Coronavirus India Updates: At least 122 fresh Covid-linked deaths and 3,525 positive cases were recorded in the country in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 2,415. The total number of infections were reported at 74,281, including 24,385 persons who have recovered or have been discharged.
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a Rs 20-lakh crore economic package, the Finance Ministry Wednesday spelled out the granular details of the stimulus package and announced a facility of Rs 3 lakh crores collateral-free automatic loans for business, including micro, small and medium enterprise (MSMEs), among other decisions.
Backing FM Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement, Modi said the stimulus package will go a long way in “addressing issues faced by businesses, especially MSMEs”. He said that the steps announced will boost liquidity, empower the entrepreneurs and strengthen their competitive spirit.
However, former finance minister P Chidambaram expressed dissent over the Centre’s announcement saying,it did not take into consideration the plight of migrant labourers and that it was “a cruel blow dealt to those who toil every day”.
Maharashtra toll nears 1,000-mark, sees highest single-day spike in infections
Maharashtra on Wednesday witnessed the highest single-day spike in coronavirus cases, reporting 1,495 infections and 54 deaths in the last 24 hours. Of the total deaths, 40 were recorded in Mumbai alone taking the overall case count to 25,922 and the number of fatalities to 975, a Health department official said.
About 422 patients were discharged from hospitals, taking the total number of the recovered patients to 5,547, he said.
Over 2 lakh people to travel in train next week
More than 2 lakh people have booked tickets for special trains for journeys over the next seven days. Official data also showed that till Wednesday, 2,08,965 passengers had booked tickets for these special trains for journeys over the next seven days.
Fifteen pairs of trains between Delhi and major cities of the country started running from May 12 and over 9,000 people left the national capital on Wednesday boarding nine trains. According to data accessed by PTI, of the nine trains from Delhi, eight which left for Howrah, Jammu, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Dibrugarh, Mumbai, Ranchi and Ahmedabad were booked beyond their capacity. Only one train, which ran to Patna, the capital of Bihar, ran at 87 per cent capacity, the data showed.
PM CARES Fund to allocate Rs 1,000 cr for migrants, Rs 2,000 cr to buy ventilators
The PM CARES Fund has decided o allocate Rs 3,100 crore for fight against COVID-19, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement. Of the total amount, nearly Rs 2,000 crore will be earmarked for the purchase of ventilators and Rs 1,000 crore for care of migrant labourers, it said.
Another Rs 100 crore will be given to support coronavirus vaccine development, the statement said.
Rail Bhavan shut for two days after staffer tests positive for virus
The headquarters of the Indian Railways in Central Delhi, Rail Bhavan, has announced to closure of two days after an RPF staffer tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday. The employee, working as a clerk in Railway Protection Force (RPF) Director General Arun Kumar’s office on the fourth floor of Rail Bhavan, was in quarantine since May 6, they said.
According to an order issued on Wednesday, the building, which houses the Railway Board, will be shut on May 14 and 15 and intensive sanitisation of all the rooms and common areas will be done.
Govt offers Rs 3 lakh cr of collateral-free loans to small businesses
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced Rs 3 lakh crore of collateral-free loans for small businesses, cut the tax rate for non-salary payments and provided liquidity to non-banking companies to help them tide over the disruptions caused by the lockdown. Further, she aid Rs 90,000 crore liquidity infusion will be made in electricity distribution companies to help them fight the current financial stress.
Also, dates for filing income tax returns and other assessments have been extended. She said the rate of tax deducted at source (TDS) and tax collected at source (TCS) for non-salaried payments up to March 31, 2021, will be cut by 25 per cent. The move will release Rs 50,000 crore in the system, she said. “Essentially this is to spur growth and to build a very self-reliant India,” she said. “It addresses ease of doing business, compliance, and due diligence and the intention is also to build local brands.” (Read more)
Air India partly seals its Centaur Hotel for sanitisation
The ground floor of Air India’s Centaur Hotel has been sealed for two days after a crew member tested at the temporary facility there was found positive for coronavirus, PTI quoted a senior official a saying. “All hotels are currently closed and Centaur was also not functioning as a hotel. A part of the premises, which was used for conducting tests, has been demarcated for sanitisation adhering to safety protocols, and the crew test is shifted to a different medical office for the time being,” an Air India spokesperson said.
Air India had sealed its headquarters in Delhi on Tuesday for two days to conduct a thorough sanitisation of the building after an employee who worked there tested positive for the virus.
Have requested Centre to deploy CAPF in Maha: Deshmukh
The Maharashtra government has requested the Centre to deploy 20 companies of CAPF in the state so the police personnel, wo have been working “day in and day out” ever since the lockdown was enforced, can be given some rest, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said. Thirty two companies of the Central Reserve Police Force’s (CRPF) have already been deployed in Maharashtra and are working in tandem with the state police, according to an official statement.
With several police personnel testing positive for #COVIDー19, long & challenging work hours are leaving Maharashtra police stretched. Ramzan Eid is also on May 25th. To help maintain law & order the state has requested 20 companies of CAPF to be deployed.#MaharashtraGovtCares pic.twitter.com/iJipnxeaQK
— ANIL DESHMUKH (@AnilDeshmukhNCP) May 13, 2020
“The festival of Eid is also around the corner and proper law and order has to be ensured. The police should get some rest for that. Hence, we have requested the Centre to deploy 20 companies of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF), that is 2,000 personnel,” the minister said in a video message on Twitter.
Virus spread slowing, key reproduction number 1.29 until May 10
Between April 13 and May 10, the Covid-19 transmission rate (represented by the basic reproduction number or R-number) remained steady at 1.29, even after some of the lockdown restrictions were eased on May 4, according to a study done by the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai.
The transmission rate is driven mostly by outbreaks in a few states, while most states saw contained growth. At the beginning of lockdown, the R-naught (indicating the initial transmission rate) for March 27-April 6 was 1.83. In the study of infectious disease, the basic reproduction number (R0 in the beginning, and then R-number) is used to assess the severity of an outbreak. This number is an average, reflecting the number of people infected by one infected person. The current R-number of 1.29 means that a Covid-19 patient is infecting 1.29 other people on an average.
Rajasthan reports 87 new cases
Rajasthan recorded 87 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, taking the state’s total tally to 4,213, PTI reported. The state has reported 117 deaths due to the virus, with Jaipur accounting for 60 deaths. As many as 2,455 patients have tested negative for the virus after treatment, out of which 2,159 have been discharged from hospitals, Additional Chief Secretary (Health), Rohit Kumar Singh, said. The state now has around 1,641 active cases.
Madhya Pradesh: Covid-19 cases in Indore rise to 2,107
At least 91 more people tested positive for coronavirus in Indore in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases in the worst hit district of Madhya Pradesh to 2,107, an official said on Wednesday, PTI reported. 988 people have been discharged after recovery. The death rate due to covid-19 in Indore stood at 4.51 per cent on Wednesday. Indore is one of the coronavirus hotspots in the country.
First train reaches Delhi, passengers scramble for transport for onward journeys
Hundreds of passengers from Gujarat and Rajasthan reached New Delhi on Wednesday on the first train to arrive here since railway services were resumed on May 12, and a large number of them gathered on roads outside the station with no transport available for onward journeys, PTI reported. Passenger train operation were resumed initially with 15 pairs of trains, weeks after they were suspended due to the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
Meanwhile, as many as 42,000 migrants have been ferried to their home states in 35 trains from Maharashtra, a state Home Department official said on Wednesday. The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) conducted around 300 bus services to drop the homeward-bound migrant labourers at the state border along Madhya Pradesh.
The Indian Council of Medical Research is conducting a household-level antibody testing of 24,000 adults in select districts to “estimate the prevalence of (Covid-19) infection” among people. This new research comes on the heels of another facility-level pooled testing of all districts of the country. Both mark an enhanced level of testing surveillance from previous studies focused on Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI).
In the last ICMR research study on syndromic SARI surveillance, released April 18, out of 5,911 SARI patients randomly tested for coronavirus from February 15 to April 2, a total of 104 (1.8 per cent) tested positive for the virus across 52 districts in 20 states and Union Territories.
The percentage of random positive samples of Covid-19 among SARI patients across the country showed an increase incrementally over this period. On March 20, the SARI surveillance was expanded to include all SARI patients, not only random sampling.
After going past Delhi, the number of novel Coronavirus cases in Tamil Nadu look poised to overtake Gujarat as well. Tamil Nadu discovered 716 new infections on Tuesday, and now has 8718 confirmed cases. Gujarat, the state with the second-highest number of cases, has 8904 with the addition of 362 new cases on Tuesday.
As has been happening every day, most of the new cases in Tamil Nadu came from Chennai which now has close to 5,000 cases. This is more than 55 per cent of the total number of cases in the state. But Chennai is not alone in this. In several states, the bulk of cases, more than 50 per cent, are concentrated in just one or two cities. Mumbai accounts for over 60 per cent of all cases in Maharashtra while Ahmedabad has over 70 per cent of all cases in Gujarat. Indore in Madhya Pradesh and Kolkata in West Bengal are also in a similar situation. These cities also account for a large proportion of deaths in the states.
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