10.45 pm: Here are the top updates from Friday:

  1. The number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 23,452 on Friday evening, according to data from the health ministry. The Indian Council of Medical Research, however, said that at least 23,502 people have tested positive for Covid-19 so far. The toll rose to 723 while the number of patients who have recovered stood at 4,813.
  2. The Centre has said four more inter-ministerial central teams have been set up to review the Covid-19 situation in Ahmedabad, Surat, Hyderabad and Chennai. The Centre had earlier this week sent six teams to West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
  3. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami has announced a complete lockdown in Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Salem and Tirupur from April 26. This entails a blanket ban on all activities and movement of people apart from the “extremely essential services” identified by the government.
  4. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that plasma therapy trials transfusion of plasma from a person who has recovered from Covid-19 to a patient in critical condition have been conducted on four patients in the Capital. He added that the results so far had been encouraging.
  5. Maharashtra has reported 394 new infections on Friday, of which Mumbai alone accounts for 357. The patient tally in the city stands at 4,589 and the state is 6,817. Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh has planned to bring back migrant workers stranded due to the outbreak of Covid-19 “in a phased manner’. The state has a total number of 1,604 Covid-19 cases.
  6. Covid-19 has infected more than 27.61 lakh people and killed over 1.93 lakh in 185 countries or regions.

10.12 pm: In Mumbai, 357 more persons have tested positive, taking the total number to 4,589, the civic body BMC says. The toll is now 179.

10.10 pm: The number of cases in Bihar rises to 223.

10 pm: Kanpur has 31 new cases, taking the total to 144.

9.36 pm: Rajasthan confirms 70 new cases, taking the total to 2,034.

9.34 pm: The number of containment zones in Delhi remains 92, as one of them becomes the first to be de-sealed, while one new area gets added to the list.

9.30 pm: The toll in the United States crosses the 50,000 mark, according to Johns Hopkins University.

9.25 pm: The number of cases in Delhi rises to 2,514, including 53 deaths, PTI reports.

8.59 pm: In India, the Assam government has started evacuating students stranded in Rajasthan’s Kota city – a coaching hub. There are 320 students on their way back to Assam in 18 air-conditioned sleeper buses and they are likely to reach Guwahati on Saturday or Sunday, says Assam State Transport Corporation, according to ANI.

8.56 pm: Lysol and Dettol maker Reckitt Benckiser warns people against using disinfectants to treat Covid-19 after United States President Donald Trump’s comment, reports Reuters.

Also read:

Covid-19: Donald Trump suggests ‘injecting’ patients with disinfectant, doctors sound alarm

8.51 pm: Britain’s health ministry reports 684 Covid-19 deaths, taking the toll in the country to 19,506, reports AFP.

8.49 pm: The International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation have cautioned that the increasing use of export restrictions by governments may be “dangerously counterproductive” as the world deals with the pandemic, reports AFP.

8.45 pm: Gujarat’s Health Department says 191 new Covid-19 cases have cropped up in the state, reports ANI. It adds that 15 patients have died in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of positive cases to 2,815 and toll to 127. Of these, 29 patients are on ventilator support, 2,394 are stable and 265 have been cured.

8.33 pm: Maharashtra’s Health Department says 394 new Covid-19 cases have emerged in the state, reports ANI. The department says 18 patients have died today, taking the total number of cases to 6,817 and toll to 310 in the state. There have also been 957 recoveries so far.

7.39 pm: Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation says it has found six new coronavirus cases in the Dharavi slum area of the city. This takes the total number of cases in the area to 220, including 14 deaths, reports PTI.

7.36 pm: Odisha’s Health Department reports a total of 94 cases in the state after five people tested positive in Bhadrak district, reports ANI.

7.33 pm: Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari urges people not to invite neighbours to their house to offer prayers during Ramzan. “Ensure, there are not more than three people in one room even while offering prayers with family,” he says, according to ANI. “Covid-19 will end only when we will unite.”

7.32 pm: Visuals from earlier today show people crowding at a market in North East Delhi’s Shastri Park locality.

7.26 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says no new cases has been reported from an apartment complex in East Delhi. “Therefore, this containment zone is being de-contained,” he says, according to ANI. “Operation Shield was successful because of cooperation from people living in this zone.”

As part of “Operation Shield”, an area is fully sealed and people’s movement is prohibited. The administration takes control of the supply of essential services, including groceries, in the area and a thorough sanitisation drive is launched within its perimeter.

7.23 pm: No professional cricket will be played in England and Wales till July as the pandemic wreaks havoc in the United Kingdom, reports AFP.

7.10 pm: Spain records 367 Covid-19 deaths over the past 24 hours. This is the lowest daily number of fatalities in four weeks, the administration has said, reports Reuters.

7 pm: Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport or BEST has turned seven of its air-conditioned mini buses into ambulances as the city reels under the outbreak of Covid-19, reports News18. They will be used to ferry suspected cases or those with mild symptoms of the infection to care centres.

6.53 pm: The blood sample of a 14-year-old tigress that died due to kidney failure at the Delhi Zoo has been sent for coronavirus testing, reports ANI. The National Tiger Conservation Authority had earlier sent out a letter to the chief wildlife wardens of all tiger range states, directing them to look for Covid-19 symptoms among the animals.

6.45 pm: Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation reports six new Covid-19 cases in Dharavi today. The total number of positive cases in Dharavi is now 220. This includes 14 deaths, reports ANI.

6.33 pm: In Tamil Nadu, 72 new cases have taken the total to 1,755.

6.29 pm: The toll in West Bengal rises from 15 to 18, says Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha.

6.20 pm: The number of cases confirmed by the Centre on Friday is the highest ever in a 24-hour period:

6.18 pm: Karnataka minister K Sudhakar says the state is likely to start convalescent plasma therapy for Covid-19 patients who are in a critical condition from Saturday, PTI reports.

5.45 pm: A total of 1,752 new cases and 37 deaths have been confirmed in the last 24 hours.

5.44 pm: As of 5 pm, the total number of cases in India has risen to 23,452, including 723 deaths. The number of patients who have recovered is 4,813.

5.24 pm: Iran says it is no longer at “red” status in its Covid-19 outbreak, AFP reports. The country’s toll has reached 5,574.

5.15 pm: The total number of Covid-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh has risen to 1,604, with 94 new cases being reported in a day, PTI reports.

5.14 pm: Bihar reports 15 more cases, taking the number to 197.

5.12 pm: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy launches a scheme to credit Rs 1,400 crore into bank accounts of 8.78 lakh self-help groups benefiting 91 lakh women.

5.10 pm: Vikram Misri, the Indian ambassador in China, talked to Indian students in the country earlier in the day to inquire about their well-being, says the embassy.

5.05 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath instructs nodal officers to prepare a list of migrant workers stranded in other states to bring them back, ANI reports. Workers will be kept in quarantine for 14 days before being sent to their villages.

4.57 pm: “It is too early to decide on any extension of the lockdown,” says KS Dhatwalia, principal spokesperson of the government, when asked of any such plans beyond May 3.

4.52 pm: The testing strategy so far has “stood the test of time”, and will be modified and re-calibrated according to the need, says Paul. The amount of testing done so far has been sufficient so far, he says.

The picture shown by the government about the Covid-19 cases is by and large accurate, and any belief that there are more cases that we do not know of is not right, as other datasets also show the same, he says.

4.40 pm: Paul says that the country would have had 1 lakh cases in the absence of any measures, says it is a “reasonable estimate”.

4.35 pm: The impact of the first phase of the lockdown began to show around April 6, Paul says. The impact will show until around the second week of May, he says.

4.34 pm: The graphs, and comparison with other countries, show that the nationwide lockdown was a timely decision, Paul says.

4.31 pm: Another graph presented during the press briefing, by VK Paul, shows how the doubling rate has been reducing consistently since April 6 and is now better than five days.

4.28 pm: VK Paul, a NITI Aayog official who heads one of the central Covid-19 committees, says the doubling rate now has reached around 10 days.

4.27 pm: Singh shows how the doubling rate of the number of cases has improved during the lockdown period.

4.17 pm: National Centre for Disease Control Director SK Singh describes the community surveillance system in place, through which India already had 13 individuals under monitoring by January 23, when there was no case. The number has reached 9.45 lakh by April 23, he says.

4.11 pm: Joint Health Secretary Lav Agarwal says the number of districts that earlier had cases but have not had any in the last 28 days is now 15. The number of districts that have not had any new cases in the last 14 days has risen to 80, he says.

4.02 pm: The Centre begins its press briefing. Four more inter-ministerial central teams have been set up on Friday to go to Ahmedabad, Surat, Hyderabad and Chennai, says Joint Home Secretary Punya Salila Srivastava.

The team that went to Indore earlier found that 20 out of 171 containment zones are critical, she says. The team found that PPE kits, masks and other safety equipment are available in sufficient quantity, and the security of health workers is being ensured.


3.55 pm: Bangladesh bans “Iftar” gatherings during the month of Ramzan to curb the spread of the coronavirus, as the country recorded the highest single-day spike of 503 positive cases, taking the total tally to 4,689, PTI reports.

3.53 pm: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi requests people to avoid visiting mosques to offer prayers in the month of Ramzan during curfew hours. “I would also appeal [to] everyone to maintain social distancing,” he adds.

3.44 pm: The Uttar Pradesh Police arrests 28 people from Jalalabad in Shamli district for participating in a community panchayat amid the lockdown, PTI reports. The meeting was convened to resolve a marriage dispute.

3.42 pm: Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan asks Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to make arrangements to bring back students stranded in other countries amid the pandemic, PTI reports. Chavan said similar arrangements should also be made to bring back students stranded in Rajasthan’s Kota.

3.39 pm: Union minister Ramesh Pokhriyal meets a group of researchers from IIT-Delhi who have developed a new method of Covid-19 testing. The new testing method – based on real time polymerase chain reaction-based methods of diagnosis – has been approved by the Indian Council for Medical Research.

3.07 pm: Here is a chart showing the number of coronavirus tests conducted in India till 9 am on April 24.

3.03 pm: Tamil Nadu has announced strict lockdown measures from April 26 for five of its municipal corporations – Chennai, Coimbatore, Salem, Tirupur and Madurai, reports The News Minute.

The civic bodies of Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore will implement a complete shutdown for four days, starting 6 am on April 26 to 9 pm on April 29. However, the municipal corporations of Tirupur and Salem will enforce the order between 6 am on April 26 and 9 pm on April 28.

2.50 pm: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been recovering from Covid-19, is “in very good shape”, says Health Secretary Matt Hancock, reports AFP.

2.40 pm: The inter-ministerial central team writes to the West Bengal chief secretary to explain the method employed by the “Committee of Doctors” in the state to ascertain death due to Covid-19. They also explain whether the methodology is in line with the Indian Council of Medical Research guidelines, reports ANI.

2.32 pm: Goa’s Chief Minister Pramod Sawant says his administration will provide all the required infrastructure, including thermal guns and screening equipment, to industries to completely resume their operations in the state, reports News18.

2.28 pm: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee continue to trade barbs amid the coronavirus outbreak. The state has reported 514 cases of infections so far and 15 people have died.

Read more here

Amid Covid-19 crisis, West Bengal governor and CM Mamata Banerjee continue to trade barbs

2.24 pm: Rajasthan’s Health Department reports 44 new Covid-19 cases and three deaths in the state. This takes the total number of cases to 2,008 and 31 patients have died in the state.

2.15 pm: Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid remains shut ahead of Ramzan due to the outbreak of Covid-19, reports ANI.

2 pm: Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, his cabinet colleagues and legislators tested negative for Covid-19, reports IANS. On Thursday, the Health Department had conducted tests as the leaders have been visiting potentially vulnerable areas in the containment zones on a daily basis to assess measures to prevent the spread of virus in the Union Territory.

1.58 pm: The Director of Institute of Liver and Biliary Science Dr SK Sarin, who is supervising the plasma therapy trials in Delhi, has said that the procedure can help prevent organ failure in patients in critical condition.

Read more here: Delhi chief minister says plasma therapy trials conducted on four patients, results ‘encouraging’

1.56 pm: Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram urges the government to facilitate the travel of migrant workers to their hometowns under strict conditions of health and safety.

“The desire to go back to their home states, to join their families, and to be among their own language-speaking people is an overpowering desire that cannot be suppressed for too long in the name of a lockdown,” he tweets. “Yesterday, CWC [Congress Working Committee] has rightly called upon the government to frame a humane policy that, after May 3, will allow migrant persons to travel to their home states, under strict conditions of health safety.”

1.49 pm: Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President KS Alagiri says Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan must explain to the country why the rapid coronavirus test kits procured by India from China failed, reports The Hindu. “Why did the Indian government procure the kits that are faulty from China at Rs 600 a piece,” he adds.

1.45 pm: Thirteen madrassa students, who came in contact with Tablighi Jamaat members, have tested positive for Covid-19 in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur city, reports PTI.

1.41 pm: The Delhi High Court says “it is the need of the hour that all hands are on the deck” as the country is struggling to contain the coronavirus spread, reports PTI. The court made the observation while giving suggestions to the Delhi government to appoint nodal officers for addressing problems faced by migrant workers and labourers in relief camps.

1.37 pm: More than 35 healthcare workers from AIIMS gastroenterology department have been asked to self-quarantine after a nurse tested positive for the coronavirus, reports The Times of India.

1.33 pm: Workers sanitise vehicles entering a market in Navi Mumbai to rein in the coronavirus pandemic.

(Credit: PTI)

1.30 pm: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar in a letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee points out the “monumental failures and blunders” by state government in tackling the coronavirus crisis, reports PTI.

1.29 pm: The World Health Organisation says it would announce a “landmark collaboration” today to speed development of safe, effective drugs, tests and vaccines to prevent, diagnose and treat the coronavirus.

1.26 pm: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says the government will allow a partial reopening of the economy on May 1, with eased travel restrictions and some industries will be allowed to operate under a five-level risk system, reports Reuters.

1.20 pm: The closure of Franklin Templeton’s debt schemes in India will be a “jolt to the corporate debt market”, says Abhimanyu Sofat, the head of research at IIFL Securities in Mumbai.

Read more here: Franklin Templeton winds down six debt schemes in India amid coronavirus crisis

1.18 pm: Andhra Pradesh records 62 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of infections in the state to 955. With two new deaths, the toll has risen to 29.

1.12 pm: Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee says the Indian government has to be more aggressive about spending money to support the poor during the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.

“We haven’t done anything close to enough,” Banerjee says in an interview with BBC. “Possibly there is the fear of inflation, when there is not much supply of goods and services. But India has to do something about [bridging] the income gap that has been created. The government has to be more aggressive about spending money. People need reassurance. And the government has to be proactive in reassuring people.”

1.10 pm: The National Green Tribunal directs a team, comprising the Centre and the Central Pollution Control Board, to supervise handling and scientific disposal of Covid-19 waste in accordance with the guidelines, reports PTI

1.06 pm: The International Air Transport Association says that the coronavirus pandemic is likely to impact more than 29 lakh jobs in the Indian aviation and dependent industries, reports PTI.

1 pm: Karnataka reports 18 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infections in the state to 463.

12.58 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says the Centre has sent senior officers to support the states in the fight against coronavirus pandemic, reports ANI. “They are there for hand-holding and cooperation so we get feedback on how to further extend help,” he adds.

12.45 pm: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his intervention to bring back the bodies of non-resident Indians whose death occurred due to reasons other than the coronavirus.

12.38 pm: Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Ashwath Narayan says five people have been arrested in connection with recent attack on health workers in Bengaluru, reports PTI.

12.18 pm: Kejriwal says all the recovered patients will receive a call from the Delhi government to help others.

12.16 pm: “The main role in this that of the recovered coronavirus patient,” says Arvind Kejriwal. He urges patients who have recovered to help those in serious condition.

12.15 pm: “Only permission for limited trials was given by the Centre,” adds the chief minister. “We will try this for few days and try to administer plasma therapy to all serious coronavirus patients.”

12.12 pm: Arvind Kejriwal says two patients out of the four will be taken out from the intensive care unit today. “Rest two were given the treatment yesterday and have shown very good recovery,” he adds.

12.10 pm: “Plasma therapy is not expensive...urge people to come forward and give blood,” says a doctor.

12.08 pm: “In the last few days, we have tried plasma therapy on four patients at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital in Delhi,” says Kejriwal. “Till now the results are encouraging.”

12.06 pm: Kejriwal says plasma therapy involves infusion of blood plasma collected from people who have recovered from Covid-19 into severely ill patients.

12.02 pm: Delhi Chief Minister addresses media about the success of plasma therapy in treating coronavirus.

11.56 am: Maharashtra health department reports 778 new cases and 14 more deaths, according to ANI. The state has 6,427 cases and 283 deaths now.

11.52 am: “Indian citizens have shown the world, how one can stand in the face of a challenge even with limited resources,” adds Modi.

11.50 am: “It is because of efforts of people, entire world today is talking about how India has responded to Covid-19 crisis,” says Modi.

11.42 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with village heads on the occasion of Panchayati Raj Day.

11.38 am: “The two apps and the e-gram swaraj website is something that you all must connect with,” Modi tells village heads. “It will be a blessing for you all and keep you informed about every decision in this regard. It will also help you do your record-keeping, from property to income to mapping of land etc.”

11.33 am: “It is true people are facing obstacles...but efforts are underway to propel India in a positive direction,” says the prime minister.

11.30 am: Modi says true lessons can only be learnt during a crisis.

11.28 am: “Villages and their initiatives have been a source of inspiration for even the most intellectual people,” says the prime minister.

11.25 am: Modi says there was a time when our panchayats did not have proper access to internet services. “Today lakhs of panchayats have access to broad brand internet services,” he adds.

11.22 am: “It’s true that the coronavirus pandemic has given rise to new challenges that we had never faced before,” says Modi. “But, it has also made us learn something new.”

11.20 am: “Coronavirus has created new challenges that we have never imagined,” says prime minister. “We have to become self-reliant now...this is the biggest message.”

11.18 am: “Coronavirus has changed the way we work,” says Modi in interaction with village heads. “Lakhs of sarpanch have been connected through technology.”

11.14 am: Panchayati Raj Minister Narendra Singh Tomar praises the efforts taken by the prime minister to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

11.11 am: Modi has launched a unified e-Gram Swaraj portal and mobile application to provide gram panchayats with a single interface to prepare and implement their development plans.

11.05 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with village heads across India via video conference amid the coronavirus lockdown.


11.01 am: Kerala Health Minister KK Shylaja says the state is waiting for good coronavirus testing kits from the Indian Council of Medical Research, reports ANI. “We have also ordered some test kits,” she adds. “Once we get the test kits, we will validate them, and once we confirm the quality of the kits, we will do the antibody tests.”

10.58 am: People in Tamil Nadu gather at the office of Madurai district collector to collect vehicle e-passes in complete violation of the lockdown guidelines and social distancing measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

10.52 am: A 40-year-old man from Odisha’s Bhadrak district has tested positive for Covid-19, increasing the total number of cases in the state to 90, reports PTI.

10.45 am: US President Donald Trump has been castigated by the medical community after suggesting research into whether the coronavirus might be treated by injecting disinfectant into the body, reports CNN. “Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light... supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do, either through the skin or in some other way?” Trump said at a daily press briefing.

10.41 am: Fourteen more flights with 3,600 UK citizens will depart from the country today, reports ANI. “Once completed, these additional flights will bring the total number of people flown to UK from India on government charter flights to over 13,000,” says the British High Commission in India.

10.39 am: Franklin Templeton has decided to shut six fixed-income and credit-risk funds run by its Indian unit due to the coronavirus pandemic, reports Bloomberg. “There has been a dramatic and sustained fall in liquidity in certain segments of the corporate bonds market on account of the Covid-19 crisis and the resultant lock-down of the Indian economy,” says the asset manager.

10.33 am: Brazil records 407 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours, the highest daily toll since the start of the pandemic, reports AFP. The country has 49,492 confirmed cases of the infection.

10.30 am: William Bryan, acting head of the US Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, has claimed that the coronavirus appears to weaken more quickly when exposed to sunlight, heat and humidity, reports Reuters.

10.22 am: The Assam government has sent a team of officials and police personnel to evacuate over 350 students stranded in Kota after requests from families in the state and the government of Rajasthan, reports NDTV. They will be brought back by road to Guwahati from Kota via Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

10.18 am: Six more coronavirus cases have been detected in Bihar, taking the total number of cases in the state to 176, reports ANI.

10.17 am: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will address the media at 12 pm regarding the initial positive results of the use of plasma therapy to treat coronavirus patients, reports ANI.

10.10 am: Hongasandra, a municipal ward in Bengaluru, has been partially sealed after authorities detected 10 positive coronavirus cases over the last two days, reports NDTV.

“It has been decided to conduct tests on everyone living in the area, 184 people have been quarantined at designated places,” says Karnataka Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar.

10.06 am: The Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi has developed a low cost method of detecting Covid-19 and is now targeting large-scale deployment of the kit at affordable prices with suitable industrial partners “as soon as possible”.

Read more here: IIT-Delhi develops low cost testing kits, says it has got ICMR’s approval

10 am: Nearly 300 shops in Delhi’s Azadpur wholesale fruit and vegetable market have been shut after a 57-year-old trader died of the coronavirus on Tuesday, reports Hindustan Times. “The daughter of a trader tested positive,” District Magistrate (North) Deepak Shinde says. “The entire family and other contacts will soon be traced and tested.”

9.58 am: A closely-watched Gilead Sciences Inc experimental coronavirus treatment has failed in its first clinical trial, reports AFP. However, the drugmaker says the findings were inconclusive because the study was terminated early.

“As such, the study results are inconclusive, though trends in the data suggest a potential benefit for remdesivir, particularly among patients treated early in disease,” says a company spokesperson.

9.52 am: The rate of increase in coronavirus cases in India is significantly gentler than most Western nations. Yet, a country-wide growth rate may provide little insight into what might lie ahead for India once the lockdown lifts and inter-state migration resumes. Testing rates in states of comparable sizes and populations vary widely.

Read more here: Why Indian states have dramatically divergent Covid-19 trajectories

9.48 am: Three soldier craftsmen undergoing training at the Military Station in Gujarat’s Vadodara have tested positive for the coronavirus, reports PTI.

9.45 am: The Indian Council of Medical Research says 5,41,789 samples have been tested till Friday 9 am. Of these, 23,502 samples have been confirmed positive.

9.39 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with the village heads at 11 am today amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown. “All sarpanchs will be able to join this interaction through Doordarshan, from their respective homes adhering to social distancing norms,” tweets Modi.

9.35 am: The Covid-19 crisis has given the Narendra Modi government an opportunity to draw on economic expertise from around the world without having to admit to its own failure, since this is a global calamity and not an Indian one.

Read more here: Even if Modi won’t admit to past failures, Covid-19 crisis is a chance to listen to economic experts

9.33 am: China reports six new coronavirus cases, taking the total number of infections in the country to 82,804, according to PTI. The National Health Commission says that two of the new cases were imported ones, involving travellers from overseas, and rest four were domestically transmitted.

9.30 am: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the coronavirus pandemic shows the need to overhaul the World Health Organisation, reports Reuters. He also warns that Washington may never restore WHO funding and could even work to set up an alternative to the United Nations body instead.

9.26 am: Rajasthan reports 36 new coronavirus cases, taking the total to 2,000.

9.22 am: The Saudi presidency of the Group of 20 major economies has called for further immediate donations to fund the emergency response to the coronavirus pandemic and develop needed vaccines.

9.18 am: The coronavirus deaths in the United States has crossed 49,000 and the total number of cases was approaching 8,60,000, reports Reuters.

9.15 am: The Maharashtra government has urged the Centre to plan and resume railway services for several lakh migrant labourers who want to return home after May 3, reports The Hindu.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar warned of a possible repeat of the gathering outside Bandra railway station, when thousands of migrant labourers had assembled hoping to return home.

9.09 am: A group of non-resident medical professionals have written an open letter to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over “gross under-testing” for coronavirus cases and “misreporting of data”, reports NDTV.

The doctors said the state has conducted just 33.7 tests per million as against national average of around 156.9 per million, adding that the government has capacity to conduct around 1,000 tests a day.

Also read: ‘Sitting upon a volcano,’ Doctors in Bengal ring the alarm bell over state’s low testing numbers

9.05 am: At least 14 doctors and nurses have tested positive for the coronavirus at a Delhi government hospital in Jahangirpuri, which has emerged as one of the biggest cluster outbreaks in the Capital, reports News18.

9 am: A four-month-old baby, who had tested positive for the coronavirus, dies in Kerala, reports ANI. Malappuram district medical officer says the child was undergoing treatment for heart related problems and had pneumonia.

8.50 am: The country recorded 1,684 new cases and 37 deaths in 24 hours.

8.47 am: The health ministry has updated the coronavirus figures in the country. India now has 23,077 cases and the toll has risen to 718. The number of patients who have recovered stands at 4,748.

8.42 am: The number of people who have died from the coronavirus pandemic in France has risen by 516 to 21,856, says the health ministry, according to Reuters.

8.40 am: Kerala is planning random tests to check if the coronavirus outbreak has reached the stage of community transmission, reports NDTV.

Community transmission is said to take place when the source of infection for a large number of cases in an area cannot be traced: when individuals pick up the infection without having travelled to countries where the virus is circulating or having been in contact with known confirmed cases.

7.45 am: The US House of Representatives has approved a $484 billion coronavirus relief bill. reports Reuters. Lawmakers, many wearing masks, approved the bill during an extended period of voting intended to allow them to remain at a distance from one another in line with public health recommendations.

7.42 am: Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb says the state has no coronavirus cases after recovery of the second patient, reports ANI. “Two cases were recorded in the state, the first case had recovered earlier and the second patient has also been discharged after testing negative in repeat tests,” he adds.

7.40 am: Officials say the Indian Council of Medical Research has approved the coronavirus test developed by the Indian Institute of Technology, reports PTI. IIT Delhi is the first academic institute to have obtained the ICMR approval for a real-time PCR-based diagnostic test and is reportedly cheap.

7.37 am: Here are the top developments from Thursday:

  • The number of coronavirus patients in India rose to 21,700. The toll increased to 686, while the number of patients who have recovered stood at 4,323.
  • Maharashtra recorded 778 new cases of Covid-19, its worst single-day spike, taking the total number of patients in the state to 6,427. Mumbai accounted for 522 of these cases.
  • The Centre asserted that India has performed much better in containing the pandemic that developed countries, with the exception of South Korea. It added that the number of cases in India has grown in a linear fashion, not exponentially.
  • Congress President Sonia Gandhi said the coronavirus pandemic has increased disturbingly, both in spread and its speed, but the central government has not taken her party’s full cooperation.
  • The Ministry of Finance announced that three installments of Dearness Allowance to central government employees or pensioners will be put on hold.