10.45 pm: Here are the top updates from Thursday:

  • India on Thursday received 5 lakh testing kits from China, the Indian Council of Medical Research said during the Centre’s daily press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic. These testing kits are not meant for early diagnosis but only for epidemiology.
  • The number of coronavirus cases in India has risen to 12,759, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. In India, 420 people have died of Covid-19. Out of the total number of cases, 10,824 patients are being treated, 1,514 have recovered, and one person has migrated.
  • Maharashtra, the worst-hit Indian state in the Covid-19 pandemic, confirmed 286 new positive cases of the coronavirus infection, taking the total number of patients so far to 3,202. The number of cases in Maharashtra is nearly two times that in Delhi, the second worst-hit region in India.
  • India has sent huge quantities of hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol to over 100 countries in the world over the past two weeks. Some claim that hydroxychloroquine could be effective in treating coronavirus, but scientists say there is no conclusive evidence yet.
  • Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the nationwide lockdown is not a solution to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, adding that it is like “a pause button”. He said the government has to test “aggressively and strategically” and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to empower the chief ministers and district-level authorities. However, in the daily government press briefing, the Centre denied the claim and said not everyone is vulnerable to the coronavirus.
  • Globally, Covid-19 has infected more than 21 lakh people and killed 1.39 lakh.

10.35 pm: The Delhi government has reported 62 new cases on Thursday, taking the total to 1,640. The toll has risen to 38, while the number of patients who have been discharged is now 52.

10.34 pm: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan says the odd-even system will be implemented for vehicles after April 20 in the districts with partial restrictions, ANI reports.

10.30 pm: The G7 countries have called for a “thorough review and reform” at the World Health Organization and plan to collaborate on reopening their economies, AFP quotes the White House as saying.

10.15 pm: As many as 226 people test positive for the coronavirus in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday, taking the state’s tally to 1,164, PTI reports. So far, 55 people have died in the state.

10.10 pm: Meanwhile, the News Broadcasters Association described Rahul Kulkarni’s arrest a “frontal assault” on the freedom of the press and urged Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to get the charges dropped. The association’s chief, Rajat Sharma, said the journalist had impeccable record and his arrest was unreasonable.

“The fundamental right of freedom of speech is sought to be gagged and any further custody and incarceration of him would be a serious infraction of the constitutional mandate and would also threaten his life,” Sharma said.

Read more here:

Bandra gathering amid lockdown: Journalist who was arrested for report on special trains gets bail

10.05 pm: A television journalist who was arrested in Mumbai for allegedly spreading misinformation about special trains for migrant workers was granted bail on Thursday. Earlier in the day, a local court had denied police the custody of Rahul Kulkarni and had instead remanded him to judicial custody, following which his lawyer filed for bail.

Read more here:

Bandra gathering amid lockdown: Journalist who was arrested for report on special trains gets bail

10 pm: The lockdown in New York is extended till May 15, AFP reports.

9.55 pm: The United Kingdom extends lockdown for three more weeks, ANI reports.

9.50 pm: Indian Council of Medical Research says a total of 3,02,956 samples from 2,86,714 individuals have been tested till 9 pm Thursday, ANI reports.

9.40 pm: Pakistan’s coronavirus cases rose to 6,919 on Thursday. About 58% of the cases were locally transmitted, the government said. As many as 128 patients have died due to the virus so far.

9.32 pm: In Maharashtra, 286 new Covid-19 cases were found in Maharashtra, taking the total count to 3,202. The toll in the state rose up to 194.

9.30 pm: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami described the coronavirus as a “disease of the rich” on Thursday, when another person died due to Covid-19 in the state, taking the toll to 15. Tamil Nadu is among the severely affected states in India, with 1,242 cases. Only Maharashtra (2,919) and Delhi (1,578) have recorded more cases.

Read more here:

Coronavirus is ‘disease of rich’, says Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami; toll in state rises to 15

9:10 pm: Pakistan says the G-20 countries’ decision to halt debt repayments by the world’s poorest nations struggling to fight the coronavirus pandemic is “historic and timely”, PTI reports. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi says the decision would provide fiscal space to these countries, including Pakistan, to cope with the the health crisis.

9:07 pm: The number of containment zones in Delhi have been increased to 60, ANI reports.

9:03 pm: Sixty-eight doctors, nurses and workers at the Bhagwan Mahavir Hospital hospital in Delhi have been asked to go in quarantine at home, after a 25-year-old woman who was a suspected Covid-19 patient, died on Wednesday, NDTV reports.

9:01 pm: Punjab government urges its employees to take voluntary salary cuts, even as state ministers decided to donate their three months’ salary to the chief minister’s relief fund, PTI reports.

8:59 pm: UP police arrests man in Gorakhpur for allegedly hosting a party on his 10-year-old son’s birthday in his housing complex violating the prohibitory orders of the lockdown, PTI reports. A case was registered after a video of the birthday party was circulated on social media.

8.58 pm: The Bharatiya Janata Party criticises Rahul Gandhi for claiming that lockdown is not a solution to the coronavirus pandemic, and asked why the Congress-ruled states implemented one, if that was the case, PTI reports.
“While the government has a catch-the-bull-by-horns approach and is trying to defeat Covid-19, he [Gandhi] is airing views with an approach that smacks of a ‘given up’ mentality, certifying that ‘it can’t be controlled’ but will have to be ‘managed’! Painful, seriously!” party leader Vinay Sahasrabuddhe tweets.

8:50 pm: The finance ministry issues a clarification that financial assistance to people affected the Covid-19 crisis will be provided only through the Direct Benefit Transfer, PTI reports.

8.49 pm: Maharashtra health minister claims the rate of doubling of coronavirus cases in the state has fallen, PTI reports. However, he says Maharashtra has not received enough N-95 masks and personal protective equipment kits from the Centre.

8.25 pm: People flout lockdown rules in Chitapur in Karnataka’s Kalaburagi district.

8.15 pm: The toll in US has crossed 30,000, AFP reports. According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, 30,990 people have died in the country. As many as 6.39 lakh people have tested positive.

8.10 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah and Bhutan PM Lotay Tshering to discuss the challenges posed by the coronavirus.

8.05 pm: The number of Covid-19 deaths in UK hospitals rises to 13,729, an increase of 861 in the past 24 hours, AFP reports. More than 1 lakh people have tested positive in the country.

8 pm: More than 90 officials from the health department and 20 from the police department in Bhopal have tested positive for Covid-19, ANI reports.

7.45 pm: Sixty-two pregnant women from Shikrapur in Maharashtra under institutional quarantine, ANI reports. They came in contact with a sonographer who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

7.40 pm: The Centre on Thursday ordered airlines to fully refund passengers for the tickets booked during the lockdown period within three weeks and without any cancellation fee in case they ask for it. Both domestic and international passengers, who booked tickets during the nationwide lockdown that was first imposed from March 25 to April 14 and later extended till May 3, will be eligible for the refund.

Read more here:

Covid-19: Centre directs airlines to refund passengers for tickets booked during lockdown

7.20 pm: As the 13th edition of Indian Premier League was indefinitely suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Sri Lankan governing body offered to host the tournament, AFP reported on Thursday. With the lockdown extended in India, BCCI confirmed that the cash-rich Twenty20 competition, already pushed back from its original start date of March 29, “will only commence when it is safe and appropriate to do so”.

Read more here:

Coronavirus: Sri Lankan board offers to host IPL 2020 as BCCI suspends tournament indefinitely

7.15 pm: United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his administration was trying to determine the origins of the coronavirus and whether the pandemic began when the pathogen accidentally escaped a Chinese laboratory, claiming that “more and more we’re hearing the story”, BBC reported. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also called on Beijing “to come clean” on what it knows about the outbreak.

Read more here:

Covid-19: US is investigating if virus originated in Wuhan lab, says Trump

7.12 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says doctors will conduct the clinical trial of plasma enrichment technique to treat coronavirus patients in the next few days, PTI reports. “If the trial is successful, we will be able to save the lives of serious COVID-19 patients,” he says. Under this technique, antibodies from patients who have recovered will be used to treat severely infected patients.

7.10 pm: Here are the new cases registered on Thursday:

7.05 pm: Here are the total number of cases registered in India so far:

7 pm: The total number of coronavirus cases in Dharavi, Asia’s biggest slum, rises to 86 after 26 people tested positive on Thursday, PTI reports. One person died in the area on Thursday, taking the toll to nine.

6.41 pm: The United States has reported that 5.2 million more people have sought unemployment benefits last week, taking the number of such Americans in the past month to 22 million.

6.36 pm: In Mumbai, 107 new cases and three more deaths have been reported. The number of cases in the city rises to 2,043, and the toll is now 116.

6.32 pm: Punjab reports 11 new cases. The number of patients in the state rises to 197.

6.10 pm: In Chandigarh, nine out of 21 patients have been discharged as of 4 pm.

6.04 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says the condition of several Covid-19 patients is improving and in next three to four days, many of them will be discharged from hospitals, PTI reports.

5.57 pm: Since the update issued by the health ministry on Wednesday evening, the number of positive cases has increased by 826 and the toll has risen by 28.

5.55 pm: The number of cases confirmed by the Centre is now 12,759, including 420 deaths and 1,514 recoveries.

5.50 pm: The Chhattisgarh government says six more patients have recovered and are being discharged, ANI reports. Ten patients are still being treated.

5.45 pm: The Punjab government says it will make quarantine centres in Barnala and Patti jails with immediate effect, ANI reports.

5.30 pm: In Maharashtra, 218 cases have been filed so far for fake news, rumours and hate speech on social media.

5.25 pm: The number of positive cases in Karnataka reaches 315, including 13 deaths.

5.20 pm: The number of Covid-19 patients in Madhya Pradesh rises to 1,115, including 701 in Indore and 196 in Bhopal, ANI reports.

4.59 pm: Uttar Pradesh records 46 news coronavirus cases and two deaths, PTI reports. The total number of Covid-19 patients in the state is 773 and the toll is 13.

4.56 pm: India has been sending huge quantities of medicine to over 100 countries in the world over the past two weeks. These medicines include around 8.5 crore hydroxychloroquine, or HCQ, tablets, and 50 crore paracetamol tablets. There is some evidence to show that HCQ is effective in treating coronavirus.

Read more here:

Covid-19: India sends huge quantities of HCQ, paracetamol to over 100 countries, says report

4.53 pm: The health ministry says that the Centre has sent its teams to 11 states including Maharashtra to help in the fight against Covid-19.

4.51 pm: He adds that there is no evidence to suggest that the number of Covid-19 cases will reduce in the summer.

4.48 pm: Asked about India’s Covid-19 testing rate, Dr R Gangakhedkar of ICMR says India has had to test 24 people to get each patient on average, as compared to 11.7 in Japan, 6.7 in Italy, 5.3 in the United States, and 3.4 in the United Kingdom.

“This means tests of 23 out of 24 people are coming negative, but we’re still doing it,” he says.

He says India has a huge population and not everyone is as vulnerable.

4.42 pm: ICMR says it can test more than 78,000 people in a day if it works in two shifts.

4.40 pm: The Chandigarh administration decides to publish names of VIPs violating curfew orders from Thursday amid the nationwide lockdown to rein in the coronavirus pandemic. The Union Territory has been declared as a coronavirus hotspot and has so far recorded 21 infections.

Read more here:

Coronavirus: Chandigarh administration to publish names of VIPs violating curfew orders

4.39 pm: ICMR says rapid antibody kits are not meant for early diagnosis but only for epidemiology.

4.34 pm: The health ministry says 1,489 people have recovered from Covid-19 in India. The Centre says 941 fresh Covid-19 cases and 37 deaths were reported in last 24 hours.

4.30 pm: The health ministry issues advisory for supply of safe drinking water amid the lockdown. The Centre asks the public health department to augment water supply with special focus on relief camps.

4.24 pm: Agarwal adds that India’s Covid-19 recovery rate is 12.02% while the fatality rate is 3.3%.

4.21: Agarwal gives a list of districts that have not reported Covid-19 cases in the last 14 days. Some of these districts are Patna, Nadia, Pratapgarh, Porbandar, South Goa, Pauri Garhwal, Pilibhit, Rajauri, Bilaspur, Durg and Rajnandgaon. Mahe in Puducherry has not reported a single Covid-19 case in 28 days, Agarwal says.

4.19 pm: Dr R Gangakhedkar says India has received a total of 5 lakh testing kits.

4.18 pm: Agarwal says Health Minister Harsh Vardhan held a video conference on Wednesday with health functionaries and field officers of the World Health Organization to discuss micro-plan for clusters and for containing the outbreak at the district level.

4.17 pm: The Indian Council of Medical Research says 2,90,401 Covid -19 tests have been conducted so far.

4.13 pm: Health ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal says 325 districts in India have not reported any Covid-19 cases.

4.05 pm: In Madhya Pradesh, 89 health department personnel including four IAS officers test positive for Covid-19, PTI reports.

4.00 pm: The Centre begins daily press briefing on Covid-19.

3.58 pm: The Ministry of Home Affairs says video calling platform Zoom is unsafe. It issues an advisory for users.

3.50 pm: The UK is likely to extend its lockdown by three weeks, BBC reports. The country has recorded nearly 1 lakh cases and 12,868 deaths.

3.37 pm: South Korean President Moon Jae-in wins parliamentary elections, with voters backing the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, BBC reports.

3.43 pm: Army Chief General MM Naravane assures veterans of all help amid the coronavirus pandemic, ANI reports.

3.41 pm: The Delhi High Court agrees to hear a petition on the rise in instances of domestic violence cases during the lockdown, ANI reports.

3.39 pm: The RK Puram Police Station in Delhi arranges lodging for its personnel commuting from the National Capital Region at hotel Hyatt Regency.

3.37 pm: Three economists – former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan and Nobel laureates Amartya Sen and Abhijit Banerjee – say India should focus on providing food to everyone, and not worry about leakage in the public distribution system during the period of the lockdown.

Read more here:

Covid-19: Provide food to everyone without worrying about PDS leakage, economists urge government

3.33 pm: The Ministry of Home Affairs says the containment of areas will begin with the identification of hotspots and their categorisation into red, orange and green zones, ANI reports.

3.30 pm: Delhi’s Lok Nayak Hospital discharges 62 patients after they recover from Covid-19, ANI reports.

3.21 pm: The Gujarat government imposes a curfew in five areas of Surat till April 22, The Indian Express reports.

3.17 pm: The police in Mumbai take nine people into custody in connection with the gathering of migrant workers in Bandra on Tuesday, ANI reports.

3.14 pm: Mumbai’s chief fire officer says two floors of the residential building of the Byculla Fire Station have been sealed after the family members of an officer tested positive for Covid-19, ANI reports.

3.08 pm: Authorities in Punjab’s Ludhiana city suspend the functioning of eateries, including home delivery of food, ANI reports.

3.07 pm: The International Air Transport Association, or IATA, says that the coronavirus pandemic, which has grounded the aviation industry in India and its dependent sectors, could lead to a loss of over 20 lakh jobs.

Read more here:

Coronavirus pandemic could lead to loss of 20 lakh jobs in Indian aviation, says IATA

3.01 pm: The Delhi government will soon start asking people placed under quarantine because of Covid-19 to send selfies through a mobile application, PTI reports.

2.57 pm: BJP leader BL Santhosh hits out at Rahul Gandhi for saying that the lockdown is not the solution to the coronavirus pandemic. He asks why the chief ministers from Congress extended the lockdown in their states first.

2.54 pm: The number of coronavirus cases in Madhya Pradesh rises to 1,090 after 110 people test positive, PTI reports, quoting the state’s health department. The toll in Madhya Pradesh is now 55.

2.51 pm: Here is a chart showing the number of Covid-19 tests conducted in India each day until April 15:

2.48 pm: Assam releases 1,659 inmates from 31 jails across the state as per the Supreme Court’s guidelines to decongest prisons amid Covid-19 risk, PTI reports.

2.43 pm: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant indicates that his state might be the first in India to enter the Covid-19 green zone by April 20. He retweets BJP national general secretary BL Santhosh’s post.

2.40 pm: The number of coronavirus cases in Tamil Nadu rises to 1,267.

2.38 pm: A man in Kerala was forced to carry his ailing father in his arms for nearly a kilometre on Wednesday after his autorickshaw was stopped by the police because of the lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus.

Read more here:

Covid-19 lockdown: Kerala man walks with father in arms after police stop autorickshaw

2.30 pm: Mauritius and Seychelles receive HCQ tablets from India, The Week reports.

2.28 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi says the nationwide lockdown is not a solution to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, but is instead like “a pause button”.

“A lockdown is in no way a solution to the virus, it is as if you hit the pause and stopped the virus until the lockdown ends,” he says.

Read more here:

‘Covid-19 cannot be controlled, but dynamically managed,’ says Rahul Gandhi, calls for more testing

2.25 pm: Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Ashwath Naraya says authorities will record HD Kumaraswamy’s son’s wedding to ensure that lockdown rules are not violated.

2.21 pm: Karnataka forbids congregational prayers in mosques across the state during Ramzan, ANI reports.

2.19 pm: India on Wednesday criticised the comments made by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom following reports on coronavirus patients being segregated along religious lines in a hospital in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Read more here:

Covid-19: ‘Stop adding religious colour,’ India hits out at US body for remarks on dividing patients

2.15 pm: Chandigarh Union Territory adviser Manoj Parida says borders are being strictly guarded.

2.13 pm: The number of coronavirus cases in Haryana rises to 213, ANI reports. Fourteen Italian nationals are among the state’s Covid-19 patients.

1.41 pm: One more death reported from Pune, reports ANI. The toll in the district now rises to 44.

1.38 pm: 34 more people test positive in Karnataka, taking the state’s count to 313.

1.36 pm: Eleven more cases in Dharavi, reports ANI citing the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. The total number of cases in Asia’s biggest slum is now 71.

1.28 pm: Gandhi says people have to be protected, but economy too must not be destroyed. “Covid-19 cannot be controlled, it has to be managed,” he adds.

1.25 pm: The Congress leader says success has been achieved in Wayanad, Kerala, because of the effective machinery at the district level. He lauds the forces working at the state and district levels.

1.24 pm: Gandhi says India should unite and fight against the virus. “We should use resources effectively, give them to states,” he adds.

1.18 pm: Gandhi says India must scale up testing.

1.17 pm: He says a lockdown is like a pause button, not a solution to Covid-19,” says Rahul Gandhi.

1.16 pm: “My remarks should be taken not as criticism but as advice,” says Rahul Gandhi.

1.14 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses a video press conference.

12.59 pm: Germany’s cases rise by 2,866, reports Reuters. The toll in the country has also increased by 315.

12.51 pm: Australia to continue coronavirus restrictions for four more weeks, reports Reuters.

12.40 pm: Volunteers from a Sikh temple in New Delhi distribute free food.

Credit: Prakash Singh/AFP

12.36 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa inaugurates a mobile Covid-19 testing booth, reports Hindustan Times.

12.35 pm: In Delhi, 3 blocks of Police Colony in Model Town have been identified as a small containment zone after a police sub inspector, his wife and their child test positive. The Wife of the sub inspector is a nurse at a hospital in Delhi, reports ANI.

12.33 pm: A 60-year-old man from Madhya Pradesh tests positive, reports PTI. The man, who attended the religious gathering of Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin in Delhi last month, has been booked for negligent act.

12.30 pm: 165 more cases in Maharashtra today. With this the total tally in the state crosses 3,000.

12.20 pm: A meeting of Ministry of Civil Aviation with all private airlines and travel agents is underway regarding post lockdown operations, reports ANI.

11.57 am: Gujarat’s count rises to 871 after 105 more people test positive in the last 12 hours, says state principal secretary (health) Jayanti Ravi. Among the fresh cases, 42 are from Ahmedabad, 35 from Surat, eight from Anand, six from Vadodara, four each from Banaskantha and Narmada, three from Rajkot, and one each from Gandhinagar, Kheda and Panchmahal,

11.46 am: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met Prime Minister Narendra Modi today while Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will address the media via videoconferencing, say reports.

11.20 am: Connaught Place in Delhi wears a deserted look.

11.16 am: Three more patients die in Gujarat, PTI reports citing state government officials. With these, the toll in the state rises to 36.

11.02 am: ABP Majha stands by their reporter and condemns his arrest. Rahul Kulkarni was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly spreading misinformation about Railways running special trains for migrant labourers.

“There are several reports purporting to draw a connection between the gathering at Mumbai’s Bandra West station and a news story run on ABP Majha,” the news network says in a statement. “The reports are entirely misconceived and are being circulated with the sole intention of baselessly maligning ABP Majha. Our news story was broadcast in public interest and on the basis of valid documents and information.”

It adds that Kulkarni’s arrest is shocking. “We will be taking necessary and immediate steps in law,” says the news network. “We would like to say that before journalists are arrested there should be due verification of all facts and circumstances.”

Also read

Bandra migrant workers’ protest: Self-proclaimed labour leader, TV journalist arrested

10.47 am: China failed to inform the public about virus for six days even after the government knew about it, says a report by AP. In this report, the news agency cites documents it acquired and estimates by experts based on retrospective data. Wuhan, the original epicentre of the coronavirus, had hosted a mass banquet on the occasion of the Lunar New Year for tens of thousands of people, six days before the Chinese government made it public that a pandemic had broken out. By that time over 3,000 people had been infected.

Also read

Covid-19: China failed to inform public about virus for six days after government knew, says report

10.42 am: A 65-year-old man dies in Agra, reports ANI. He had chronic kidney disease with systematic hypertension for the last four years, says District Magistrate Prabhu N Singh. The toll in the district is now five.

10.39 am: Nine new cases in Andhra Pradesh from 7 pm on Wednesday to 9 am today. Below is the break up

10.31 am: The IAS Association condemns the attacks on Covid-19 frontline workers.

10.24 am: 19 more coronavirus cases reported from Agra, says District Magistrate Prabhu N Singh, according to Hindustan Times. The total number of patients in the district is 167.

10.21 am: The International Monetary Fund Wednesday extended its support to India’s proactive decision of imposing a nationwide lockdown, reports PTI. “India entered the pandemic turmoil in the midst of a credit crunch-induced slowdown and its recovery prospect becomes more uncertain,” Chang Yong Rhee, the Director of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department, told reporters. “Despite the economic slowdown, the government implemented a nationwide lockdown and we support India’s proactive decision.”

Also read

Coronavirus: Asia may not register economic growth in 2020 for the first time in 60 years, warns IMF

10.17 am: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday demanded that emergency ration cards be issued to those facing a shortage of food.

10.15 am: Assam received 50,000 Personal Protective Equipment kits from China on Wednesday night, reports NDTV. “The Indian government as well as many countries across the world have been procuring PPE kits from China, says Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who received the consignment at the airport. “We are the first state government to import the kits directly from China. Even the US is procuring from China.”

10.07 am: The Kerala Police on Wednesday registered a case against 17 foreign tourists in Thiruvananthapuram for breaking the lockdown norms. They had gone for a swim at the Kovalam Lighthouse beach. Five locals who belong to the resort where these tourists were staying were arrested. “The local people who have been arrested have been released on bail, while the probe against the foreigners has begun,” an official told IANS.

10.04 am: Rajasthan will lift some lockdown curbs from April 21, reports NDTV. industries located in the countryside will reopen but with certain restrictions to maintain physical distancing. Government departments will be opened in phases keeping physical distancing in mind. However, areas that are declared hotspots will remain in curfew and no movement will be allowed.

9.58 am: Google to slow hiring for rest of 2020, says CEO Sundar Pichai.

9.52 am: The Delhi Police have sent a list of 281 people who were part of last month’s Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Nizamuddin West to immigration authorities, seeking lookout circulars against them, reports The Indian Express.

9.48 am: As many as 72 people across South Delhi, including in Hauz Khas and Malviya Nagar, have been put under quarantine after a pizza delivery employee tested positive. “All of them are under home quarantine, and will be tested if they develop symptoms,” District Magistrate (South Delhi) BM Mishra tells The Indian Express.

9.41 am: A 66-year-old man from Bengaluru dies today, says Karnataka health department. The man was on ventilator support since April 10. With this, the state’s toll rises to 13.

9.36 am: The Tamil Nadu government defends its policy on regulating Covid-19 relief measures by NGOs and individuals, reports PTI. On Wednesday, the state government told the Madras High Court that there “is a significant risk of community spread” if NGOs, groups and others take up such activities on their own.

9.34 am: Raipur collector issues order for complete lockdown in the district from 5 pm today till 5 pm on April 19, reports ANI. Emergency services, however, will be exempted. “Only medical shops, milk booths, petrol pumps, LPG gas outlets and online home delivery services to remain open,” says the district relations. Vegetable markets and shops will remain closed.

9.32 am: Centre allows health and motor policyholders to make payments on or before May 15 for renewal of their policies. “This is for policies that are due between March 25 and May 3, in order to ensure their continuity and hassle-free claims payment during the above grace period,” says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

9.26 am: The Indian Council of Medical Research quotes a Chinese study to say that the coronavirus strain is a mutated form of its variant found in bats. “As per a research in China, it was found that coronavirus might have mutated in bats so as to infect humans,” says ICMR’s head scientist Raman R Gangakhedkar, according to NDTV. “There is also a possibility that bats might have transmitted it to pangolins, and from pangolins it got transmitted to humans. The event of coronavirus transmitting from bats to humans happens once in a thousand years. When some virus changes species, that is a rare event.”

9.22 am: 21 people test positive in Lucknow, says the King George’s Medical University. As many as 929 samples were tested on Wednesday.

9.20 am: Congress leader and former Law Minister Kapil Sibal on Wednesday said there was confusion and ad hocism in the absence of a national plan to deal with the pandemic, reports The Indian Express. He urged the Supreme Court to step in.

9.17 am: Two more people test positive in Bihar. With this, the total number of cases in the state rises to 72, reports PTI. The fresh cases are from Patna and Vaishali districts, says a health official.

9.15 am: A total of 650,000 kits, including Rapid Antibody Tests and RNA Extraction Kits, have been despatched today from Guangzhou airport to India, Vikram Misri, the ambassador of India to China, tells ANI.

9.12 am: 25 new cases in Rajasthan today, says the state health department. Below is the break up.

9.11 am: India’s exports dipped by a record 34.57% in March due to a sharp decline in shipments of petroleum products, gems, jewellery and leather, which has taken the total exports in the period 2019-2020 to $314.31 billion, government data showed on Wednesday.

Also read

Covid-19 impact: Exports dip by 34.57% in March amid disrupted supply chains and demand

9.08 am: As many as 668 sailors assigned to the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle’s naval group test positive, reports Reuters.

9.07 am: South Korea confirms 22 more cases in the last 24 hours. With this, the country’s tally rises to 10,613 with 229 deaths. South Korea’s daily increase in virus infections has been below 30 for the fourth consecutive day.

9.05 am: The total number of coronavirus cases in Madhya Pradesh stands at 980 after 42 more people test positive in Indore, PTI reports citing health officials. The toll in the state is 55.

8.46 am: India’s health ministry has updated the figures for coronavirus cases in the country. There are now a total of 12,380 cases, and 414 patients have died. Out of the total number of Covid-19 patients, 10,477 people are being treated, 1,488 people have recovered, and one person has migrated.

8.39 am: The World Health Organization on Wednesday responded to the US’ withdrawal of funds, saying that Donald Trump’s decision was regretted but that work needed to continue against the Covid-19 pandemic. “The faster all cases are found, tested, isolated and cared for, the harder we make it for the virus to spread,” said World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. It is a time to be united in “our common struggle against a common threat”, he said.

Read more: ‘Time to be united,’ says WHO after Donald Trump withdraws funding to global health body

8.30 am: The United Nations chief says only a “safe and effective vaccine” might bring the world back to a “sense of normalcy”, AFP reports. He called for fast efforts towards such a vaccine.

7.56 am: The United States records nearly 2,600 Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours, according to Johns Hopkins University, reports AFP.

7.25 am: The WHO chief says India’s health ministry and WHO South-East Asia have initiated a systematic engagement of the world body’s national polio surveillance network and other field staff for India’s coronavirus response, tapping into the best practices and resources that helped India win its war against polio, reports ANI.

7.20 am: World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has criticised United States President Donald Trump’s decision to stop funding to the world body. “There is no time to waste, Ghebreyesus says. “WHO’s singular focus is on working to serve all people to save lives and stop the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Covid-19: Trump stops US funds to WHO for ‘failing in basic duty’; UN chief says ‘now not the time’

7.15 am: Anil Kumar, the additional commissioner of traffic in Hyderabad has said around 29,000 vehicles in the city have been seized as of Wednesday for flouting lockdown rules, reports ANI.

7.05 am: Visuals of a person carrying his 65-year-old ailing father in Punalur, Kerala. The man walked for nearly one km. However, the police allegedly stopped the autorickshaw he got to take his father back from the hospital amid a nationwide lockdown, reports ANI.

7 am: The Centre’s identification of 170 hotspots includes 123 districts with large outbreaks and 47 with clusters. They have been marked in 25 states and Union Territories The districts with a high number of cases or a higher growth rate of infections are being marked as hotspots, the districts with a few cases are tagged as non-hotspots and those without any cases are green zones.

Tamil Nadu has the highest number of hotspot districts as 22 of its 27 districts have been marked. This is followed by Maharashtra that has 14 such districts, 13 in Uttar Pradesh, 12 in Rajasthan, 11 in Andhra Pradesh and 10 in Delhi.

Here are the top updates from Wednesday:

  1. India classified districts across the country into three categories – hotspots, non-hotpots, and green zones and the Centre released a new set of guidelines, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of the nationwide lockdown to contain Covid-19 till May 3. Industries in rural areas and all agricultural activities will be allowed to resume from April 20. The government has also allowed IT and IT-enabled services, online teaching and distance learning.
  2. India has reported a total of 11,933 coronavirus cases. Of these 392 patients have died, 10,197 people are being treated, 1,343 have recovered.
  3. The Centre made it compulsory for people to wear masks in public spaces, including workplaces. It added that all persons in charge of public places, workplaces, and transport facilities must ensure social distancing. The home ministry said nobody who manages a public space should allow a gathering of more than five people.
  4. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the government has made arrangements to shift hundreds of migrant workers and daily-wage earners who were living on the banks of the Yamuna river in Delhi during the nationwide lockdown to combat the coronavirus.
  5. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani went into self-isolation a day after he met a Congress legislator who tested positive for the coronavirus. Imran Khedawala had met Rupani, his deputy Nitin Patel and state minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja along with at least two other MLAs from his party to discuss the situation related to Covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.