Coronavirus India Updates: On the 39th day of the lockdown, India witnessed a record jump of 2411 Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said. The total number of cases has climbed to 37,776, including 1223 deaths and 10017 of those who have recovered. The Centre has extended the lockdown for two more weeks starting May 4, but announced considerable relaxations in green and orange zones. Maharashtra and Gujarat continue to be the worst-affected states with 12,296 and 5054 cases, respectively. Most deaths have also reported from these two states (Maharashtra-521, Gujarat-262).
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Following the Centre’s nod, the Railways on Saturday rolled out more ‘Shramik (worker) Special’ trains to ferry migrants labourers, pilgrims, tourists and others stranded due to the lockdown to their home states. A train carrying 847 stranded migrant labourers set off from Nashik in Maharashtra to Lucknow earlier today. Meanwhile, two trains carrying workers will leave tonight for Uttar Pradesh and Odisha from Gujarat’s Ahmedabad and Surat stations. In Kerala, a non-stop train carrying around labourers left from Thiruvananthapuram for Hatiain Jharkhand. Four more trains are expected to leave with the workers from Tirur, Kozhikode, Ernakulam South and Aluva stations later tonight for Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha.
Here is a look at other top Covid-19 developments in India today:
Lokpal member Justice (Retd) Ajay Kumar Tripathi passed away at the AIIMS trauma centre in New Delhi. He was admitted to the hospital in April after he tested positive for Covid-19. On Saturday evening, he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and succumbed to the month-long illness.
“He was still positive for Covid-19 and at around 9 pm he suffered a cardiac arrest,” said Dr Amil Lathwal, medical superintendent of AIIMS trauma centre.
Tripathi, 62, was one of the four judicial members of the Lokpal.
PM Modi meets FM for 2nd economic stimulus package
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held a series of meetings with key ministers, including Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and officials of economic ministries to firm up the second stimulus package for sectors impacted by lockdown to curb spread of coronavirus, news agency PTI reported quoting its sources. The Prime Minister also held discussions with Shah and Sitharaman and would have follow up meetings with ministers of key economic ministries such as Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME), the news agency reported.
To mitigate hardships faced by the bottom of the pyramid, the government in late March had announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore stimulus package comprising free foodgrains and cooking gas to poor and cash doles to poor women and elderly.
Earlier today, PM Modi also held a telephonic conversation with Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and discussed the challenges posed by the pandemic. Taking to Twitter, Modi said, “As neighbours with deep-rooted historical and cultural links, India and Thailand will work together to deal with the multifarious challenges posed by this present crisis.”
Discussed issues related to COVID-19 pandemic with good friend @prayutofficial. As neighbours with deep-rooted historical and cultural links, India and Thailand will work together to deal with the multifarious challenges posed by this present crisis.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 2, 2020
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said Aarogya Setu mobile application is a “sophisticated surveillance system” outsourced to a private operator, raising serious data security and privacy concerns. Technology can help keep us safe, but fear must not be used to track citizens without their consent, he said.
The mobile application helps users identify whether they are at risk of the COVID-19 infection. It also provides people with important information, including ways to avoid coronavirus and its symptoms. Explained | What are the concerns around data & privacy?
“The Arogya Setu app, is a sophisticated surveillance system, outsourced to a pvt operator, with no institutional oversight – raising serious data security & privacy concerns. Technology can help keep us safe; but fear must not be leveraged to track citizens without their consent,” he said on Twitter.
Hitting back, Union Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the app was a “powerful companion which protects people and has a robust data security architecture.”
Denying Gandhi’s claim that the app was outsourced to a private operator, Prasad told him “stop outsourcing your tweets to your cronies who do not understand India.”
“Those who indulged in surveillance all their lives, won’t know how tech can be leveraged for good!,” he said.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Saturday issued a notification permitting taxis and cab aggregators to ply in orange zones, with one driver and two passengers. It also said inter-district movement of individuals and vehicles, only for permitted activities, and with maximum two passengers besides the driver in four wheeler vehicles, would be allowed.
These activities were not allowed in the initial guidelines announced by the government the previous day for the third phase of lockdown from May 4.
Press Release 👇https://t.co/SMYOO9fNeZ pic.twitter.com/eOOtfHVNTi
— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) May 2, 2020
The MHA said inter-district and intra-district plying of buses would remain prohibited in orange zones.
Kerala turned a new corner Saturday in its fight against Covid-19 with the number of active cases dipping below 100 for the first time in over a month. The state reported just two new cases, one of which one was found in Wayanad district which was earlier slotted in the green zone. Following the fresh case, the district was shifted to orange zone where there are fewer lockdown relaxations compared to the green zone.
The number of active cases in the state stood at 96 while the total number of positive cases since January 30 is 499. Over 21,000 people are currently under home quarantine.
Maharashtra: 1,000 migrant labourers hit streets, demand return home
At least 1,000 migrant labourers, mostly from northern parts of India, took to the streets in Chandrapur on Saturday morning to demand that arrangements be made for their return home, police said.
“More than 1,000 labourers, mostly staying at a construction site in a government medical college, hit the streets and demanded that arrangement be made for their movement to their home states. They tried to block the highway and started walking towards the railway station,” he said.
“The labourers want to go back to their hometowns in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Some of them are from West Bengal. They said they have been facing hardships due to the lockdown as their source of income has stopped,” the official said. The situation was brought under control after personnel from the Ramnagar Police Station arrived at the spot.
With a new cluster of cases being reporting from Chennai linking to the Koyambedu vegetable market, the City Corporation has now identified four more high-risk zones. The Tamil Nadu government has stepped up restrictions in the market operations, banned all retail vendors from the market area to allow wholesale dealers alone.
Noting that caseload of these corporation zones was very high, City Corporation Commissioner G Prakash said that 65 per cent of cases were reported from only six wards in zones linked to the market. Read more here
The Indore Police intercepted a cement mixer near Ujjain on Saturday to find it was transporting 18 people, including 14 migrant labourers, from Maharashtra to Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh amid the nationwide lockdown. A viral video showed workers emerging from a small hole along with their backpacks from the side of the mixer. Read more here
Cop dies when van escorting Telangana returnee migrants bus overturns
A Telangana cop died and four security personnel were injured after their van overturned in Ramgarh district while they were escorting a bus carrying migrant workers from Hatia to Chatra in the wee hours of Saturday, police said.
Ramgarh Superintendent of Police, Prabhat Kumar, told PTI that another escort van was immediately provided as the bus continued its onward journey.
The accident occurred along National Highway-33 under Ramgarh town police station. The cop, Dinesh Kumar, died on the spot.
Thermal camera with face detection tech for fever screening procured in Kerala
The first Thermal and Optical Imaging camera with Artificial Intelligence-powered face detection technology for fever screening was procured for Thiruvanthapuram by former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor.
The Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram said it was brought to his notice that a Thermal imaging camera with face detection technology was urgently needed in the district to scan from a safe distance and isolate those potentially having fever. Using his MPLADS fund, Tharoor procured the equipment.
Taking to Facebook, the Congress leader said the Thermal camera was procured from Amsterdam due to its unavailablity in Asia and brought to India using multiple flight connections covering Cologne, Paris, Leipzig, Brussels, Bahrain and Dubai before finally reaching Bengaluru, from where it was shipped to Kerala, Tharoor said in a Facebook Post.
Maharashtra: 20 people from Nanded gurdwara test positive for Covid-19
Twenty persons currently residing in Gurdwara Langar Sahib at Nanded in Maharashtra have tested coronavirus positive, an official said on Saturday. Swabs of total 97 people residing in the gurdwara had been collected for testing. Of them 20 have tested positive for the infection, civil surgeon Dr Neelkanth Bhosikar said. “They have been admitted to NRI Bhawan COVID Care Centre in Nanded city,” he said. Their samples had been collected on April 30 and May 1, he said. Twenty-five of them have tested negative, while the reports of 41 others are awaited. Reports of 11 others are undecided, Bhosikar said in a statement.
All Maharashtra citizens will get free health cover: Health Minister
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has said that all citizens will be covered under the state government’s health scheme, and Maharashtra will be the first state to provide free and cashless insurance protection to its people.
On Friday, Tope said 85 per cent of the state’s population was covered under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MJPJAY) at present and the cover will be extended to the remining 15 per cent.
“The government has signed a MoU with the General Insurance Public Sector Association (GIPSA) for treatment of COVID-19 patients at private hospitals in Pune and Mumbai,” he said.