Abbott Laboratories told Reuters on Friday it won US marketing approval for a diagnostic test for the coronavirus that can deliver results to patients within minutes and be used in physicians' offices and urgent care clinics, as well as hospitals.
The United States now has more cases of the coronavirus than any other country, and hospitals have struggled to meet the demand to test thousands of people for the often-deadly virus. The US Food and Drug Administration granted the approval under its Emergency Use Authorization.
Abbott said in a statement that it plans to begin distributing the test next week and will ramp up manufacturing to 50,000 tests per day.
Tomorrow's Mann ki Baat to focus on coronavirus outbreak: PM
The latest episode of Mann ki Baat on Sunday will focus on the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said. Mann ki Baat radio programme is aired on the last Sunday of every month and the prime minister speaks on the latest issues.
The number of known coronavirus US cases soared well past 1,15,000, with more than 1,900 dead, reports Reuters. President Donald Trump said he was considering imposing a quarantine on the hard hit New York region and other regions which had emerged as hotspots. Trump told reporters he could order a quarantine on three states, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which between them have recorded at least 64,000 infections and 895 deaths.
I am giving consideration to a QUARANTINE of developing “hot spots”, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A decision will be made, one way or another, shortly.
Ambala has reported its first positive case of coronavirus, reports ANI. A 21-year-old man is a resident of Ram Nagar village in Patiala, Punjab, on Ambala-Patiala border. He had recently travelled to Nepal and was admitted to a hospital on 26 March, ANI quotes the chief medical officer of Ambala as saying.
Coronavirus Outbreak in Italy Latest Updates
Death toll in Italy crosses 10,000
The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has surged by 889, Reuters quotes the Civil Protection Agency as saying. This is the second highest daily tally since the epidemic emerged on 21 February. Total fatalities in Italy have reached 10,023, by far the highest of any country in the world. The total number of confirmed cases in Italy rose on Saturday to 92,472 from a previous 86,498.
Coronavirus Outbreak in Maharashtra Latest Updates
918 cases in India, Maharashtra tally tops 186
The total number of COVI-19 cases in Maharashtra has reached 186, ANI quotes the state health department as saying. Meanwhile the total number of confirmed cases in the country has reached 918, said the Union health ministry while the death toll has reached 19.
Coronavirus in Gujarat Latest Updates
Two more cases reported in Gujarat
Two more COVID19 positive cases were detected in Gujarat, reports ANI. A 25-year-old man from Gandhinagar got infected through local transmission, while a 65-year-old man from Gir Somnath had recently travlelled to Saudi Arabia. The total number of positive cases in the state has reached 55, ANI quotes the state health department as saying.
Coronavirus Outbreak Latest Updates
Centre to provide three meals to day to those living in shelter homes
The Ministry for Housing and Urban Affairs will provide three meals a day tomore than 1,00,000 people living in over 1500 shelters for the urban homeless across the country, said Union minister Hardeep Sngh Puri.
It gives me immense satisfaction to announce that in a major step towards providing succour to our fellow citizens, @MoHUA_India has decided to provide three meals a day to more than 100,000 people living in over 1500 shelters for the urban homeless across the country. pic.twitter.com/0EC8gf60LK
Rahul Gandhi hits out at Centre over exodus of migrants
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi lashed out the government over exodus of migrant workers who were stranded in different parts of the country due to the lockdown. "It’s shameful that we’ve allowed any Indian citizen to be treated this way and that the government had no contingency plans in place for this exodus," he said. Visuals of hordes of migrant workers gathering at Delhi's Anand Vihar bus station to catch buses back home to Uttar Pradesh had gone viral on social media.
Out of work & facing an uncertain future, millions of our brothers & sisters across India are struggling to find their way back home. It’s shameful that we’ve allowed any Indian citizen to be treated this way & that the Govt had no contingency plans in place for this exodus. pic.twitter.com/sjHBFqyVZk
Coronavirus Outbreak in Jammu and Kashmir latest updates
Health workers, residents in Jammu and Kashmir beaten up by police
A number of videos have emerged on social networking sites showing the Jammu And Kashmir Police roughing up residents, health workers as well as power department workers during the unprecedented nationwide lockdown that has been enforced across India in order to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In the Charar-e-Sharief area of Budgam district, residents accused the police of not only baton-charging them but also disallowing them from buying medicines and essential commodities after fresh coronavirus cases were reported from the Valley.Even doctors, as well as the staff of government-run Power Development Department (PDD), have accused the police of preventing them from attending to their duties.
Four new coronavirus cases were detected in Pune on Saturday, taking the number of cases in the city to 24, PTI quotes a health official as saying.A person who was admitted to a private hospital for a liver-related ailment had tested positive for coronavirus two days ago. Three persons who had come in close contact with him tested positive on Saturday, said a health officer of Pune Municipal Corporation. "They were admitted to Naidu Hospital and their condition is stable," he said.
Another person, who is 51 years old and who had been admitted to anothe rhospitalfor some other ailment, also tested positive for the virus on Saturday.
Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: The number of known coronavirus US cases soared well past 1,15,000, with more than 1,900 dead, reports Reuters. President Donald Trump said he was considering imposing a quarantine on the hard hit New York region and other regions which had emerged as hotspots.
The total number of COVI-19 cases in Maharashtra has reached 186, ANI quotes the state government as saying. Meanwhile the total number of confirmed cases in the country has reached 918, said the Union health ministry while the death toll has reached 19.
The number of positive cases in Jammu and Kashmir has reached 33, Principal Secretary of Planning Rohit Kansal said. The Department of Information and Public Relations, Jammu and Kashmir said that the five latest cases were all contacts of people who had earlier tested positive and remained asymptomatic.
The second coronavirus death has been reported in Delhi, news agency PTI quotes the Delhi health department as saying. The number of COVID19 cases in the national capital has reached 49, it said.
The 85-year-old doctor who died in Mumbai on Friday was confirmed to be infected by the novel coronavirus, PTI reported. The toll in Maharashtra is now six.
The surgeon-cum-urologist died of suspected coronavirus infection early on Friday, even as two of his family members are said to have contracted the disease.
The Uttar Pradesh Government is set to release 11,000 prisoners, across 71 jails in the state, on parole for eight weeks. Those inmates of 71 prisons who have spent less than seven years sentence are being released as as a preventive measure against the fast-spreading coronavirus.
The Tata Trusts pledged to contribute Rs 500 crore for COVID-19 relief fund on Saturday. The contribution will be used for buying personal protective equipment for medical personnel, respiratory systems for treating increasing cases, testing kits, setting up modular treatment facilities and training of health workers.
Taking to Twitter, Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Sons, said, "The COVID 19 crisis is one of the toughest challenges we will face as a race. The Tata Trusts and the Tata group companies have in the past risen to the needs of the nation. At this moment, the need of the hour is greater than any other time."
Five more cases have been reported in Noida, Noida District Magistrate (DM) BN Singh said on Saturday. Singh also ordered landlords in Gautam Buddh Nagar, Noida to collect rent from workers (tenants) only after a month.
The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) has requested all District Magistrates (DMs), Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs) and other officials not to obstruct the movement of 200 special buses being run to provide transport facilities to people stuck at various places in the border areas with Delhi.
"On the directions of the Government of Uttar Pradesh, the UPSRTC is deploying buses to provide transport facilities to people stuck at various points at border districts of Delhi. The buses have started reaching Noida and Ghaziabad. Around 200 buses will depart from for every 2 hours from 8 am onwards," read a letter written by the Managing Director (MD) UPSRTC, Raj Shekhar, to the administration.
In its recent press release, the Union Home Secretary has written to all States/UTs to take immediate steps for providing all adequate arrangements for the migrant workers, students who are still outside their states.
The adequate services include providing food and shelter, to the migrant agricultural labourers, industrial workers and other unorganized sector workers during the 21-day nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.
The advisory suggests that in order to mitigate the situation for unorganized sector workers, particularly stranded migrant workers; states/UTs should explore different possible measures.
"This can also be done by involving various agencies, including NGOs, to provide food and shelter with basic amenities like clean drinking water, sanitation etc.," read the statement.
Kerala reported its first coronavirus death after a 69-year-old patient, who was under treatment at the Kalamasserry Government Medical College in Kochi, passed away on Saturday. The victim had recently returned from Dubai and was admitted for coronavirus treatment on 22 March.
The patient was of high-risk category as he was a cardiac patient, Kerala minister VS. Sunil Kumar said in Kochi. His family members are under surveillance.
The Assam Police on Saturday resorted to firing in Bongaigaon district on Saturday after locals, who had gathered to buy vegetables, pelted stones at them.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting released a statement on India's response to the novel coronavirus so far. The ministry stated that the nation's efforts to contain the virus has been "pre-emptive, pro-active and graded".
"As many as 20 video conferences by Union Health Secretary with State Governments and 6 by the Cabinet Secretary with the State Chief Secretaries have been held to review the and step up the preparedness to deal with the Corona issue. Integrated disease surveillance system, which includes monitoring of international travellers, is one of the many issues discussed in these Video Conferences," read the statement.
The total number of coronavirus cases have climbed to 873 on Saturday, according to the Union Health Ministry. At least 149 fresh cases were reported in 24 hours.
The health ministry's data further revealed that 19 people have succumbed to the virus so far. Meanwhile, 79 people have now been cured, discharged or migrated.
Six new coronavirus positive cases were reported in Maharashtra on Friday — five in Mumbai and one in Nagpur. The total number of positive cases in the state rises to 159, said the state health ministry.
The United States on Friday announced $174 million financial assistance to 64 countries including $2.9 million to India to help them fight the coronavirus pandemic. This is in addition to the $100 million aid announced by the US in February.
The newly announced assistance is part of a larger American global response package across multiple departments and agencies, including the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The funding is for 64 of the most at-risk countries facing the threat of the global pandemic.
The US State Department said it is providing $2.9 million to help the Indian government prepare laboratory systems, activate case finding and event-based surveillance, and support technical experts for response and preparedness, and more
West Bengal on Friday reported five new cases of COVID-19 including that of an infant, the highest number of confirmed cases on a single day in the state, taking the tally to 15.
Of the five fresh cases which were reported from Nadia district in South Bengal, four did not have any recent travel history.
The five of family include a nine-month-old baby, a six-year-old girl, an 11-year-old boy and two women aged 27 and 45, a health official said.
The 27-year-old woman had visited Delhi, where she came in contact with a person from the UK who recently tested positive, the official said.
"We tracked the entire family and tested eight of them. Five were found positive," the official said, adding that they are undergoing treatment at a hospital in Nadia district.
Nine more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu on Friday, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 38 in the state as Chief Minister K Palaniswami briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the action being taken to tackle the contagion.
While six cases were reported earlier in the day, three were reported on Friday night, as the state recorded the highest number of cases in a single day.
Health officials maintained on Friday that India is still in Phase II of the coronavirus pandemic even as the tally of confirmed cases rose to 724. Officially, 17 people have lost their lives in India due the novel coronavirus while 66 patients have been discharged after being cured of the virus that has killed over 25,000 globally and infected over 5.4 lakh persons.
On Friday, India also announced unprecedented measures to cushion the impact of a 21-day-long nationwide shutdown and the threat the pandemic has caused.
The RBI on Friday announced its steepest interest rate cut in more than 11 years in a bid to counter the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the government stepped up efforts to battle the fast-spreading virus, amid warnings from health experts that there could be a risk of community transmission if people violated the lockdown.
Representational image. PTI
The health ministry continued to maintain that there was no case of community transmission yet.
"There is not enough evidence to show that community transmission has started," Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar, Head of Epidemiology and Communicable diseases at ICMR, said on Friday during the health ministry's daily briefing.
Gangakhedkar also denounced prediction models for India, saying they often "go wrong".
"There are many doomsday predictors," he added.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba has asked states to immediately strengthen the surveillance of international travellers, who entered the country before the lockdown as there appeared to be a "gap" between the actual monitoring for COVID-19 and the total arrivals.
In a letter to chief secretaries of all States and Union Territories, Gauba said the gap in the monitoring of international passengers for coronavirus "may seriously jeopardise the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19", given that many amongst the persons who have tested positive so far in India have a history of international travel.
Apart from announcing the rate cut, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) also allowed banks to put on hold EMI payments on all term loans for three months as it slashed the cost of fresh borrowing by cutting policy interest rate, a move which was dubbed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "giant steps" to safeguard the economy from the impact of coronavirus.
"The announcements will improve liquidity, reduce cost of funds, help middle class and businesses," Modi tweeted.
On its part, the Delhi government assured people that medical staff in the National Capital were ready to tackle the situation even if the cases go up at a rate of 100 per day and that it has the adequate number of medicines and testing kits.
While Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane launched an initiative christened 'Operation Namaste' to extend all possible assistance to the government in containing the spread of the novel coronavirus, NDRF chief SN Pradhan said the force is getting battle-ready should its services be required amid rising cases.
"We have prepared 84 small core teams per battalion. The force is trying to cover 600 personnel in each battalion with personal protection equipment (PPE). We have informed the chief secretaries of all the states that we are on standby and can be called in, as and when required...," Pradhan told PTI in a telephonic interview.
While the numbers — both the toll and the total number of coronavirus cases — may not paint a grim picture compared to other countries, including the developed nations like the US and the UK, concern is growing among healthcare experts who believe that if people do not follow the lockdown or social distancing seriously, the situation can quickly go out of control.
Dr Arvind Kumar, lung surgeon at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) in Delhi, said "the only way" to slow down the virus' transmission is to follow the lockdown diligently.
Dr Kumar, also founder trustee of Lung Care Foundation, cautioned that "one infected person can spread the contagion to three more persons, which then increases in a geometric progression".
"So, you can imagine the threat India is facing if people violate lockdown and roam around, especially in the affected ones. It will be so difficult to trace contacts then," he added.
Kumar also warned that sometimes a COVID-19-positive person may not have a fever but regular flu symptoms with breathlessness, and it is important for such people to be self-isolated.
Asked about the cases from clusters, Health Ministry's Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal, at the press conference, said contact tracing of all the cases is being done diligently as per defined protocols and in areas where more than one case has been reported, special teams have been deployed for house-to-house surveys.
India is under a complete lockdown for 21 days since Wednesday, in a desperate measure to contain the spread of the virus. Globally, the death toll from the coronavirus has risen to 25,000 with more than 5.4 lakh cases reported in over 170 countries and territories.
Cases in states
As per the health ministry, four deaths have been reported from Maharashtra while Gujarat had registered three deaths.
Karnataka has reported two deaths so far, while Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Punjab, Delhi, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh have reported one death each.
According to the data, the number of active COVID-19 cases in the country stood at 640, while 66 people were either cured or discharged and one had migrated.
The total number of 724 cases included 47 foreign nationals, the ministry said.
Agarwal said, "Seventy-five new cases of coronavirus and four deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours and that the Centre is working in tandem with states to ensure that social distancing is followed and the lockdown is implemented effectively."
In Shillong, the Catholic Church has written to its parishes across the Khasi Jaintia Hills region to open the facilities as centres for quarantine, if needed, amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Shillong Archdiocese administrator John Madur in a letter said, "I understand we are in difficult times. But I am sure we can be of some services to humanity."
The Catholic Church is one of the biggest churches in the state with over three lakh members.