Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: Reports that Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to chief ministers about the coronavirus lockdown and "heard about their views about restrictions and sectors they want to open up."
As Delhi recorded its highest daily-spike of 1,024 coronavirus cases, Haryana government stated that borders with the national capital will be sealed in view of the rising number of infections.
Reports said that 1,024 new cases of the coronavirus were reported in Delhi in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 16,281 in the National Capital. The toll stands at 316.
"Few asymptomatic passengers who travelled on IndiGo flights were tested positive for COVID-19 on 2 May. Of these, 3 passengers were onboard from Delhi to Jammu on 26 May, six passengers onboard from Bengaluru to Coimbatore on 27 May 27 and 2 passengers onboard from Delhi to Coimbatore on 27 May 27," IndiGo said in a statement on Thursday.
The RT-PCR test is testing for the presence of the virus and "is agnostic whether you have symptoms or not", said Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Government of India Prof K. Vijay Raghavan.
"Whether you are asymptomatic, if you have virus it will be detected," he said.
He added, "AICTE and CSIR have embarked on a drug discovery hackathon- this is a high-end hackathon where students are trained with information on how to do computational drug discovery."
K Vijay Raghavan, principal scientific advisor to the Centre, said that there are about a total of 30 groups in India — big industries to individual academics — who are trying to develop vaccines to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
The Supreme Courtdirected minute orders regarding the provision of food to migrant workers who are travelling back to their native states by trains or bus, after several deaths due to lack of food and water were reported on journeys in the last few days.
The apex court directed the originating state to provide food and water, after which the onus is on the Railways. After the journey, the receiving state "shall give transport, food and meals from stations to their villages. This is applicable for both camps on the way or buses," the SC said.
"All migrants who are stranded shall be provided food by the concerned state at places publicized and notified to them so that they can meet both ends. While they wait for turn to board train or bus, they can survive this way," the bench was quoted as saying by Bar and Bench.
The Supreme Court also said that if migrant workers are found on foot by any state authority, they should be "taken to shelters immediately and provided food and all facilities".
The Supreme Court directed state governments to add the details regarding migrant workers awaiting transportation in their replies before the apex court.
Live Law reported that the details demanded by the bench are:
"- number of migrants awaiting transportation to native places;
- plan for transportation;
- mechanism of registration;
- other [requisite] details."
The Supreme Court on Thursday issued interim orders regarding the migrant crisis across the country and said that no train or bus fare should be taken from migrant workers.
"- Migrant workers shall be provided food by the concerned state and UT at places. To be publicised and notified for the period they are waiting for their turn to board a train or a bus. During train journey, originating states will provide meal and water," Live Law quoted the court as saying.
SG Tushar Mehta said that migrant workers started leaving for their home states on foot because they were "locally instigated", in the SC hearing ont the migrant crisis on Thursday.
The Centre is doing a lot to contain the coronavirus outbreak, but there are “Prophets of Doom in our country who only spread negativity, negativity, negativity”, the Solicitor General tells the high court. “These armchair intellectuals do not recognise the nation’s efforts,” he adds.
Trade or consumption of liquor is not a fundamental right and the state has the authority to regulate its sale, the AAP government has told the Delhi High Court maintaining that its levying 70 percent special corona fees' on MRP of all alcohol brands is a price for grant of such privilege to the public.
In the last 24 hours, 131 police personnel have tested positive for COVID-19 and 2 deaths have been reported. The total number of positive cases in Maharashtra Police rise to 2095 with toll at 22. Total 897 personnel have recovered and 1178 cases are active, reports PTI.
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) sealed its headquarter building in Central Delhi on Thursday after a senior employee tested positive for COVID-19, taking the total number of employees infected with the novel coronavirus to 7.
Some 122 million Indians were forced out of jobs last month alone, according to estimates from the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, a private sector think tank. Daily wage workers and those employed by small businesses have taken the worst hit, reports Bloomberg Quint.
In the past 24 hours, 131 more people tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Rajasthan, thereby taking the total confirmed COVID-19 cases to 7,947 on Thursday. The COVID-19 toll in the state stood at 179 after six more deaths were reported.
Assam registered a total 798 COVID-19 cases on Thursday after 15 more individuals tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Thursday, said health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Of the 15 new cases, 11 were reported in Kamrup Metro, three in Dibrugarh while one in Lakhimpur, said Sarma
India registered 6,566 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, thereby taking the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases at 1,58,333, according to the latest data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The figure also includes 86,110 active cases.
After 194 more individuals succumbed to the viral infection in the past 24 hours, the toll reached 4,531 on Thursday.
Two SpiceJet passengers who travelled from Ahmedabad to Guwahati via Delhi on Monday have tested positive for COVID-19, the airline said on Wednesday.
"Two passengers who had travelled with SpiceJet from Ahmedabad to Guwahati on May 25 have tested positive for COVID-19. The passengers had travelled on SG-8194 (Ahmedabad-Delhi) and SG-8152 (Delhi-Guwahati)," an airline spokesperson said.
"COVID tests were conducted at Guwahati after landing and the passengers were quarantined. The test reports came on May 27. The operating crew has been quarantined and SpiceJet is coordinating with government agencies in notifying other passengers who had travelled with them," the airline said.
The toll due to COVID-19 rose to 4,337 while total number of cases climbed to 1,51,767 in the country, registering an increase of 170 deaths and 6,387 cases in the 24 hours ending at 8 am on Wednesday.
This is the sixth day that the country has registered more than 6,000 new cases. However, the Union health ministry said that there have been "multiple gains" from the lockdown and the most important of them is that it has "decelerated the pace" of the spread of COVID-19.
Confirmed cases climb to 1,51,767
According to the morning update issued by the Union health ministry, the number of active coronavirus cases stands at 83,004 in the country, while 64,425 people have recovered and one patient has migrated, the health ministry said. "Thus, around 42.45 percent of patients (in India) have recovered so far," a senior health ministry official said.
Confirmed cases in India climbed to 1,51,767 on Wednesday. AP
Of the 170 deaths reported since Tuesday morning, 97 were in Maharashtra, 27 in Gujarat, 12 in Delhi, nine in Tamil Nadu, five each in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, three in Rajasthan and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Telangana and Uttarakhand.
Of the total 4,337 fatalities, Maharashtra accounts for the highest (1,792) deaths in the country, followed by Gujarat with 915 deaths, Madhya Pradesh with 305, Delhi with 288, West Bengal with 283, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh with 170 each, Tamil Nadu with 127 and Andhra Pradesh and Telangana with 57 deaths each.
According to the health ministry data updated in the morning, the highest number of confirmed cases in the country are from Maharashtra at 54,758 followed by Tamil Nadu at 17,728, Gujarat at 14,821, Delhi at 14,465, Rajasthan at 7,536, Madhya Pradesh at 7,024 and Uttar Pradesh at 6,548.
"A total of 4,013 cases are being reassigned to states," the ministry said on its website, adding that its "figures are being reconciled with the ICMR".
Delhi records highest single-day spike
However, since the morning update given by the Union health ministry, many states have reported an increases in both cases and fatalities. Delhi recorded 792 fresh cases pushing the total past 15,000. The National Capital also recorded 15 deaths, taking the toll from the novel coronavirus to 303.
In Maharashtra, 105 more patients succumbed to the viral disease, taking the toll in the state to 1,897, whereas, the number of cases rose by 2,190 to 56,948, with Mumbai alone recording 1,044 new cases.
The state government, however, said that it is hoping to bring the numers under control by next week.
"The cases which are rising are in the same containment zones with high densities. There aren't new areas from where cases are coming up. And even in these containment areas, the numbers are slowly decreasing. We should be able to bring the numbers under control by next week," said Maharashtra minister Jayant Patil on Wednesday, according to News18.
Tamil Nadu also saw a sharp rise in cases as 817 more people tested positive, including 138 returnees from Maharashtra while six patients succumbed to the viral infection on Wednesday. The infection count in the state is now 18,545 while a total of 133 persons have died due to the disease.
The number of cases continued to rise in Kerala as well with the return of people from various states as well from abroad. The state which had been lauded for controlling the spread of the contagion reported 40 new cases on Wednesday, of which 37 were returnees, taking the overall tally 1,003. Presently, 445 people are undergoing treatment in various hospitals in the state and over 1.7 lakh are under observation, PTI quotes Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan as saying.
Tripura also reported 23 new cases and officials said that the majority of the recent cases have been detected among people returning from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and other states.
In Madhya Pradesh, the Raj Bhavan, the residence of the state governor, was declared as a containment zone after six persons living on the campus tested positive for the viral infection.
Raj Bhavan sources told PTI that after the first case of COVID-19 was found at the Raj Bhavan a couple of days back, the sample of Governor Lalji Tadon was also collected for testing.
Meanwhile, officials in the hill state Uttarakhand said that the doubling rate of coronavirus cases has worsened and the number of infections has jumped nearly five times in this period due to the influx of people from outside the state.
New cases were reported from various other states and union territories as well, including Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Gujarat, Goa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.
Lockdown slowed spread of virus, insists health ministry
Meanwhile, the Union health ministry in a statement said the lockdown had contributed to the slowing of the spread of the virus in the country.
"Lockdown has garnered multiple gains, and primarily among them is that it has decelerated the pace of spread of the disease," the ministry said.
Estimates made by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation showed that a large number of deaths and cases have been averted, it said, adding that health infrastructure also had been strengthened.
"Health infrastructure required for COVID-19 management was ramped up during the lockdown. As on 27 May, 930 dedicated COVID hospitals with 1,58,747 isolation beds, 20,355 ICU beds and 69,076 oxygen supported beds are available," the statement said.
The Centre has also provided 113.58 lakh N-95 masks and 89.84 lakh Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to the states, union territories and central Institutions, the ministry said, adding that the testing capacity has increased in the country through 435 government laboratories and 189 private laboratories (total of 624 labs).
Chhattisgarh announces austerity measures
However, the impacts of the lockdown on the economy, particularly on the revenues earned by states continued to be evident, with the Chhattisgarh deciding to undertake various austerity measures.
"The state government has taken several important decisions to cut its expenditures and ensure optimal utilisation of resources available for development-oriented works in the backdrop of fall in revenue collection due to the lockdown," a public relations official told PTI.
"As a part of the measures, creating new vacancies, transfer of government staff, holding meetings in expensive hotels, foreign tours and purchase of new vehicles have been prohibited," he said.
The Punjab government decided to ask the Centre for a fiscal stimulus of Rs 51,102 crores to help the state tide over the financial crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the prolonged lockdown that ensued.
A draft memorandum to this effect was approved by the Council of Ministers, at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
Meanwhile, two days after domestic flight operations were restarted in the country after a gap of two months, national carrier Air India said that a passenger, who had travelled on an Alliance Air flight from Delhi to Ludhiana on 25 May, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, following which 41 people, including five crew members, have been quarantined.
At least seven migrants died onboard Shramik Special trains
The plight of migrants also continued to make it to the headlines, a day after the Supreme Court issued notices to the Centre and states on the issue.
According to PTI, at least seven deaths were reported onboard Shramik Special trains for migrant workers on Wednesday. The seven deaths — four on-board trains travelling to Bihar and three terminating in Uttar Pradesh — happened over the past few days, and were reported on Wednesday.
However, Railways officials said that most of the deceased had pre-existing health conditions.
Among the dead was 35-year-old Uresh Khatoon. Her toddler's vain attempt to awaken her from the eternal sleep on a platform in Bihar's Muzaffarpur was captured in a moving video that went viral on social media Wednesday, opening the floodgates of criticism for the Railways. The Railways attributed her death to a recent heart surgery, also corroborated by her son.
Another death reported from Muzaffarpur was that of a four-and-a-half-year-old son of a migrant from Bihar based in Delhi. The boy died at the railway station on arrival by a 'Shramik Special' train, while his father desperately hunted for some milk he believed would have saved his child.
While the father said that his son died of heat, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Railway, Ramakant Upadhyay, claimed the boy was ailing for some time and had died before the train reached Muzaffarpur station.
Two migrant workers were also found dead on a Shramik Special train at a Varanasi railway station on Wednesday morning.
Travelling migrant workers have complained of lack of food and water on-board these Shramik Special trains and also alleged they are not running on time and are being diverted "at will".
The Railways has, however, maintained that these trains are running on "pre-scheduled rationalised routes".
Some trains which should have taken 24 hours to reach to their destinations, arrived in over two days, according to reports, leaving the passengers on-board hungry and desperate.
Schools in West Bengal to remain shut till 30 June
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said the state considers ferrying of a large number of migrant workers by trains as a big problem for public health, as she sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention in the matter. Those returning from the coronavirus hotspot states of Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu will have to go for a 14-day institutional quarantine, Banerjee said.
Migrant workers wait outside a railway station in Mumbai hoping to be able to return to their home states. AP
The state government also announced that all schools will remain closed till 30 June.
In Mizoram, Chief Minister Zoramthanga said his government is contemplating extending the coronavirus-induced lockdown beyond 31 May in view of the influx of migrants from outside the state.
The Himachal Pradesh government has already authorised all district magistrates to extend the coronavirus lockdown beyond 31 May and three DMs have issued orders indicating that the curfew will continue in their areas for another month.
A nationwide lockdown has been in place since 25 March and the ongoing fourth phase of the lockdown is scheduled to remain in place till 31 May. While several relaxations have been given in the fourth phase for allowing various economic activities, educational institutions are among those that have not been allowed to open as yet.
With inputs from PTI