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India COVID-19 Updates, May 1: After MHA nod, Railways start ‘Shramik Special’ trains for stranded migrant workers, students, others

The Railway Ministry said that the passengers will have to be screened by the sending states and only those found asymptomatic would be allowed to travel.

By: Express Web Desk | Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune, Ranchi | May 1, 2020 2:27:51 pm
Indian Railways, Railway ministry, coronavirus, coronavirus update, coronavirus latest news, coronavirus news, india coronavirus news, covid 19, covid 19 news, covid 19 india, covid 19 latest news, covid 19 cases, india covid 19 cases, india covid 19 latest news, coronavirus today news update, coronavirus update The Railway Ministry will issue detailed guidelines for sale of tickets and for social distancing measures to be observed at train stations, platforms and within the trains. (PTI Photo/File)

Coronavirus India Updates: After getting the nod from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Railways will run “Shramik Special” trains from Friday to move migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places due to the Covid-19 lockdown, which has been extended by two more weeks starting May 4.

In a statement, the Railway Ministry said these special trains will be run from point to point on the request of both the concerned state governments as per the standard protocols for sending and receiving such stranded persons. “The Railways and state governments shall appoint senior officials as nodal officers for coordination and smooth operation of these ‘Shramik Specials’,” it said.

In the wee hours of Friday morning, a train carrying about 1,000 migrant labourers set off from Lingampally in Telangana for Hatia in Jharkhand at 5 am. Other trains that are scheduled to run today are from Aluva to Bhubaneswar, Nasik to Lucknow, Nasik to Bhopal, Jaipur to Patna, and Kota to Hatia.

The Railway Ministry further stated that the passengers will have to be screened by the sending states and only those found asymptomatic would be allowed to travel. “Sending state governments will have to bring these persons in batches that can be accommodated in the train to the designated Railway Station in sanitized buses following social distancing norms and other precautions. It will be mandatory for every passenger to wear face cover. Meals and drinking water would be provided to the passengers by the sending states at the originating station,” it added. On longer routes, the Railways will provide a meal enroute during the journey.

On arrival at the destination, passengers will be received by the state government, who would make all arrangements for their screening, quarantine if necessary and further travel from the Railway Station, the Ministry said.

As per the last update from the Health Ministry, the total number of novel coronavirus cases in India increased to 35,365. While the death toll has risen to 1152, as many as 9064 persons have recovered.

Follow Coronavirus LIVE Updates

Here are the other updates from across the country:

Govt extends lockdown for two more weeks

The Ministry of Home Affairs Friday extended the nationwide lockdown for two more weeks – now ending on Monday, May 17. In an order issued this evening. “After a comprehensive review and in view of the lockdown measures having led to significant gains in the Covid-19 situation, the government has decided to further extend the lockdown,” the order read.

The MHA further said a limited number of activities will remain prohibited across the country, irrespective of the zones, including travel by air, rail, metro and inter-state movement by road; running of schools, colleges, and other educational and training/coaching institutions. Click here to read more

5 ITBP personnel test positive for COVID-19; at least 90 quarantined

Five Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel have tested positive for coronavirus and at least 90 have been quarantined over the last few days, officials said Friday. These are the first cases of the viral infection in the border-guarding force, which is trained in mountain warfare.

Three personnel, involved in essential services at a base in the Tigri area of Delhi, have tested positive for coronavirus and have been isolated in a facility, the officials said. In a second case, an infected sub-inspector and a head constable-rank official of the 50th battalion of the force were sent to AIIMS in Haryana’s Jhajjar for isolation two days ago.

First train takes migrants home

The 24-coach train of unreserved coaches will reach Hatia near Ranchi at 11 pm, according to the schedule prepared by the Railways. The non-stop train will have only operational halt for crew changing and water-filling. The train has 54 people per coach as against the usual 72, and its route will be through Ballharshah and Nagpur in Maharashtra, then Raipur and eastwards towards Jharkhand. The Railway Protection Force has been deployed to ensure proper social distancing measures. The coaches were sanitised before being rolled into the platform.

This was only a “one-off special train” and any further trains shall be planned only as per the directions of Ministry of Railways and on request from both the originating and destination state governments.” the Railways said.

India lockdown: First train carrying 1,000 migrants leaves from Telangana for Jharkhand The train set off from Lingampally in Telangana for Hatia in Jharkhand Friday morning at 5 AM. (File)

Delhi sends 40 buses to fetch stranded students from Kota

The Delhi government has sent 40 buses to Kota to bring back stranded students of the city, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced Friday. The students are likely to return by tomorrow, he said. Upon returning, the students will have to self-isolate themselves for two weeks, the chief minister said. The arrangements for sending migrant workers back to their states is still being worked out, Kejriwal said.

“We were receiving calls from stranded students. But our hands were tied as we did not want to act without the Centre’s approval. The Centre has now granted clearance. So 40 buses have left for Kota from Delhi today. We are hoping the students will return by tomorrow,” Kejriwal said.

First Covid-19 patient in Delhi who got plasma therapy has recovered: Kejriwal

Kejriwal, in an address via video-conference, Friday said the first COVID-19 patient who had received the plasma therapy has recovered. “The first patient from LNJP under plasma therapy has recovered. Trials are still going on. This is a positive and encouraging sign for our fight against coronavirus,” the CM said.

More deaths than are counted in West Bengal

West Bengal reported 11 deaths on Sunday, its highest on any single day, to take the state tally of dead to 33, but more importantly it revealed that there were another 72 deaths of coronavirus patients that it was not counting.

That was because an expert committee appointed by the state government had ascertained that these 72 had serious pre-existing illnesses, and that their deaths could not be attributed primarily to the COVID-19 disease caused by novel Coronavirus.

State (Top 10) Total Cases New Cases Total Deaths CFR (in %)
Maharashtra 10498 583 459 4.37
Gujarat 4395 313 214 4.87
Delhi 3515 76 59 1.68
Madhya Pradesh 2625 65 137 5.22
Rajasthan 2521 146 58 2.30
Tamil Nadu 2323 161 27 1.16
Uttar Pradesh 2211 77 40 1.81
Andhra Pradesh 1403 71 31 2.21
Telangana 1038 22 28 2.70
West Bengal 816 37 33 (105) 4.04 (12.87)

Death of 105 persons among 816 confirmed positive cases would give the state a case-fatality ratio (CFR) of 13 per cent, which is way above any other state.

Gurgaon moves from red to orange zone

Following a Covid-19 review by the central government, Gurgaon has moved from the ‘Red Zone’ to the ‘Orange Zone’. The district has recorded 57 cases of coronavirus so far, of which 38 people have recovered.

Non-subsidised LPG cylinder prices reduced sharply

The prices of non-subsidised liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders have been significantly reduced by the country’s key oil marketing companies (OMCs) on Friday. According to the data available with the official website of Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL), a 14.2 kg cylinder will now cost Rs 581.50 in Delhi, down by Rs 162.50 from Rs 744.00 in April. Likewise, the price of 14.2 kg Indane cylinder in Kolkata has been cut by Rs 190 to Rs 584.50, while in Mumbai, it has been reduced by Rs 135.50 to Rs 579.00 and in Chennai, it has slipped by Rs 192 to Rs 569.50.

PM Modi wishes Russian PM speedy recovery from Covid-19

A day after Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin tested positive for Covid-19 infection, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter Friday to wish him a speedy recovery. “My best wishes to Russian PM Mishustin for early recovery and good health. We stand with our close friend Russia in efforts to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Bombay HC allows wage cuts for absentee workers from areas with relaxed or no lockdown restrictions

The Bombay High Court’s Aurangabad bench Thursday said the employers can deduct wages as per procedures laid down in the law for employees who voluntarily remain absent in areas where Covid-19 restrictions have been relaxed by the state government.

Maruti Suzuki sells zero units in domestic market in April; exports 632 units

India’s largest car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki India on Friday announced that it had zero sales in the domestic market during the month of April owing to the nationwide lockdown by the central government. However, Maruti said that it exported 632 units from Mundra port after port operations resumed. The company added that all guidelines for safety were followed during the dispatch of these units.

Amid lockdown exit talk, NITI Aayog CEO tweets 6-point plan

Amid discussions on ways to ease lockdown restrictions after May 3, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Thursday suggested a six-point strategy for ‘possible road ahead’ and said that for the sake of livelihoods, the economy should kickstart with full supply chains. Kant tweeted, “Possible Road Ahead: Hyper-localisation in Red areas with ruthless containment; 2. Physical distancing & Masks =New Fashion; 3.Virus can bounce back; 4. Look after 60+ with Co-morbidity; 5.Vaccine still far away; 6.For livelihoods, economy should kickstart with full supply chain.” Kant’s comments assume significance as he is heading one of the 11 empowered groups of officers that have been entrusted with formulating the response against the pandemic.

60,000 foreign nationals evacuated amid lockdown, says MEA

About 60,000 foreign nationals from 72 countries have been evacuated from India amid the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19, the government said on Thursday. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the issue of evacuation of Indians stranded abroad is also “under discussion”. “We understand their predicament.the issue is under consultation and discussion is underway,” he said in response to questions at an online briefing. He said all Indian missions are extending every possible assistance to the diaspora community. It is learnt that the government is working on a mega plan to deploy naval ships as well as military and commercial aircraft to evacuate Indians stranded in the Gulf and other regions after the lockdown ends.

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