The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to make testing for Covid-19 free of cost, at approved government as well as private laboratories. Passing an interim judgement, the court said it would consider later whether such private labs should be reimbursed for expenses they incur as a result.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with parliamentarians of major political parties and told them that the nationwide lockdown to rein in the coronavirus pandemic may have to be extended beyond April 14. He said he will consult the chief ministers of all states about the lockdown.
The number of coronavirus cases rose above the 5,000 mark on Wednesday. A civic body official in Mumbai, which alone reported 116 cases on Tuesday, said the city seemed to be in local transmission mode.
Globally, the number of positive cases worldwide crossed 14.52 lakh, including over 86,000 deaths, according to a tracker by Johns Hopkins University.
The national helpline number for the coronavirus is 011-23978046, and a toll-free number 1075.
10.25 pm: Here are the top updates from Wednesday:
- The number of coronavirus cases in India rose by 485 to 5,274 on Tuesday evening, with 149 deaths, the Union Health Ministry said. As many as 25 deaths were confirmed by the Centre between Monday evening and Tuesday morning, and none after that.
- The Supreme Court directed the Centre to issue orders to make tests for Covid-19 at private laboratories free of cost. Passing an interim judgement, the court said it would consider later whether such private labs should be reimbursed for expenses they incur as a result.
- The Uttar Pradesh government announced on Wednesday that it will seal coronavirus hotspots in 15 districts including Noida, Ghaziabad, Lucknow and Agra. The Delhi government also sealed off 20 areas, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said.
- In an all-party meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the nationwide lockdown to slow down the coronavirus pandemic may have to be extended beyond April 14.
- Delhi, Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh made it compulsory to wear facial masks when stepping out. They have allowed the use of cloth masks.
10.21 pm: The Indian Council of Medical Research says a total of 1,27,919 samples have been tested so far as of 9 pm, including 13,143 today. Of those tested today, 320 tested positive for coronavirus.
10.20 pm: Rajasthan reports a jump of 40 cases, total cases stand at 383, ANI reports.
10.17 pm: Delhi reports a jump of 93 cases, taking the total to 669. Of these, nine have died, 20 have been discharged, and one has left the country.
10.15 pm: The World Trade Organization says the pandemic “may well” cause the deepest economic recession “of our lifetimes”, AFP reports.
10 pm: The Delhi government has sealed off 20 areas in an effort to contain Covid-19 infections, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia says. He says the government would ensure the delivery of essential items in these areas, NDTV reports.
8.25 pm: A 32-year-old Indian man who was on a long-term work pass in Singapore has died of Covid-19, PTI reports.
8.17 pm: The Supreme Court directs the Centre to ensure that appropriate personal protective equipment is made available to health workers and doctors for treating coronavirus patients, PTI reports.
8.15 pm: The number of cases in Maharashtra rises to 1,135, after 117 new cases are reported today. Toll rises from 64 to 72.
8.14 pm: Gujarat reports seven new cases today, taking the total number to 186, ANI reports.
7.15 pm: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope says the state still does not have community transmission.
6.59 pm: Telangana has 49 new cases, taking the total to 453, ANI reports.
6.56 pm: Kerala reports nine new cases, taking the total to 345, PTI reports.
6.56 pm: The Supreme Court directs that Covid-19 tests in approved government labs or private labs be conducted free of cost. Passing an interim judgement, the court says it would consider later whether such private labs should be reimbursed for expenses they incur as a result.
6.55 pm: Global trade growth is expected to fall by between 13% and 32% in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the World Trade Organization says.
6.54 pm: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in a “clinically stable” condition and is responding to treatment, Downing Street says in its latest update.
6.28 pm: Since last evening’s update, the Centre has confirmed 485 new cases and 25 deaths.
Since the morning update, 80 new cases have been confirmed, with no increase in the toll.
6.21 pm: The 5 pm update from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare confirms 5,274 cases so far, including 149 deaths. Out of all patients, 410 have recovered.
6.19 pm: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has written to Prime Minister Modi, seeking supply of hydroxychloroquine, PTI reports. He writes: “Just as Lord Hanuman brought the holy medicine from the Himalayas to save the life of Lord Rama’s brother Lakshmana, and Jesus healed those who were sick and restored the sight to Bartimeu, India and Brazil will overcome this global crisis by joining forces and sharing blessings for the sake of all peoples.”
He adds: “Like many other countries, Brazil places hope in the use of hydroxychloroquine as an effective means to treat patients who have contracted Covid-19.”
6.15 pm: Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal claims that the Covid-19 pandemic has been successfully contained in the Union Territory, PTI reports.
The region confirmed 14 positive cases, of which 10 have been discharged, according to the Centre.
6.13 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh says no decision has been taken yet on extending the curfew in the state beyond April 14.
6.08 pm: Tamil Nadu reports 48 new cases, taking the total to 738.
5.52 pm: Six new positive cases in Karnataka take the number to 181, of who five have died and 26 discharged, ANI reports.
5.51 pm: Here is the BMC’s order asking residents of Mumbai to wear masks in public mandatorily.
5.50 pm: Fourteen new positive cases in Jammu and Kashmir take the number of active cases in the Union Territory to 130, ANI reports.
5.49 pm: The number of coronavirus cases in Europe crosses 7.5 lakh as of 4.30 pm, according to AFP.
5.48 pm: Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot tells PTI that the Centre should provide financial packages to states based on number of Covid-19 cases and the propensity for spread.
5.47 pm: As many as 282 of the total 590 Covid-19 patients in Mumbai are from four of the 24 administrative wards of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, PTI reports.
5.25 pm: After the prime minister’s meeting with parliamentarians, Congress MP Ghulam Nabi Azad says that “more than 80%” political parties suggested that lockdown should be extended.
5.24 pm: Uttar Pradesh reports 11 new cases, taking the total number to 343, PTI reports.
5.23 pm: Six Covid-19 patients have died in Pune since Tuesday night, taking the toll in the district to 14, PTI reports.
5.21 pm: Eight members of the family of a man who returned from South Africa and later attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi have tested positive for Covid-19 after returning home in Khargone district in Madhya Pradesh, PTI reports.
5.20 pm: Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay says that during the meeting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi held with MPs, he urged him not to suspend the MPLAD scheme as it would impact grassroots development.
“I have requested the prime minister for a financial moratorium for West Bengal and to give the financial package of Rs 25,000 crore as demanded by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee,” he says, according to PTI. “I have also requested him not to suspend the MPLAD funds and told him that we are ready to give away our full salary.”
5.18 pm: Jammu and Kashmir makes it mandatory for all civil secretariat officers and staff, as well as visitors, to wear face masks.
5.15 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he has learnt that some people are asking others to stand for five minutes to honour him. “At first sight, it seems like mischief to drag Modi into controversies,” he tweets. “Even if it is because of someone’s good intentions, I request them that if they have so much love and honour for Modi, they should take the responsibility of one poor family as long as the coronavirus crisis lasts. There will be no bigger honour for me.”
5.13 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh says a task force will be set up to find ways for the state to gradually end the lockdown.
5.11 pm: The Uttar Pradesh government says there are 22 hotspots in Agra, 13 in Ghaziabad, 12 each in Gautam Buddh Nagar and Kanpur, seven in Meerut, four each in Saharanpur, Maharajganj and Varanasi, three each in Shamli, Bulandshahr, Basti and Firozabad, and one each in Bareilly and Sitapur. Lucknow has eight big and four small hotspots, says the additional chief secretary.
5.10 pm: Mysuru district has 35 positive cases as of 1 pm, ANI reports.
5.09 pm: Andaman and Nicobar Islands has one more positive case, taking the total to 11.
4.52 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while commenting on the Tablighi Jamaat event, says this is no time for communal politics, PTI reports. She says disease doesn’t discriminate on basis of caste or religion.
4.45 pm: West Bengal reports two new cases of the coronavirus, taking the total in the state to 71, says Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
4.36pm: Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad says Modi told MPs that he is receiving requests for extending lockdown, PTI reports. “The prime minister said he will talk to chief ministers and experts before taking a decision,” he adds. “Modi said he is happy that political parties have risen above politics and come together in national interest during crisis.”
4.32 pm: The district magistrate of Gautam Buddh Nagar appeals to public to not resort to panic buying after the Uttar Pradesh government announced the sealing of certain hotspot areas in 15 districts till April 15 to contain the coronavirus. “Hotspots shall be sealed and home delivery of essential commodities and services shall be available at all places in the district,” he says. “We shall take strict action against rumour spreaders.”
4.28 pm: The Indian Council for Medical Research says 1,21,271 samples have been tested so far, Dr R Gangakhedkar says. Out of these, 13,345 samples were tested on Tuesday, he says. The tests were conducted in 139 labs that are now part of the medical body’s network and 65 private labs.
4.25 pm: The government will launch training modules for physicians who treat pregnant women suspected to have Covid-19, the health ministry says.
4.20 pm: The government has ensured there is and there will be no shortage of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine for patients in India, joint secretary Lav Agarwal says. “As cases are increasing, our response is also intensifying commensurately,” he adds.
4.11 pm: As of Wednesday, 5,194 coronavirus cases have been reported in India, the health ministry says. Out of these, 402 have recovered and 149 have died. In the last 24 hours, 773 positive cases and 32 deaths have been reported, it adds.
4.06 pm: The health ministry holds a press conference on the coronavirus situation.
3.57 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announces a salary cut of 30% for legislators in the state, PTI reports.
3.54 pm: The World Health Organization says it is “deeply concerned” over the development of Covid-19 in Europe, The Guardian reports. Regional director Dr Hans Henri P Kluge says the continent accounted for about half of confirmed cases globally and warned governments against relaxing lockdown measures.
3.47pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls the situation in the country a “social emergency” that has necessitated tough decisions, ANI reports. States, district administrations and experts have suggested extension of Lockdown to contain spread of the virus, he adds during his interaction with MPs.
3.41 pm: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in Mumbai makes it compulsory for all persons moving in public spaces to wear a three-ply mask or a cloth mask. People who don’t wear masks will be charged under sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Hindustan Times reports.
3.34 pm: The police in Uttar Pradesh register cases against 69 people in Ghaziabad for violating the lockdown orders, PTI reports. “Cases were registered against 69 persons for moving in the city without masks, not maintaining social distancing and also not adhering to the lockdown orders,” says Superintendent of Police Prabal Pratap Singh.
3.22 pm: Biju Janata Dal leader Pinaki Misra says the prime minister has made it clear that the lockdown will not be lifted on April 14, PTI reports.
3.19pm: Odisha government seals Satya Nagar area in Bhubaneswar and declares the locality as a “containment zone” after a person without any recent travel history tested positive for Covid-19, PTI reports.
3.14 pm: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani appeals to the International Monetary Fund to approve a $5 billion emergency loan the country has requested to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak, AFP reports. “I urge all international organisations to fulfil their duties,” Rouhani says. “We are a member of the IMF... if there’s going to be any discrimination between Iran and others in giving loans, neither us nor world opinion will tolerate it.”
3.10 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says it is not possible to end the lockdown on April 14, considering the spike in coronavirus cases in India, NDTV reports. In a meeting with leaders of all parties, Modi said he would consult with Chief Ministers but it “looked unlikely that the lockdown could end anytime soon”. “Massive behavioural, social and personal changes will have to take place,” he adds.
2.54 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary RK Tiwari announces the sealing of 15 districts, including Noida, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Lucknow, Agra, Shamli, Saharanpur, which have reported high number of Covid-19 cases to prevent community spread till April 15, ANI reports. Only home delivery of essential items and medical teams will be allowed to function under the order, Tiwari says.
2.50 pm: Karnataka records its fifth death from the coronavirus after a 65-year-old resident of Kalaburagi succumbs to the infection, The Hindu reports.
2.48 pm: A constable on duty at the Chandan Nagar locality of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, was pelted with stones for trying to enforce lockdown measures in the area, The Indian Express reports. The incident took place around 6 pm on Tuesday when the constable stopped a vehicle carrying more than five persons who wanted to buy vegetables by defying restrictions.
2:41 pm: Authorities in Punjab block entry points to several villages in Ludhiana to restrict movement of people amid the coronavirus outbreak, ANI reports.
2.39 pm: A case has been registered against Congress legislator Siddharth Kushwaha and seven others in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh for allegedly defying prohibitory orders of the lockdown, PTI reports. The MLA allegedly led a protest near Nai Basti area in violation of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code and the lockdown enforced in the district, police inspector Mohit Saxena tells the news agency.
2.34 pm: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi will interact with presidents of all Pradesh Congress Committees on April 11 to discuss relief work related to the coronavirus crisis, ANI reports.
2.30 pm: Uttar Pradesh CM Adityanath says the government will “completely seal” 15 districts of the state from midnight, News18 reports. These are: Lucknow, Agra, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar, Kanpur, Varanasi, Shamli, Meerut, Bareilly, Bulandshahar, Firozabad, Maharajganj, Sitapur, Saharanpur and Basti.
2.23 pm: Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri says the restrictions on flights will be lifted once the government is fully confident that the spread of the virus has been controlled and it “poses no danger to fellow Indians”. “My heart goes out to people who are facing problems due to restrictions put in place on domestic and international flights, pursuant to the situation arising out of the timely announcement of a nationwide lockdown,” he adds.
2.19 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with floor leaders of various parties, including members of the Opposition, in Parliament to discuss the coronavirus situation, PTI reports. The interaction was held through video conferencing and those participated, included Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, and Nationalist Congress Party head Sharad Pawar.
2.17 pm: Two out of the three Covid-19 patients in Kerala’s Wayanad district have been discharged, ANI reports. They had tested positive for the coronavirus after travelling abroad.
2.15 pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asks former army health services personnel, retired nurses and ward boys to join the “war” against coronavirus, PTI reports. “Let me assure you that these days are not here to stay,” he adds. “We regret the inconvenience caused due to lockdown but we don’t have any other option.”
2.04 pm: Private airline Indigo suspends international flights till April 30. It says money spent on tickets will remain in passengers’ accounts in the form of a “credit shell”, reports The Indian Express. This will be valid for a year.
2.01 pm: The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine predicts a little over 66,000 deaths in the UK by August due to the virus, The Independent reports. The institute’s forecast also predicts the peak of the coronavirus will hit the UK only around the third week of April.
1.56 pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray says he understands that people are facing difficulties being at home for so long, and some are bored, but “there is no option but to stay at home” in order to defeat the virus, ANI reports.
1.52 pm: India’s coronavirus outbreak, and the ongoing 21-day lockdown to contain it, has shone a spotlight on the hard life of its seasonal migrants. As many as 92.5% of labourers have already lost one to three weeks of work, according to a rapid assessment survey by Jan Sahas, a civil society organisation that focuses on human rights of socially-excluded communities.
1.48 pm: Ever since news broke that the convention held by the Tablighi Jamaat, a Muslim religious group, was a Covid-19 hotspot, rumours about the spread of the coronavirus have taken on a communal hue. Videos circulating on social media platforms appeared to show Muslim men spitting on food, licking plates and sneezing in unison to spread the virus – all of these have been debunked as fake news.
1.45 pm: The number of cases in the state of Andhra Pradesh is now 329, as 15 more people have tested positive. The health department says almost 50% – 48% to be precise – of people who have the virus are between the ages of 21 and 40, The Hindu reports. While 36% of the cases are in people aged 41-60, 8% of the patients are above 60 years of age or below 20.
1.42 pm: The number of cases in Russia increases by more than 1,000 in a day, The Guardian reports. Russia now has 8,672 cases of the novel coronavirus.
1.40 pm: London Mayor Sadiq Khan says the United Kingdom is “nowhere near ready” to lift restrictions in place to manage the pandemic, The Guardian reports. Restrictions were imposed on March 23 for three weeks by the prime minister, who remains in intensive care after contracting the coronavirus himself. “We think the peak, which is the worst part of the virus, is still probably a week and a half away,” Khan says.
1.35 pm: A nurse in Noida tests positive for the virus. The woman, 20 years old, works with a lab technicians and lives at a paying guest house. Her accommodation has been sanitised and sealed and so has the wing of the hospital where she works, The Hindu reports.
1.32 pm: The government tells the Supreme Court adequate steps are being taken to protect healthcare staff during the pandemic, Bar and Bench reports. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta denies reports that medical employees are being given salary cuts, and says they do not have to spend money on equipment either.
1.27 pm: Twelve people out on walks this morning were arrested in Navi Mumbai, reports PTI. They were booked under Indian Penal Code Section 188 (disobedience to order promulgated by public servant) and later released on bail, senior police inspector Ajay Kumar Landge says.
1.07 pm: Some families are refusing to perform the last rites of their relatives. A family in Amritsar, Punjab, refused to perform the last rites of a man after he died of Covid-19. There are other such cases being reported too.
12.50 pm: Medical staff at Mumbai’s KB Bhabha Municipal General Hospital protest, alleging that they have been given low quality personal protective equipment, reports PTI. Staffers are asking that they be quarantined.
12.35 pm: Tushar Mehta tells the judge the Centre will look into this suggestion.
12.20 pm: Justice Bhushan says a mechanism can be created to be reimbursed by the government for Covid-19 tests.
12.12 pm: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta says almost 15,000 tests are being done by 118 laboratories in the country to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, reports Bar and Bench. “This was not sufficient,” he adds. “So private labs had to be roped in for coronavirus tests. We have involved 47 private laboratory chains. It’s a developing situation.”
12.08 pm: The Supreme Court begins hearing a petition seeking direction to the Centre and authorities concerned to provide free of cost testing facility for coronavirus to all the patients in the country.
12 pm: United States President Donald Trump tells Fox News that a sizeable chunk of the 29 million doses of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine bought by the country to combat the coronavirus pandemic is from India.
“I bought millions of doses [of hydroxychloroquine],” he adds. “More than 29 million. I spoke to Prime Minister Modi, a lot of it [hydroxychloroquine] comes out of India. I asked him if he would release it? He was great. He was really good.”
11.58 am: Medical staff at KB Bhabha Municipal General Hospital in Mumbai allege that they have been provided with low quality personal protection equipment to deal with coronavirus patients.
Doctors, nurses and ambulance workers from various parts of the country have urged the government to ensure necessary items for their safety during treatment of the coronavirus patients in last few weeks.
11.55 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with floor leaders of parties whose combined strength in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha adds up to five MPs to discuss the coronavirus situation, reports ANI.
11.46 am: The Centre asks states and Union Territories to ensure availability of essential goods by invoking Essential Commodities Act, 1955, reports ANI. In a letter, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla also urges them take steps to prevent hoarding to ensure essential items are available at fair prices to public.
11.44 am: Delhi reports 51 new coronavirus cases. This includes 35 patients with history of travel to a foreign country, four who attended the gathering in Nizamuddin, and two deaths, according to ANI.
11.40 am: Maharashtra’s latest surge of coronavirus cases includes 44 cases in Mumbai, nine in Pune, four in Nagpur, and one each in Ahmednagar, Akola and Buldhana, reports PTI.
11.36 am: Tablighi Jamaat members, who have been quarantined at four flats in South West Delhi’s Dwarka neighbourhood after attending a religious gathering, have been accused of “throwing bottles filled with urine”, reports NDTV. The bottles were recovered at 6 pm on Tuesday and an first information report has been filed at against unknown persons.
11.33 am: A 49-year-old coronavirus patient has died at Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore district, reports ANI. The toll from the infection has increased to 16 in the district.
11.30 am: India has rescinded its earlier ban on the export of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine , which is now being used in countries such as the US as a possible line of treatment for the coronavirus. The restrictions on export had been in place for all of two days.
11.26 am: Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy says his government is ready to write to the prime minister to extend the coronavirus lockdown, reports ANI. He adds that people isolating themselves is the only cure to stop the spread of infection.
11.20 am: Maharashtra reports a surge in coronavirus cases after 60 more people test positive, according to ANI. The total cases in the state has risen to 1,078.
11.11 am: The immigration officials in US have rapidly deported nearly 400 migrant children intercepted at the United States-Mexico border in the past two weeks under new rules to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, reports Reuters.
11.06 am: Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain says that the national Capital has total 576 positive coronavirus cases, reports ANI. Of these, 35 patients are in the intensive care unit and eight of them are on ventilator.
11 am: A nurse at Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai has been admitted to the hospital’s isolation ward after testing positive for the coronavirus, reports The Hindu. Earlier, the hospital had closed its outpatient department and stopped new admissions after a cardiac surgeon from Saifee Hospital, who offered consultations at the hospital, tested positive on March 27.
10.55 am: Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation has declared Satya Nagar area in the city as a “containment zone” after a person with no recent travel history tested positive for the coronavirus, reports ANI.
10.49 am: Four more people test positive for the coronavirus in Gujarat, says Jayanti Ravi, the principal secretary of the state health and family welfare department. The total number of cases in the state has increased to 179, according to PTI. Of these, 83 have been reported from Ahmedabad.
10.42 am: Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh announces insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh for police personnel in the state due the coronavirus crisis, reports ANI.
10.40 am: Andhra Pradesh reports 15 new coronavirus cases from Tuesday 6 pm till 9 am today, according to ANI.
10.36 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he is “deeply anguished” by the death of Indian-American journalist Brahm Kanchibhotla. He died of the coronavirus.
“Deeply anguished by the passing away of Indian-American journalist Mr. Brahm Kanchibotla,” he tweets. “He will be remembered for his fine work and efforts to bring India and USA closer. Condolences to his family and friends.”
10.32 am: The number of coronavirus cases in Mumbai’s Dharavi area has now risen to nine after two men tested positive in Asia’s largest slum, reports ANI. The new cases have been reported from Mukund slum and Dhanwada chawl.
10.28 am: An unidentified Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation officer tells The New Indian Express that community transmission of the coronavirus has started in Mumbai and it’s adjoining localities as the new positive cases emerging from there are neither immediate contacts of patients nor do they have any travel history.
“The community spreading has therefore been started as we see a surge in number of cases from various part of the city,” the officer says. “We are declaring these areas as contaminated cluster and subsequently sealing them.”
10.22 am: Chidambaram also says that the Centre should consult the states on whether the nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus should be lifted after April 14. “The answer to that question cannot be based on personal or sectoral interests,” he adds. “The answer must be determined solely by two numbers – the absolute increase in positive cases every day and the rate of increase.”
10.18 am: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram urges the government to provide immediate cash to the poor, and accuses the Centre of adopting a miserly and negligent approach towards them during the lockdown.
“What is sorely missing in the lockdown strategy is putting cash in the hands of poor people,” he tweets. “There are several sections of the poor who have not received a single rupee from the government.”
10.08 am: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will hold a meeting with all the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs today at 12 pm to discuss the coronavirus situation, reports ANI.
10 am: Maharashtra has 1,018 cases – the highest in India. The second worst-affected state is Tamil Nadu, with 690 cases so far as confirmed by the Centre.
9.56 am: India has registered 35 deaths and 773 new positive cases in 24 hours.
9.55 am: The Union Health Ministry updates the coronavirus patients data. India now has 5,194 confirmed cases, including 149 deaths and 401 recoveries.
9.50 am: Rajasthan Health Department says the coronavirus cases in the state has risen to 348 after five more people tested positive, reports ANI. The new cases are contacts of earlier patients.
9.46 am: Renukacharya, the BJP MP from Honnali constituency in Karnataka, says “not all minorities are terrorists, not all of them are anti-nationals”, reports ANI. He urges people who attended the religious gathering in Nizamuddin to come for medical checkup. “I request them to come voluntarily to the doctors & district magistrates,” he adds.
9.42 am: BJP MP Renukacharya hits out at those who attended the Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area last month, reports ANI. “Anyone who attended Tablighi meet, isn’t coming out for medical checkups and is escaping detection, government shouldn’t ignore them,” he adds. “Even if he’s shot, it’s not wrong. Otherwise, the virus will spread in entire country. In China it started with one person.”
9.38 am: The mother of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has died after contracting the coronavirus, reports AP. The Premier League club says Dolors Sala Carri died near Barcelona in the city of Manresa. She was 82.
9.33 am: About 40 crore workers in India working in the informal economy are at the risk of being driven into poverty due to the coronavirus crisis, according to the International Labour Organisation. The pandemic is affecting 2.7 billion workers globally due to lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the virus, reports PTI.
9.28 am: India’s strategy to ease the lockdown will have to be different from most other countries. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the lockdown, India was only beginning to see its infection numbers go up. The country had less than 500 cases at the time. As of April 7, it has 4,400, with cases doubling about every four days.
9.25 am: Another patient has died due to the coronavirus in Pune’s state-run Sassoon Hospital, says Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar, reports PTI. The toll in the city has risen to ten now.
9.22 am: The Pulitzer Prizes for 2020 will be announced two weeks later than scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The prizes in categories for journalism, drama, books and music will be handed out on May 4 instead of April 20, said Dana Canedy, a New York Times editor and administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.
9.20 am: Spain’s daily coronavirus deaths rose has risen for the first time in five days, with 743 people succumbing overnight compared with 637 in the previous 24 hours, reports Reuters. The total number of cases rose to 140,510, second only to the United States, and the toll of 13,798 was behind only Italy’s.
9.13 am: Reports say that group of ministers have recommended the closure of all educational institutions and restrictions on all religious activities having public participation be extended till May 15. This comes amid calls from the several states on the need for a calibrated lifting of the lockdown.
9.10 am: Grammy-winning singer John Prine has died due to coronavirus complications, reports Reuters. He was 73.
Prine was hospitalised in Nashville on March 26 for Covid-19 symptoms, says his wife, Fiona Whelan Prine, who was also his manager. “We join the world in mourning the passing of revered country and folk singer/songwriter John Prine,” the Recording Academy says in a written statement.
9.03 am: Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal urges people to observe Shab-e-Barat from home, reports ANI. “People are requested not to step out of their houses and instead pray for their family’s safety,” he says. “Everyone should desist from any behaviour that compromises with the safety guidelines for battling.”
9 am: A 44-year-old man has died of the coronavirus in Maharashtra’s Pune, reports ANI. Health officials say that the victim was suffering from diabetes and with this the toll in the city has risen to nine.
8.55 am: Eight foreigners linked to Tablighi Jamaat have been booked for violating the Foreigners Act and the tourist visa norms in Nagpur, says Jayesh Bhandarkar, the senior police inspector at Tehsil Police Station.
8.51 am: Four more people tested positive in Siwan and Begusarai districts on Tuesday, reports ANI. Bihar now has 38 positive cases, says the principle secretary of the state Health Department.
8.45 am: An Assistant Sub-Inspector with Delhi Traffic Police has tested positive, reports ANI. He has been shifted to AIIMS, and his family has been asked to be on home quarantine. The colony, where he lived, is under strict lockdown and the police are trying to establish his contacts.
8.07 am: However, Trump says it is likely the US will have fewer deaths than originally thought. Trump says he spoke with Cuomo, and infections in the US are close to the peak. However, he adds that the coming week will be “very difficult”.
8.04 am: The state of New York has reported 731 deaths from the coronavirus on Monday, a record, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, AFP reports. The previous single-day record was 630, set on April 3. Over 12,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the United States.
8 am: US President Donald Trump says his government will reduce funding to the World Health Organization, accusing it of being pro-China. “We’re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO,” Trump tells reporters. “We’re going to put a very powerful hold on it and we’re going to see. It’s a great thing if it works. But when they call every shot wrong, that’s no good.”
7.57 am: The All India Institute of Medical Sciences says all healthcare workers involved in the treatment of coronavirus-infected patients at the premier institute can get hydroxychloroquine tablets from their respective departments, PTI reports.
7.55 am: Tens of thousands of people who spent the last two months locked down in Wuhan, China, the original epicentre of the outbreak, have now been allowed to leave the city for work and other purposes, The South China Morning Post reports. People will still need to carry a QR code or paperwork showing they are in good health before being allowed to leave residential compounds, enter shops or use public transport.
7.51 am: China has reported no coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, for the first time since it started publishing figures in January, according to BBC. The National Health Commission says it had 32 confirmed cases on Tuesday, down from 39 on Monday. All confirmed cases on Tuesday have arrived from overseas.
7.50 am: US Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly has resigned after firing the captain of USS Theodore Roosevelt for pleading for help in a statement he sent to the media, Politico reports. Defence Secretary Mark Esper said Modly had “resigned of his own accord”. More than 1,000 sailors who have tested negative for the virus are ashore in Guam, quarantining in hotels.
7.47 am: Poland’s lawmakers have voted to ensure its presidential election scheduled for May goes ahead despite the coronavirus pandemic, BBC reports. By Monday, Poland had 107 deaths and 4,413 confirmed cases of the virus.
7.43 am: Many Indian-Americans have tested positive with the novel coronavirus in the United States and several of them, including a former journalist of an Indian news agency, have died, PTI reports. Veteran Indian-American journalist Brahm Kuchibhotla, who was a former contributor to United News of India, died at a hospital in New York on Monday night.
7.40 am: Iran’s Parliament convened on Tuesday for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak began in the country, AFP reports. More than two-thirds of the legislature’s 290 members gathered in the absence of Speaker Ali Larijani, who has been diagnosed positive for the coronavirus.
7.37 am: The Indian Council of Medical Research has set up a national task force for Covid-19. The task force will initiate research studies and identify priorities for clinical research, diagnostics and bio-markers, epidemiology and surveillance, vaccines and drug development to combat the coronavirus.
7.36 am: Here are the top updates from Tuesday:
- The number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 4,789 on Tuesday evening, with 124 deaths, the Union Health Ministry said. The country reported 508 new cases in the last 24 hours. As many as 352 patients have now recovered.
- Maharashtra, the worst-hit Indian state, confirmed 150 new positive cases, taking the total number of patients so far to 1,018. The state is the first to cross the 1,000 mark. The state capital Mumbai alone reported 116 of the new cases.
- The Ministry of External Affairs said that India will export paracetamol and hydroxychloroquine in appropriate quantities to “nations who have been particularly badly affected” by the coronavirus pandemic. This came hours after United States President Donald Trump had warned of retaliation if India turned down his requests to supply hydroxychloroquine.
- Kerala plans to suggest the Centre to lift the nationwide lockdown in three phases, based on the recommendations of an expert committee set up by the state, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said. Several states have recommended that the Centre either extend the lockdown or lift it in phases following April 14.
- The Indian Council of Medical Research said 1,14,015 samples had been tested for Covid-19 until 9 pm, including 12,584 on Tuesday.
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was on Monday taken to the intensive care unit for worsening coronavirus symptoms, is in a stable condition and in “good spirits”, a spokesperson said.