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India's COVID-19 cases continue to increase, reach 8041014, Death Toll at 120583

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Covid-19 explained: How it spreads and how to stay safe
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12th May 21:00

Narendra Modi announces ₹20-lakh-crore economic stimulus package

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said a new-look Lockdown 4.0 beyond May 17 was in the offing, while announcing an economic stimulus package for ₹20-lakh-crore (estimated at 10% of the GDP), with a clearly defined leap towards economic reforms that will, in his words, lead to Atmanirbhar Bharat, or a self-reliant, resilient India. This amount includes packages already announced at the beginning of the lockdown incorporating a slew of measures from the RBI and the payouts under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.

4th May 18:05

Ola, Uber resume services in cities in Green, Orange Zones

Cab-hailing platforms Ola and Uber on Monday said they have resumed services in areas within the Orange and Green Zones, and have introduced requirements like wearing masks to ensure safety of riders and driver partners. Both players had suspended operations after the government had announced a nationwide lockdown from March 24 to contain the spread of COVID-19 infection. After 40 days of lockdown, some relaxations have been provided in the third phase of the lockdown, including allowing cab services to operate, in locations that have very few or no confirmed cases reported. In a statement, Ola said it has resumed operations in over 100 cities across the country, adhering to the government guidelines.

4th May 16:00

Shramik Specials: railways say ‘sending States’ will have to pay ticket costs

“As per the guidelines issued, the sending State will pay the consolidated fare to Railways. Sending State may decide to bear this cost or take it from passengers or take it from the receiving State after mutual consultation or may charge it to any fund. It is purely their prerogative,” a statement from a railway spokesperson said. The statement follows severe criticism of the railways' guideline on the Shramik Specials that says: “Local government authority shall hand over the tickets to passengers cleared by them and collect the ticket fare and hand over the total amount to Railways.”

3rd May 10:44

2nd phase of lockdown ends today, 3rd phase to begin from tomorrow

The 19-day period of lockdown announced after the initial 21-day lockdown will end today. It will be followed by a 2-week lockdown. This 3rd phase of lockdown will have differential restrictions based on zones. The country has been divided into red, orange, and green zones based on number of cases. Red zone will continue to have restrictions as before, while orange and green zones would have slightly relaxed norms for lockdown

28th April 08:35:50

Essential goods movement up, says govt.

There has been significant progress in removing bottlenecks and ensuring smooth movement of essential goods, according to Parameswaran Iyer, chairman of the Empowered Group 5 on Logistics and Supply Chain of Essential Items. Trucks moving food and medicines were functioning at about 46% on March 30, but have now improved to 76%. Movement of rail rakes is also operating at three-fourth of the usual rate, while ports are now handling almost 90% of their usual traffic. In a key indicator with regard to the food and farm supply chain, four out of five agricultural mandis have now been reopened, said Mr. Iyer. An online portal has been set up to connect farmers with mandis, cold storage and buyers.

28th April 08:30

ICMR says no payment made for Chinese test kits

India does not stand to lose a single rupee, said the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Monday in response to a clarification sought on the alleged profiteering by distributors, exposed through a legal dispute between an importer and a distributor, in the delivery COVID-19 rapid antibody testing kits to it. According to details provided in the Delhi High Court, the kits procured from China, whose delivered cost was ₹245 a test, were sold to ICMR for ₹600 a test — a mark up of 145%.

27th April 20:45

Stop using 2 Chinese firms’ rapid test kits, ICMR tells States

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Monday noted that the States have been advised to stop using rapid antibody test kits procured from Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics of China after it found wide variation in their sensitivity despite early promise of good performance for surveillance purpose. “Several States have procured rapid antibody test kits and on their demand, ICMR has also provided these kits with clear instructions that they are to be used only for surveillance purpose. Later some States raised issues regarding their performance during the testing exercise that they have undertaken,’’ said an ICMR release. After evaluating these kits, “States have now been told to not use these kits and return them to be sent back to the suppliers.’’ as per release.

23rd April 09:00

Attacks on health workers to attract up to 7 years in prison

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the promulgation of an ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, making acts of violence against medical staff a cognizable and non-bailable offence and to provide compensation for injury to healthcare personnel or for damage or loss to property. The ordinance proposes that in cases of attacks on healthcare workers, the investigation will be completed within 30 days and the final decision arrived at within one year. The punishment for such attacks will be 3 months to 5 years and the fine ₹50,000 to ₹2 lakh. In severe cases, where there are grievous injuries, the punishment will be 6 months to 7 years and the fine ₹1 lakh to ₹5 lakh.

23rd April 08:10

India’s COVID-19 recovery rate improves to nearly 20%

India on Wednesday reported 50 new COVID-19 deaths and the recovery of 3,959 patients, taking the recovery rate to 19.36% from 17% previously. The Union Health Ministry said 20,971 individuals have been confirmed positive as of now, while the death toll stood at 652. Since Tuesday, 1,383 new cases were reported. However, reports from the States put the toll at 683 and the total number of positive cases at 21,330, out of which 16,493 are active. Maharashtra has the most number of cases (5,649), followed by Gujarat (2,407) and Delhi (2,248).

22nd April 11:54

ICMR asks States to stop using rapid antibody tests for next 2 days

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has directed the States not to use the COVID-19 rapid testing kits for the next two days following reports of wide variations in results. The kits would be tested and validated by ICMR teams and an advisory on their use issued in the next two days. If they were found to be not up to the mark, replacements would be sought from the manufacturers, ICMR spokesperson Dr. R.R. Gangakhedkar said on Tuesday.

19th April 16:14

Centre allows movement of stranded migrant labourers within state in buses

With India entering 26th day of the lockdown, the Ministry of Home Affairs allowed the movement of stranded migrant labourers within a state in buses. However, it prohibited the inter-state movement of migrant labourers from where they are currently located. The number of cases in India crossed the 15,000-mark on Sunday to stand at 15,712, including 507 deaths and 2,230 recoveries. Maharashtra continues to be the worst-affected state in the country. Globally, the number of infections rose to 2.3 million and 1.6 lakh deaths.

19th April 13:10

States ask shops to keep records of those buying fever, cold drugs

At least four states, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra, have issued advisories to medical shops and pharmacies to note down name, address and phone numbers of anyone purchasing medicines for fever, cold and cough. Seeking a daily list, the Andhra and Telangana governments said authorities will subsequently trace the people on it and get suspected coronavirus cases tested. There is apprehension that a number of people are purchasing drugs like paracetamol to suppress coronavirus-like symptoms, to avoid going for COVID-19 testing, being put in 14-day quarantine, or facing social stigma attached to the disease. Officials in Telangana said they had found several cases of people who had self-medicated forfever and cold and later tested positive for coronavirus.

19th April 13:00

Centre bans e-commerce operations during lockdown

While the new order makes no distinction on essential and non-essential items appearing to suggest that the entire e-commerce operation would be suspended, MHA spokesperson tweeted saying that e-commerce platform would not be allowed to deal in non-essential items. The move is likely to come as a jolt to e-commerce companies which had begun preparing to resume full-scale operation and hoped this would help revive the retail economy.

Sources said the development is a result of pressure put by various traders’ groups

including the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT). It had on April 18 written to the government that at a time when local traders were not allowed to deal in non-essential items

allowing e-commerce platforms to do so would create trade imbalance and that the trading community was very disappointed with the government decision to give e commerce companies a free run.

19th April 12:55

No relaxation of lockdown restrictions in Delhi after April 20: CM Arvind Kejriwal

“I also want to offer relaxations. It is rather easy actually. And if we offer relaxations and the situation worsens, we fall short of ICUs and ventilators and people die in large numbers, we will not be able to forgive ourselves. Keeping the health of people of Delhi in mind, we have decided that as of now there will be no relaxations. We will again assess the situation after a week and offer some relaxations if the situation permits,” Kejriwal said.

19th April 08:41

Air India opens bookings on select domestic routes from May 4, international from June 1

IN WHAT could be an indication of a potential lifting of the ongoing countrywide lockdown, state-owned Air India announced on Saturday that it has opened bookings for some domestic flights from May 4 and certain international flights for travel June 1 onwards. Other domestic airlines including IndiGo have also opened bookings for certain sectors. For international flights, government officials had said that the permissions for international passenger flights will be given to airlines after assessing the Covid-19-related situation of the respective country. However, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday said airlines are “advised” to open bookings only after the government takes a decision on starting domestic and international commercial passenger flight services.

19th April 08:28

Pool widened further, govt to test all coming to hospitals with flu signs

Looking at mass testing in areas with a large number of cases — hotspots and clusters — the Centre may start by screening all patients who come to the hospital with flu-like symptoms. This will be irrespective of the disease they have come for. The plan is to eventually extend this to all hospitals in the country. This will be followed by voluntary community testing. A highly placed source said, “This means that whoever comes forward to get tested, we will test, regardless of whether the person has travel and contact history or not.”

17th April 18:00

RBI announces measures to deal with economic impact of COVID-19

The measures as announced by the RBI Governor Shaktikant Das include:

  • Reduction in reverse repo rate
  • Relaxation in NPA norms
  • Special refinance facility to NHB, SIDBI, & NABARD

17th April 14:00

India removes export curbs on formulations from Paracetamol

On Friday, a Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) notification said the March 3 order is “further amended to the extent that the formulations made from Paracetamol, including FDC (fixed dose combinations), under any ITCHS code…, are made ‘Free’ for export with immediate effect. However, Paracetamol APIs will remain restricted for export. A common fever medication globally, Paracetamol is the most sought after and widely used drug ever since the COVID-19 outbreak.

16th April 10:35

As lockdown extends, Railways to run special trains for Army officers, jawans

Its passenger services may be suspended till May 3 but Indian Railways is gearing up to run trains for a group of very special passengers on multiple routes. Close to 1200 officers and jawans of Indian Army are likely to take trains from Bengaluru to their postings in various parts of India this month. They had been stuck due to the 21-day lockdown, and no other way of transporting them could be worked out. As the government has suspended all train operations to prevent movement of people, special permission had to be obtained from the top level of the government as three ministries—Defence, Home and Railways—got together to find a solution to this unique transportation requirement.

16th April 10:30

170 districts identified as hotspots, says Health Ministry

Nearly one in five districts in India is a hotspot, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday, a day that saw at least 1,036 COVID-19 infections. The government said it had classified every district into a hotspot, potential hotspot or a green zone. Of India’s 736 districts, 170 were ‘hotspots’, defined as places with at least 15 confirmed infections or where there was an exponential rise in cases. There were 207 ‘potential hotspots,’ Lav Agrawal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said at the daily media briefing.

15th April 17:30

DRDL develops COVID Sample Collection Kiosk

Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) develop a first of it's kind COVID Sample Collection Kiosk (COVSACK). It helps ensure complete safety during sample collection and can help reduce dependency on PPE kits

14th April 12:30

Passenger trains, flights suspended till May 3

All domestic and international scheduled Airlines operations shall remain suspended till 11.59 pm of 3rd May 2020, says the Union Civil Aviation Ministry. All passenger train services on Indian Railways including Premium trains, Mail/Express trains, Passenger trains, Suburban Trains, Kolkata Metro Rail, and Konkan Railway will continue to remain cancel till the 2400hrs of May 3, 2020. To ensure the essential supplies in various parts of the country, movement of goods and Parcel trains will remain continue, Indian Railways has said. All training camps at Sports Authority of India (SAI) centres across the country will remain suspended till May 3 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an extension of the ongoing national lockdown to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

14th April 11:00

Lockdown extended in India

The nationwide lockdown which was due to end today was extended further till 3rd May. The announcement was made by PM Modi during his address to the nation in the morning regarding the current situation of COVID-19 pandemic in India

13th April 23:56

Free tests only for the poor, clarifies SC

The Supreme Court on Monday modified its April 8 order to clarify that free testing for COVID-19 shall continue to be made available to the poor eligible under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana. Free testing would also be made available to any other category of economically weaker sections of society as notified by the government from time to time, the court said. Private labs would continue to charge the Indian Council of Medical Research rates of up to ₹4,500 for tests from people who can afford to pay.
Source: The Hindu

13th April 16:00

Prime Minister to address nation on April 14

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on April 14 at 10 a.m., the Prime Minister’s Office said. The 21-day nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus ends on April 14 and the Prime Minister is likely to talk about its possible extension.

12th April 16:15

1,86,906 samples tested:ICMR

As per ICMR, to ramp up the speed of COVID-19 testing 1,86,906 samples were tested as on 12th April 14:30. At present testing is being done at 151 Govt las and 68 labs in pvt sector

7th April 19:00

Prime Minister hints at calibrated exit from lockdown

Mr. Modi asked the Ministers to coordinate with the district authorities for not just harvesting and procuring agricultural produce but also preparing business continuity plans to address the economic situation once the containment ends.At a meeting of the Council of Ministers, just before a first-ever Cabinet meeting via videoconference, he asked for the suggestions, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that any rollback of the lockdown on April 14 will be in a very calibrated manner.
Source: The Hindu

7th April 11:15

India to export HCQ, paracetamol to "COVID-19-affected countries"

Within hours of US President Donald Trump warning India of retaliation, New Delhi has quickly moved to partially lift the ban on the the export of Hydroxychloroquine — the anti-malaria drug that Trump has repeatedly touted as a “game-changer” in the fight against COVID-19. Trump has hinted there would be retaliation if India does not lift its ban on its export. On Tuesday morning, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the anti-malaria drug would be supplies to “some countries” which are “badly affected” by COVID-19.Srivastava said the restrictions have been largely lifted after confirming the availability of medicines for all possible contingencies.

7th April 11:00

Bihar govt to take action against 198 doctors for dereliction of duty

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bihar government is all set to take action against 198 doctors who were found absent from their duty on different dates. The State Health Department had, earlier, cancelled all leave, except maternal and study leave, for doctors and healthcare personnel till April 30.The Bihar government also enforced the Epidemic Diseases COVID-19 Regulation 2020 on March 17. The State government on Monday transferred civil surgeons in 16 districts. The State Health Department found 76 doctors absent from duty on March 31, 60 on April 1 and 62 on April 2. Later, the department issued show-cause notices to 76 government doctors, while giving them three-days’ time to respond. “The process of sending show-cause notices to another 122 doctors too has been started and will be issued against them soon”, said a senior Health Department Official.
Source: The Hindu

6th April 09:15

Uttarakhand DGP warns Tablighi members: "Report to authorities by April 6 or face murder bid charge if any case reported"

Uttarakhand Police have issued a warning to Tablighi Jamaat members, who have attended any congregations recently and are presently living in Uttarakhand, to report to the authorities by April 6 or face action under attempt to murder charges if any case of non-disclosure is found linked to any coronavirus infection afterwards. There are 26 COVID-19 cases in Uttarakhand and 16 of them are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat. The cases have been reported in Dehradun, Nainital, Haridwar and Udham Singh Nagar districts.

6th April 09:00

Govt estimates: In next 2 months, need 27 million N95 masks, 50000 ventilators

“Demand for 27 million N95 masks, 1.6 million testing kits and 15 million PPEs by June 2020 is estimated and actions are being taken to procure them,” sources quoted an official as saying during the meeting that was attended by Senior Govt officials, FICCI representatives and headed by the NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. “The demand of ventilators has been estimated to be 50,000 by June 2020. Out of these, 16,000 are already available and orders has been placed for 34,000 ventilators. To facilitate procurement of ventilators and other PPEs from abroad, MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) has been taken on board,” the official said.
Source: The Indian Express

6th April 08:30

As cases cross 3500, a pattern emerges: 80 per cent in 62 districts

“There is a clear geographical skew in the spread; 62 districts are currently reporting over 80% cases and these will be the focus of an aggressive containment strategy in the Bhilwara model. We are also stepping up testing. In the last two days, the number of tests was doubled; we will again double in the next few days,” said a source. According to what is unofficially being referred to in the government as the “Bhilwara model”, the containment zones, or areas reporting large number of cases, in these 62 districts will be sealed off. The strategy was found to be effective in Bhilwara (Rajasthan), which had emerged as a hotspot last month.
Source: The Indian Express

6th April 08:15

Nurses move SC, say health staff ill-equipped

“Health care workers are at the front line of the COVID-19 outbreak response and as such are exposed to hazards that put them at risk of infection. Hazards include pathogen exposure, long working hours, psychological distress, fatigue, occupational burnout, stigma, and physical and psychological violence etc,” the petition said. Noting that the pandemic is seeing a “persisting and ever escalating spread” the United Nurses Association pointed out that nurses and health workers are exposed to infection. The problems highlighted in the petition include lack of availability or sub-standard personal protective equipment(PPE) in numerous hospitals, non-availability of sufficient number of COVID-19 testing kits, lack of training on infection prevention and control, lack of basic facilities in isolation wards, mental harassment in the nature of forced over-time followed by negligible transport facilities and deduction of salary on account of leaves, health workers who are pregnant, lactating or immune compromised are being forced to work.
Source: The Hindu

6th April 08:00

Rapid antibody testing for hotspots first, says ICMR

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said the rapid antibody based blood test for COVID-19 will be deployed by this Wednesday in clusters and hot spots showing high incidence of confirmed cases. The Health Ministry added that all States/UTs have been issued guidelines for implementing these tests and reports may be entered into the ICMR portal similar to results of real-time RT PCR tests for COVID-19.
Source: The Hindu

5th April 14:40

Lockdown to be lifted in U.P. on April 15, need mechanism to ensure no crowding

“Lockdown will be lifted on April 15. We have to ensure that crowding doesn’t take place. Your help and cooperation is needed in this regard. The reason is that after the lockdown is lifted and if crowding takes place, then all of our efforts will go in vain,” Mr. Adityanath told the MPs. “So, I want that we evolve a mechanism, and for this, I would invite your suggestions,” he said.

5th April 13:30

Foreign students with over 1 year stay in Australia eligible to access superannuation: Government

In a relief to foreign students, including from India, facing financial hardships during the coronavirus pandemic, the Australian government has announced that those who have completed one year of stay in the country were eligible to access their superannuation. The latest move comes a day after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that overseas students were not eligible for any financial support as under their visa arrangements, it was a requirement for them to support themselves for a year in Australia.
Source: The Hindu

5th April 10:35

42% of patients in India between 21 and 40 years

About 42% of those confirmed positive for COVID-19 in India are between the ages of 21-40 years old, the Union Health Ministry said on April 4, for the first time throwing light on the demography of the disease in India. Only 17% of those testing positive were over 60.

5th April 10:30

Testing, treatment now available for free under Ayushman Bharat Scheme

Now, more than 50 crore Ayushman beneficiaries can avail free testing and treatment in designated private hospitals across India. The Central government has decided to provide free testing and treatment of Coronavirus under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme. Giving details, Dr. Indu Bhushan said: “The empaneled hospitals can use their own authorised testing facilities or tie up with an authorised testing facility for the scheme. These tests would be carried out as per the protocol set by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and by private labs approved/registered by the ICMR. Similarly, treatment of COVID-19 by private hospitals will be covered under AB-PMJAY.”
Source: The Hindu

5th April 10:00

Trump requests PM Modi to release Hydroxychloroquine ordered by U.S.

“I called Prime Minister Modi of India this morning. They make large amounts of Hydroxychloroquine. India is giving it a serious consideration,” Trump said at his daily news conference at the White House on Saturday. India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade on March 25 banned the export of Hydroxychloroquine but said that certain shipments on humanitarian grounds may be allowed on a case-by-case basis.

4th April 16:50

Modi directs officials to ensure sufficient availability of essential medical equipment

At the joint meeting of the empowered groups constituted for planning and ensuring implementation of COVID-19 response, the prime minister directed the groups and officials concerned to ensure sufficient production, procurement and availability of all essential medical equipment such as PPEs, masks, gloves and ventilators, the PMO said in a series of tweets. The government last Sunday constituted 11 empowered groups to suggest measures to ramp up healthcare, put the economy back on track and reduce misery of people as quickly as possible post the 21-day lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Source: The Hindu

4th April 13:00

Indian Railways asks zones to plan phase-wise restoration of services

Indian Railways has got back to the drawing board to prepare a plan for phased resumption of its passenger services post lockdown, even as the government is yet to take a final call on the matter. As the Railway Board awaits instructions from the government on this, it has asked its zonal railways to prepare a plan for phase-wise restoration of services after April 14 and submit to the ministry, sources said. Railways suspended all its services in the night of March 22 post the announcement of the lockdown. Only trains which were already running were allowed to reach their destinations.

4th April 11:00

Covid-19 cases near 3000 in India

India reported 16 Covid-19 deaths on Friday — the highest single-day death count since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country, even as the number of coronavirus cases neared the 3,000-mark at 2,902 with more than 500 new cases being reported from the states for the second straight day. A total of 68 people have died so far from the infection, according to latest report from ministry of health and family welfare.

4th April 10:10

Air India Stops Bookings Till April 30

Air India on Friday said it has stopped bookings till April 30 and is awaiting a decision after April 14, when the nationwide lockdown is scheduled to end. Bookings have been stopped for both domestic and international routes. On Thursday, Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said airlines are free to take ticket bookings for any date after April 14.

4th April 10:00

US records worst global single-day death toll, nearly 1,500 die of coronavirus in 24 hours

With 1,480 deaths counted between 8:30 pm (0030 GMT) Thursday and the same time Friday, according to the university's continuously updated figures, the total number of people who have died since the start of the pandemic in the United States is now 7,406. Trump told a White House briefing that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was urging people to wear face coverings like scarves or homemade cloth masks, but to keep medical-grade masks available for health workers.

3rd April 13:10

Domestic flight bookings can start after April 14: Hardeep Singh Puri

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday said that airlines can take domestic bookings after April 14 if the 21-day lockdown is not extended further. As far as the civil aviation ministry is concerned, it is proceeding on the basis of the understanding that the lockdown is till mid-April, Puri said while addressing a video press conference. Giving details on the operation of international flights, Puri said that flights will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on which countries they are coming from, after April 15 when the 21-day lockdown to fight the coronavirus ends in India.
Source: The Indian Express

3rd April 11:00

Global Virus Cases Top A Million, Deaths Surpass 50,000

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world has soared past one million and deaths have topped 50,000 as the United States reported the highest daily death toll of any country so far.Despite more than half the planet living in some form of lockdown, the virus is continuing to spread rapidly, and to claim lives at an alarming pace, with the US, Spain and Britain all seeing their worst days yet.The economic cost of the pandemic is getting starker by the day, with new figures showing that an extra 6.65 million Americans signed on for unemployment benefit last week, taking to 10 million the number of people who lost their jobs in the last two weeks of March.
Source: NDTV

3rd April 09:00

World Bank Approves $1 Billion Emergency Funds For India To Fight Virus

"In India, USD 1 billion emergency financing will support better screening, contact tracing, and laboratory diagnostics; procure personal protective equipment; and set up new isolation wards," the World Bank said after its Board of Executive Directors approved the first set of emergency support operations for developing countries around the world, using a dedicated, fast-track facility for COVID-19 response. The World Bank's first set of aid projects, amounting to $1.9 billion, will assist 25 countries, and new operations are moving forward in over 40 nations using the fast-track process, the bank said.The largest chunk of the emergency financial assistance has gone to India -- $1 billion.

2nd April 22:00

ICMR advises antibody testing in hot spots for faster diagnosis

“Population in hotspot areas may be tested using rapid antibody test. And antibody positives to be confirmed by RT-PCR (reverse transcription-PCR) using throat/nasal swab, and antibody negatives to be quarantined at home,” said the interim ICMR advisory. This means positive results will be reconfirmed using the PCR test. The antibody test uses a few drops of blood to determine whether a person has antibodies against the coronavirus. Antibodies in the immune system means the person had the disease at some point in the past, even though the person was never tested for it, and has now recovered. “However, to ensure there are no false positives or false negatives, we recommend confirmatory PCR-based test for all positive results,” this official said. The test used now --- PCR (polymerase chain reaction) --- identifies the Sars-CoV-2 virus from throat of nasal swab samples of people with symptoms or high-risk individuals (health workers and family members) who might have come in contact with a Covid-19 patient.
Source: Hindustan Times

2nd April 16:15

Govt launches app to tell users if they were near coronavirus positive person

Indian government has officially launched its COVID-19 tracking app, Aarogya Setu, for Android and iOS users. According to the app's description, it is aimed at "augmenting" efforts to "proactively" inform the citizens about the "best practices and relevant advisories pertaining to the containment of COVID-19." Aarogya Setu (which translates from Sanskrit to ‘A bridge of health') app essentially helps users in identifying whether they are at risk of coronavirus infection, by checking if they have been in contact with a COVID-19 infected individual, even unknowingly.
Source: GADGETS 360

2nd April 11:30

Press Information Bureau sets up fact-check portal

The Press Information Bureau (PIB) under the Information & Broadcasting Ministry has set up a portal, COVID-19 Fact Check Unit, which will be operational from Thursday.The government will send responses to messages sent by e-mail to the portal at the earliest on the facts related to the virus. The Health Ministry has constituted a technical group comprising professionals from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and other institutions to clarify any doubts in the minds of the general public.The PIB will also release a bulletin at 8 p.m. every day on the decisions taken by the government, besides other developments and progress in the matter.

2nd April 11:00

WHO concerned over rapid escalation in COVID-19 spread as caseload approaches one million

Deaths from COVID-19 have more than doubled in the past week and will soon reach 50,000 worldwide, while the global caseload is heading towards one million, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) told journalists on Wednesday. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there has been “a near exponential growth” in case numbers over the past five weeks, affecting practically every country, territory and area of the world. Although Africa, Central America and South America have reported relatively lower numbers of cases, Tedros warned that the disease could have “serious social, economic and political consequences” in these regions.
Source: UN NEWS

2nd April 10:21

India sees a sharp spike in infections, total active cases 1649

India reported six deaths and 475 new cases on April 1 — the highest-ever single-day increase in its COVID-19 tally.This brought the total confirmed cases to 1834 and took the death toll to 41. One hundred and Forty Four persons have been cured/discharged from hospitals after recovery.

2nd April 09:25

India welcomes foreign contributions to PM-CARES

“The pandemic is unprecedented. In view of this, India has taken a decision to accept foreign contributions to the PM-CARES fund. Contributions to the trust can be made by individuals and organisations, both in India and abroad,” said the source familiar with India’s plans to deal with the crisis.

2nd April 09:00

Delhi: Outcry over lack of protective gear as 7 doctors test positive for Covid-19

Amid the coronavirus epidemic, seven doctors working in different hospitals and clinics in the capital have tested positive for the disease so far. Resident doctors across the city have already raised concerns over the lack of personal protection equipment (PPE) and proper protocol to be followed while dealing with COVID-19 patients in several government hospitals in Delhi.In North MCD-ruled Hindu Rao hospital, many healthcare workers offered to resign citing lack of PPEs as a reason. According to senior doctors, the hospital received 10-12 resignations over the last few days.The hospital, however, issued a circular Wednesday saying that none of the resignations will be accepted by the administration during the outbreak.

2nd April 07:10

Govt considers shift in policy, milder cases may not require hospitalisation

So far, all positive patients have been kept in hospital, but as numbers rise, discussions are being held about sending the milder cases to home quarantine and monitoring them over phone. Highly placed government sources said this was being discussed as much to rationalise the use of hospital beds as to minimise exposure of healthcare workers, who are most at risk of contracting the disease.

1st April 11:00

HIV drugs junked: Malaria drug, antibiotic combo now on treatment list

Anti-HIV drugs Lopinavir and Ritonavir are no longer India’s drugs of choice against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Instead, a combination of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), used for treatment of auto-immune disorders, and the antibitoic azithromycin has now been recommended for use in severe patients in new clinical management guidelines issued late on Tuesday night. The earlier guidelines, dated March 17, which included use of Ritonavir-Lopinavir in high risk patients, now stand repealed.

1st April 10:45

PPF, senior citizens savings see deep cut in interest rates

The interest rate for Senior Citizens Savings Scheme has been slashed to 7.4 per cent from 8.6 per cent, while that for National Savings Certificate has been cut to 6.8 per cent from 7.9 per cent. Public Provident Fund will now fetch 7.1 per cent interest as against 7.9 per cent earlier. Kisan Vikas Patra will fetch 6.9 per cent interest (maturity in 124 months) from 7.6 per cent (maturity in 113 months) earlier. Interest rate for Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme has been reduced to 7.6 per cent from 8.4 per cent.

1st April 10:10

Two approved private labs in Bengaluru to also act as fever clinics

The two approved private testing labs — Neuberg Anand Diagnostic Laboratory and Cancyte Technologies Pvt Ltd — in Bengaluru will also act as fever clinics from now.A circular issued by Jawaid Akhtar, Additional Chief Secretary (Health and Family Welfare), on Tuesday stated that these labs will follow the protocol of fever clinics and report to the departments centralised software or reporting system.Further, at such private labs-cum-fever clinics, the patients will have to pay the cost of lab test as fixed by ICMR.The ICMR has fixed the total cost at ₹4,500, the circular added.

1st April 10:00

250 Rajya Sabha members to contribute from MPLADS fund

Many members of the Rajya Sabha have consented to contribute from their Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) funds to the common central pool to fight COVID-19. Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu had asked the MPs to contribute at least ₹1 crore each from their MPLAD funds. Under the scheme, each MP has the choice to suggest to the District Collector works estimated at ₹5 crore a year to be taken up in their respective constituencies.Officials and staff of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat also announced on Tuesday that they would be contributing a minimum one day’s salary each to the PM CARES fund in support of the ongoing measures against COVID-19.

1st April 09:30

Deadliest day for Europe hotspots, as U.S. toll tops 3,600

Deaths shot up again across Europe. While there are hopeful signs that the spread of infections is slowing in hardest-hit Italy and Spain, more than 800 died overnight in both countries. France recorded a one-day record of 499 dead while Britain reported 381 coronavirus deaths. Meanwhile, the United States saw its death toll top 3,600, roaring past China’s official tally of 3,309, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. France joined it with a surge to 3,525 deaths, an official toll that includes only those who died in hospital and not those who perished at home or in seniors’ homes.

1st April 09:05

Treat migrants humanely, Supreme Court tells officials

“We expect those concerned to appreciate the trepidation of the poor men, women and children and treat them with kindness... The anxiety and fear of the migrants should be understood by the police and other authorities. As directed by the Union of India, they should deal with the migrants in a humane manner. Considering the situation, we are of the opinion that the State governments/Union Territories should endeavour to engage volunteers along with the police to supervise the welfare activities for the migrants,” a Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde, said.

31st March 22:20

Covid-19 hotspots in country have increased due to 'lack of people's support': Health Ministry

"With over 1,200 cases of Covid-19, the number of hotspots in the country has increased. The government is using cluster containment strategies and doing rigorous contact tracing in these hotspots to check the virus from further spreading," Lav Agarwal said. He further said, 227 cases have been reported in the last 24 hours and he attributed the increase to "lack of people's support and delay in timely detection" of the cases.

31st March 13:13

1,000 evacuated from Nizamuddin centre; sent to hospitals, quarantine facilities

Over 1,000 people have been evacuated from a centre in Nizamuddin West in Delhi till Tuesday morning, amid a novel coronavirus scare at a centre where a religious conference had attracted participation of people from several States. All symptomatic people were being tested for COVID-19 after shifting them to different hospitals in the city, officials said. While some 330 have been sent to hospitals, over 700 have been sent to different government-run quarantine facilities.

31st March 09:00

227 New Coronavirus Cases In India, Sharpest Spike In A Single Day

Amid 21-day lockdown, confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in India rose to 1,251 including 49 foreign nationals on Monday, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Out of these, 46 cases are being assigned to states to initiate contact tracing. Active cases according to the ministry rose to 1,117, while 102 patients have been cured and discharged, including one migrated patient.

30th March 19:00

Indian Army dismisses rumours on likely declaration of Emergency in April

“Fake and malicious messages are circulating on social media about likely declaration of emergency in mid April and employment of Indian Army, Veterans, NCC and NSS to assist the civil administration. It is clarified that this is absolutely FAKE,” the Indian Army tweeted from its official handle.Earlier in the day, dismissing reports that the current 21-day lockdown would be further extended to contain the spread of COVID-19, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Monday said the Centre had “no such plans”.

30th March 18:55

No more essential and non-essential: curbs on goods transport lifted

In yet another change in guidelines for enforcing the lockdown, the Centre on Sunday allowed transport of “all goods” and not just essential commodities. Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla sent a letter to chief secretaries of all states and UTs clarifying what is allowed as per the latest order. This followed a video conference of trade and industry stakeholders with Railways and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday, where they said a protocol must be set in place so that factories can start production again, and that existing stocks would last only around three more weeks.

30th March 18:50

No Community Transmission Yet

Even as the number of coronavirus cases in India crossed 1,050, the Health Ministry on Monday reiterated that COVID-19 is still in the local transmission stage in India and that there has been "no community transmission as of now". "If there will be a community transmission we will want to covey it to the community through you (media) to increase the level of alertness and management for COVID-19 at the field level," said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry.

30th March 18:00

All Banks Ensuring Branches Open, ATMs Working: Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday that all bank branches and ATMs will remain open. Her remarks came as the country entered the sixth day of a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. "All banks are ensuring that their branches are kept open, ATMs filled up & are working. Banking correspondents are active. Social distancing is respected & sanitizers are provided where necessary." the Finance Minister said on Twitter.

30th March 13:00

130 new corona cases, highest in a single day

India’s Covid-19 count crossed the 1,000 mark on Sunday, with states reporting 130 new cases, the highest for a single day so far, even as Delhi saw a major spike of 23 new infections and Maharashtra reported two deaths from the disease.

30th March 10:32

Rumours, Reports That 21-Day Lockdown Will Be Extended Baseless: Centre

"Rumours and media reports" claiming that the 21-day lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19 would be extended are "baseless", the government asserted on Monday. A report had claimed that the government was debating extending the lockdown, alarmed over the mass exodus of migrants trying to reach home, desperate for food and shelter.Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba had also denied the report this morning. "I'm surprised to see such reports, there is no such plan of extending the lockdown."

29th March 15:00

Migrant workers travelling during lockdown to be quarantined for 14 days: Centre to states

The Centre on Sunday ordered state governments to place the thousands of migrant workers who are heading home in state-run quarantine facilities for 14 days to ensure that they do not take the coronavirus disease home. “District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police would be held personally responsible for enforcement of directions issued to them under the Disaster Management Act,” a central government statement said.

29th March 14:40

US coronavirus deaths surge past 2,000: Johns Hopkins

Deaths from the new coronavirus in the United States surged past 2,000 on Saturday, doubling in just three days, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The number of deaths late Saturday was 2,010, about a quarter of them in New York City, the country's hardest-hit region, Johns Hopkins reported. Confirmed cases in the United States topped 121,000, according to the tally.

29th March 14:00

Center directs States to ensure no movement of people across cities

Center directs States to ensure no movement of people across cities. All arrangements be made for migrant labourers at their place of work including timely payment of wages. Action should be taken against those asking students/labourers to vacate: Govt of India

29th March 11:00

Death toll in India rises to 25, number of cases edging close to 1000.

In its updated data at 10 am,the ministry said the number of active COVID-19 cases in the country is 867, while 86 people were either cured or discharged and one had migrated. The overall 979 cases in the country included 48 foreigners, it said.

28th March 21:48

COVID-19 cases cross 900 mark in India

The Health Ministry Saturday confirmed 918 novel Covid-19 cases across the country, including 79 recovered and 19 deaths. This is the fourth day of the 21-day national lockdown imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Kerala and Telangana on Saturday reported its first COVID-19 death, while Gujarat recorded another death.

28th March 16:30

Tata Trusts commits Rs 500 crore to fight coronavirus.

The funds will be used for Personal Protective Equipment for the medical personnel on the frontlines, respiratory systems for treating increasing cases, testing kits to increase per capita testing , setting up modular treatment facilities for infected patients, knowledge management and training of health workers and the general public, a company statement said.

28th March 15:00

Farm activities exempted from lockdown rules to ensure food security: Narendra Singh Tomar

"At this critical time, the exemptions have been given for agriculture related activities to ensure enough food supply to the people after the lockdown. It is also done to ensure ordinary citizens and farmers do not face problems," Tomar said in a statement. On March 27, the government exempted farming operations, farm workers, custom hiring centres of farm harvesters and implements as well as mandis and procurement agencies from the lockdown rules. The government has allowed fertiliser shops to function.

28th March 14:30

UP govt starts 1000 buses for migrating people

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 District of Delhi. Around 200 Buses will depart; for every 2 hours starting from 8 am onwards. The government has now taken a decision to allow all passengers en route to reach their destination.

28th March 13:25

Delhi govt starts distributing ration for next month

7.5 kg per person, which is one-and-a-half times more than the normal, is being distributed. There are around 72 lakh beneficiaries of the public distribution system in the national capital.

28th March 13:00

Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.(SOURCE: World Health Organisation)

28th March 12:11

USA crossed 100,000 cases of COVID-19

With more than 104,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, the United States is now the epicenter of the global pandemic.

27th March 07:00

RBI announces 3-month moratorium on EMI installments of all term loans

Moratorium would mean borrowers would not have to pay the loan EMI instalments during the moratorium period. As per RBI, this will not lead to down grading of credit rating of the borrower. Credit card dues repayment can also be deferred under the moratorium

27th March 04:30

DGCA extends ban on international passenger flights till April 14

All international commercial passenger flights will remain suspended till April 14, aviation regulator DGCA announced on Thursday, amid a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

26th March 03:30

EPF contribution for low-wage employees to be paid by government

EPF contribution by the Employee and Employer (total 24%) will be paid for the next 3 months by the Central Government. Valid for EPFO registered establishments having less than 100 employees and 90 % of those employees earn less than ₹15,000 per month

26th March 11:00

Government suspends collection of toll at all toll plazas across India temporarily

In view of Covid-19, it has been ordered to temporarily suspend the collection of toll at all toll plaza across India. This will not only reduce inconvenience to the supply of emergency services but also save critical time : Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & HIghways

24th March 08:30

India under complete lockdown from tonight for 21 days

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to nation declared a 21 day lockdown across India starting 25th March 00:00 hrs. He stated that only such a drastic measure can help India to stop the spread of COVID-19. Essential services will continue to function despite lockdown

24th March 06:00

Tokyo Olympics postponed to 2021

Japan PM Shinzo Abe confirmed to the Press that the Tokyo Games would not be cancelled but will be held in the summer of 2021. This was decided after his telephone talks with the IOC (International Olympic Committee) President, Thomas Bach

24th March 03:12

Last date for filing income tax return for FY19 extended to June 30

Finance Minster Nirmala Sitharaman announced in a press conference today, that date for filing income tax returns for FY19 has been extended from 31st March to 30th June due to prevailing circumstances. Last dates for filing March-April-May 2020 GST returns and composition returns are also extended to 30th June

24th March 12:00

PM to address the nation at 8 PM today

Narendra Modi will address the nation for the second time regarding the COVID-19 situation in the country. India’s growing Corona related cases in past two days seems to have prompted the move

23rd March 09:00

Delhi NCR: Curfew passes

As Delhi observes complete lockdown, curfew passes will be required for movement of essential goods and services between Delhi and neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana

23rd March 07:00

Stock Markets Crash

SENSEX saw its biggest single day loss in history as it falls about 4000 points in a day to close at 25,981. NIFTY too fell by 13% to close at 7,610

23rd March 06:00

Domestic Flights to cease operations

Amidst threat of spreading of COVID-19 further in India, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has banned the operations of all domestic scheduled commercial airlines from the mid-night 2359 hrs IST on 24th March, 2020