COVID-19: Singer Kanika Kapoor tests positive, five politicians in self-quarantine

Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor on Friday announced that she has tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The Baby Doll singer is the first Indian celebrity to have contracted COVID-19. Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, her son Dushyant Singh, Congress leader Jitin Prasada and Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh, who were also present at events attended by Kapoor, have gone into self-quarantine. Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien has gone into self-isolation because he was sitting next to Dushyant Singh for two hours on March 18.

Sensex, Nifty 50 rise nearly 6% each but record their worst week since 2008

Indian markets recovered on Friday after four straight sessions of massive losses, amid hopes of an economic boost after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a financial task force to deal with the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The BSE Sensex closed at 29,915, rising 1,627 points or 5.75%. During Friday’s session, the Sensex hit a high of 30,418.20 and a low of 27,932.67. The Nifty 50 was up 482 points, settling at 8,745.45.

COVID-19: Delhi HC seeks Centre’s response on ban on passengers from 32 European countries, Turkey

The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Centre and aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation to reply to a petition challenging India’s ban on passengers from the European Union, UK, Turkey and European Free Trade Association member nations because of the coronavirus pandemic, PTI reported. The petition was filed by the father of an Indian student who is stranded in Scotland because of the restrictions.

Coronavirus: Delhi metro services to remain shut on Sunday as part of ‘janata curfew’

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation on Friday said it would not operate on Sunday due to the “janata curfew” called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that day to tackle the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The Ministry of Health on Friday evening said there were 223 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country so far.

COVID-19: Labour rights group seeks Rs 50,000-crore emergency fund for informal sector workers

The Working People’s Charter, a labour rights group, on Friday urged the Centre to create an emergency fund of Rs 50,000 crore to provide social and economic support to workers in the informal sectors amid the escalating coronavirus pandemic. The organisation, which claims to represent trade unions and worker groups of all sectors, made the demand in a statement issued on Friday.

Parliament: Congress MP Anand Sharma asks why session is going on despite COVID-19 restrictions

The coronavirus pandemic was at the centre of discussions in the Parliament on Friday with Opposition leaders asking why they had to leave their homes to come attend sessions while the government has put strict restrictions in place to control the spread of infection, PTI reported. Congress MP Anand Sharma asked whether the Parliament was exempt from the laws passed by it as the Epidemic Act enforced by the government forbids people above the age of 65 from leaving their homes.

Coronavirus: Odisha CM urges Modi to postpone Census to avoid infection risk

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to postpone the decennial Census exercise and all related activities this year as the country confronts the escalating coronavirus pandemic, PTI reported. The Census exercise is scheduled to be carried out from April 1 to September 30. The National Population Register – a list of “usual residents” – is scheduled to be updated simultaneously with the house-listing phase of the Census exercise.

COVID-19: India reports biggest single-day spike in number of cases, count now at 223

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday confirmed that 50 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 since the previous day, taking the total number of cases to 223. This is the largest single-day increase in cases in India so far. The cases listed by the health ministry include 32 foreigners. Four of the 223 patients have died so far – one each in Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra.

COVID-19: All workplaces in Mumbai, Pune to be closed till March 31, Delhi asks malls to stay shut

The Maharashtra government on Friday ordered all workplaces in major cities, including Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, to remain closed till March 31 because of the spreading coronavirus pandemic, PTI reported. With at least 47 patients so far, one of whom has died, the state is the worst hit in India. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced that the shutdown will be applicable in Mumbai, Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Nagpur. Government offices will operate at 25% strength instead of 50% as was decided recently, he said.

COVID-19: Railway officer suspended for hiding son’s foreign travel, letting him stay in guest house

A railway official in Bengaluru has been suspended for not revealing the foreign travel history of her son – who later tested positive for COVID-19 – and hiding him in a guest house, PTI reported on Friday. The officer’s 25-year-old son, who came from Germany via Spain, was instructed to quarantine himself at home after he landed at the Bengaluru airport on March 13. He tested positive for coronavirus on March 18, railway spokesperson E Vijaya was quoted as saying.

Coronavirus: Harsh Vardhan says COVID-19 infection has not reached ‘community level’ in India yet

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said the coronavirus has not reached the “community level” in India till now, even as the number of COVID-19 cases confirmed by the central government rose to 195, PTI reported. He made the claim in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing Budget Session.

Madhya Pradesh crisis: Kamal Nath quits as CM before floor test, accuses BJP of betraying mandate

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath resigned from his post on Friday after days of expressing confidence that his administration would withstand the political crisis in the state, reported PTI. He announced his resignation hours before his 15-month-old government was to face a floor test in the state Assembly, as ordered by the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Coronavirus: Harsh Vardhan says COVID-19 infection has not reached ‘community level’ in India yet

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said the coronavirus has not reached the “community level” in India till now, even as the number of COVID-19 cases confirmed by the central government rose to 195, PTI reported. He made the claim in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing Budget Session.

CAA protests: Akhil Gogoi arrested again, two days after being granted bail

Assam activist Akhil Gogoi has been arrested again, just two days after he was granted bail by a special court of the National Investigation Agency for his alleged role in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment act in the state, the Hindustan Times reported on Friday.

Kunal Kamra ban: Delhi HC refuses to hear comedian’s plea, says such behaviour ‘cannot be permitted

The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to hear comedian Kunal Kamra’s petition challenging the flying ban on him by several domestic airlines for heckling Republic TV’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami on an IndiGo flight in January.

Coronavirus: Fitch Ratings cuts India growth forecast to 5.1% for 2020-’21

American credit rating agency Fitch Ratings’ company India Ratings and Research revised its growth forecast for India in the 2020-’21 financial year to 5.1%, saying a crisis is likely to envelop the economy as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hit investments and exports globally. Last year, the credit rating agency had revised its forecast in the 2019-’20 financial year to 5.6%.

Coronavirus: Delhi metro to screen passengers, asks commuters to avoid all non-essential travel

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation on Friday asked people to avoid all non-essential travel and said it will carry out random thermal screening of passengers at all stations to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The number of positive cases of COVID-19 in India rose to 195 on Friday, according to the central government.

COVID-19: Donald Trump says Beijing could have stopped the ‘Chinese virus’

United States President Donald Trump on Thursday blamed China for not being unable to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, after it originated in the country late last year, reported Bloomberg. “The world is paying a very big price for that they did,” Trump said in a media briefing at the White House.

Coronavirus: Railways withdraws concessions to discourage non-essential travel

The Indian Railways on Thursday withdrew concessions for all categories of passengers, except students, persons with disabilities and patients, to discourage non-essential travel and contain the spread of coronavirus.

Madhya Pradesh crisis: Ahead of floor test, Speaker accepts resignations of 16 rebel Congress MLAs

Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati late night on Thursday accepted the resignations of the 16 rebel Congress MLAs’ who have been in Bengaluru since March 9. With this, and the Speaker’s acceptance of resignation of six former ministers the effective strength of the House comes down to 206. The Kamal Nath-led Congress government will require the trust vote of 104 to survive the floor test later on Friday. The BJP with 107 MLAs is three more than the simple majority.

Coronavirus: Total cases rise to 195 in India; Italy surpasses China in number of deaths

The Union Health Ministry on Friday announced that the total number of positive coronavirus cases in India rose to 195. The count included 32 foreigners and one death each in Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Punjab. Maharashtra has the maximum number of cases followed by Kerala.

2012 Delhi gangrape: ‘Finally got justice,’ says woman’s mother after hanging of four convicts

Asha Devi, the mother of the gangrape victim, thanked the judiciary and government after the four convicts are hanged on Friday morning. “Finally they have been hanged, it was a long struggle,” she told ANI. “Today, we got justice, this day is dedicated to the daughters of the country. I thank the judiciary and government.”

2012 Delhi gangrape and murder: Four convicts hanged at Tihar Jail

The four death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape and murder case were hanged to death at the Tihar Jail on Friday at 5.30 am, seven years after the crime, which had led to massive protests across the nation. Death warrants for the convicts – Mukesh Singh, Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta – had been issued for the fourth time as they had taken turns to file multiple petitions in the last few months in an attempt to escape the death penalty.

Coronavirus: PM Modi calls for ‘janata curfew’ on Sunday, urges citizens to isolate themselves

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on Thursday about the coronavirus pandemic and asked all citizens to follow a “janata curfew”, or a self-imposed people’s curfew, on Sunday. Modi made the appeal while speaking about measures taken by the Centre to contain the outbreak that has claimed four lives till now and infected at least 173 people in the country.