11 pm: Here are the top updates from the day:

  • The Centre sanctioned Rs 15,000 crore as part of a Covid-19 “Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package” as confirmed cases rose to 5,865 on Thursday evening. Out of the total cases in the country, 169 patients have died, and 5,218 are being treated. There are 477 people who have recovered from the disease.
  • The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare asserted that there were enough personal protective equipment kits in the country, and that all those working with Covid-19 patients should use it based on risk profile. The ministry added that 20 domestic manufacturers have been developed for PPEs, orders for 1.7 crore PPEs were made, and the supplies had begun. The ministry has also requisitioned 49,000 ventilators.
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research has said nearly 1.45 lakh samples have been tested for coronavirus in the country. It said that the rate of those testing positive ranged between 3% and 5% in the last one-and-a-half months without displaying any significant spike. The organisation updated its testing strategy to include people in health ministry-designated “hotspots” or “clusters” who show influenza-like symptoms.
  • Maharashtra has confirmed 1,346 infections, and 197 people in total have tested positive in Karnataka. In Gujarat, there are 241 Covid-19 patients.
  • International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said global economic growth will “turn sharply negative in 2020”. She cited an IMF projection that more than 170 nations will “experience negative per capita income growth this year”.
  • The Reserve Bank of India said the outlook for India’s economic recovery has been “drastically altered” by the coronavirus outbreak. “Covid-19 hangs over the future, like a spectre,” the central bank said in its Monetary Policy Report. “The actual outturn would depend upon the speed with which the outbreak is contained and economic activity returns to normalcy.”
  • Odisha became the first state to extend the 21-day lockdown till April 30. Madhya Pradesh has contained 15 districts, designating them as “hotspots”. These places will be sealed which means that entry and exit will be barred. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has directed to seal areas in ​​Korba district’s Katghora where seven cases have been reported.
  • In the United States, 6.6 million people sought unemployment benefits last week. Approximately, one in 10 workers have lost their jobs in just the past three weeks The figures collectively constitute the largest and fastest series of job losses in history, dating back to 1948.

10.38 pm: Pakistan has vowed to contribute $3 million to the SAARC Coronavirus Emergency Fund, proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help combat the spreading Covid-19 pandemic in the region, reports PTI.

10.34 pm: The ICMR says 1,44,910 samples from 1,30,792 individuals have been tested so far until 9 pm. Of these, 16,002 samples were tested today.

10.30 pm: Maharashtra has reported 25 new fatalities related to Covid-19 – the biggest spike so far, reports NDTV. The toll in the state is 97. The state has also record 229 more infections, and the number of Covid-19 cases in the state has risen to 1,364. “Both the number of new patients and that of deaths are highest for a single day so far,” an unidentified state health official has said.

9.51 pm: Masks have been made compulsory in Punjab, reports ANI. “The health secretary is issuing a detailed advisory for the people,” says Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. “Just remember to wear mask when you step out of home for any emergency/essentials. A piece of clean cloth is all you need.”

9.50 pm: Andhra Pradesh’s Covid-19 nodal officer Arja Srikanth confirms 363 total cases in the state, reports ANI.

9.37 pm: Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) in Maharashtra Sunil Ramanand says he has issued an order to lockdown five central prisons – Yerawada (in Pune), Arthur Road and Byculla (in Mumbai), a prison in Thane and another in Adharwadi jail in Kalyan, reports ANI. “The move has been initiated as these five prisons are located in affected areas of the state and hold very large number of inmates, way beyond capacity,” Ramanand adds.

9.34 pm: Rajasthan’s Health Department says 80 new Covid-19 cases have emerged in the state today. The total positive cases in Rajasthan stand at 463, reports ANI.

9.31 pm: The global number of coronavirus cases in the world has gone up to 15,03,900 and 89,931 people have died as the disease has spread to 184 countries or regions.

Johns Hopkins University

7.55 pm: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) updates its testing strategy for Covid-19.

7.45 pm: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has instructed senior government officers to seal Covid-19 hotspots in 15 districts of the state, reports ANI.

7.43 pm: Karnataka’s Education Minister Suresh Kumar says Class 10 (SSLC) exams, scheduled between April 27 and May 9 has been postponed till further notice. “Ten days of revision classes will be done before examination dates,” he adds, reports ANI.

7.42 pm: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope says there are 1,346 cases of Covid-19 in the state, out of which 746 patients are in Mumbai. “We are planning to deploy the State Reserve Police Force in congested areas for effective enforcement of coronavirus,” he says, according to ANI.

7.39 pm: There are 21 “hotspots” that have been identified, reports Hindustan Times. “We have identified 21 hotspots in Mumbai where we are imposing curfew with immediate effect,” the newspaper quoted state Textile Minister Aslam Shaikh as saying. “The supply of the essential services will be done by the state administration, compelling residents to stay home during this period.”

7.13 pm: In the United States, 6.6 million people have sought unemployment benefits last week. Roughly one in 10 workers have lost their jobs in just the past three weeks, reports Associated Press. The figures collectively constitute the largest and fastest string of job losses in records dating to 1948.

7.11 pm: The United States Federal Reserve announces another series of financing facilities to provide $2.3 trillion to support the country’s economy amid a surge in coronavirus cases. “The Fed’s role is to provide as much relief and stability as we can during this period of constrained economic activity, and our actions today will help ensure that the eventual recovery is as vigorous as possible,” Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has said in a statement, according to AFP.

7.07 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to South Korean President Moon Jae-in about ways to tackle Covid-19. “Had a telephone conversation with President Moon Jae-in on the prevailing Covid-19 situation and how we can fight this pandemic through cooperation and leveraging the power of technology,” Modi tweets.

7.01 pm: International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva says global economic growth will “turn sharply negative in 2020”, reports ANI. “We are still faced with extraordinary uncertainty about the depth and duration of this crisis,” she says. “It is already clear, however, that global growth will turn sharply negative in 2020, as you will see in our World Economic Outlook next week.”

She cites an IMF projection that more than 170 nations will “experience negative per capita income growth this year”.

6.44 pm: The total number of Covid-19 cases in Himachal Pradesh stands at 28. This includes 21 active cases, two recovered, four people who migrated, and one death, reports ANI, citing the Himachal Pradesh Department of Health and Family Welfare.

6.43 pm: Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation says nine people who tested positive for lost their lives in Mumbai today, all of them had co-morbidities and age-related factors. The total number of Covid-19 deaths in the city stands at 54.

6.41 pm: Haryana announces Rs 30 lakh cover in cases of death of a police personnel directly engaged in the fight against the spread of Covid-19 in the state, reports ANI.

6.39 pm: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan says all fishermen in the state will be given Rs 2,000 each while lottery sellers and beedi workers will get Rs 1,000 each as financial aid, reports ANI.

6.36 pm: Tamil Nadu Health Secretary Beela Rajesh says 84 people out of the 96 who tested positive for Covid-19 today are from a “single source” event. She adds that 763 out of the total 834 cases in the state are from a “single source” event, reports ANI.

6.31 pm: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan says 12 new Covid-19 cases have cropped up in the state – four each in Kannur and Kasaragod districts, two in Malappuram district, one each in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts. Out of these cases, 11 contracted the disease through local contact, one had returned from a foreign country. The total positive cases in state reach 357.

6.29 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says 12 new Covid-19 cases have been reported today. The total number of patients currently being treated in the state stands at 80. Three patients have been discharged, she adds, according to ANI.

6.24 pm: The Punjab government says 24 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the state today, reports ANI. The total number of confirmed cases in the state stand at 130.

6.23 pm: Kejriwal also announces that his administration is giving free ration to 71 lakh people in the city, reports PTI.

6.18 pm: Containment exercise will be conducted in 21 areas of Delhi where Covid-19 cases have been found. “These areas will be completely sealed and residents will be home quarantined,” Kejriwal says. “Essential services will be delivered to the residents’ doorsteps.”

6.15 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal takes note of the two Safdarjung Hospital doctors who were allegedly assaulted by their neighbour in Gautam Nagar. “I would like to warn people who misbehave with doctors or nurses that it won’t be tolerated,” he says, according to ANI. “They will be given the strictest punishment.”

6.13 pm: Haryana’s Health Minister Anil Vij says 134 people are being treated in the state. Out of whom, 106 patients are associated with the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi in early March, reports ANI.

6.10 pm: Director General of Police in Bihar Gupteshwar Pandey says some cases have emerged in Siwan, Nawada and Begusarai districts. “We are imposing complete lockdown and curfew-like situation in the localities, areas and villages from where cases have been reported,” he tells ANI. “No one can leave their houses in those areas.”

6.06 pm: Karnataka’s Health Department says 16 more cases reported in the state in the last 24 hours, including 10 cases with close contact to other patients and three with travel history to Delhi, reports ANI. The total number of cases in the state stands at 197.

5.54 pm: The Union Ministry of Health has updated the number of Covid-19 cases in the country to 5,865. Out of these, 5,218 people are being treated, 477 have recovered, 169 patients have died, and one person has returned to their country.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

5.50 pm: Uttar Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Avanish Awasthi says 12,236 first information reports have been registered against 39,857 people under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code for violating coronavirus lockdown. “78 cases have been registered in connection with circulation of fake news related to Covid-19,” he adds, according to ANI.

5.27 pm: The Centre has sanctioned Rs 15,000 crore as India’s Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package.

5.12 pm: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, drawing his attention to the plight of Indian migrant workers stuck in United Arab Emirates amid the coronavirus crisis, ANI reports. “As we know a majority of Keralite blue collar workers are living in crowded facilities in Dubai and therefore, the probability of spreading of disease is very high,” the letter said.

5.08 pm: SpiceJet announces it will operate its first cargo flight to Singapore from Chennai to bring back critical medical equipment and other supplies to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak in India, PTI reports. The airlines said it will operate a second freighter flight on Friday carrying medical supplies from Singapore to Bengaluru.

5.06 pm: Twelve more persons test positive for Covid-19 in West Bengal Bengal, taking the total number of cases in the state to 80, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says, according to PTI.

5.05 pm: The Cellular Operators Association of India writes to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, objecting to making further extensions to benefits given to customers who are unable to recharge their phones, in light of the coronavirus crisis.

4.57 pm: The BJP unit in Karnataka has launched a state-level helpline to tackle the coronavirus crisis, PTI reports.

4.53 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a meeting with medical directors and superintendents of all Covid-19 designated government and private hospitals to formulate strategy for early identification of cases. The meeting was held via video conferencing.

4.47 pm: Jammu and Kashmir reports 24 fresh cases of Covid-19, taking the tally in the Union Territory to 184, ANI reports. “Out of these, 32 persons are from Jammu and 152 patients are from Kashmir,” J&K official Rohit Kansal says.

4.44 pm: A 70-year-old woman who tested positive for the coronavirus has died in Mumbai’s Dharavi area, the Brihanmumbai Muncipal Coroporation says, according to ANI.

4.24 pm: Indian Railways has converted 3,250 coaches into Covid19 isolation units with 2,500 doctors and 35,000 paramedics staff, the health ministry says. A total of 5,00 coaches will be converted, it adds.

4.20 pm: India has conducted 1,30,000 tests so far, the Indian Council for Medical Research says. Out of these, 13,143 samples were tested yesterday, the medical body’s official adds. “Positivity rate has remained at 3% to 5% in last one and half months, and has not changed substantially.”

4.16pm: The health ministry reiterates that india has more stocks than needed of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which is believed to be effective against Covid-19. “We have planned for the future,” Agarwal says.

4.09 pm: “Twenty personal protection equipment domestic manufacturers have been developed,” joint secretary Lav Agarwal says. “1.7 crore orders have been placed, supplies have begun. 49000 ventilators orders have also been placed,” he adds.

4.08 pm: India has reported 5,734 coronavirus cases as of now, the health ministry says at a daily press briefing. Out of these, 473 people have recovered, while 166 people have died. The country has reported 549 new cases in the last 24 hours with 17 deaths.

4.01 pm: The Spanish prime minister says the country’s latest coronavirus data is “encouraging”, The Guardian reports. Pedro Sanchez told parliament “the fire starts to come under control”.

3.59pm: Gujrat reports 55 new cases on Thursday, taking the total number of cases in the state to 241, PTI reports. The death toll also went up to 17 after one more person died of Covid-19 infection. Out of the 55 new cases, 50 were reported from Ahmedabad, two from Surat and one case each from Dahod, Anand and Chhotaudepur district.

3.54 pm: Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appealed to Iranians to pray at home during the fasting month of Ramadan to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, AFP reports. Iran has reported more than 4,100 deaths and 66,000 infections from the novel coronavirus, making the country’s Covid-19 outbreak one of the worst in the world.

3.40 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will hold a meeting with the directors and superintendents of all Covid-19 designated hospitals – both private and government– via video conferencing today, ANI reports. Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain, Chief Secretary Vijay Dev and health secretary will also attend the meeting.

3.35 pm: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and King Salman went into isolation after dozens of members of the ruling Saudi royal family test positive for the coronavirus, Al Jazeera reports.

Meanwhile, Saudi Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – the governor of the capital Riyadh who is in his 70s – is in intensive care after contracting the virus, according to The New York Times

3.28 pm: Six persons, including a doctor and his wife have tested positive for Covid-19 in Itarsi area of Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh, ANI reports. “The patients are in quarantine, while their contacts have been placed under home quarantine,” Hoshangabad Chief Medical Health Officer Dr Sudhir Jaisani says.

3.24 pm: Maharashtra Cabinet approves proposal to cut salaries of all state legislators by 30% for a year starting from this month, ANI reports.

3.23pm: A 62-year-old doctor in Indore died of Covid-19 today morning while undergoing treatment at a hospital, The Hindu reports. Indore has reported 213 cases, with 22 deaths as of now.

3.21 pm: India has reported 460 new cases of the coronavirus as of Thursday morning, charts show:

3.20pm: Chart showing the number of Covid-19 tests India has conducted each day:

3.18pm: Chart showing cumulative coronavirus cases in the country as of Thursday morning:

3.09 pm: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel says the state has reported 11 coronavirus cases as of now, ANI reports. Out of these, nine have recovered with no deaths, so far. “76,000 people in Chhattisgarh are currently under home quarantine,” he adds.

3.04 pm: Two persons who were admitted at the Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital in Delhi’s Saket area for cardiac problems have tested positive for the coronavirus, The Hindu reports. The patients were initially admitted to the east block of the hospital, which was later turned into a Covid-19 treatment facility.

“We are still looking into how they contracted the virus,” an unidentified spokesperson of the hospital told the newspaper. “But there is no chance that they would have contracted it from Covid-19 positive patients at the East Block, as the Covid-19 patients were in isolation wards,” he adds.

2.55 pm: Bangladesh imposes a complete lockdown in Cox’s Bazar district, which is home to over a million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, to contain the spread of the coronavirus, AFP reports.

2.52 pm: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla holds a meeting with 200 members of the Rotary Club via video conference to discuss the coronavirus situation in the country, ANI reports.

2.50 pm: The Jawaharpur village in Punjab’s Mohali district has become a new coronavirus hotspot with 21 Covid-19 cases, PTI reports. The district administration has completely sealed the entry points to the village, which is located near Delhi-Ambala national highway, and deployed police personnel to stop the movement of people.

2.43 pm: The Delhi government says the Govind Ballabh Pant hospital in the Capital will no longer serve as a designated Covid-19 facility, in view of the problems faced by general patients admitted there, PTI reports.

2.40pm: Jalandhar reports three more positive cases of the coronavirus, district nodal officer TP Singh says, according to ANI.

2.32 pm: The Federation of Resident Doctors Association writes to home minister Amit Shah demanding a ‘Central Protection Act’, in light of the multiple attacks on doctors, nurses and medical staff reported from across the country, ANI reports. The doctors’ association further demands that assault on medical officials be treated as a non-bailable offence.

2.29 pm: Telangana government seals all areas identified as containment zones in Hyderabad, prohibiting any entry or exit, ANI reports. The state has reported 427 cases as of now. Out of these, seven have died and 35 have recovered.

2.22 pm: The Delhi High Court suspends its summer vacations, and that of subordinate courts, ANI reports. Under the order, the courts in the national capital will be now open in the month of June.

2.20 pm: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who tested positive for the coronavirus, is in stable condition and getting better, Reuters reports. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is entering what experts say is “the deadliest phase” of the outbreak, with deaths expected to continue to rise as the country imposed a nationwide lockdown to contain the pandemic. The country has reported 61,474 cases of the virus, with 7,111 deaths as of now, according to a tracker by Johns Hopkins University

2.17 pm: Four persons, including a vegetable vendor and his two sons, were arrested for allegedly assaulting a policeman in Maharashtra’s Thane district amid the lockdown, PTI reports.

2.10 pm: The Karnataka Cabinet has approved 30% cut in salaries of ministers and MLAs in the state for one year, PTI reports. Earlier in the day, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has said that the state government is in favour of lifting the lockdown from April 14 in districts unaffected by the coronavirus, subject to approval from the Centre.

2.07 pm: Twelve fresh cases of Covid-19 reported in Bihar, PTI reports. The total number of infections has risen to 51.

2.01 pm: The Chinese government has told healthcare providers that symptom-free Covid-19 patients are contagious and must be reported within two hours of confirmed diagnosis, The South China Morning Post reports. On Wednesday, another 56 asymptomatic patients were found in the country, with 28 being imported cases.

Employees work on a production line of surgical masks for export, in Nanchang, China on Thursday. (Photo credit: Reuters)

1.57 pm: The decision by the Supreme Court to make testing for coronavirus free even in private clinics places an unfair financial burden on medical firms, and could see a reduction in testing instead of an increase, health experts and business leaders have warned according to Reuters. “These are small businesses they’re providing testing at cost and not profiteering,” Biocon Limited Executive Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw says. “How will they pay their employees?”

1.52 pm: The Reserve Bank of India has said in its monetary policy report that the coronavirus has “drastically altered” India’s economic growth projections, Reuters reports. “Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, the outlook for growth for 2020-’21 was looking up,” the bank says. “The global economy is expected to slump into recession in 2020, as post-Covid projections indicate.” However, the central bank is reluctant to provide a GDP growth rate estimate at this point.

1.47 pm: A group of youths in Haryana’s Panchkula district harassed women health workers on Thursday when they were conducting a survey, PTI reports. The youths tried to drag a woman constable inside a house, and injured her in the process.

1.45 pm: India’s fuel sales have dropped 18% in March thanks to the pandemic keeping everyone indoors, PTI reports quoting official data. The demand for petrol has slipped by 16.3%, and that of diesel by 24%.

1.39 pm: The United Nations Security Council will hold a closed video-teleconferencing session on Thursday to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic, PTI reports. This is the first time the Security Council will discuss coronavirus ever since the pandemic began.

1.36 pm: United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spent a third night in the intensive care unit of a hospital in London, 10 Downing Street says according to BBC. Johnson is “sitting up in bed” and his condition is improving, 10 Downing Street says.

1.33 pm: Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation says that it will provide door-to-door supply of essential items by Friday in Dharavi, ANI reports. The BMC has ordered a ban on all vegetable markets in containment areas in Dharavi.

1.25 pm: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says the situation has begun to improve in his country, The Guardian reports. “The fire starts to come under control,” Sanchez tells Parliament. His remarks come before the Parliament votes on extending the lockdown beyond April 26.

1.20 pm: Two persons who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin have been booked for allegedly concealing travel history in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district, the Jammu administration has said according to PTI.

1.15 pm: An 80-year-old woman from Gadag district in Karnataka has become the sixth fatality from Covid-19 in the state, PTI reports. The health department says 10 new cases have been confirmed on Thursday, taking the total number to 191.

1.08 pm: Hundreds of Delhi government employees residing in Gulabi Bagh are protesting against the state’s move to shift 120 members of the Tablighi Jamaat to a quarantine centre set up at a school nearby, fearing the spread of the virus, PTI reports. The Delhi Government Employees Welfare association has written to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal demanding that the quarantine centre be shifted to another place.

1.02 pm: As many as 464 cases were registered against people who violated the lockdown in Mumbai on Wednesday, ANI reports. As many as 3,634 cases have been registered against violators since March 20. Of these, 2,850 people have been arrested and released on bail, says the Mumbai Police.

12.55 pm: The Centre launches a training module for management of Covid-19 named Integrated Government Online Training portal on the HRD Ministry’s Diksha platform. The module aims to enhance capacity building of front line workers to handle the pandemic efficiently, the ministry says.

12.51 pm: The toll in Pune rises to 20 after two more patients die, reports PTI.

12.49 pm: A 51-year-old woman in Dhenkanal and a 69-year-old man from West Bengal in Bhubaneswar have tested positive, says Odisha Health Department.

12.42 pm: A man living in town in Uttar Pradesh has allegedly died by suicide after missing his wife, who was stuck at her parents’ place due to the lockdown, PTI reports. The incident took place in Radha Kund locality on Wednesday, and a police investigation is being conducted into the matter.

12.37 pm: BMC declares 381 areas as containment zones, according to ANI.

12.34 pm: Karnataka has 191 cases so far after 10 more people test positive, ANI reports citing the state government. Of the total cases, 28 people have recovered and six have died.

12.33 pm: Government officials and chemists in many states have said that there is no shortage of hydroxychloroquine, the drug believed to be effective against the novel coronavirus. India on Wednesday allowed limited export of the drug after United States President Donald Trump threatened to retaliate if they were not given quantities of it.

Also read

Covid-19: No shortage of hydroxychloroquine with state governments, says report

12.28 pm: Odisha becomes the first state to extend lockdown till April 30, reports PTI. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has requested the Centre not to start train and air services till the end of this month. Educational institutions in the state will remain closed till June 17.

Also read

Coronavirus: Odisha becomes first state to extend 21-day lockdown till April 30

12.02 pm: A 48-year-old coronavirus patient dies in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad. The state toll rises to 17, reports PTI citing state officials.

12.01 pm: The number of cases in Bihar rises to 51 after 12 more people test positive, says Principal Health Secretary Sanjay Kumar.

11.57 am: A 15-year-old boy from the Amazon indigenous community has contracted the novel coronavirus, the first case of the infection among the Yanomami people in Brazil, reports AFP.

Also read

Coronavirus: Brazil confirms first positive case in Amazon’s indigenous group

11.54 am: Delhi’s Bengali Market is among the 20 hotspots sealed by the administration after three people were found infected with coronavirus and 35 workers were found on the rooftop of a pastry shop, reports NDTV. An FIR has been registered against Bengali Pastry Shop for defying the lockdown. The eatery has denied any wrongdoing and clarified that it had only provided shelter to its workers who were stranded after the sudden announcement of the lockdown.

11.42 am: A high-level meeting of the Group of Ministers is under way in Delhi.

11.38 am: A doctor, who tested positive, dies in Indore, reports ANI.

11.30 am: Globally, more than 1.5 million people have been affected by coronavirus so far, reports AFP.

11.29 am: Due to the coronavirus scare, a court in Myanmar has dropped cases against scores of Rohingya Muslims who were detained after they fled a military crackdown in 2017.

Also read

Amid coronavirus scare, Myanmar court releases scores of detained Rohingya Muslims

11.26 am: Maharashtra Health Department says there are 162 new cases today. This takes the state’s tally to 1,297.

11.08 am: The Karnataka government will decide on its lockdown exit strategy by April 13, Medical Education Minister Sudhakar K, who is in charge of all matters related to Covid-19, tells PTI. “Finally, day after tomorrow, after discussing with the Prime Minister during the VC [video conferencing], the government will take a view on this by April 13 or so,” he adds. “As of now, we have not taken any view on it. We are studying all the reports.”

10.59 am: Gujarat Health Department reports 50 new cases in Ahmedabad, two in Surat and 1 each in Dahod, Anand and Chotta Udepur. These 55 fresh infections take the state’s tally to 241.

10.55 am: Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain says legal action will be taken against those who discriminate against doctors, paramedics and healthcare workers. His comments come after two women doctors of Safdarjung Hospital were allegedly assaulted by their neighbour in Gautam Nagar on Wednesday night.

Also read

Delhi: Man assaults two women doctors of Safdarjung Hospital out to buy groceries

10.50 am: A Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation official says the civic body will procure 1 lakh rapid test kits from South Korea, reports ANI.

10.48 am: Jain says rapid testing will start as soon as the testing kits arrive. “Testing will be first done in the Covid-19 hotspots in the city,” he adds.

10.42 am: There are 669 positive cases, including 426 cases from Markaz, in Delhi, says Health Minister Satyendra Jain.

10.36 am: Delhi Police make announcement in Bengali Market amid lockdown.

10.28 am: Homeless people in New Delhi perform yoga at the Yamuna sports complex, which has been converted into a temporary shelter for those in need, during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the coronavirus.

(Credit: Money Sharma/AFP)

10.25 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi replies to Donald Trump after he thanked India for exporting hydroxychloroquine to America. “Fully agree with you President Donald Trump,” he tweets. “Times like these bring friends closer. The India-US partnership is stronger than ever. India shall do everything possible to help humanity’s fight against COVID-19. We shall win this together.”

Trump had praised the prime minister, calling him “terrific”.

Also read

Covid-19: ‘India-US ties stronger than ever,’ says Modi after Trump thanks him for supplying HCQ

10.19 am: United Nations Security Council will discuss the impact of the coronavirus on the matters that fall under the council’s mandate later today.

10.15 am: World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus calls for an end to the “politicisation” of the coronavirus, a day after United States President Donald Trump threatened to cut funding to the global body. He said the WHO is an impartial organisation.

Read here: WHO chief calls for end to ‘politicisation’ of pandemic after Trump threatens to cut funds

10.08 am: The Jammu and Kashmir Police has filed a first information report against those who participated in the funeral of slain militants in Baramulla’s Sopore on Wednesday evening, despite a ban on such congregations in view of the coronavirus outbreak, reports The Hindu.

9.59 am: A 75-year-old coronavirus patient in Jharkhand’s Bokaro city has died, reports ANI, citing Deputy Commissioner Mukesh Kumar. This is the state’s first death due to Covid-19.

9.57 am: An eighty-year-old woman who had tested positive for the coronavirus has died in Gadag district in Karnataka, reports PTI. According to a senior official, the patient was admitted to a designated hospital a few days ago with severe respiratory problems and died of cardiac arrest earlier today. The toll in Karnataka has risen to six.

9.55 am: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has put the communications minister on “special leave” for two months for breaking lockdown rules, reports Reuters. People in the country are only allowed to leave their homes for essential tasks like buying food or seeking medical help but Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams was seen having lunch with a former official.

9.53 am: The administrator of Pune’s wholesale market in Gultekdi has decided to suspend operations from April 10 till further notice, reports The Indian Express. This is likely to affect the availability of fruits and vegetables in Pune and other regions in the coming days.

9.49 am: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has ordered three major cities including state capital Bhopal to be sealed completely after a jump in coronavirus cases, reports NDTV. Indore, Ujjain, and other places that have reported a high number of infections will be sealed.

9.45 am: Punjab Special Chief Secretary KBS Sidhu says that a 59-year-old coronavirus positive patient in Jalandhar died last night. “He was on the ventilator for the last two days,” he adds. “District administration [is] working out modalities for cremation as per standard protocol.”

9.40 am: As a way to combat the coronavirus outbreak, the Centre has done a lot – including putting in place the world’s harshest lockdown and releasing a welfare package. But that is simply not enough. For one, the states are on the frontline battling the coronavirus outbreak. It is vital to support them if India’s battle against the pandemic has to succeed. Second, central schemes do no allow for the wide variations in state needs.

Read more here:

Give money to states: The single most effective thing Modi could do to fight Covid-19

9.36 am: A woman in California has been arrested for licking $1,800 worth of groceries and other items at a supermarket in the northern part of the state, reports AFP. This comes at a time of heightened fears over the spread of the novel coronavirus in United States.

9.33 am: Cases against scores of Rohingya Muslims detained after fleeing Myanmar’s Rakhine state have been dropped due to the coronavirus scare, reports AFP.

9.27 am: In Madhya Pradesh’s Khandwa, five people test positive for the coronavirus, reports ANI. District Collector Tanvi Sundriyal says contact tracing of the new patients is underway.

9.25 am: Bihar Health Department says four more people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Siwan district, taking the total cases to 43, reports ANI.

9.22 am: Health officials are ready to conduct pooled testing in some of the 436 districts of the country from where no case of no coronavirus case has emerged so far to get a “realistic estimation” of the spread of the infection in India, reports The Indian Express.

9.19 am: At least 11 Indians have died of the coronavirus in the United States and 16 have tested positive for the infection, reports PTI. All of the victims are male, with ten of them from New York and New Jersey area. Four others are reportedly taxi drivers in New York City.

9.13 am: United States authorises pharmacies to carry out tests for the coronavirus, including newly developed antibody tests that detect whether a person who has recovered from the infection, reports AFP. Now, all tests approved by regulators could be carried out by pharmacies as the country seeks to ramp up its testing efforts.

9.09 am: Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro in his address to the nation thanks Prime Minister Narendra Modi for helping the country with the export of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine. The drug is believed by many to be effective in the treatment of the novel coronavirus. “As an outcome of my direct conversation with Modi, we’ll receive, raw materials to continue our production of hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19,” he says.

9.06 am: A doctor, a member of nursing staff and a sanitation worker at Delhi’s State Cancer Institute test positive for the coronavirus, reports ANI. With this, a total of 21 healthcare workers have tested positive from the institute. The samples of 19 admitted patients have been sent for testing and 45 hospital staff are home quarantined.

9.03 am: China confirms a slight increase in new coronavirus cases for the second straight day, raising concerns about a second wave of infections in the country, reports Reuters. The National Health Commission says it received reports of 63 new confirmed coronavirus cases, of which 61 involved travellers arriving from overseas.

That takes the total number of confirmed cases in China to 81,865.

9.01 am: Agra reports 19 new cases, reports ANI. With this, the total number of positive cases in the district has risen to 84, says District Magistrate Prabhu N Singh.

8.37 am: Two more people test positive in Ludhiana, says Deputy Commissioner Pardeep Aggarwal. The total confirmed cases in the district is now 8.

8.34 am: The latest numbers show that 540 new cases and 17 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.

8.33 am: India’s total number of positive cases rises to 5,734, says the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Of these, 5,095 are active cases. 166 people have died so far while 473 people have recovered.

8.23 am: Bihar’s East Champaran district to seal its border with Gopalganj district at Sattar Ghat and Dumariya Ghat, reports ANI.

8.10 am: The Supreme Court has ordered the government to ensure that appropriate personal protection equipment is available to medical staff and doctors combating the coronavirus. Expressing dismay over attacks on doctors, the court directed states to provide necessary police security to the medical staff in hospitals and other places where patients are tested or admitted.

Read more: Coronavirus: Ensure appropriate PPE is available to doctors and medical staff, SC tells Centre

8.04 am: The United States has continued to report a high toll. The country has reported 1,973 deaths on Wednesday, higher than the 1,939 it reported on Tuesday, according to AFP.

8.02 am: “I want to thank Prime Minister Modi for allowing us to have what we requested,” says United States President Donald Trump, referring to India’s export of hydroxychloroquine. “He was terrific, we will remember it.”

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Coronavirus: Donald Trump calls Modi ‘terrific’ after India supplies hydroxychloroquine to US

7.58 am: A 44-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting two women doctors of Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, the police say according to ANI. The doctors were out buying fruit in Gautam Nagar when their neighbour attacked them.

7.53 am: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says he spoke with Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez. The two leaders agreed that an effective response to Covid-19 requires global cooperation. “India has responded positively to urgent pharmaceutical requirement of Spain,” Jaishankar adds.

7.49 am: Jharkhand Health Secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni says that four more cases have been confirmed in the state, ANI reports. One of them is from Ranchi and three from Bokaro. The total number of cases in the state is now 13.

7.47 am: Six more people have tested positive for coronavirus in Mohali in Punjab, ANI reports. The total number of cases in the state is now 36.

7.41 am: Coronavirus has claimed another 542 lives in Italy on Wednesday, and 3,836 people have been infected, according to The Local. However, the rate of new cases continues to decrease, along with the number of patients in intensive care units.

7.37 am: Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has referenced the Ramayana while seeking hydroxychloroquine, the drug that is believed to be effective against Covid-19, NDTV reports. “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.”

7.33 am: Tablighi Jamaat leader Maulana Saad Kandhalvi will join investigation after his quarantine period is over, his lawyer Tauseef Khan has said according to PTI. On Tuesday, Delhi Police filed a case against seven people, including the cleric for violation of lockdown orders while holding the event at Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi last month where thousands of people gathered.

7.31 am: More than two crore workers engaged in building and construction work have been provided Rs 3,000-crore funds by various states and Union Territories under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojana, the Centre says according to PTI.

7.29 am: Here are the top updates from Wednesday:

  • 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.
  •   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.
  •   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.
  •   The number of coronavirus cases in India rose by 485 to 5,274 on Tuesday evening, with 149 deaths, the Union Health Ministry said.
  •   Delhi, Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh made it compulsory to wear facial masks when stepping out. They have allowed the use of cloth masks.
  •   West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee refused to divulge information on those who attended the Tablighi Jamaat markaz from the state, saying the virus did not discriminate on the basis of caste or religion.