10.55 pm: Here are the day’s top updates:

  1. The number of people infected with the coronavirus rose to 13,835 with 452 deaths on Friday evening, according to the health ministry. Out of the total number of cases, 11,616 patients are being treated, 1,747 have recovered, and one person has migrated. Gujarat became the sixth state to cross the 1,000 mark in coronavirus cases with 1,021 patients. The other states are Maharashtra (3,205), Delhi (1,640), Madhya Pradesh (1,308), Tamil Nadu (1,267) and Rajasthan (1,131), according to the Centre’s latest figures.
  2. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that the rate of doubling of coronavirus cases in India has reduced from three days before the lockdown to 6.2 days. The health ministry added that there has been a 40% decline in the growth factor of Covid-19 cases.
  3. The Reserve Bank of India cut its reverse repo rate by 25 basis points from 4% to 3.75%, in a bid to push banks to deploy excess funds within the system toward lending and help revive growth amid the coronavirus pandemic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised RBI for the measures it had announced earlier in the day to revive the economy, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Modi said the measures will enhance liquidity and improve credit supply, thus helping small businesses.
  4. The Centre made new additions to the list of activities that will be allowed from April 20 amid the nationwide lockdown in parts of the country that are least affected by the pandemic. Non-banking finance corporations and micro-finance institutions will be allowed to resume services. Coconut, spice bamboo, areca nut and cocoa plantations, and forest produce by scheduled tribes have also been added to the list.
  5. Union Minister for Human Resource Development Ramesh Pokhriyal on Friday urged private schools to reconsider annual fee hikes amid the nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Private schools in Delhi, meanwhile, will not be allowed to alter their fee structures and can only charge the tuition fee until they reopen after the lockdown.
  6. The economic calamity accompanying the spread of the novel coronavirus, and the resulting global recession could cause hundreds of thousands of additional child deaths this year, and push a million more into abject poverty, a report released by the United Nations on Thursday said.
  7. The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the states to screen Rohingya refugees for Covid-19 as many of them had allegedly attended the Nizamuddin markaz.
  8. The National Commission for Women on Friday said the number of domestic violence cases in the country has continued to surge this month amid the countrywide lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The women’s organisation said it has received 587 distress calls or complaints between March 23 and April 16.
  9. China’s Wuhan city, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, abruptly raised its toll from the pandemic by 50%, from 2,579 to 3,869. The country admitted that many cases were “mistakenly reported” or missed entirely. Meanwhile, the Chinese economy shrank by 6.8% in the first quarter of 2020-’21 as the pandemic ravaged parts of the country in January and February.
  10. Globally, the coronavirus has infected 21.96 lakh people and caused over 1.49 lakh deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

10.45 pm: Maharashtra health authorities report 118 new Covid-19 cases and seven new deaths. The state’s count now goes up to 3,320 cases, according to ANI. But the Centre has so far confirmed only 3,205 cases.

10.17 pm: The home ministry says all existing visas granted to foreigners shall remain suspended till May 3.

10.12 pm: Uttar Pradesh reports 44 new coronavirus cases and one death, taking the tally to 849 cases and the toll to 14, according to PTI.

10.10 pm: The National Commission for Women says the number of domestic violence cases in the country has continued to surge this month amid the countrywide lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The women’s organisation said it has received 587 distress calls or complaints between March 23 and April 16. Out of these, 239 cases were related to domestic violence.

Read more: Domestic violence cases reported to NCW nearly double in last 25 days

10.09 pm: The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to send 250 buses to Rajasthan’s Kota city to bring back stranded students amid the ongoing nationwide lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Kota, known for its coaching centres, has around 7,500 students from Uttar Pradesh living in paying guest accommodations or hostels, PTI reports.

Read more: UP sends 250 buses to Kota to evacuate 7,500 students; Bihar CM questions move

10.08 pm: The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the states to screen Rohingya refugees for Covid-19 as many of them had allegedly attended the Nizamuddin markaz, PTI reports.

10.06 pm: Bhilwara district in Rajasthan, which was once a hotspot, has no active case remaining after two patients were discharged, District Magistrate Rajendra Bhatt tells ANI.

10.04 pm: The Delhi government has confirmed 67 new cases, which has taken the number of patients to 1,707.

Rajasthan’s tally is now 1,229 after 98 new patients were found infected.

9.42 pm: The ICMR says 3,35,123 samples from 3,18,449 individuals have been tested as of 9 pm today, of whom 14,098 people were confirmed positive.

Today, until 9 pm, 31,083 samples were reported.

9 pm: Jharkhand has three new cases, taking the number of patients to 32. In Telangana, the tally reaches 562 after 66 new cases were reported today. Fourteen new cases in Jammu and Kashmir have taken the total number of active cases in the Union Territory to 281.

8.40 pm: Gujarat reports three more deaths, toll rises to 41, PTI reports. The number of infections in the state rises to 1,099 after 78 new cases are reported.

8 pm: The number of positive cases in Madhya Pradesh surges to 1,310, including 69 deaths and 68 recoveries, ANI reports. Indore has the most cases – 842.

7.58 pm: Government offices in non-hotspots in Gujarat will open from April 20 with limited staff, Ashwani Kumar, the secretary to the chief minister, says, according to PTI. Staff living in hotspots and containment zones will be exempted from attending work.

7.31 pm: West Bengal BJP legislator John Barla writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging mismanagement of ration distribution in West Bengal, and said many poor people in the state are starving, PTI reports.

7.30 pm: The Jammu and Kashmir administration inaugurates the Union Territory’s first Covid-19 response call centre in Srinagar, PTI reports.

7.29 pm: A chart showing India’s total tally of coronavirus cases as of today:

7.21 pm: The number of containment zones in Delhi have been increased to 66, ANI reports. Areas of – L-2 Sangam Vihar; Streets number 26 and 27 in Tughlakabad Extension; C-105, Hari Nagar; B-33 Hari Nagar; C-785 Camp number 2, Nangloi and RZ-168, K-2 block, Nihal Vihar – have been added to the list.

7.19 pm: Mumbai reports 77 new Covid-19 cases, taking the city’s total tally to 2,120, with 121 deaths, PTI reports.

7.13 pm: Union Minister for Human Resource Development Ramesh Pokhriyal urges private schools to reconsider annual fee hikes amid the nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read full story here: Private schools told to reconsider annual fee hike, empathise with parents

7.07 pm: Tamil Nadu reports 56 new cases today, taking the total number of Covid-19 patients in the state to 1,323, ANI reports, citing the state health department’s figures.

7.05 pm: The number of coronavirus deaths in the United Kingdom rise by 847, taking the overall toll to 14,576, AFP reports.

6.59 pm: The police of Rajasthan arrests seven persons in Tonk district in connection with an attack on police personnel earlier in the day, ANI reports. Three constables were injured in the assault.

6.54 pm: The Delhi Police registers 190 cases and detains 3,547 people in the Capital for violating government orders during the coronavirus lockdown, PTI reports.

6.48 pm: Tamil Nadu receives 24,000 rapid testing kits from China for the screening of Covid-19 patients, PTI reports. However, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami says the state government has sought 50,000 more kits from the Centre.

6.45 pm: Police in Shimla conducts a flag march in areas where a curfew is in place to contain the coronavirus outbreak, ANI reports. Shimla has reported a total of 35 Covid-19 cases, so far. Out of these, 12 have recovered.

6.42 pm: Central government employees voluntarily donate their one day’s salary to the PM-CARES fund, News18 reports.

6.39 pm: The Gujarat government imposes curfew in Jungleshwar area of Rajkot, as the number of infected persons in the state crosses the 1,000 mark, The Indian Express reports. This is the third district in the state after Ahmedabad and Surat, where certain areas have been put under curfew.

6.35 pm: Only one new case reported from Kerala today, ANI reports, quoting the state’s health ministry. The state has 138 Covid-19 active cases as of now.

6.30 pm: Srinagar District Magistrate Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary orders the extension of restrictions under Section 144 of CrPC till May 3, in view of the coronavirus pandemic, ANI reports.

6.26 pm: A 44-year-old man, who tested positive for Covid-19, dies in Pune, ANI reports. He reportedly suffered from comorbid conditions.

6.25 pm: At least 22 people test positive for Covid-19 in different parts of West Bengal in the last 24 hours, Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha says, according to PTI.

6.24 pm: The number of coronavirus cases in Mumbai’s Dharavi area rises to 101 after 15 persons were tested positive, PTI reports.

6:20 pm: Since the update issued by the health ministry on Thursday evening, the number of positive cases has increased by 1,076 and the toll has risen by 32.

6.15 pm: The number of cases confirmed by the Centre is now 13,835, including 452 deaths.

5.55 pm: “We were receiving complaints that patients with emergency situations were denied treatment at some hospitals,” Vardhan says, according to ANI. “At the meeting, I asked medical superintendents to ensure that non-Covid-19 patients with chronic illness are not denied treatment,” he adds.

5.52 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan holds a meeting with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, health minister Satyendra Jain and other senior health officials to discuss the coronavirus situation in the Capital, ANI reports.

5.44 pm: A government employee in Andaman and Nicobar Islands tests positive for the coronavirus, PTI reports.

5.43 pm: The workers of a construction firm in Maharashtra’s Solapur district throw stones at their office over the delay in payment of wages, News18 reports. Four police personnel were allegedly injured in the attack. The police have arrested five persons as of now.

5.39 pm: Uttarakhand reports three more positive cases today, taking the total Covid-19 patients in the state to 40, ANI reports, quoting state health department’s figures.

5.32 pm: The Uttar Pradesh police arrests 14 Tablighi Jamaat members after they complete their quarantine period in Bhadohi, PTI reports. Out of these, 11 are Bangladeshi nationals.

5.26 pm: A 58-year-old man, who tested positive for coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Ludhiana, Punjab, has died, PTI reports.

5.24 pm: Rupee settles 48 paise higher at 76.39 against the US dollar buoyed by RBI measures to prop up the economy reeling under the Covid-19 outbreak, PTI reports.

5.22 pm: Uttar Pradesh reports 41 new coronavirus cases on Friday, taking the total number of Covid-19 cases in the state to 846, PTI reports.

5:17 pm: Haryana Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala says industries located in the non-containment zones of the state can resume operation in a phased manner, PTI reports.

5.12 pm: Iran reports 89 more deaths related to Covid-19, taking the overall toll in the country to 4,958, AFP reports.

5:08 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi praises the work done by the Congress-ruled states to contain the coronavirus outbreak, saying “where these a is will, there is a way”.

“Congress-ruled states – Rajasthan, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Puducherry – are putting up a strong fight against Covid19,” Gandhi tweets. “ New, special hospitals are being readied, like in Chhattisgarh this 200-bedded hospital especially for Coronavirus treatment has been readied in merely 20 days. Where there is a will, there is a way,” he adds.

5.05 pm: The Maharashtra government issues instructions to landlords to postpone collection of rent from tenants by at least three months, ANI reports. During this period, no tenant should be evicted from the rented accomodation, the state’s housing department says.

5.01 pm: The Centre informs the Kerala High Court there is no immediate plan to bring back Indian citizens stranding in Gulf nations amid the coronavirus pandemic, adding that the expatriates had been granted visa extension, PTI reports. The Centre’s stand was clarified in response to petitions filed in the High Court demanding that expatriates in countries like the UAE and others in west Asia should be brought home as the health infrastructure there, in the backdrop of Covid-19, was insufficient.

4.56 pm: Chhattisgarh Health Minister TS Singh Deo says the state will start pool sample testing for the coronavirus in few days, reports PTI.

4.45 pm: The ICMR representative says that over 3.19 lakh tests have been conducted till Thursday. In one day, 28,340 tests were conducted.

4.36 pm: Gangakhedkar says they will not recommend use of BCG vaccine if they do not have definitive results.

4.32 pm: “This virus has been in India for 3 months, the mutation doesn’t happen too quickly,” says
Gangakhedkar. “Whatever vaccine comes out now, it will work in the future as well [if the virus mutates].”

4.29 pm: R Gangakhedkar of ICMR says private hospitals are doing pooled tests for survelliance.

4.25 pm: The 19 states and Union Territories where doubling rate is lower than the national level include Kerala, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Ladakh, Puducherry, Delhi, Bihar, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Assam and Tripura.

4.18 pm: Diagnostics and vaccines are being monitored on war-footing, says Lav Agarwal.

4.17 pm: Lav Agarwal says they are also working on making rapid antibody testing kits. By May, we can make 10 lakh kits, he adds.

4.16 pm: Agarwal says the government is making innovative pooling strategies for testing.

4.15 pm: Lav Agarwal says there is 40% decline in growth factor. “We are testing more samples,” he adds. “Every case and death is a cause of concern for us. But 80% of our cases are recovering.”

4.11 pm: “Our doubling rate is 6.2 days,” says Agarwal. “19 states and Union Territories have a lower doubling rate”. He adds that before lockdown, the doubling rate of the cases was about 3 days.

4.09 pm: Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal says 1,749 have recovered from the coronavirus, adding 13.06% have been cured.

4.07 pm: The home ministry official says collection, harvesting and processing of minor forest by Scheduled Tribes and other forest dwellers in forest areas have been exempted from lockdown restrictions.

4.05 pm: The Centre begins its daily press briefing about the coronavirus situation in India.


4 pm: A chart showing coronavirus tests conducted in India:

3.19 pm: The Delhi Police has sent 26 personnel, including a station house officer, to quarantine, reports ANI. They came in contact with two police constables who tested positive for the coronavirus.

3.15 pm: Sambhal Superintendent of Police Yamuna Prasad says an ambulance driver and a sweeper have been booked in Uttar Pradesh for refusing to take the body of a coronavirus victim to crematorium, reports ANI.

3 pm: Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases have risen by 3,380 to 1,33,830, reports Reuters.

2.52 pm: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy receives one lakh coronavirus rapid testing kits from South Korea. “These test kits give results within 10 minutes and are expected to ramp-up testing in Andhra Pradesh,” he tweets.

2.46 pm: Doctors, nurses and all health workers in Odisha’s coronavirus hospitals have been placed under quarantine for 14 days after attending to patients, reports The Hindu. “Arrangements for safety have been made for health workers in the facilities earmarked for coronavirus patients, and those dealing with suspected or confirmed cases provided with Personal Protection Equipment,” says Development Commissioner SC Mohapatra.

2.40 pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala attacks the Narendra Modi-led government and Aam Aadmi Party for terminating the services of a doctor at Hindu Rao Hospital in Delhi. “Dr Piyush Pushkar Singh of the Hindu Rao Hospital, Delhi terminated for arranging PPEs and N-95 masks for colleagues,” he tweets. “This is shameful and unacceptable! BJP run North MCD won’t provide enough PPEs, Kejriwal government won’t chip in either. How will coronavirus warriors fight?”

Read more here: Delhi hospital sacks doctor for allegedly diverting safety gear to medical staff

2.36 pm: Congress leader Ajay Maken says the party is disappointed by the announcements made by the Reserve Bank of India, reports PTI. “Government should take more measures to help those affected by the coronavirus,” he adds.

2.30 pm: Thirty coronavirus patients in Chennai’s Omandurar Medical College have recovered from the disease, ANI reports.

2.27 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah praises the decisions taken by the RBI amid the coronavirus lockdown. “Modi government is leaving no stone unturned in this fight against Covid-19, ensuring minimum disruption in people’s lives while planning for a strong and stable India in days ahead,” he tweets. “Steps taken by RBI today, to boost Indian economy, further reinforce Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision.”

“RBI’s decision to extend 20,000 cr credit facility to NABARD, 15,000cr to SIDBI will greatly help our farmers, provide much needed financial stability to MSMEs and start ups, boost the Make in India program,” he adds. “10,000cr to NHB and liquidity measures for Banks and NBFCs will help too.”

2.20 pm: China denies that it had not revealed the extent of its coronavirus outbreak, reports AFP. A foreign ministry spokesperson says the virus’s rapid spread had contributed to undercounting that resulted in China raising its toll from the pandemic, but he adds that “there has never been any concealment, and we’ll never allow any concealment”.

Also read: China’s Wuhan city abruptly raises toll by 50%, admits to omitted fatalities

2.05 pm: German Health Minister Jens Spahn says the coronavirus pandemic in the country is “again under control” due to a month of lockdown imposed after an early increase in cases, reports AFP.

1.50 pm: BJP chief Jagat Prakash Nadda hails RBI’s measures to relieve the economic stress due to the pandemic. “Today’s announcements by the RBI is in line with the vision of our prime minister to take steps which are business and people-friendly,” he tweets. “RBI had already taken some big steps on March 27. These steps will go a long way to help PM Modi’s effort to keep the economy strong during and after the pandemic.”

1.47 pm: Union Minister Sadananda Gowda has said there are no stock-related concerns for hydroxychloroquine or paracetamol, reports ANI. “We assess the requirement every day for domestic consumption and the excess that can be exported. We keep 10 days stock with us, at present we have sufficient APIs.”

1.45 pm: Clerics and Muslim community leaders in Delhi ask people to pray at home during the holy month of Ramzan. Mufti Mukarram, a cleric, tells ANI: “We should stay at home and practice social distancing to keep ourselves and others safe. If we fast and pray at home, there is no problem with it.”

1.26 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauds RBI’s announcements amid the coronavirus crisis in the country. “Today’s announcements by the RBI will greatly enhance liquidity and improve credit supply,” he tweets. “These steps would help our small businesses, MSMEs [Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises], farmers and the poor. It will also help all states by increasing WMA [Ways and Means Advances] limits.”

1.08 pm: Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane says there are eight Covid-19 cases in the Army, reports ANI. Of these, two are doctors, one is a nursing assistant. He says four persons are responding positively to the treatment. He adds that one patient in Ladakh has recovered and rejoined duty.

1.06 pm: Maharashtra’s Health Department reports 288 new Covid-19 cases and seven more deaths. The total number of coronavirus cases in the state are 3,204 and 194 patients have died, reports ANI.

1.02 pm: International brands have cancelled billions of dollars in orders as the pandemic continues to spread around the world. This has disrupted a key Bangladesh industry and affected rural women who are part of the workforce.

12.59 pm: Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte threatens a martial law-like crackdown to stop lockdown violations in the nation’s capital Manila, reports AFP.

12.56 pm: Covid-19 has infected 21.59 lakh people in the world, and has caused 1.45 lakh deaths. The disease has spread to 185 countries or regions so far.

Credit: Johns Hopkins University tracker

12.50 pm: Hundreds attend chariot-pulling festival in Karnataka’s Kalaburagi district, FIRs filed.

Read more here

12.43 pm: Will the coronavirus crisis change how the Indian middle classes thinks about food?

Read more here

12.40 pm: Delhi’s Education Minister Manish Sisodia says Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has directed private schools in the national Capital to not increase fees amid lockdown. The schools will have to take prior permission from the government before increasing charges. “[Private schools] will not take three months’ fees, and can only charge a months’ tuition fee,” he tweets. “No child will be removed from the online class for not giving the fee.”

12.35 pm: Hunger hangs large over India. There is one thing Centre can do immediately to address the problem:

Read more here

12.28 pm: Army Chief General MM Naravane tells ANI: “It is very unfortunate that at a time when the whole world and India is fighting the menace of coronavirus, our neighbour [Pakistan] continues to foment trouble for us.”

12.26 pm: Andhra Pradesh’s Health Department reports 38 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. The total number of cases in the state are 572. This includes 35 recoveries and 14 deaths, reports ANI.

12.14 pm: Australia may extend some Covid-19 restrictions for a year, while repealing others after a month, reports Reuters.

12.12 pm: An AFP chart shows the number of days it takes to double tolls for the countries with the highest number of coronavirus fatalities.

12.09 pm: British army veteran, Captain Tom Moore, 99, has raised millions for the National Health Service as he completes 100 laps of his garden. Medical staff thank him by taking part in a national “clap for carers” in Liverpool, England.

12.04 pm: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reviews the activities of Armed Forces Medical Services and their assistance to civilian authorities to contain the coronavirus, reports ANI.

12 pm: Karnataka is yet to receive the rapid testing kits for the coronavirus, which have arrived from China. The state has the lowest testing per million population among the southern states of the country, according to The Hindu. The Union health ministry’s Friday morning update has confirmed 315 total cases in the state, and 13 deaths.

11.55 am: Gujarat’s Health Department says 92 new Covid-19 cases have been reported in the state on Friday. The total number of coronavirus cases in the state are 1,021. This includes 74 recoveries and 38 deaths, reports ANI.

11.52 am: In a meeting on Covid-19, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath says, according to ANI: “It doesn’t matter if a person has a ration card or not, Aadhaar card or not, if the person is needy s/he would be provided with essential food items. Even if the person is a migrant s/he shall be provided with food and ration.”

11.47 am: The central government removes restrictions on exports of formulations made from paracetamol with immediate effect. “...formulations made from paracetamol...are made “Free” for export, with immediate effect,” the notification says. “However, paracetamol APIs [Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient] will remain restricted for export.”

11.30 am: Delhi’s Minister Satyendar Jain says no new case has been reported in the last 15 days from three locations in the national Capital, including Dilshad Garden. The administration has identified 60 containment zones so far, reports ANI.

11.15 am: Reverse repo rate cut from 4% to 3.75% to encourage banks to lend more, says RBI governor.

Read more here

11.09 am: Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendar Jain says a total 1,640 Covid-19 cases have been reported till Friday, reports ANI. Of these, 62 positive cases were reported on Thursday and 38 patients have died in total. Out of the total confirmed cases, 34 are in the intensive care unit and six are on ventilator.

10.42 am: The RBI governor concludes his address saying: “Eventually, we are confident that we shall cure and we shall endure.”

10.38 am: Das says that Consumer Price Index-based inflation for March 2020 declined by 70 basis points to 5.9%. “This is, however, based on data gathered up to March 19,” he adds. “The data showed a softening of food inflation around 160 basis points on account of the easing of prices of vegetables, meat, eggs, fish, pulses, among other items.”

10.35 am: “Scheduled commercial banks and cooperative banks shall not make any further dividend payouts from profits pertaining to the financial year, ended March 31, 2020, until further instructions,” says the RBI governor. “This restriction shall, however, be reviewed on the basis of the financial position of banks for the quarter, ending September 30, 2020.”

10.27 am: “The reverse repo rate is being reduced by 25 basis points from 4% to 3.75%,” Das says. “The policy repo rate, however, remains unchanged at 4.4% because that is a matter decided by the Monetary Policy Committee.” This is the rate at which the RBI borrows money from commercial banks.

10.24 am: “Based on our assessment of the evolving situation, and based on pattern of utilisation of Rs 50,000 crore...it is always open for RBI to step up this amount beyond Rs 50,000 crore as necessary,” says the RBI governor.

10.23 am: “For 2021-’22, International Monetary Fund projects sizeable reshaped recoveries, close to nine percentage points for the global GDP,” Das says. “India is expected to post a sharp turnaround and resume its pre-Covid, pre-slowdown trajectory by growing at 7.4% in 2021-’22.”

10.22 am: “It has been decided to conduct targeted long-term repo operations...for an aggregate amount of Rs 50,000 crore to begin with, in tranches of appropriate sizes,” Das says.

10.21 am: “IMF projection of 1.9% GDP growth for India is highest in G20,” says Das. “India is among a handful of countries projected to register positive growth rate amid the Covid-19 crisis.”

10.14 am: “Since the nationwide lockdown was imposed, the RBI has taken a number of steps to ensure normal business functioning by the entire banking sector,” Das says. “As a result, payment infrastructure is running seamlessly. Banks have been required to put in place business continuity plans to operate from their disaster recovery sites.”

10.14 am: “The mission is to do whatever it takes to prevent the curve from steepening further,” Das says.

10.10 am: Das speaks about the Indian economy amid the outbreak of the coronavirus.

10.09 am: Das thanks healthcare workers and people for their contribution in the fight against Covid-19. “Today humanity is facing the trial of its time, as Covid-19 grips the world with its deadly embrace,” he says. “In this kind of environment, Reserve Bank of India has been very proactive and monitoring the situation closely.”

10.08 am: Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das begins his address.


10.02 am: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has included exemptions for a few more sectors in the revised lockdown guidelines. These activities will be exempted:

  • Activities related to minor/non-timber forest produce.
  • Activities related to bamboo, coconut, arecanut, cocoa, spices plantations.
  • Nonbanking financial companies and Cooperative Credit Societies.
  • Activities related to construction in rural areas.

9.39 am: Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has fired Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta amid rumours over the latter’s handling of the nation’s response to the coronavirus, reports The Washington Post. “I do not condemn, I do not recriminate, and I do not criticise Minister Mandetta,” Bolsonaro told reporters on Thursday. “He did what, as a doctor, he thought he should do at the time. Isolation, increasingly, became a reality. But we cannot make decisions that destroy the work that has already been done.”

9.37 am: China raises toll in Wuhan, where the coronavirus is said to have emerged, by 50% to a total of 3,869. The administration also admits that several cases were “mistakenly reported” or missed completely, reports AFP.

9.34 pm: China reports its first-ever quarterly contraction in the economy at 6.8% – the slowest pace on record since the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976, reports The Guardian.

9.30 am: The Uttar Pradesh government begins to procure wheat from farmers amid lockdown. “All procurement centers that were decided earlier have been opened,” GS Priyadarshi, commissioner tells ANI. “Farmers are our priority and we are ensuring that they don’t face any problems.”

9.24 am: Rajasthan’s Health Department reports 38 new coronavirus cases. Of these, 18 are in Jodhpur, six in Tonk, five are in Jaipur, two in Nagaur, one each in Jhunjhunu, Ajmer and Jhalawar, and four in Kota. The total number of cases rises to 1,169, reports ANI.

9.20 am: Ghaziabad Police have been using drones to keep an eye on Covid-19 hotspots in the district. “We are using drones to monitor the hotspots regularly,” Superintendent of Police (city) Manish Mishra tells ANI. “Lockdown measures are being implemented and rules are being enforced.”

9.15 am: Attacks on healthcare workers have increased in Bihar as four cases have emerged from the state within 24 hours, reports NDTV. Two of these episodes were reported in Bihar Sharif.

9.13 am: Sixty-eight staff members, including doctors and nurses, of a hospital in Delhi have been sent to home quarantine after the death of a pregnant Covid-19 patient, reports PTI. The woman died on Wednesday night.

9.07 am: A few currency notes of Rs 100, Rs 200 and Rs 500 find no takers in Indore after an unidentified person threw them on a street, fearing they were infected. Later on Thursday, police officials and municipal authorities collected them after spraying them with disinfectants, reports News18.

8.43 am: The number of coronavirus cases in India rises to 13,387, the Ministry of Health’s figures show. The toll is up to 437. The number of active cases is 11,201.

8.37 am: Hundreds of migrant workers started walking towards their homes down the Mumbai-Agra Highway on Thursday, The Indian Express reports.

8.20 am: Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das will address the media at 10 am today. It is widely expected that the government will announce a second stimulus package in light of the economic conditions during the Covid-19 crisis.

8 am: Bihar Rural Development Minister Shravan Kumar has said the district administrations are taking action against the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Bihar Sharif. “I would like to appeal to all those who attended the congregation to come forward and get themselves checked so that we can combat the coronavirus,” he says, reports ANI.

7.55 am: Around 200 people were made to sit on the road at Swargate area in Pune, Maharashtra for more than four hours for defying lockdown norms on Thursday, reports ANI.

7.52 am: In India, a cancer patient and his family have allegedly not been allowed entry into their house by the landlord in Odisha’s Balasore district as they had returned from Bhubaneswar – a coronavirus hotspot – after a medical check-up, reports ANI.

“The family had to spend seven to eight hours outside their house,” Balasore’s tehsildar says. “After we spoke with the landlord it was decided that the patient and his wife will be staying in the house while their sons would stay at a relative’s place. They can take legal action against this inhuman act.”

7.50 am: US President Donald Trump has launched a new phase-wise approach to reopen the nation’s economy, allowing governors to take the decision on lifting restrictions in their states, reports PTI. The country has the highest number of infections and Covid-19 deaths in the world.

7.45 am: Toll in the United States due to the coronavirus stands at 33,101. The country has reported a total of 6,70,353 confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

Here are the biggest 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.
  • 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.
  • India 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.
  • The IMF has backed India’s proactive decision of imposing a nationwide lockdown. This came a day after it slashed its growth projection for India to 1.9% from the earlier estimated 5.8% for the financial year 2020-2021.
  • 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.