COVID-19: India braces for ‘janata curfew’ as total cases rise to 283 after another big jump
Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state, with 63 cases so far.
India has confirmed a 63% rise in the number of coronavirus-infected patients in the last two days, with the total reaching 283 on Saturday. Four of these patients have died so far. The increase on Friday – 63 – was the highest single-day spike so far.
Maharashtra remains the worst-hit state, with at least 63 patients so far, one of whom has died. A woman from Pune in her early 40s, who had no history of travel abroad, has tested positive for COVID-19. However, the Centre denied there was any case of community transmission yet.
The Ministry of Health has instructed hospitals to not turn away patients suspected of having coronavirus, and that patients with pneumonia should also be tested for the disease. On Sunday, the country will observe a “janata curfew”, or a self-imposed citizens’ curfew for 14 hours.
COVID-19 has infected 2,75,434 people worldwide and killed 11,399, according to an estimate from Johns Hopkins University.
Here are the updates from the day:
8.50 pm: The Centre releases pending instalments of grants under the 14th Finance Commission to help local bodies provide assistance.
8.47 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi urges migrants in cities to not return to their hometowns or villages as the risk of infection was higher when travelling in crowds. He requests them to stay wherever they are for some days.
8.30 pm: Jamia Millia Islamia students suspend their protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, PTI reports.
7.51 pm: Here is how the spread of new cases looks like in India in the past week:
7.41 pm: The five-day Budget Session of the Delhi Assembly has been curtailed to a single day, PTI reports, The Budget will be introduced and passed on Monday.
6.47 pm: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation announces staggered services on Monday.
- From 6 am to 8 am, trains will be available every 20 minutes and only those who work in essential services – including hospitals, fire services, police – will be let in after they produce their ID cards.
- From 8 am to 10 am and from 4 pm to 8 pm, trains will be available at normal frequency for everyone.
- There will be no trains between 10 am and 4 pm.
- The last train will leave the terminal stations on all lines at 8 pm.
- Parking will be closed at all stations on Monday.
6.43 pm: Eight of the 25 COVID-19 patients in Uttar Pradesh have completely recovered, PTI reports.
6.43 pm: The Human Resource Development Ministry advises educational institutions to let students who are still in hostels to stay there and take necessary precautions, PTI reports.
6.26 pm: Earlier, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “Coronavirus is an attack on our economy. Small- and medium-scale businesspersons and daily wagers are the worst hit. Clapping won’t help them.”
He says a “big financial package” is needed with cash aid, tax breaks and debt repayment relaxations.
6.20 pm: BJP leader Vasundhara Raje has tested negative for COVID-19.
6.19 pm: The Bihar government shuts down bus services, restaurants and banquet halls till March 31, PTI reports.
6.18 pm: A 34-year-old man has been booked in Navi Mumbai for slipping out of the mandatory home quarantine, PTI reports.
5.57 pm: The Maharashtra health department confirms one new case. Twelve cases have been confirmed today, taking the number to 64.
5.54 pm: Three foreigners test positive for COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu.
5.46 pm: Here’s a breakdown of the 283 patients India has had so far:
- Based on nationality: 244 Indians, 39 foreigners
- Based on status of infection: 256 active cases, 22 cured and discharged, one migrated, four dead
- Worst-hit states: Maharashtra (62 active cases, one dead), Kerala (37 active cases, three cured), Delhi (20 active cases, five cured, one dead), Uttar Pradesh (15 active cases, nine cured)
Also read: Maharashtra – the worst-hit state – reports 11 new cases, total count now at 63
5.07 pm: When asked about the case of singer Kanika Kapoor, who has tested positive, the Health Ministry refuses to discuss individual cases.
Also read: Coronavirus: Case against singer Kanika Kapoor for negligence
5.05 pm: The number of cases reported since Thursday night has risen to 110.
5.04 pm: The government has updated the number of cases so far to 283. This includes 23 patients who have been cured, discharged or have migrated, and four who have died.
5 pm: The Centre cautions against using the word “lockdown” to describe the janata curfew and measures it may take in the future.
Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal says: “The only thing we are saying is that prevention is better than cure. Prevention is our focus. We are preparing to see if our society can, get together and are we capable of social distancing. Our main effort is to try and do this with each person.”
4.53 pm: The Health Ministry says 262 people, mostly students, will fly from Rome to India on Saturday.
4.51 pm: During the daily press conference, the Health Ministry refuses to call the Pune patient who had no foreign travel history a case of community transmission yet. The ministry says contact tracing process is still under way.
“Our effort is to trace the contacts,” Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal says. “We are currently tracing 7,000 contacts. Whenever we have factual information, we will have to inform the country about community transmission.”
Read more: Pune woman with no history of overseas travel tests positive, say officials
4.37 pm: The Supreme Court will hear on Monday petitions seeking removal of anti-Citizenship Act protesters from Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh locality in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, ANI reports.
4.36 pm: The Delhi government increases ration allocation per person by 50%.
Read more: Delhi bans gatherings of more than five persons, raises ration benefits for poor by 50%
4.27 pm: The Centre says 111 laboratories are now ready for testing samples.
4.20 pm: The Delhi government says half of all buses will not ply on roads during Sunday’s janata curfew.
4.19 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says gatherings of more than five people are banned. So far, gatherings of up to 20 people were allowed.
4.18 pm: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announces a “near-total lockdown” in five districts and 10 towns for a week from Sunday, PTI reports.
4.17 pm: The West Bengal higher education department postpones Class 12 state board examinations till April 15, PTI reports.
4.08 pm: The West Bengal government orders shutting down of all restaurants, bars, pubs, nightclubs, amusement parks, museums, restaurants, bars, pubs, nightclubs, amusement parks, museums and zoos till March 31, PTI reports.
4.05 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi urges citizens to stay home and in the same city or town where they are. “Unnecessary travels will not help you or others,” he tweets.
3.50 pm: A COVID-19 patient in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district has now tested negative following treatment, PTI reports. The woman had travelled to Russia and Kazakhstan and had tested positive for the virus on March 13.
3.46 pm: The Maharashtra government asks public and private employees to not sack employees if they go on leave, reports PTI. Employers have also been asked to not deduct their wages.
3.34 pm: Auto rickshaws and taxis will be off roads in Delhi as several unions have extended support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a “janata curfew”, reports PTI. Several unions including the Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh, Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union, Delhi Auto Taxi Transport Congress Union and Delhi Taxi Tourist Transport Association, have decided to join the curfew.
3.25 pm: A woman with no travel history tests positive for coronavirus in Pune. She had attended a wedding in Navi Mumbai earlier this month.
3.17 pm: Iran reports 123 new coronavirus deaths, raising total to 1,556, reports AFP.
3.10 pm: Over 200 students quarantined at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police’s facility in Delhi after being evacuated from Italy test negative for coronavirus, reports ANI. The students were quarantined for a week and will be released after final sampling is done on the 14th day of their isolation.
3.02 pm: Four people who were on a train from Mumbai to Jabalpur on March 16 test positive for coronavirus, reports ANI.
Read more: Delhi couple taken off train in Telangana after co-passenger notices quarantine stamp
2.46 pm: All religious and public places in Kerala’s Kasaragod have been closed for two weeks, according to The News Minute.
2:38 pm: Potato prices in West Bengal rise by 20%, reports PTI. One of the varieties which was selling for Rs 15 to Rs 17 per kg a week ago has touched Rs 20 to 22 kg in some retail markets. Wholesale prices of potato have jumped to Rs 13 per kg from Rs 10 or Rs 11 a week ago. Urging people not to panic and stock produces, agriculture advisor to the West Bengal government Pradip Mazumdar said there is no shortage of potato or rice in the state.
2.33 pm: American medical shows ‘The Resident’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ donate supplies for coronavirus.
2.24 pm: A case has been registered against a couple in Maharashtra for not revealing to authorities that they traveled to Thailand, PTI reports. They have been quarantined and their swab samples have been sent for testing.
2.23 pm: Arunachal Pradesh postpones civic and rural body elections, according to PTI. The elections were scheduled to be held in April-May but the dates were not finalised.
2.21 pm: Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka imposes travel restrictions to Kerala because of he increasing number of coronavirus cases in Kasaragod, reports PTI. The two districts border each other.
2.17 pm: A 52-year-old man with travel history to Sri Lanka tests positive for coronavirus in Gujarat, according to PTI.
2.14 pm: Ladakh reports three new cases, according to ANI. Total number of cases rises to 13.
2.12 pm: Karnataka confirms three more coronavirus cases, total now at 18.
2.07 pm: Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh, who is self-isolation after attending a party in Lucknow where singer Kanika Kapoor was present, tests negative for coronavirus. Samples of 28 people who came in contact with him have also tested negative, according to PTI.
2.04 pm: Mumbai Metro to suspend services on Sunday for the ‘janata curfew’ called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reports News18.
12.29 pm: Migrant workers are leaving Kozhikode amid fears of the coronavirus, ANI reports.
12.20 pm: Online and brick-and-mortar retailers have cut back drastically on orders as customer footfalls and sales dwindle. Could the coronavirus pandemic lock down Indian publishing for some time? Read more here.
12.14 pm: India’s very important people have been late to realise that there are no exclusive passes out of the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has raged across the globe, claiming actors, athletes, ministers, vice presidents and the wives of two prime ministers. There was no reason it should have changed when it arrived in India. In fact, the well-heeled and well-travelled were its passport into the country. So many well-heeled and well-travelled fell back on the best practices of VIP culture: use a bit of “pull” to do some “setting” to skirt the rules.
Read more here:
Coronavirus: VIP privilege is hampering India’s fight against Covid-19
12.10 pm: Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Pravin Pardeshi on Friday announced the closure of public spaces, schools and other non-essential establishments, and announced measures to regulate overcrowding in hospitals, as the state confronts an escalating coronavirus crisis. Maharashtra has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country so far, with 52 people testing positive for the virus.
Read more here:
Coronavirus: Mumbai municipal head orders closure of public spaces; calls for decongesting hospitals
12.06 pm: The number of positive cases rises to 271, Indian Council of Medical Research says.
12.02 pm: Nagpur orders restricting vehicular movement near isolation and quarantine centres.
11.58 am: A 32-year-old man with travel history to Mecca tests positive in Karnataka, ANI reports.
11.55 am: Cases in Maharashtra rise to 63, announces Health Minister Rajesh Tope, according to ANI. The Centre has so far confirmed only 52 cases. “The number of positive cases has increased by 11 within a day,” Tope says. “This includes 8 persons with travel history and 3 people got infected after being in contact with them.”
“We appeal to all to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of Coronavirus,” he adds.
11.52 am: One person tests positive for COVID-19 in Gautam Budh Nagar, ANI reports.
11.50 am: Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC imposed in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan.
11.49: The Indian Council for Medical Research revises testing criteria for COVID-19, says all hospitalised patients with severe acute respiratory illness, shortness of breath, and fever and cough will now be tested.
Read more here:
Coronavirus: India revises its testing criteria to tackle COVID-19
11.41: NASA suspends work on moon mission. “NASA will temporarily suspend production and testing of Space Launch System and Orion hardware,” their statement read.
11.32: Iconic Coffee House in Kolkata closes for the first time in 70 years, PTI reports. A spokesperson of the decades-old joint tells PTI that the management had no option but to close down for the first time since 1958.
11.27: Pubs and restaurants across Britain will close indefinitely from Friday midnight, reports Reuters. “Some people may of course be tempted to go out tonight, and I say to those people, please don’t,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
11.26: The Supreme Court stays a Kerala High Court order asking authorities not to levy taxes and recover banks’ dues from people till April 6 amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, PTI reports.
11.24: Home Ministry extends visas of foreigners, unable to leave India due to travel restrictions, till April 15. The extension applies to visas expiring between March 13 and April 15.
11.20: Ola suspends ride-sharing services.
11.18: Government caps price of sanitizers, says a 200 ml bottle cannot cost more than Rs 100.
11.13: Britain’s Finance Minister Rishi Sunak says government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month – which is above the median income.Read his full speech.
11.07: World Heath Organization says older people have been the hardest hit by coronavirus but younger people were not spared. “Today I have a message for young people: you are not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks – or even kill you,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says.
11.03: Three more people in Punjab test positive for coronavirus, reports PTI. The total number of cases in the state in now six. One death has also been reported from the state. On Friday, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a fiscal package for Punjab and permission for tests at private hospitals and labs.
10.58: United States President Donald Trump says he respects China and shares a “very good” relationship with Xi Jinping, but alleges that China did not alert the world about coronavirus on time. “Coronavirus came from China, it got out of control,” he says, according to PTI.
10.58: A 47-year-old person who returned to Kerala from Dubai on March 11 and tested positive for coronavirus more than a week later met hundreds of people and attended family and public functions. Two MLAs who were exposed to him are now in self-quarantine, according to The Indian Express.
10.49: Andhra Pradesh man, back from the Gulf, tests positive for coronavirus, The Indian Express reports. He had stayed with friends and relatives and gone to shopping malls and restaurants in both Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam.
10.47: Indian embassy in Vietnam issues travel advisory.
10.41: Air India plane to fly to Italy on Saturday to evacuate stranded students and travelers, reports ANI.
10.37: Adityanath says 15 lakh daily wage labourers and more than 20 lakh construction workers will be given Rs 10,000 each to help them with daily needs, reports ANI.
Read more: Uttar Pradesh government announces monthly aid of Rs 1,000 each for daily wage workers
10.31: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath says 23 people in the state have contracted coronavirus. He adds that the ‘janata curfew’ called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be followed in the state and all train and bus services will be suspended on Sunday.
10.28: Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanks Bhutan and Nepal for contributing to the COVID-19 emergency fund to tackle the spread of the deadly virus in the SAARC countries.
10.23: Taiwan accuses World Health Organization of ignoring warning on person-to-person transmission of coronavirus, reports Financial Times.
10.17: Four people have been arrested in Maharashtra’s Jalna for hoarding hand sanitizers worth over Rs 6 lakh, reports PTI.
10.16: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blames Russia, China and Iran for spreading “disinformation” on COVID-19 and carrying out coordinated efforts to “disparage” American attempts towards containing the fast-spreading pandemic. Pompeo urges Americans to ensure that they are getting their information from reliable sources.
10.10 am: Indian nationals in the United States are asked to follow health advisories. Taranjit Singh Sandu, Indian Ambassador the US, says all help will be available to people.
10.01 am: Two more test positive for the virus in Pune, says District Magistrate Naval K Ram.
10 am: Watch U2’s Bono sing Let Your Love Be Known for frontline workers and victims of Covid-19.
9.56 am: The number of cases in Ladakh rose to 13. The adjoining Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has recorded four cases. Madhya Pradesh also has four positive cases. In Rajasthan, 17 people tested positive, out of which two are foreigners. Seven people have tested positive in Gujarat.
Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Andhra Pradesh have each reported three cases so far, while there are two cases each in Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab and West Bengal.
Chhattisgarh, Puducherry and Chandigarh have reported one positive case each.
9.52 am: In Uttar Pradesh, the number of people tested positive is 24, while Karnataka has confirmed 15 patients so far. Telangana has reported 19 cases and out of these, 11 are foreigners, according to the health ministry.
9.50 am: Maharashtra has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country with 52 people infected so far. Out of these, three are foreigners.
In Kerala, 40 people have tested positive, including seven foreigners.
Delhi reported 26 positive cases, one of whom is a foreigner, while Haryana has 17 positive cases. Fourteen of these people are foreigners.
9.47 am: According to the figures published by the health ministry at 9 am on Saturday, 258 people have tested positive for COVID-19 so far. These cases include 39 foreigners. Four of the 258 patients have died so far – one each in Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra. As 22 patients have been cured and discharged, and one person has migrated, the number of active COVID-19 cases across India is 231, the ministry says.
9.45 am: No professional cricket will be played in England and Wales before May 28 due to the coronavirus pandemic, cricket chiefs announced on Friday. The England and Wales Cricket Board approved a seven-week delay to the start of the 2020 season following discussions with the counties and the Professional Cricketers’ Association.
Read more here:
Coronavirus: Cricket season in England delayed until end of May
9.44 am: The third case of coronavirus has been reported in West Bengal, PTI reports. It is a woman who had recently travelled to Scotland.
9.43 am: The Environment Ministry puts all meetings of its expert appraisal committees, which issue green clearances, on hold till March 31. “We have put all (meetings of) EACs on hold due to the situation. No meeting will take place till March 31. One meeting means 50-60 people coming together. So we will not have that,” the official tells PTI.
9.41 am: Markets in Srinagar remain shut amid the coronavirus pandemic.
9.39 am: The World Anti-Doping Agency issued new guidelines on Friday to facilitate continued testing amid the constraints of the coronavirus pandemic. Noting that the spread of COVID-19 had evolved into “an even greater health and societal emergency” since its March 6 communique, WADA urged Anti-Doping Organisations to act in accordance with restrictions placed by local health authorities.
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Wada issues new guidelines for dope testing athletes amid the coronavirus pandemic
9.38 am: On Friday, India saw the largest single-day jump in patients testing positive for the coronavirus disease, taking the tally of cases to 226. The increase in cases has brought to centre stage the question of adequate health infrastructure to treat the patients. But contradictory guidelines issued by states and the Centre caused confusion among private hospitals.
Read more here:
Admit coronavirus patients, says Centre, sparking concern among private hospitals they’re unprepared
9.36 am: The Lucknow police have lodged a case against Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor for negligence in following instructions listed by the government to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The “Baby Doll” singer tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus on Friday. Kapoor did not quarantine herself after returning from London and instead attended several parties.
Read more here:
Coronavirus: Case against singer Kanika Kapoor for negligence
9.35 am: On Friday, with Maharashtra reporting 52 cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray ordered workplaces in Mumbai, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Nagpur to remain closed till March 3. The economic impact of the shutdown on India’s financial has yet to reliably be assessed, but over a dozen people who Scroll.in interviewed at Bandra station said that they had already begun to feel the blow since the beginning of the week.
Read more here:
As Covid-19 pandemic hits India’s daily-wage earners hard, some leave city for their home towns
9.33 am: The total number of positive cases in India rises to 258, according to the Health Ministry.
9.25 am: The Tamil Nadu government has announced a partial closure of its border with Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh from Saturday morning till March 31. Non-essential vehicular traffic from these neighbouring states will not be allowed to enter, according to Deccan Herald.
This ban will not be applicable to vehicles transporting milk, vegetables, petrol, diesel, medicines and gas cylinders, and ambulances. “Other goods vehicles, light commercial vehicles with people travelling for unavoidable reasons like deaths will also be allowed,” a statement said.
9.20 am: India revises testing criteria for COVID-19.
9.10 am: “I invoked the Defense Production Act, and last night we put it into gear,” US President Donald Trump says, according to PTI. Using his powers under this law, he says the production of ventilators and masks will increase.
“We are providing historic support to small businesses and to the States...We enacted legislation guaranteeing paid sick leave for workers at no cost to employers, so they get paid sick leave at no cost to employers. We are considering the use of new drug treatments. We are advancing legislation to give direct payments to hard-working families,” he says.
Trump adds, “Throughout our country Americans from all walks of life are rallying together to defeat the unseen enemy striking our nation.
9 am: New York orders residents to stay home under a “New York State on Pause” plan, PTI reports. Only those in essential services will be allowed to venture out of homes.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announces several restrictions on movement in the state and says: “This is the most drastic actions we can take”.
8.50 am: Visuals from Nagpur show the city is practically under a shutdown.
8.45 am: A resident of Mohali tests positive for the novel coronavirus, ANI reports. The person had recently travelled to the United Kingdom.
8.40 am: Visuals from the Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar railway station in Mumbai.
8.30 am: The Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple in Varanasi will be closed till March 25, ANI reports.
7.55 am: COVID-19 has infected 2,74,707 people worldwide and killed 11,387, according to an estimate from John Hopkins University, which is live-tracking cases reported by the World Health Organization and additional sources.
7.50 am: Governors of California, New York and Illinois ask residents to stay at home and get out only for emergencies.
7.45 am: Zimbabwe confirms its first case of the pandemic, AP reports. The infected man, 38, had travelled to Britain on March 7 and returned via South Africa on March 15.
7.40 am: France reports 78 more deaths on Friday, taking the toll to 450. As many as 12,612 people have tested positive.
7.35 am: Brazil downgrades its growth projections for 2020 by 2.1% to 0.02% due to the pandemic, AFP reports. The country had dropped the projections from 2.4% to 2.1% on March 11.
7.30 am: Western Railways cancels six trains, ANI reports.
7.25 am: Pakistan records third death and the total number of confirmed cases rose to 481 on Friday, PTI reports. Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked people to self-quarantine for at least another 45 days.
7.20 am: There were no locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 in mainland China for the third day in a row, according to the Guardian. But there were 41 new cases – all of them of travellers arriving from other countries.
The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China is now 81,008, and 3,255 people have died.
7.15 am: Turkey records five new deaths, according to the Guardian.
7.10 am: A member of US Vice President Mike Pence’s staff tests positive.
7.05 am: Two people die in the United Arab Emirates due to the virus. These are the first deaths in the country.
7 am: Israel reports its first death after an 88-year-old man, who had previous illnesses, died, the Guardian reports.
6.58 am: Italy reports 627 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, taking the toll to 4,032. The number of infections rise to 47,021 despite the government’s efforts to tackle the crisis. Italy now accounts for 36.6% of the world’s COVID-19 deaths, according to the Guardian.
This is the highest number of deaths the country has seen in a single day.
6.55 am: Gorakhpur’s Gorakhnath temple shut down till March 31 in view of the pandemic, ANI reports.
6.50 am: US shuts down its southern border with Mexico for all non-essential travel.
6.45 am: Kochi metro operations will also be suspended on Sunday.
6.40 am: The Kerala High Court on Friday rejected a petition that sought the online sale of alcohol, ANI reports.
6.30 am: Here are a round-up of Friday’s developments:
- The Indian Council of Medical Research on Friday confirmed that the total number of coronavirus cases in the country has risen to 236. This is the largest single-day increase in cases in India so far, 63 more than the previous day. This number, however, was 13 more than the figures released by the Union Health Ministry.
- The Centre on Friday said that all hospitals – private or public – should take in suspected COVID-19 patients. They must notify the National Centre for Disease Control and the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme of all such patients, the advisory said. All pneumonia patients must also be notified to the two health agencies so that they can be tested for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in its latest advisory.
- 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. With at least 52 patients so far, one of whom has died, the state is the worst hit in India.
- Over 3,500 trains, including passenger trains and long-distance intercity trains, will be cancelled on Sunday due to “janata curfew” – a self-imposed lockdown – proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation also 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. It also 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.
- 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. After the announcement, however, seven politicians – including former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje, her son Dushyant Singh and TMC MP Derek O’Brien – are in self-quarantine.
- 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. The petition was filed by the father of an Indian student who is stranded in Scotland because of the 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. 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.
- 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. 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.
- United States President Donald Trump 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. “The world is paying a very big price for that they did,” Trump said in a media briefing at the White House.