Coronavirus India Updates: A day after holding a marathon six-hour meeting with chief ministers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation Tuesday on coronavirus pandemic. Stressing on making the country “self-reliant”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a special economic package amounting to Rs 20 lakh crore to deal with the Covid-19 crisis. PM Modi also said the fourth phase of nationwide lockdown would be different and have new rules and guidelines. Follow coronavirus LIVE UPDATES
The Prime Minister also announced a complete package worth Rs 20 lakh crore to deal with the economic crisis due to the COVID-19. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will announce the details of the special economic package from Wednesday. “This will play an important role in the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, he said, adding that the announcements made by the govt so far, the decisions of the RBI and today’s package adds to Rs 20 Lakh Crores or 10% of India’s GDP.”
Fifty days into the nationwide lockdown, the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 2,293 and the number of cases climbed to 70,756 Tuesday, registering an increase of 87 fatalities and 3,604 cases in the last 24 hours since Monday, according to the Union health ministry. With over 22,400 recoveries, the recovery rate stands at “around 31.73%”, a senior health ministry official said.
Meanwhile, at the daily briefing, Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal Monday reiterated that India had not reached the stage of community transmission.“Our policy has been to implement containment strategies with extra stringency wherever more cases are detected. Some clusters have been found, and in some cases, in some particular locations, relatively large outbreaks have also been noticed,” he said.
Stressing that “we have to protect ourselves and move ahead as well”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the nation, announced a special economic package amounting to Rs 20 lakh crore to deal with the Covid-19 crisis. PM Modi also said the fourth phase of nationwide lockdown would be different and have new rules and guidelines.
“I announce a special economic package today. This will play an important role in the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan‘. The announcements made by the government on Covid-19, decisions of RBI and today’s package totals to Rs 20 Lakh crore. This is 10 per cent of India’s GDP,” PM Narendra Modi said.
The third wave of infections in Kerala has ostensibly begun, with more people arriving from neighbouring states and abroad testing positive for coronavirus. On Tuesday, four of the five persons who were detected with the virus in the state in the last 24 hours had recently flown in from the Gulf countries on board the Vande Bharat repatriation flights. Of the 32 active cases in the state, 23 persons have travel history from neighbouring states or from abroad.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, at his daily press briefing in Thiruvananthapuram, sounded a note of caution in his opening remarks: “The spread of the disease has touched a new level. This is the time when we have to maintain extreme caution. The situation in front of us is filled with challenges. If we compromise with our alertness, the situation could become very bad. In the coming days, more people are set to arrive from other states and from abroad.”
PM approves Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia each to next of kin of Aurangabad train victims
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday approved ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to next of kin of the 16 migrant labourers run over by a goods train near Aurangabad. The PM also announced Rs 50,000 each to the persons who got seriously injured in the train accident. The relief amount will be sanctioned from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF).
To avoid spread of Covid-19 inside jails in Maharashtra, the state prison department has decided to temporarily release around 17,000 prisoners, which is around half of the pre-lockdown the population in jails in Maharashtra, the state government said on Tuesday.
A Supreme Court-mandated high powered committee (HPC) held meeting on Monday following detection of 185 positive coronavirus cases in Arthur Road Jail, which included 158 inmates and remaining staff, and one case in Byculla Jail. Based on the committee’s recommendations, the government has has increased number of prisoners who are slated to be released temporarily.
On March 26, the Maharashtra government had announced that nearly 11,000 inmates — both undertrials and convicts — would be released either on provisional bail or parole. After the process of release started on March 28, over 5,200 prisoners have been released on conditional bail. The process of release of convicts began on May 8 in which around 500 inmates have been released on emergency parole by the state prison department. The proposed number of inmates to be releases has now increased to 17,000.
Criticising the central government’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Tuesday that her state gained nothing from the video conferencing meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and claimed that the attendees at the interaction with the PM always return empty-handed. She also reiterated that the nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic was poorly planned.
“I raised several issues during the meeting with PM. But I must say we always return empty-handed after our meetings with PM. We are yet to get our dues,” the Chief Minister was quoted as saying by PTI. The Centre is yet to clear the “legitimate financial dues” of the state, she claimed.
Banerjee also stated that an early relief from the crisis is unlikely and called for the need of a ‘three-month plan’ to deal with the situation.
The second phase of the Vande Bharat Mission — one of India’s largest repatriation exercise to bring back Indians stranded in other countries due to the Covid-19 crisis — will see the Centre operating 149 flights from May 16 to May 22.
Under this phase, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is coordinating with the Ministry of External Affairs and state governments to bring back Indian citizens from nearly 31 countries in 149 flights.
In the first phase, Air India and Air India Express are operating 64 flights between May 7 and May 14 to bring in approximately 15,000 Indians who are stranded in 12 countries.
Just In: 2nd phase of repatriation flights will be launched from May 16 to 22. It will bring back Indians from 31 countries. 149 flights to be deployed.
— Shubhajit Roy (@ShubhajitRoy) May 12, 2020
Management of returnees pose another major challenge: Manipur
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has said that managing a large number of returnees is likely to pose another major challenge to his government as evacuation to bring back Manipuris stranded in different parts of the country begins.
An official statement of IPR department said the chief minister stated this during the video conference held on Monday held between the chief ministers of different States and with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Singh thanked the central government and different states for taking care of stranded Manipuris and extending co-operation to make their return to the state possible, the statement said.
The first train carrying around 1,200 Manipuris from Chennai will arrive at the Jiribam railway station on Wednesday afternoon around 3:30 pm. The district authority of Jiribam has said that all necessary arrangements are in place to receive the passengers.
W Malemnganba Chenglei, deputy commissioner Jiribam said 12 screening counters have been set up at the railway station. In addition, he said around three community quarantine centres having the capacity to accommodate 600 people were also identified.
To ferry the returnees from the station to Imphal the transport department of Manipur has arranged 150 buses. While the train is yet to arrive, the state has already run into hurdle due to the mass evacuation plan.
As govt arranges trains, buses for returning migrant workers back home amidst lockdown, these workers from Tripura feel otherwise
As the government arranges trains and buses to get migrant workers stranded across the country, many of them working in Tripura feels otherwise. A large group of worker from Bihar, who came to work as loaders here years back, said they are getting some work, albeit less, as lockdown restrictions are gradually lifted. They want to stay back till the pandemic is resolved. Back home, they would be jobless, penniless and helpless, they say.
Babloo Kumar Yadav, a labour sardaar or labourer handler working with several trading concerns of Agartala as loader for last 20 years. Hailing from Khagadiya district of Bihar, Babloo said he faced some problems of work due to lockdown but some government assistance was given.
“If we keep getting work, we shall stay back. 14-15 of us stay together at an accommodation provide by our employers. We are wearing masks, face covers and are maintaining social distancing. But we shall prefer to stay back till everything is alright about the coronavirus outbreak”, Babloo told indianexpress.com.
Punjab yet to implement Centre rules as 13 asymptomatic patients test positive again
The union government’s new guidelines on discharging asymptomatic Covid-19 patients without another round of testing is still under consideration of the Punjab government.
The state government has found that 13 of the asymptomatic patients — all pilgrims who had returned from Hazur Sahib, Nanded — are still testing positive and remain asymptomatic, after more than 10 days of treatment at the Guru Nanak Dev Hospital of Government Medical College, Amritsar.
“Very mild, mild and pre-symptomatic cases can be discharged after 10 days of symptom onset and no fever for three days. No test is required before discharge from Covid-19 care centres,” say the Union government guidelines.
Delhi reports 13 more coronavirus deaths today, total toll at 86
Reporting the biggest jump in the number of deaths in a day, Delhi confirmed 13 more Coronavirus deaths on Tuesday taking the toll to 86. The 13 deaths have been reported from Delhi government’s Lok Nayak hospital which is functioning as a dedicated COVID hospital.
With 406 fresh cases reported on Tuesday, the total number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the city have reached 7,639. There are 5,041 active cases in the city. Of the total admissions in 10 COVID designated hospitals, 111 people are admitted to the ICU and 20 are on the ventilator support. 1,06,109 tests have been performed so far in Delhi.
The Indian Express had highlighted the mismatch between the death data of four government hospitals and the state government. Soon, the Delhi government red-flagged deaths of Covid-19 patients not being reported in a timely and regular manner. The Chief Secretary Vijay Dev in an order to all the heads said “It has come to notice that both public and private hospitals (both COVID dedicated and non-COVID) are not reporting the deaths of positive cases of COVID-19 occurring in their hospitals in a timely and regular manner.”
The order further stated that the hospitals are not sharing the death summaries with the three-member death audit committee formed by the government on April 20. “The death summaries of the deceased patients are not being provided to the committee, resulting in incorrect/delayed reports being submitted,” the order further stated.
The day Tulu Basfor became Facebook famous, among the scores of congratulatory messages was one panicky call. “People at the market are saying you have tested positive,” came his mother’s harrowed voice from the other end.
Quarantined at a hotel in Assam’s Goalpara district, Basfor hadn’t seen her in two weeks. “I am quarantined, that does not mean I am positive,” he had said, “Don’t listen to others. I am fine. You don’t take tension.”
‘Don’t take tension’ — it was something the 31-year-old Basfor had been telling himself too.
Especially during the seven days in April, when he would put on a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suit, and walk gingerly into the COVID-19 ward of the Goalpara Civil Hospital, where three patients, infected with the novel coronavirus, were admitted. Once inside, he would mop the floors, dispose off used cutlery and disinfect the bathrooms.
Arvind Kejriwal invites public suggestion to prepare post-lockdown strategy
Underlining the importance of safeguarding public health and the economy, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday sought suggestions from people on charting out the roadmap to ease restrictions and offer relaxations in the national capital after May 17 when the third phase of lockdown ends.
Kejriwal, who has been advocating greater relaxations to boost the economy, said the Delhi government will draft its proposal, which will have to be shared with the Union government by May 15, based on inputs from people and experts.
“On one hand we will have to protect ourselves from Corona, take care of our health, on the other hand we also need to protect the health of our economy. Because a lot of people are facing difficulties due to the lockdown,” Kejriwal said, a day after proposing that economic activities be resumed across Delhi, barring its containment zones.
How the 5th PM-CMs meet panned out
In his 5th meeting with chief ministers, the prime minister stressed on teamwork, compassion and statesmanship while dealing with the crisis and asked chief ministers to share a broad strategy on how they would want to deal with the lockdown regime in their particular states by May 15
At least 4 states — Maharashtra, Punjab, Telangana and West Bengal advocated the further extension of lockdown. States including Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Andhra, Bihar and Tamil Nadu had reservations on allowing inter-state transport through rail and air.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh stressed that the authority to zone districts into red, orange and green categories be delegated to states with even the BJP-ruled Haryana backing it.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said categorisation of red zones should be done on the basis of containment zones.
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa wanted to do away with the district-wise red, orange and green zones, and appealed for having only strictly cordoned containment zones.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot told the Prime Minister that while states followed the Centre mandated lockdown “with all their willpower”, they should now get the right to decide the zones and restrictions in the next phase.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinted at a gradual lockdown withdrawal and highlighted the importance of maintaining social distancing as the only weapon in the fight against coronavirus and to overcome the two-fold challenge to check the virus spread and to increase public activity.”I am of the firm view that the measures needed in the first phase of lockdown were not needed during the 2nd phase and similarly the measures needed in the 3rd Phase are not needed in the fourth,” he said.
PM non-committal on helping states tide over fiscal woes: Puducherry CM
Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy Monday claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi was non-committal on fiscal assistance to states despite them apprising him of the fiscal sufferings during his video conference.
Therefore, there was no other option for Puducherry except to borrow from the Reserve Bank of India to tide over the current fiscal crisis, he told reporters here on Monday night after participating in the video conference of chief ministers with Modi.
He said the situation prevails even after he brought to the PM’s attention the fall in the revenue due to closure of all business establishments, liquor shops and industrial units since the COVID-19 lockdown began in March. He said salaries were paid to Puucherry government staff for March and April. But the present situation was grim and hence a way out should be found.
Health Ministry to carry out pool testing in all districts as part of nationwide surveillance plan
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Monday decided to carry out pooled testing in all districts – including those which have not reported any case so far – as part of its nationwide surveillance plan.
According to the Health Ministry’s data, 216 districts had not reported any case till last week. The ministry plans to include such districts in its countrywide surveillance, which will be carried out in 10 health facilities (6 public, 4 private) in each district.
Both high-risk (healthcare workers) and low-risk (non-ILI Out Patient Department patients and pregnant women) groups will be selected. According to the plan, 100 samples will be collected from high-risk groups and 50 each from the two groups of low-risk population each week.
This comes after the ministry revised home isolation guidelines, stating that there is no need for testing after the home isolation period is over.
Aarogya Setu data only for health needs, to be deleted in 180 days
The Aarogya Setu Data Access and Knowledge Sharing Protocol released on Monday by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) states that the personal data of the app’s user, which includes contacts and location, must be permanently deleted after 180 days “from the date on which it is collected”, and data can only be used for health purposes.
“NIC (National Informatics Centre) shall collect only such response data as is necessary and proportionate to formulate or implement appropriate health responses. Further, such data shall be used strictly for the purpose of formulating or implementing appropriate health responses and constantly improving such responses,” said The MeitY statement.
Meanwhile, former Supreme Court Judge B N Srikrishna, who chaired the committee that came out with the first draft of the Personal Data Protection Bill, termed the government’s push mandating the use of Aarogya Setu app “utterly illegal”.
The Aarogya Setu App became mandatory for private and public sector offices on 1 May by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Railways to resume their services starting today
Starting today, the Indian Railway services will run to full capacity nearly 2 months after it suspended its services, leaving it up to the passengers to maintain social distancing on board, and to states to decide the protocol on arrival.
Read| Passenger train services from today: From tickets on IRCTC to precautions, all your questions answered
On Monday, the Home Ministry issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the movement of people by trains and made it clear that only asymptomatic and confirmed ticket holders will be allowed to travel. Passengers have to reach 90 mins in advance in stations to board the trains.
Within 20 minutes of the bookings opening Monday, the Howrah-New Delhi train was sold out. In no time at all, it was fully booked for the next five days. The same was the story with the Mumbai-New Delhi route.
Meanwhile, Joint Secretary of Health Ministry Luv Agarwal expressed concerns on the possibility of infection spreading in AC trains. “Centralised AC can be used, but there is a need to monitor the flow of air. If there is any aerosol-induced spread risk, we can travel without AC too,” Agarwal said.
Start Mumbai local trains for those working in essential services, Uddhav tells PM Modi
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Monday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to start Mumbai suburban railway services for people employed in the essential services industry and also asked the deployment of Central forces in order to give the state police some relief.
A statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office quoted Uddhav as saying: “The suburban railway services should be started and it should be only for the employees working in the essential sectors. They can be allowed to board locals after checking their identity cards.”
Stating that the inter-ministerial central teams that had visited Mumbai and Pune had given useful suggestions, Uddhav assured the PM of his government’s cooperation at the virtual meeting on Monday.
Migrant protests continue
Migrants from Jaipur’s Shastri Nagar stranded due to the coronavirus lockdown hit the streets Monday protesting about no means to go home and lack of ration. After they were dispersed by police, several protesters claimed that they were beaten up; the authorities, however, maintained that no force was used.
Tamil Nadu becomes the third worst affected, numbers continue to rise
With almost 800 new cases on Monday, its highest-ever single day increase, Tamil Nadu has now overtaken Delhi as the state with the third biggest caseload of novel Coronavirus in the country with 8002 confirmed infections.
Only Maharashtra and Gujarat now have more confirmed cases than Tamil Nadu, which has seen its numbers rise rapidly in the last few days, especially after the discovery of the Koyambedu market cluster in Chennai which has so far contributed more than 2,000 cases.