, Chief Medical and Health Officer Praveen Jadia said.

Data analysis showed that the COVID-19 death rate in Indore was 5.8 per cent, higher than the national average. Curfew has been imposed in the district’s urban limits since March 25, after the first coronavirus patient was found in Indore.

Government employees undergo sanitisation at Parliament on Monday. (Express photo/Anil Sharma)

Odisha cop suspended for entering Jagannath temple amid lockdown

A police inspector in Odisha was suspended for allegedly entering the Jagannath temple in Puri, in violation of the ongoing lockdown, a senior officer said on Monday. A case was registered against the inspector for his misconduct, the officer said.

“DGP has placed Inspector Deepak Kumar Jena IIC Badachana PS under suspension for his misconduct. Puri Singhdwar PS Case no 40/2020 has also been registered against him,” the Odisha police tweeted.

Don’t miss these articles on Coronavirus from the Explained section:

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Besides a face cover, should I wear gloves when I go outdoors?

How the Agra, Bhilwara and Pathanamthitta Covid-19 containment models differ

Can coronavirus damage your brain?

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