Mon, 06 April 2020
India gets 1.70 lakh PPE coveralls from China

Timeline  Refresh

23:30   India gets 1.70 lakh PPE coveralls from China
India on Monday opened supply lines with the receipt of 1.70 lakh Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) coveralls from China amid the coronavirus crisis.

Along with domestic supplies of 20,000 coveralls, a total of 1.90 lakh coveralls will now be distributed to hospitals and will add to the 3,87,473 PPE kits already available in the country as of now.

A total of 2.94 lakh PPE coveralls have been arranged and supplied by the Government of India now.In addition to this, two lakh domestically produced N95 masks are also being sent to various hospitals.

Including these, over 20 lakh N95 masks have been supplied by the Government of India.

About 16 lakh N95 masks are presently available in the country, and this figure will increase with the fresh supply of two lakh masks.

Major portions of the fresh supplies are being sent to States with a comparatively higher number of coronavirus cases such as Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Delhi, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Rajasthan.

Supplies are also being sent to central institutions like AIIMS, Safdarjung and RML Hospitals, RIMS, NEIGRIHMS, BHU, and AMU.

'The commencement of foreign supplies marks a major milestone in the efforts to procure personal protection equipment for the battle against COVID-19,' reads an official statement.

An order for 80 lakh complete PPE kits (including N95 masks) had been placed on a Singapore based platform earlier and now it has been indicated that supplies will commence from April 11 with two lakh, followed by eight lakh more in a week.

Negotiations are in final stages with a Chinese platform for placing an order of 60 lakh complete PPE kits, which will also include N95 masks. Separate orders for N95 masks and protective goggles are also being placed on some foreign companies.Giving a further fillip to domestic capabilities, Northern Railways have developed a PPE coverall.

This is in addition to the PPE coveralls and N99 masks developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation earlier.

Efforts are now being made to start mass production of these products.

Existing N95 mask producers have increased their capacity to about 80,000 masks per day.

Orders have been placed for 112.76 lakh stand-alone N95 masks and 157.32 lakh PPE coveralls.

Out of these, 80 lakh PPE kits will include N95 masks.

The objective is to achieve a supply of about 10 lakh PPE kits per week.

According to the latest update of the Health Ministry, there are 4,281 cases in the country including 3,851 active cases and 318 cured or discharged and 111 deaths.

The ministry said there has been an increase of 704 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, which is the biggest rise so far in India in a day. -- ANI
23:22   Bihar: Ray of home as 6 beat COVID 19 in 48 hrs
There was a glimmer of hope amid  all pervasive gloom as the number of active COVID-19 cases in Bihar plunged by nearly a quarter to 22 with the recovery of six patients while as no one tested positive for the deadly coronavirus in the last 48 hours, officials said on Monday.

More than 800 samples were tested during the period, an official said on Monday.

State epidemiologist Ragini Mishra told PTI that allthe six discharged patients were admitted to the Nalanda Medical College Hospital (NMCH), which has been dedicated bythe state government to exclusively treat coronavirus cases.

These include two employees, including a nurse, of a private hospital in the city where they had contracted the contagion from a deceased patient who was admitted there before being rushed to AIIMS, Patna.

The deceased  a 38-year-old man who had returned from Qatar a month ago and suffered from renal failure  breathed his last on March 21, a day before test reports confirmed that he was also COVID-19 positive.

The female nurse was discharged on Sunday and the male employee on Monday, Mishra said.

In addition, four residents of Siwan district have also recovered fully, she said.  -- PTI
22:50   Girl from Northeast spat on in Mumbai
The National Commission of Women has taken suo motu cognisance of an incident where a miscreant allegedly spat on a girl from the North East at Kalina Market area in Mumbai, calling it a case of racial discrimination amid coronavirus outbreak.

The NCW said it will look into the matter for appropriate action.

'Yet another case of racial discrimination amid #COVID19outbreak, a miscreant spat on a northeastern girl at Kalina Market area in Mumbai. NCW will look into this matter for appropriate action,' the NCW said in a tweet.

The NCW tagged a Facebook post according to which a biker spat on the girl from the North East.

In a similar case in March in Delhi, another woman was spat and called 'corona'.

Delhi police had registered a case and arrested the accused in the matter. -- PTI
22:31   Bakeries exempted from lockdown in Karnataka
The Karnataka government on Monday exempted bakery and biscuit, condiments, confectionery and sweet units from lockdown and permitted them to operate with minimum staff.

The units shall notpermit serving or dinning in the premises and only parcel and takeaways were permitted, a circular issued by State Nodal Officer, Essential Commodities & Supply Chain Management Rajender Kumar Kataria said.

It noted the fact that bakery products and related items were being consumed by the patients, elderly people, children and general public.

The centre in a notification has permitted the functioning of food units engaged in bakery & biscuit, condiments, confectionery and sweet for manufacturing, supply and operating retail outlets with minimum staff and labour, the circular said.

It said, these units shall strictly follow the guidelines and instructions and the standard operating procedure issued by union the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the state Department of Health and Family Welfare with regard to the preventive measures to be ensured for combating COVID-19.

All employers shall ensure that these units maintain high standard of health, hygiene, sanitation and social distancing, it further said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa directed Ministers and officials to ensure ration is supplied to both BPL card holders and poor and the needy who don't have it.

The chief minister held meeting with top Ministers and officials in this regard, and directed them to see to that no complaints arise.

Yediyurappa on Saturday had said his government has made arrangements to supply food grains to non-ration card holders, most of them are from other states, during the lockdown.  -- PTI
22:14   KCR appeals to PM to extend national lockdown
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Monday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend the 21-day national lockdown to check COVID-19 beyond April 14, saying it was essential to save the lives of people.

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti supremo said it would be difficult to contain the spread of the virus in view of the country's 'poor health infrastructure'.

"I am for the lockdown of the country furthermore after April 15. Because, we can recover from the economic problem. But, we cannot recover lives. We cannot recover the lives of the people," he told reporters in Hyderabad.

The country's only weapon against the coronavirus was lockdown, he said.  -- PTI
21:16   India records 704 COVID-19 cases in 24 hrs
India recorded the highest number of 704 positive cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday.

With these new cases, the total number of COVID-19 positive cases in India have now climbed to 4,281.

Total deaths stand at 111 including 28 new deaths.

So far, 318 COVID-19 patients have been cured across the country. -- ANI
20:58   Guj doc attacked for treating COVID-19 patients
The National Commission for Women has directed the Gujarat police to conduct a thorough probe into the alleged harassment of a woman doctor in Surat for being in close proximity to coronavirus patients.

The matter came to the fore after a purported video showing the doctor working in Surat Civil Hospital being physically assaulted by her neighbours, went viral.

Considering the gravity of the matter, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has written to Shivanand Jha, IPS, Director General of Police, Gujarat to probe the matter.

"NCW directs for a thorough investigation on the matter of the incident to be taken up immediately and also provide protection to the woman. A detailed action taken report be sent to NCW, the women's rights body said in a statement.

"The Commission is disturbed by the reported incident, and is concerned about the safety of doctors who are the frontline workers in the period of distress prevailing worldwide due to coronavirus pandemic," it said. --  PTI
20:56   HRD minister appeals to companies not to withdraw job offers
Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhiyal 'Nishank' on Monday appealed to companies to not withdraw any job offers made to students in campus placements due to the economic problems created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"To ease the worries of graduating students about placements, I have to appealed companies to not withdraw any job offers made to students. The government is working to ensure that the COVID-19 situation does not have a long-lasting affect on the economy.

"It will be unfair not to hire these students who are actually bright and can contribute to pulling the country out of this situation," Nishank said.  -- PTI
20:20   Odisha Maoists declare ceasefire over COVID-19
The outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist have announced a unilateral ceasefire in Odisha in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and urged the state government to send medical teams to assist people living in forests and other remote areas.

In an audio tape released in Telugu, a man, who identifies himself as the secretary of the outfit's Malkangiri-Koraput-Visakha Divisional Committee (MKVDC), assures that no government official would be attacked by Maoists if they focus on providing assistance to the tribal people.

He, however, maintained the Maoists may retaliate in self-defence if security personnel try to corner them.

"Government employees may visit remote areas of Malkangiri and Koraput districts without fear to provide essential services to the tribals who are finding it difficult to eke out a living due to the restrictions imposed by the government," he says.

The Maoist leader also suggested that the government should increase stipend, pension and food items under the public distribution system, in view of the 21-day lockdown.

Addressing tribal people in the two districts, he emphasised the importance of washing hands and wearing masks to keep COVID-19 at bay.

He also blamed government policies and industrial emissions for the spread of the infectious disease.

"Adhere to social distancing norms and avoid meetings and gatherings. We are distributing cold and cough medicines in remote areas, where the government has not been able to reach," the Maoist leader said in his address.  -- PTI
20:17   Milkman arrested for carrying liquor bottles inside milk containers
A milkman was arrested for allegedly carrying liquor bottles inside milk containers in the city in the early hours of Monday, police said.

The accused, Bobby Chaudhary, is a resident of Bulandshahar and a milkman by profession.

He bought the liquor for his cousin's birthday party at a time when the city is under lockdown and non-essential services like liquor shops are closed, they said.

He was caught carrying seven liquor bottles which he had hidden in milk containers to slip past the police pickets, police said.

According to police, a sub-inspector and a constable from South Avenue Police Station caught him around 12.05 am on Monday near South Avenue Road picket.

The night-patrolling team were on duty when they received information from the picket team about the milkman.

It was an odd hour for a milkman to be out, so the policemen tried to stop the man but he sped on his bike, a senior police official said.

The policemen chased the bike and caught the man near gate no 4 of Rashtrapati Bhawan.

"We found that he had four milk containers and was carrying seven bottles of Royal Green Classic Blended liquor," he said.

The man was arrested under sections of Epidemic Act, Delhi Excise Act, Motor Vehicles Act and Indian Penal Code, said Eish Singhal, Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi). During interrogation, it was found that the man bought the liquor bottles from Gurgaon.

He, then, lost his way while returning home and was roaming near Delhi, police said, adding, further investigation is underway.  -- PTI
19:56   Maha may not see complete lockdown withdrawal
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Monday said that no one should be under the impression of complete lifting of lockdown in the state after April 15.

"No one should be under the impression of complete lifting of lockdown from April 15 onwards. The situation between April 10 to 15 will be closely analysed before taking a decision on the lockdown," he told reporters.

Tope said the Health department will discuss the situation with the chief minister and later with the Union ministry before taking any decision regarding relaxing the lockdown.   -- PTI
19:20   Big B shares fake news on Twitter again, gets trolled
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan was once again criticised for sharing fake news on social media by retweeting a post on Twitter that falsely showed an illuminated India in the world map on Sunday.
Last Friday, Prime Minister Narendrea Modi had appealed people to switch off lights at their homes and light laps, candles, diya's and mobile phone torches on Sunday for nine minutes at 9pm to show solidarity in the country's fight against Coronavirus.
Bachchan, 77, shared a tweet showing how the entire country was 'lit up' with lamps and candles for the #9pm9minutes drive.
"The World sees us .. we are ONE .." the actor wrote as he shared the post.
Bachchan is one of the most active and followed celebrities on social media. His followers count on Twitter alone stands at a staggering 41.1 million.
Calling out the tweet as fake, a social media user said, "And the #KingOfFakeNews is back appreciating a Whatsapp forward. Request @TwitterIndia to suspend him and save us the daily embarrassment."
This is the third time in a little over a fortnight that the actor has shared misinformation on social media.
On March 23, Bachchan was called out for one of his tweets, which claimed vibrations from clapping, blowing conch shells as part of Janata Curfew would have reduced or destroyed coronavirus potency as it was 'amavasya', the darkest day of the month. 
Even the Press Information Bureau busted the viral fake claim, writing, "NO! The vibration generated by clapping together will NOT destroy #Coronavirus infection."
Four days later, Bachchan shared a video in which he cited Chinese experts to claim that COVID-19 spreads through flies, a claim which was later busted by the Union health ministry. -- PTI 
19:13   What ICMR's Dr Gangakhedkar has to say on coronavirus
Motilal Oswal hosted a discussion with Dr Raman Gangakhedkar, scientist 'G' & head, epidemiology and communicable diseases-I (ECD-I) division at the Indian Council of Medical Research, on the current Covid-19 situation in India and the approach undertaken to control the outbreak.   

19:05   COVID-19: Indian-origin Irish PM to work as doc
Ireland's Indian-origin Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, has rejoined the country's medical register to take on his former role as a doctor on the frontlines of the Irish health service tackling the COVID-19 crisis.
According to The Irish Times, the Taoiseach, as the Irish Prime Minister is known, rejoined the medical register back in March, just as the pandemic hit Ireland. 
Varadkar, 41, is set to work within the country's Health Service Executive (HSE), providing essential over-the-phone assessments to anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to coronavirus. 
"Many of his family and friends are working in the health service. He wanted to help out even in a small way," said a spokesperson for his office.
As a former general practitioner, Varadkar studied medicine and worked as a doctor for seven years before he became Ireland's youngest and first openly gay Prime Minister in 2017. 
He kept his Indian connect alive over the years, completing an internship at the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, and was last registered as a doctor in Ireland in 2013.
His partner, Matthew Barrett, as well as his two sisters and their husbands all work within Ireland's health service. 
According to the Irish newspaper, the Taoiseach will lend his services for one shift per week alongside his role as Ireland's current leader during the COVID-19 crisis. 
He is among nearly 50,000 people who answered an appeal from the Health Service Executive urging any and all healthcare professionals, not currently working in the sector, to register and provide vital support during the crisis. 
Under the current HSE rules, anyone who suspects they have been exposed to the virus must first undergo a phone assessment to help curb the spread of the deadly viral infection.-- PTI 
18:52   57 new COVID-19 cases in Mumbai, total count 490
Nearly two weeks under the national lockdown, Mumbai on Monday reported 57 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the tally of affected people to 490 so far.
Simultaneously, four more patients undergoing treatment have succumbed to the deadly infection, taking the toll so far to 34, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said in a release.
Meanwhile, five more COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospital after recovery on Monday, taking the total number of such persons to 59.
"As part of the contact tracing efforts, the MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) has surveyed 15 lakh population through health teams till date and identified 665 contacts which are referred for testing," the release said.
It stated that 130 coronavirus positive cases have been identified after five teams had visited houses and collected 1400 samples.
A total of 10,968 contacts have been placed under quarantine, of which 3990 have completed the isolation period up to April 5, it said.
In its bid to check spread of the novel cronavirus, the BMC has demarcated as many as 226 containment zones in the city. -- PTI 
18:32   Training of Gaganyaan astronauts in Russia put on hold
The training of Gaganyaan's four prospective astronauts in Russia has been put on hold as the facility where the exercise is being undertaken has been temporarily shut in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, sources said on Monday.  

The four test pilots of the Indian Air Force, chosen for India's manned mission to space, have been undergoing training at the Yu.A. Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Centre near Moscow since February.
However, since last week the centre has been shut due to coronavirus outbreak, sources said.
"Our (prospective) astronauts are fine. They are currently in hostel. We have been told the centre will open by the end of the month," a source said.
When asked whether the suspension of training for nearly four weeks will hurt the training programme, the sources added that although the training programme spans over 12 months, they had kept a buffer of three months to factor in exigencies. 
India's first manned mission to space -- Gaganyaan -- is planned around 2022. -- PTI 
17:52   Govt may slash pension to employees to by 30%
After suspending the Member of Parliament Local Area Development scheme for two years and diverting the funds towards managing health services and tackle the adverse impact of coronavirus pandemic in the country, there is a serious thinking among the political leadership to cut by 30% the pension paid by the government across the board -- from the President of India to the humble office assistant (peon).    

The move, if it goes through, will also cover former Presidents, vice-presidents, governors and current and former members of Parliament.

For the regular government employees this cut in pension will be staggered. 

Also, the thinking is to scrap pension for former employees above 80 years of age.   

A final decision in the matter is likely to be taken next week, it is learnt.
17:17   PM hints at phased opening of lockdown
We told you first (check our 11:53 am update), but here's a reiteration in case you missed that update. 
Indicating a phased opening of the ongoing lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked Union ministers to prepare a "graded plan" to slowly open departments in areas that have not emerged as hotspots of the COVID-19 pandemic. Modi made this suggestion while chairing a meeting of the council of ministers via video-conferencing. 

Talking about the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, the prime minister said that the government must work on war footing to mitigate the impact, adding that the ministries should prepare a business continuity plan, according to an official statement. 

 "He noted that a graded plan to slowly open departments where hotspots aren't existing should be made," the statement said. PTI
16:55   Over 25K Tablighi Jamaat members quarantined
More than 25,500 Tablighi Jamaat members and their contacts have been quarantined in the country till now, a senior Union Home Ministry official said on Monday. During the daily briefing, Joint Secretary Punya Salila Srivastava also told reporters that five villages in Haryana have been sealed and the residents quarantined as members of this Islamic organisation had stayed there. She said that 1,750 foreign-based members of this the Jamaat, out of the total 2,083, have been blacklisted till now. 

Srivastava said that Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has written to all states and Union Territories asking them to ensure that the supply chain of medical oxygen, critical for treatment of COVID-19 affected people, should go on smoothly while following norms of social distancing. -- PTI
16:45   Delhi Police issues second notice to Tablighi Jamaat chief
A second notice was issued to Tablighi Jamaat head Maulana Saad after a significant number of people, who had attended an event in Nizamuddin Markaz, tested positive for COVID-19.

Earlier, in resposne to the first notice, Saad had submitted some documents and information to the Delhi Police through his lawyer.A huge religious gathering was held at the Markaz building in Nizamuddin between March 13-15.The event came into the spotlight after multiple coronavirus cases were confirmed amongst those who attended the event held in mid-March.An FIR has been registered against Saad and others under the Epidemic Disease Act 1897 in Delhi. -- ANI
16:37   76% of COVID-19 cases are male: Govt
Health ministry update from Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry:
-- 693 new COVID19 cases have been reported in the last 24 hours, taking the total number to 4067 in India out of which 1445 cases are related to Jablighi Jamaat.

--  76 per cent cases have been reported in males and 24 per cent in females.

-- In the last 13 days, Indian Railways transported sugar through 1340 wagons, salt through 958 wagons and edible oil through 316 wagons/tanks, to different parts of the country, amid the Coronavirus lockdown.

-- 16.94 lakh metric tonnes of food grains have been transported across India till now. In 13 states, 1.3 lakh metric tonnes of wheat and in 8 states, 1.32 lakh metric tonnes of rice have been allotted. 

-- Rs 1100 crores have already been released from the National Health Mission Funds for the states. Also an additional amount of Rs 3000 crores has been released today. 

-- Number of COVID19 deaths stand at 109, with 30 people succumbing to it yesterday. 63 per cent of the deaths have been reported among people over 60 years age, 30 per cent in age bracket of 40 to 60 years and 7 per cent victims were below 40 years age.

--  We have quarantined over 25,000 Tablighi Jamaat workers and their contacts; 5 Haryana villages where they visited have been sealed, says  unya Salila Srivastava, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs.

-- An order has been placed for 5 lakh testing kits for COVID19; 2.5 lakhs kits to be delivered on April 8-9, says  R Gangakhedkar, Indian Council of Medical Research.

Image: Social distancing? What's that? Women queue up at a bank in Srinagar. Pic: ANI
15:54   Unite, set aside your differences, says Rahul
Rahul Gandhi tweets this image of Hindu-Muslim amity saying, "The Coronavirus is an opportunity for India to unite as one people, putting aside differences of religion, caste & class; to forge one common purpose: the defeat of this deadly virus. Compassion, empathy& self sacrifice are central to this idea. Together we will win this battle."
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar
15:51   30% pay cut for all MPs for a year
Union Cabinet approves an Ordinance amending the salary, allowances and pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, reducing allowances and pension by 30 per cent with effect from 1st April, 2020 for a year. The President, Vice President, Governors of States have voluntarily decided to take a pay cut as a social responsibility. The money will go to Consolidated Fund of India, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, said. 

The Cabinet also approved the temporary suspension of MPLAD Fund of MPs during 2020-21 & 2021-22 for managing health and adverse impact of outbreak of COVID19 in India. The consolidated amount of MPLAD Funds for 2 years - Rs 7900 crores - will go to Consolidated Fund of India. 
15:44   Availability of PPE a problem, not funds: Kejri
Soon after BJP MP and former cricketer Gautam Gambhir pledged an additional allocation of Rs 50 lakh from his MPLAD fund to the Delhi government in its efforts to contain coronavirus, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal thanked him for the offer and said that the problem is not of money but the availability of medical protection kits.

In response to the East Delhi MP's letter, Kejriwal tweeted, "Gautam ji, thank you for your offer. The problem is not of money but availability of PPE kits. We would be grateful if you could help us get them from somewhere immediately, Delhi government will buy them. Thank you."

Earlier the East Delhi MP had, in a letter to Delhi Chief Minister, said, "It is stated by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia that funds are needed to meet the growing demand for medical equipment in several Delhi government schools. In addition to Rs 50 lakh which I had pledged two weeks ago, I would further like to pledge Rs 50 lakh from my MPLAD to your kind office with the hope that the said amount would be useful in procurement of equipment for medical staff as well as treatment of COVID-19 patients".-- ANI
15:39   AirAsia India announces free rescheduling, direct booking discounts on all flights till May 31
AirAsia India has announced a waiver of all rescheduling fees on current and future bookings for travel until May 31. The waiver, announced in the campaign 'From A to B, we've got your back', encompasses all flights 'from A to B on the AirAsia India domestic network' across points-of-sale, encouraging guests to book even if they are concerned that their Plan A may change to Plan B, read a statement."

In view of the ongoing uncertainty, AirAsia India has extended this offer across channels. 

In addition, AirAsia India is offering a limited period special discount of up to 10 per cent on bookings made 14 days in advance on and the AirAsia India mobile app using the Promo Code FLYNOW10," the statement said.

People can manage their bookings and reschedule by logging in or signing up as a "BIG Member" on the airline's website with the e-mail ID used when making their original booking, linking their existing PNR to their BIG member ID and editing their booking.
15:34   Patient +ve, 92 in Pune hospital quarantined
At least 92 staff members, including several doctors, of the D Y Patil Hospital in Pune, have been quarantined after an accident victim, who was being treated at the facility, tested positive for coronavirus, an official said on Monday. A senior civic official denied speculations of the COVID-19 patient having direct or indirect link to the Tablighi Jamaat which organised a religious congregation at Nizamuddin in Delhi last month that later emerged as a coronavirus hotspot in the country. 

The patient, an autorickshaw driver, met with the accident on March 31, said Jitendra Bhawalkar, dean of the D Y Patil Medical College and Hospital, a private medical facility located in Pimpri Chinchwad township.

"The man,who is in his 30s, came to the emergency section of the hospital on March 31 after the accident. He was operated upon and on the second day, he developed fever. The doctors got suspicious and his samples were sent for testing which came out positive for coronavirus," he said. 

The patient was immediately shifted to the Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial Hospital. "We then tried to find out those who came in contact with the man and quarantined our 42 doctors and 50 paramedical staff members as a precaution. Samples of all of them have been sent for tests," Bhawalkar said. 

Some people claim the man has link to the Tablighi Jamaat while some say he had transported people belonging to the Islamic organisation, the official said, adding that the patient hid the information from the hospital after he was admitted following the accident. 

Asked if the man has any link to the Tablighi Jamaat, Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar said the patient does not have any connection to the outfit. "The patient is in ICU. People are speculating about his links, but right now we can only say he is not from the Tablighi Jamaat. He is from a different community altogether," the official said. 
-- PTI 

Image: Fire Brigade personnel spray disinfectant amid increasing cases of coronavirus, in Pune, last week. Pic: ANI
14:57   Share profits from low oil prices: Cong to PM
The Congress accused the government on Monday of indulging in profiteering from low crude oil prices when the country is in the grip of coronavirus pandemic, and stressed that it is time to care for the people and "share a part of the Rs 20 lakh crore profit". The need of the hour and immediate necessity is to share a part of this profit made by the government in the last six years, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said. 

He said it is time to reduce taxes or give it back in some other form to farmers, labourers and common people suffering amid lockdown due to COVID-19 and due to the country's economic downturn. 

"It is not a time for profiteering, it is a time for the government to do profit sharing and do some sharing and caring. This is the need of the hour and the immediate necessity," he said at a press conference addressed through video conferencing. Singhvi also alleged that the Centre has made a profit of around Rs 20 lakh crore in the last six years. 

"Our question today to you is, why are you not passing on a fraction of these humongous gains," he posed, adding, "The BJP needs to realise that it has to stop solo profiteering; instead of stealing touch it has to give a healing touch" Singhvi recalled that the price of crude oil internationally was hovering around USD 108 per barrel in March 2014 and now, six years later on March 30, 2020, it was at a historic low of USD 23 per barrel. Lives are most important, followed by livelihood, the Congress leader said "We want to draw your attention to GDP -- Gas Diesel Petrol -- during lockdown and how they should be harnessed to deal with the lockdown," he said. -- PTI

Image: Women fill oil in lamps ahead of the #9pm9minutes exercise yesterday. Pic: ANI
14:50   Song and dance on COVID-19
Since the nationwide lockdown was introduced, there have been many reports of police excesses. Many such reports involving Madhya Pradesh police have pushed the department into a corner. Now, to raise awareness about Covid-19 and brush up its image as a sympathetic force, the Bhopal police has launched an interesting campaign. It has penned a song talking about the challenges for people and the possible solutions. The song has gone viral. Now the department is ferrying local DJs from colony to colony who play the song and follow it up with a short message. Two such vehicles have been deployed to spread information about the virus and the precautions people must take. -- Business Standard

Image: A housing society lit up during yesterday's #9pm9minutes solidarity call. Pic: ANI
Representational image
Representational image
14:46   Pak court declares overcrowding in jails unconstitutional, empowers inmates to sue govt
A Pakistani court has declared that overcrowding in jails is unconstitutional and ruled that a prisoner can sue the government and prison authorities for inhuman treatment during imprisonment, media reports said on Monday. The Islamabad High Court, after hearing the petitions filed by Adiala jail inmates, issued directives to the federal government and Islamabad's commissioner for observance of provisions in jail manual as well as in the international conventions and treaties related to the well-being of inmates, Dawn news reported. 

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, in the 38-page verdict, observed that the "intolerable and shockingly inhuman and degrading treatment highlighted in the proceedings in hand meets the threshold of the hypothetical illustration in the above judgement. 

"It is, therefore, obvious that the incarcerated prisoners, subjected to the unimaginable degrading and inhuman treatment highlighted in these proceedings, may have become entitled to seek damages against the prison authorities and the state". 

Most of the victims of the deteriorating criminal justice system are those who belong to economically and socially marginalized sections of the society. They do not have the means to access the courts nor has the state fulfilled its constitutional obligation in ensuring that each citizen receives inexpensive and expeditious justice mandated under the Constitution, the Chief Justice said. The inmates had claimed they could not access the courts fearing punishment by the prison authorities for attempting to draw their attention towards their plight, the report said. -- JPTI
14:44   Give us travel details, Mumbai cops to Markaz
Mumbai police has asked Tablighi Jamaat members who attended the Nizamuddin gathering in Delhi last month to approach the nearest police station or call on BMC helpline number 1916 as part of the efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The event, which had more than 9,000 participants, including from several foreign countries, is now being seen as a prime catalyst of the virus spread across states as many attendees have tested positive.

The police, in a tweet, said. "We request all attendees of Tablighi Markaz at Nizamuddin, New Delhi to report their travel details on @mybmc helpline 1916 and help us in our fight against this pandemic." 

"Those failing to cooperate will face strict action under Indian Penal Code (IPC), Disaster Management Act and Epidemic Act. It is our request and your responsibility to report your travel details," it added. 

Deputy Commissioner of Police Pranay Ashok said the appeal was for everyone's health and safety, including members of the outfit. "We will take action if this dikat is not followed," he added. PTI 
14:36   How Hindi newspapers lent legitimacy to Modis #9pm9minutes photo-op
"There can little doubt that the BJP and the Hindi newspapers in the heartland have marched hand in hand, both feeding into (and feeding off) the loud and noisy assertion of majoritarian communalism in the North, and impacting national politics way beyond their little kens.

"The coverage of the latest photo-op promoted by prime minister Narendra Modi -- the lighting of lamps for nine minutes at 9 pm on Sunday to express "solidarity" with god knows what -- provides testimony to the role Hindi newspapers play in mainstreaming BJP-style superstition and obscurantism."

Read the report here. 
14:31   WB minister adds Ludo game to food kit
West Bengal Minister Dr Sashi Panja distributes food items and a Ludo game kit among people of her constituency at Shyampukur in Kolkata. "It is very difficult for people to stay at home for a long time. Ludo will help them keep engaged at home & get rid of mobile addiction," she says.
14:29   Priyanka Gandhi wants people to raise voice for largescale testing
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday asked people to raise their voice for more and more testing, saying it the only way to prevent the spread of coronavirus. She said the mantra should be to test as much as possible and raise the testing levels and then treat the infected people.

"The only way to prevent infection of coronavirus is through more and more testing. Only then can we treat the infected person. "Test as much as possible and treat - this should be our mantra. My request to all of you is - raise your voice for more testing," she said in a tweet in Hindi. She also used the hashtag "TestMoreSaveIndia" along with her tweet. The Congress has been calling for more testing, saying India's testing has been the lowest in the world, going by its population. PTI
14:25   Zoos across India to monitor animals for COVID-19
The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) on Monday asked all zoos across the country to monitor the health of kept animals as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 on Monday after a tiger in a US zoo tested positive for the virus.In an order by CZA addressed to the Chief Wildlife Warden of all states and Union Territories, it has been stated that zoos should remain on high alert and collect samples in suspected cases.

"Zoos in the country are advised to remain on highest alertness, watch animals 24x7 using CCTVs for any abnormal behaviour/symptoms, keepers/handlersnot to be allowed in the vicinity without safety gear preferably, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), isolate and quarantine sick animals and have least contact while providing feed to animals," stated CZA Member Secretary SP Yadav.

The CZA has also strictly instructed to monitor mammals like carnivores especially cats, ferrets and primates. Samples are to be collected and sent to the respected animal health institutes to initiate COVID-19 testing in suspected cases.

Further, the authority has asked all the zoos to adhere to safety and disinfection protocols issued by the central government on COVID-19.

A tiger housed at the Bronx Zoo in New York tested positive for coronavirus, making it the first known infection in an animal anywhere, according to US Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratories.

Anyone sick with the coronavirus is being advised to minimise contact with animals, including pets until more information is known about the virus, the USDA said.This is the first time animals are officially included as a precautionary step to combat coronavirus in India. -- ANI

Image: Visitors sanitize their hands before entering the Lucknow zoo before India went into lockdown. Pic: ANI 
14:19   PM holds council of ministers' meeting
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs a meeting of Council of Ministers via video conferencing. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also present.
14:11   UK PM doing well in hospital, symptoms persist
The UK government on Monday said Prime Minister Boris Johnson is "doing well" after staying overnight in hospital for some "routine tests" related to his COVID-19 diagnosis. UK housing and communities secretary Robert Jenrick said Johnson remains in charge of the UK's response to the coronavirus pandemic and is expected back at No.10 Downing Street soon. 

"This wasn't an emergency admission. It was a planned admission to undergo some routine tests. He is doing well, I am told, and we look forward to him being back at No. 10 soon," the Cabinet minister told the BBC on Monday morning. The update on the 55-year-old prime minister's health came following his admission to a National Health Service hospital in London on Sunday evening for tests after he showed "persistent symptoms of coronavirus", including a temperature, even 10 days after testing positive for the disease. 

His hospitalisation was described as a "precautionary step" taken on the advice of his doctor, a Downing Street spokesperson said on Sunday. "This is a precautionary step, as the Prime Minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus," the spokesperson said. "The Prime Minister thanks NHS staff for all of their incredible hard work and urges the public to continue to follow the government's advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives," the spokesperson said. Downing Street said that it was considered sensible for doctors to see the UK prime minister in person given he has ongoing symptoms but he remains in charge of the government and in contact with ministerial colleagues and officials. 

UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab, the First Secretary of State, is the UK PM's chosen second-in-command and stepped in to chair the daily coronavirus response meeting, dubbed the COVID-19 war cabinet, on Monday morning. 

Johnson has until last Friday continued to chair the daily meetings remotely via video conference from his self-isolation in his private quarters in Downing Street since his diagnosis 10 days ago.  -- PTI
13:36   Anurag Srivastava takes over as MEA spokesperson
Just when we had got used to seeing Ravish Kumar's familiar face at the MEA pressers, he bids us goodbye. The MEA spokesperson tweeted, "Time to pass the baton. After 33 months of an incredible opportunity to serve the nation, my best wishes to Anurag Srivastava as the next Official Spokesperson of @MEAIndia. Grateful for the understanding and support of my family, friends & colleagues during this journey."
Sex workers in Mumbai are facing difficulties surviving
Sex workers in Mumbai are facing difficulties surviving
13:31   USAID announces USD 2.9 million to India to fight coronavirus
The US government, through its aid agency USAID, has announced a grant of USD 2.9 million to India to help it fight the coronavirus pandemic. US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster said the assistance will further support India's response to COVID-19. 

The US government, through USAID, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other relevant agencies, is working closely with India to support the country's response to the pandemic, he said. The US Agency for International Development is one of the leading aid agencies globally. 

"COVID-19 is a global public health threat that can be addressed best by close collaboration among governments and international organizations," a release issued by the US Embassy here quoted the envoy as saying. It said the new grant builds on a foundation of more than USD 1.4 billion in health assistance, and nearly USD 3 billion in total assistance, that the United States has provided to India over the last 20 years. It said the new funds will support the USAID's health strengthening project, implemented by Jhpiego, an international non-profit health organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University. It will also support the World Health Organization initiatives in India. 

"The funds will help the Government of India slow the spread of COVID-19, provide care for the affected, and support local communities with the tools needed to contain the disease," the US embassy said. -- PTI
13:26   Telangana deploys 'COVID -19 Monitoring System' for surveillance
In a major COVID-19 pandemic public health initiative, the Public Health and Family Welfare Department of Telangana, has swiftly deployed India's first automated "COVID - 19 Monitoring System App" to identify, undertake live surveillance, track, monitor, and provide real-time analytics to the Chief Minister and the Health Department.

"COVID - 19 Monitoring System App", enables live surveillance, monitoring, tracking, reporting, and major bulletins. The analytics by the app also facilitate assurance to the stakeholders by providing facts and figures at their fingertips."

"Vera Centralised COVID Monitoring System is a timely technology innovation, eased the pain off by effective surveillance, and deploy a meticulous tech-enabled method to collate vital data, at the click of a button empowering active associates across the state, from the hierarchical polity to bureaucracy to the front line ASHA & ANM workers, to make COVID - 19 a history." Director of Public Health Dr. G Srinivas Rao, for COVID surveillance was quoted as saying.

More than 5000 ASHA and ANM workers are involved, and are using the App to identify, register, track, monitor and report the health condition of the patients who are home quarantined for symptoms.Vera COVID 19 centralised monitoring system empowers health callers to handle 50,000 calls / simple chat bot interaction per month, to trace and Geotag COVID contacts across hotspots, covering 33 districts of Telangana. -- ANI)
13:17   BJP leader booked for firing in the air
BJP leader Manju Tiwari from Balrampur, UP, booked for firing in the air around 9 pm yesterday. "I saw the entire city illuminating with candles & earthen lamps. I felt like it was Diwali & fired in the air out of jubilation. I accept my mistake and apologise for it," said said. 
13:14   Mukesh Ambani's net worth drops 28% to $48 bn
The net worth of India's richest man Mukesh Ambani dropped 28 per cent or USD 300 million a day for two months to USD 48 billion as on March 31 due to the massive correction in stock markets, a report said on Monday.

The chairman and managing director of the diversified Reliance Industries saw his wealth decline to USD 19 billion, taking his global ranking down eight places to 17th, the Hurun Global Rich List said. Other Indian businessmen who have seen a major drop in wealth include Gautam Adani whose wealth eroded by USD 6 billion or 37 per cent, HCL Technologies' Shiv Nadar (USD 5 billion or 26 per cent) and banker Uday Kotak (USD 4 billion or 28 per cent), it said. 

All the three have dropped off the top 100 list, leaving Ambani as the only Indian in the league. The Indian market has corrected by 25 per cent in the last two months as the economic costs and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on companies led to a sell off across the world. -- PTI
12:47   Figures tell truth: RSS leader on Markaz cases
"Figures tell the truth," said RSS Joint General Secretary Manmohan Vaidya on Monday referring to the number of COVID-19 cases linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi. He said the Tablighi Jamaat members have been "exposed" and even people belonging to the muslim community are "opposing" them. 

The health ministry had on Sunday said the rate of doubling of COVID-19 cases in India was 4.1 days, but if the cases linked to the Tablighi Jamaat event would not have happened, it would have been 7.4 days. Citing the RSS' decision to call off the annual meeting of its highest decision-making body -- Partinidhi Sabha -- Vaidya said that Tablighi Jamaat could have also called off their congregation. 

Lauding the decision taken by the country's leadership to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, he said India handled the COVID-19 situation comparatively better than developed nations. "To tackle COVID-19 outbreak, India's leadership took some decisive steps which got public support," he said. -- PTI
12:42   All life insurance companies to process COVID-19 death claims: Industry body
All life insurance companies will process claims due to death by COVID-19, an industry body assured on Monday. The industry's umbrella body Life Insurance Council said the 'force majeure' clause will not apply in case of COVID-19 death claims and both private and state-run players will follow this. The clause generally refers to unforeseeable circumstances that may prevent someone from fulfilling a contract. There have been over 100 deaths in India due to the COVID-19 pandemic and over 3,000 people have been infected. 

"The spiralling global and local impact of COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the fundamental need for life insurance in every household. The industry is taking every measure to ensure that the disruption caused to policyholders, due to the lockdown is minimal,' the council's Secretary General S N Bhattacharya said. Customers had reached out to individual life insurance companies seeking clarity on this clause in their contract, which resulted in the clarification, the council said. The statement urged customers not to get swayed by any misinformation or misrepresentation, asserting that the life insurance companies will stand by them in the difficult times. PTI
12:17   India's only goal is winning COVID-19 war: PM
PM Modi's message on BJP's 40th foundation day today: 

-- This foundation day of the BJP has come at a time when not only the country but also the world is going through a difficult time. Humanity is facing a crisis, our devotion to service of the country creates our path during this challenging time.

-- India has worked rapidly with a holistic approach that is being appreciated by not only Indians but also WHO. All countries should come together and fight this, so India had active participation in the meeting of the SAARC countries and the G20 meeting. India's efforts have set an example before the world in tackling the Coronavisus pandemic.

-- India is one of the countries which understood seriousness of this disease and waged a timely war against it. India took several decisions and tried its best to implement them on ground. The maturity shown by the people during lockdown, in a large country like India, is unprecedented. No one could have imagined that the people will abide by this with such obedience and sense of service.  I state it with full responsibility that this is a long war against Coronavirus Pandemic. But we do not have to get tired or take a rest in this war. We have to emerge victorious. Today, the country has only one goal & one resolve - to win this war.

-- We experienced yesterday at 9 pm, the strength of togetherness of 130 crores people of our country. People from every section of society & age group demonstrated this unity and strengthened the resolve in fight against COVID--19. 
12:11   Maharashtra Governor pledges 30 percent of his annual salary to PM-CARES Fund
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Monday pledged 30 per cent of his annual salary to the Prime Minister's PM-CARES Fund for combating, containment and relief efforts against COVID-19. The Governor has already announced donating his salary for March to Prime Minister's Relief Fund. The Maharashtra Governor took to Twitter and made the announcement.

The Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM-CARES Fund) was created on March 28 following the outbreak of COVID-19 in India.

The dedicated national fund has been set up with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation as posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to provide relief to the affected people. -- ANI
11:53   PM to discuss lifting lockdown at Cabinet meet
Union Cabinet is to meet at 1 pm today at the Prime Minister House in New Delhi. On the agenda will be how the lockdown will be lifted and sources tell us that the PM is likely explain to his Cabinet colleagues about how to stagger the lifting of the lockdown from April 14 onwards. The PM is likely to address the nation on Thursday after an all-party meeting.  
11:42   11 arrests, 85 FIRs in Maha for nCoV fake news
The Maharashtra Cyber Police have arrested 11 people and registered 85 FIRs against others across the state for spreading fake news and rumours regarding the coronavirus outbreak on social media. According to the police, several fake messages are being circulated on social media platforms which are creating panic among the citizens. These FIRs have been registered, starting from the day when lockdown was imposed across the country. 

According to the Maharashtra Cyber Police, WhatsApp is the most misused platform followed by Facebook.With an increase of 490 cases in the last 12 hours, the total number of COVID-19 positive cases in India climbed to 4,067, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday. -- ANI

Image: BMC workers carry beds, bed sheets and other amenities at makeshift quarantine center amid coronavirus pandemic, in Borivali on Saturday. Pic: ANI
Representational image
Representational image
11:14   Mumbai's Wockhardt hospital made containment zone
The Wockhardt Hospital in Mumbai has been declared a containment zone by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation after as many as 26 nurses and three doctors tested positive for COVID-19 in a span of one week. The administration has barred the entry to and exit from the hospital until all the patients test negative twice consecutively, reports said. 

"It is unfortunate that such a big cluster of cases have come from a medical facility. They should have taken precautions," said Suresh Kakani, the Additional Municipal Commissioner, adding that a team led by the executive health officer has been set up to probe how the coronavirus spread among so many in a hospital setting.

While the nurses who tested positive for COVID-19 have been shifted to the hospital from their quarters in Vile Parle, two of the infected doctors are admitted in SevenHills and one in SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim. Swab samples of more than 270 hospital staff and some patients have been sent for tests.
Representational image
Representational image
11:06   Aurangabad docs protest, demand PPE, N95 masks
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, resident doctors of the Government Medical College and Hospital in Aurangabad, Maharashtra staged a protest demanding personal protective equipment and N95 surgical masks for their own safety. Two patients and a staff member of the Government Medical College and Hospital have so far tested positive for coronavirus at the medical facility. The resident doctors protested outside the office of the GMCH dean on Sunday and said the personal protective equipment and N95 masks were essential for doctors deployed in emergency health services. They submitted a memorandum to the dean, saying they would stay quarantined in their hostels if the safety equipment are not provided. 

"Even after some patients tested positive for coronavirus, the doctors treating them in emergency wards were not provided these safety equipment," Mahrashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) Aurangabad unit president Dr Amir Tadvi told PTI. 

"These doctors attend to 50 to 100 patients in a day. It is now dangerous to treat patients without the protective equipment," he said. "We have put forth our demands as per guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research. We expect that these equipment would be supplied without any disruption. We have not stopped working, we have only demanded masks and PPE for our safety," MARD vice president Dr Sandeep Chauhan said. 

After the peotest, the emergency ward doctors were provided PPE and N95 masks on Sunday, Tadvi said. After a meeting with MARD officials, GMCH Dean Dr Kanan Yelikar issued a release, saying masks and PPE were available in adequate quantity. Presently, the safety equipment are kept with the in- charge ward staff and will be made available to doctors if they demand, it added. PTI 
11:02   UP man suffering from cough, cold ends life fearing he had COVID-19
A 35-year-old man who had self-isolated after having cough and cold, hanged himself in Jamalpur village here, with the police suspecting that he acted out of the fear of having contracted the novel coronavirus. Rajendra took the extreme step at his in-laws' house on Saturday. His brother-in-law told police that after having cough and cold he isolated himself in a room after some villagers suspected that he was suffering from COVID-19. "Maybe, he committed suicide due to this. The matter is being probed," a police official said. The district's Chief Medical Officer Dr Santosh Kumar said the man had not visited any government hospital for treatment. PTI
10:57   At 45, Maharashtra has highest coronavirus deaths
Update on the COVID-19 situation in India: The death toll due to novel coronavirus rose to 109 and the number of cases in the country climbed to 4,067 on Monday, according to the Union Health Ministry. While the number of active COVID-19 cases stands at 3,666, as many as 291 people were cured and discharged, and one has migrated, it stated. The total number of cases include 65 foreign nationals. 

According to the ministry's data updated at 9 am, 21 fresh deaths were reported from Maharashtra, two each from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and one from Punjab. Maharashtra has reported the most coronavirus deaths at 45, followed by Gujarat at 11, Madhya Pradesh at nine, Telangana and Delhi at seven each, Tamil Nadu at five and Punjab at six. Karnataka has reported four deaths, while West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh have recorded three fatalities each. Two deaths each have been reported from Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, and Kerala. Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana have reported one fatality each, according to the data. 

The highest number of confirmed cases is from Maharashtra at 690, followed by Tamil Nadu at 571 and Delhi at 503. The number cases in Telengana has gone up to 321, in Kerala to 314 and in Rajasthan to 253. There are 227 COVID-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh, 226 in Andhra Pradesh, 165 in Madhya Pradesh, 151 in Karnataka and 122 in Gujarat. Jammu and Kashmir has reported 106 cases, Haryana 84, West Bengal 80 and Punjab 68. Thirty people are afflicted with COVID-19 in Bihar, while Assam and Uttarakhand have reported 26 novel coronavirus cases each. Odisha has 21 positive cases, Chandigarh 18, Ladakh 14 and Himachal Pradesh 13. Ten cases have been reported from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, while Chhattisgarh has nine cases of the infection. Goa has reported seven COVID-19 cases, followed by Puducherry with five cases, Jharkhand three and Manipur two cases. Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have reported one infection each. "State-wise distribution is subject to further verification and reconciliation," the Health Ministry said on its website. -- PTI 
10:52   Chinese Whispers in Chhatttisgarh
Unsavoury news is trickling in for the Congress from Chhattisgarh. A power struggle is on between Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and senior minister T S Singh Deo. Singh Deo, 67, believes he should have been chief minister when the Congress secured a massive win in the Assembly polls in December 2018. With the Lok Sabha elections impending and the Congress keen to reach out to the OBCs (other backward classes) in the state, Baghel was given the job. Some in the party say an agreement was reached that Baghel would be chief minister for two and a half years and Singh Deo for the rest of the term. Now, Singh Deo's camp says Baghel is on a public relations overdrive and is taking all key decisions in the fight against Covid-19 even though Singh Deo is health minister. A legislator with allegiance to Singh Deo was roughed up by the police recently when he stepped out to distribute relief. Baghel and Singh Deo did not see eye to eye on the latter's decision that the government should take over some of the private hospitals. The decision was later overturned. 
-- Business Standard
10:37   Italy, Spain report flattened virus curve
Coronavirus-stricken Europe breathed a sigh of relief Sunday, as Italy reported its lowest single-day deaths in nearly three weeks and Spain saw continued fall in new cases and deaths. Between Saturday and Sunday, the coronavirus-related death toll in Italy was 525, the lowest one-day total since March 19, when COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, claimed 427 lives, Xinhua news agency reported. The country registered its one-day high of 969 fatalities on March 27. The death toll has decreased in five of nine days since then.

Still, the pandemic has now resulted in 15,887 deaths, more than in any other country. "We cannot let our guard down, but the trend" is positive, Angelo Borrelli, the head of Italy's Civil Protection Department, was quoted on Sunday. The number of active cases in the country climbed to 91,246 on Sunday, up from 88,274 a day earlier. 

All told, Italy has registered 128,948 cases since the start of the outbreak, up from 124,632 registered Saturday.

In Spain, which took over Italy on Saturday, has further reported a continued fall in the number of confirmed cases and deaths. A total of 6,023 new infections were registered between Saturday and Sunday, fewer than the 7,026 new cases in the previous 24 hours and 7,472 between Thursday and Friday, bringing the country's total infection cases to 130,759. -- ANI

Image:  Final samples being taken from the 263 evacuees from Rome and Italy housed at ITBPs Chhawla facility, in Delhi on Saturday. Pic: ANI
10:11   Kanika Kapoor discharged, 6th test -ve for nCoV77
Singer Kanika Kapoor has been discharged from Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow after the report of her sixth test, came negative. The Baby Doll singer made headlines after she tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. She was slammed for her negligence in hiding details of her travel history and meeting people after her return to India and hosting a party which several political leaders in Madhya Pradesh attended. 

An FIR was lodged against her last month under IPC Sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant). 
10:03   Singapore govt to quarantine returnees in five-star hotels
The Singapore government has decided to quarantine returning Singaporeans from overseas in five-star hotels for 14 days as a constructive way to support the local hotel industry in these difficult times. The government has blocked 7500 hotel rooms for quarantine purposes.With the occupancy at hotels plunging to unprecedented levels and many jobs at risk, the Singapore government may have found a novel way to help the hotel industry in Singapore.

Last week, the World Travel and Tourism Council reported that layoffs in global tourism is mounting at a rate of one million a day, estimating that up to 50 million jobs in the sector are at immediate risk and that the industry may possibly lose as much as USD 2.1 trillion by the end of the year.

Singapore reported its first case of COVID-19 on January 23. When it closed its borders to Chinese visitors at the end of the month, it had a total of 16 cases. The situation was very "manageable" right up to till the middle of March. Until then, the maximum number of cases on any given day was 13, and on most days, the number of new cases was in the low single-digit numbers. 

However, numbers started spiking up from the middle of March. One of the reasons for the spike could be due to residents returning from other countries in March as countries around the world started to lockdown and close their borders.

Singapore is a densely packed island city on about 720 square kilometers of land and a population of 5.7 million people. Any virus can spread quite easily on the island. About 200,000 residents were expected to return to Singapore in March and April. -- ANI
09:56   490 new cases in 12 hours, India tally 4067
The Govt of India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare says there has been an increase of 490 COVID19 cases in the last 12 hours. India's positive cases at 4067 (including 3666 active cases, 292 cured/discharged/migrated people and 109 deaths). 

On the 40th foundation day of the BJP today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to party workers to reaffirm the importance of social distancing, help those in need amid lockdown and enable India to overcome COVID-19.

"Greetings to all fellow BJP Karyakartas on the Sthapana Diwas of the party. Tributes to all those who have toiled hard to build the party for decades, due to which BJP has got the opportunity to serve crores of Indians across our nation's length and breadth. #BJPat40," Prime Minister Modi tweeted.

"Whenever BJP has got the opportunity to serve, the party has focused on good governance and empowering the poor. In line with the party's ethos, our Karyakartas have worked hard to bring a positive difference in the lives of many and done great social service. We mark our party's 40th anniversary when India is battling COVID-19. I appeal to BJP Karyakartas to follow the set of guidelines from our party president JP Nadda Ji, help those in need and reaffirm the importance of social distancing. Let's make India COVID-19 free," he added. 

Image: A painting of the coronavirus on a road in Puducherry on Sunday. Pic: ANI                  
Social distancing during a union cabinet meeting on March 25
Social distancing during a union cabinet meeting on March 25
09:37   Union Cabinet meeting at 1 pm today
The Union Cabinet is scheduled to meet at 1 pm today via video conferencing. On March 25, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a Union Cabinet meeting where ministers were seen observing social distancing, which is a precaution against COVID-19. The Cabinet ministers were seen seated maintaining a distance from each other in the Cabinet meeting held at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg in the national capital.  -- PTI
09:28   As Chinese return home, 39 new COVID-19 cases
China has reported 39 new coronavirus cases, including 38 imported ones, as the number of asymptomatic cases also surged, raising concern of a second wave of the COVID-19 infections mainly from Chinese returning home despite drastic containment efforts, health officials said on Monday.

A health official of Beijing has warned that the Chinese capital will probably remain under long-term coronavirus epidemic control saying that there is no chance to call off the city's prevention and control work in a short time. 

China's National Health Commission said on Monday that one new domestic COVID-19 case and 38 imported cases were reported from across the country on Sunday. The one new domestic case was reported from the Guangdong Province, which is a major industrial belt. 

On Saturday, five new locally cases were reported raising concerns of the cases resurfacing though in smaller numbers as China resumed production full steam after over two months of layoff due to COVID-19. Imported cases were on the rise as China is currently airlifting a large number of stranded Chinese nationals from different countries through chartered flights. 

Also, on Sunday 78 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were reported on the mainland, including 40 imported ones, the NHC said, adding that 1,047 asymptomatic cases were still under medical observation. Asymptomatic coronavirus cases are those who test positive for the virus but do not show any symptoms and have the potential to cause sporadic clusters of infections. One death was reported from the coronavirus virus epicentre Hubei Province taking the death toll in the country to 3,331 people. 

The overall confirmed cases on the mainland have reached 81,708 by Sunday, including 1,299 patients still being treated, 77,078 patients discharged after recovery, and 3,331 people died of the disease, the NHC said. By Sunday, 890 confirmed cases, including four deaths have been reported in Hong Kong, 44 confirmed cases in the Macao, and 363 in Taiwan including five deaths, it said.  -- PTI

Image: Men wearing protective masks pose at the Great Wall in Badaling in Beijing, after China re-opened the site two weeks ago. Pic: Reuters
09:19   Help needy, PM tells BJP workers
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted BJP workers on the party's 40th foundation day on Monday and asked them to help the needy as the country fights to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak. Recalling the contribution of those who toiled for decades to build the party, he said it is because of them that the BJP got the chance to serve crores of Indians. 

"Tributes to all those who have toiled hard to build the party for decades, due to which BJP has got the opportunity to serve crores of Indians across our nation's length and breadth," Modi wrote on Twitter. 

The prime minister also said that whenever the BJP has been given the opportunity to serve the nation, it has focused on good governance and empowering the poor. 

"In line with the party's ethos, our karyakartas (workers) have worked hard to bring a positive difference in the lives of many and done great social service," he tweeted. Pointing out that the party's 40th anniversary comes at a time when India is battling COVID-19, Modi said, "I appeal to BJP karyakartas to follow the set of guidelines from our party president J P Nadda-ji, help those in need and reaffirm the importance of social distancing. Let's make India COVID-19-free," he said. -- PTI
09:00   Irrfan Khan's Angrezi Medium movie is now streaming on Disney+Hotstar
Irrfan Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Radhika Madan starrer Angrezi Medium movie is now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar. 

The movie is available at

Angrezi Medium is a comedy-drama film directed by Homi Adajania and produced under the production banner Maddock Films. The film is the spiritual successor to the 2017 comedy Hindi Medium and stars Irrfan Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Radhika Madan and Deepak Dobriyal.

08:41   US reports record COVID-19 cases of 3,37,274
There are at least 3,37,274 cases of coronavirus in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

At least 9,633 people have died in the US from coronavirus. 

As of Sunday, there have been at least 25,029 new cases and at least 1,137 new deaths reported in the US.

The total includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases.

Wyoming is the only state not reporting a death from coronavirus.
08:08   Wearing face masks made compulsory at Maharashtra Mantralaya
As a precautionary measure to control the spread of coronavirus, wearing face masks has been made compulsory for all staff, officers and visitors in Mantralaya in Mumbai for the coming few months.

No entry will be allowed to anyone without face masks. With 103 new COVID-19 positive cases, the number of total cases in Mumbai on Sunday stood at 433. 

The total positive coronavirus cases in Maharashtra stand at 748.

-- ANI
07:49   UK PM admitted to hospital for COVID-19 tests
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to hospital for tests, 10 days after testing positive for coronavirus.

Johnson, 55, "continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus", a Downing Street spokesperson said on Sunday.

His hospitalisation was described as a "precautionary step" taken on the advice of his doctor.

"On the advice of his doctor, the prime minister has been admitted to hospital for tests. This is a precautionary step, as the Prime Minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus," the spokesperson said.

"The PM thanks NHS staff for all of their incredible hard work and urges the public to continue to follow the Government's advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives," the spokesperson added.

Johnson had extended self-isolation as he gave an update on his health via social media on Friday, which should have marked the end of the stipulated seven-day self-isolation period after his COVID-19 diagnosis last week.

He said he still has a temperature, one of the symptoms associated with coronavirus, and would therefore have to stay in isolation for longer.

"Although I'm feeling better and I've done my seven days of isolation, alas I still have one of the symptoms, a minor symptom," Johnson said in a new video message.

"I still have a temperature and so, in accordance with government advice, I must continue my self-isolation until that symptom itself goes," he said.

Johnson was last seen, still looking quite poorly, when he made a brief appearance at Downing Street on Thursday night to join the national 'clap for carers' applause in appreciation of the hardwork of National Health Service workers on the frontline of the fight against the outbreak.

-- PTI