The number of coronavirus patients in India rose to 16,116 on Sunday evening after 1,324 cases were reported, according to the health ministry. The toll increased by 31 to 519, while the number of patients who have recovered crossed 2,300.
India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation directed airlines to stop taking bookings from May 4, the day after the nationwide lockdown to combat the coronavirus would be lifted. On Saturday, Air India had reopened bookings for select domestic flights for travel from May 4, and for international flights for travel from June 1. The next day, the state-run carrier said it has stopped taking bookings on all flights.
The home ministry guidelines said that migrant labourers can be screened and those who are asymptomatic can be allowed to move within the state to reach their place of work. All such workers living in relief camps will have to be registered with the local authorities. However, the ministry added that inter-state travel of migrant workers will not be allowed.
The home ministry also said that the supply of non-essential goods by e-commerce firms will continue to stay banned during the lockdown period, just four days after allowing such companies to sell mobile phones, refrigerators and clothes.
In its daily press conference, the government said selective relaxation will be given in non-containment areas from April 20, but strict restrictions will continue in districts declared as coronavirus hotspots. Joint Health Secretary Lav Agarwal said that a high-level task force to work on frontiers of science related to vaccines and drug testing was formed on Sunday.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that there would be no relaxations in the lockdown rules in the national Capital since the number of Covid-19 cases were rising. The chief minister added that all eleven districts in Delhi have been declared hotspots and 77 areas have been marked as containment zones.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that his government will allow certain industries to resume operations in non-hotspot areas, but with necessary precautions, during the nationwide lockdown to slow down the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the coronavirus pandemic has significantly changed the “contours of professional life”, adding that the disease affects everyone equally. He added that the country’s response to the pandemic should attach primacy to unity and brotherhood. “Covid-19 does not see race, religion, colour, caste, creed, language or borders before striking,” Modi said. “We are in this together.”
A cancer hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut put out an advertisement saying it will not take in new Muslim patients if they don’t come with a negative test result for Covid-19. The Uttar Pradesh police took note of the incident after social media users pointed it out on Twitter and ordered an investigation.
The worldwide toll from the coronavirus pandemic crossed 1,60,000 and more than 2,355,337 declared cases have been registered in 185 countries and territories since the disease first emerged in China late last year, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Of these, Europe accounts for a total of 1,00,510 deaths – nearly two-thirds of the fatalities globally.