8.52 pm: Here are the top updates of the day:

  • The total number of Covid-19 cases in India reached 26,917 on Sunday evening and the toll rose to 826. The number of cases has jumped by 1,975 in 24 hours – surpassing the biggest single-day spike yet again. The toll jumped by 47.    
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet chief ministers on a video conference on Monday morning to discuss the way ahead in the fight against Covid-19.
  • Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that 80% of the Covid-19 patients in the state are asymptomatic. Thackeray said that his government will take a decision on extending the lockdown by the end of April. The state, the worst-hit by the pandemic, reported 440 new cases and 19 deaths in a day, taking the total number of cases above 8,000.
  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said his government will allow shops in neighbourhoods to open after the Centre relaxed certain guidelines to permit the functioning of select shops amid the nationwide lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19. Kejriwal, however, clarified that no such relaxation will be permitted in containment zones and that no malls or shopping complexes will be allowed to operate in the Capital. Delhi has 95 containment zones.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Indians for being the driving force behind the country’s efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. In his address to the nation on Mann Ki Baat, Modi lauded the citizens for helping each other amid the health crisis.
  • The Congress demanded that the Centre make public details about the availability of RNA extraction kits that are used in the testing for Covid-19 infection. Earlier in the day, The Indian Express had reported, quoting unidentified officials, that the country was left with only 3 lakh such kits, which would last only about a week.
  • Globally, Covid-19 has infected nearly 29.2 lakh people and caused over 2.03 lakh deaths in 185 countries or regions, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker.

8.50 pm: Eleven more people test positive in Kerala, taking the total cases to 468, reports PTI.

8.44 pm: In Telangana, there has been no death in the last 24 hours. After 11 more people test positive, the total active cases in the state stands at 660.

8.41 pm: Dharavi in Mumbai reports 34 new cases today, says the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. The total number of positive cases in the slum is now 275 including 14 deaths, reports ANI.

8.09 pm: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik requests his Maharashtra counterpart Uddhav Thackeray to arrange for safe return of Odia people working there, reports ANI.

8.07 pm: Jharkhand reports 15 new cases today, reports PTI.

8.04 pm: There are 296 cases in Haryana out of which 94 are active now, says state health department.

8.03 pm: Gujarat reported 230 new cases and 18 deaths in the last 24 hours.

7.55 pm: The number cases in Punjab reaches 313, says state health department.

7.49 pm: The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 30,000 confirmed cases have been reported in the 54 countries of Africa, reports AP.

7.33 pm: 440 new cases and 19 deaths in Maharashtra today, says the state health department. With this, the state’s tally touches 8,068 while toll reaches 342.

7.28 pm: Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ says IITs, IIITs will not raise tuition fee for 2020 academic session, reports PTI.

7.27 pm: The Assam government extends the period allowing movement of stranded people, who have already applied for passes to travel home by personal vehicles and buses within the state, till April 30, says Health and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

7.23 pm: Toll in Rajasthan rises to 36 after a 60-year-old woman dies in Jodhpur, reports PTI. Number of cases in the state has jumped to 2,152.

7.12 pm: There has been no new case in Himachal Pradesh for the last three days, says Additional Chief Secretary (Health) RD Dhiman, according to PTI.

7.05 pm: In Madhya Pradesh, there are 2,090 cases and 103 deaths so far, says the state health department. Of these, Indore alone has recorded 1,176 cases and 57 deaths.

7.03 pm: A 36-year-old man admitted to a private hospital in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, released a video on Saturday, claiming that he had been wrongly declared dead due to Covid-19 infection. The Madhya Pradesh health department has admitted to an error in the man’s case, the Hindustan Times reported.

It is not yet clear whether the man, who is admitted to RD Gardi Medical College in Ujjain, has Covid-19.

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Covid-19: Ujjain man releases video to claim he was wrongly declared dead; hospital admits to error

7.02 pm: Nepal extends the nationwide lockdown till May 7, reports ANI.

7.01 pm: 15 more cases in Bihar, says Principal Secretary (Health) Sanjay Kumar. The state’s total count rises to 274.

6.58 pm: Spain’s daily toll drops to 288, the country’s lowest figure since March 20, according to AFP.

6.55 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh says 150 students from Kota are on their way to Punjab in 7 buses.

6.34 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says the coronavirus situation in the country is improving as many hotspot districts are moving towards being non-hotspots, reports PTI.

6.31 pm: Number of active cases in West Bengal rises to 461 while the toll stands at 20, says the state health department.

6.19 pm: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat says India handled the pandemic effectively as government and people responded proactively to this crisis, reports PTI.

6.17 pm: Total number of cases in Tamil Nadu rises to 1,885 after 64 more people test positive. The toll in the state rises to 24 with one more person’s death.

5.59 pm: The Delhi High Court directs that the helplines and WhatsApp numbers, especially meant for dealing with domestic violence matter, shall be kept functional properly, reports ANI.

5.57 pm: 40 cases reported in Himachal Pradesh so far, says the state Health Department

5.52 pm: The Shimla district administration allows opening of shops, except for those in malls and liquor shops, in rural areas from 10 am to 2 pm. The order will come into effect from Monday.

5.51 pm: In the last 24 hours, India has reported 1975 cases and 47 deaths.

5.47 pm: India’s count rises to 26,917 cases, according to the Union health ministry’s 5 pm update on Sunday. Of this, 826 people have died.

5.44 pm: Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor, who contracted Covid-19 last month and has since recovered, says that nobody she came in contact with before she was hospitalised had tested positive. In an Instagram post defending her actions, Kapoor says she had not quarantined herself after her trip to the United Kingdom because there was no advisory to do so at that time.

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Kanika Kapoor says she didn’t quarantine herself after UK travel as ‘there was no such advisory’

5.30 pm: In Nepal, the tally rises to 51 after two more people test positive, reports PTI.

5.29 pm: 15 Central Reserve Police Force personnel tested positive in Delhi, reports PTI. With the fresh cases, the number of infected personnel in the unit stands at 24.

5.25 pm: 29 people tested positive in last 24 hours in Kashmir division. Of the 523 cases in Jammu and Kashmir, 466 are in Kashmir Valley and 57 in Jammu division, reports ANI citing officials.

5.23 pm: Bihar so far has 259 cases after four people test positive, says Principal Secretary (Health) Sanjay Kumar.

5.22 pm: Karnataka has reported only three new cases in the last 24 hours, says the state government.

5.21 pm: The Tamil Nadu government promulgates an ordinance to make provision of fine and jail term of upto three years for those who block or attempt to block burial/cremation of any person who died due to notified diseases under Tamil Nadu Public Health Act, reports ANI.

5.18 pm: There are 30 cases in Chandigarh so far, says the administration. Out of these, 17 people have recovered. A total of 756 samples have been tested so far, reports ANI.

5.02 pm: A cook at Kolkata’s Belle Vue Clinic tests positive, reports PTI. The clinic has shut down one of its kitchens, and placed his co-workers under home quarantine.

5.01 pm: The Maharashtra government will make coronavirus tests and treatment in medical and dental colleges under the state’s Medical Education Department free, Home Minister Amit Deshmukh tells PTI. “The state government has taken a very significant decision and the people should come forward,” he adds. “They should not hide symptoms or avoid getting tested thinking about the high costs of treatment. This decision will help contain the spread of the virus.”

4.38 pm: The number of hospitalised Covid-19 patients in Wuhan city of China is now zero for the first time, PTI reports.

Also read

Covid-19: Wuhan, once the epicentre, now has no more patient in hospital, says China

4.35 pm: Bihar has four new cases, taking the total in the state to 255, says Principal Secretary (Health) Sanjay Kumar.

4.30 pm: The total number of cases in Uttar Pradesh has reached 1,843, of which 289 have been discharged and 29 have died, says Principal Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi says the number of hotspots across the state is now 402.

3.53 pm: The Haryana government confirms seven new cases, taking the total to 294, PTI reports.

3.52 pm: A 58-year-old man from a village in Amravati, Maharashtra, tests positive for Covid-19, taking the district’s tally to 20, PTI reports.

3.24 pm: Andhra Pradesh has 81 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 1,097. The number of active cases is 835.

3.23 pm: Forty-four staff members, including doctors, at Jagjivan Ram Hospital in Jahangirpuri area of ​​Delhi have tested positive for Covid-19, the Delhi health department says, according to ANI.

Also read

Delhi: Two hospitals temporarily shut within a day as several employees test positive for Covid-19

3.18 pm: The total number of cases worldwide has crossed 29 lakh, according to the tracker by Johns Hopkins University. Around 8.24 lakh patients have recovered, and 2.03 lakh have died.

3.16 pm: Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma says the state government has extended inter-district travel by three more days, till April 30.

3.14 pm: In an interview to PTI, BJP leader and former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis says the Maharashtra government is putting the lives of residents in Dharavi slum area in danger by not testing aggressively.

3.12 pm: Latest data from Rajasthan shows 69 new cases and two deaths. The total number of cases in the state so far is 2,152 and the toll is 36.

3.11 pm: Rural Development Secretary Rajesh Bhushan is appointed as Officer on Special Duty in the Department of Health and Family Welfare, says the government, according to ANI.

3.10 pm: Tewari asks why India is left with only 3 lakh RNA kits for testing, as reported in the media.

Read more: Congress seeks Centre’s explanation after report claims only 3 lakh RNA kits left

3.07 pm: Manish Tewari says the number of tests India has conducted since January 30 is less even compared to neighbouring countries. He says that while health organisations are asking for 1 lakh tests a day, India is conducting only 39,000. “If our testing capacity is of 1 lakh tests a day, why are our numbers being kept low?” he asks. “Is our government worried about dealing with an adverse outcome?”

3.06 pm: Tewari expresses the hope that in his meeting with chief ministers, Modi puts out a comprehensive, holistic strategy to deal with the crisis. “Till there is no national plan to deal with disasters, how can states formulate plans to deal with issues post-lockdown?” he asks.

2.57 pm: In a video briefing, Congress MP Manish Tewari says, “We can understand the government did not have any idea of the havoc the coronavirus would create. So some measures were taken in a jiffy. But now it has been a lot of time. So the government would now have an idea of things from medical to the human level.”

2.56 pm: Health Secretary Preeti Sudan gets three months’ extension beyond the date of her superannuation, says the government, according to ANI.

2.47 pm: Maharashtra Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope tells The Indian Express that the extension of the lockdown in hotspots such as Mumbai and Pune is under consideration. The decision will be taken after discussing all aspects, he says.

Unidentified officials tell the newspaper that the lockdown in the two cities may be extended until May 15.

2.43 pm: Two new cases have been reported in Uttarakhand, taking the total number in the state to 50. One of the patients is a healthcare worker at AIIMS, Rishikesh.

2.42 pm: The Supreme Court has heard 593 matters via video-conferencing and delivered judgements in 215 of them over the past month, PTI reports. Normally, the top court hears around 3,500 cases on an average in a month.

2.34 pm: Jammu and Kashmir official Rohit Kansal says 376 students belonging to the Union Territory are set to return from Kota on Monday.

2.32 pm: Thackeray says 80% of the patients in Maharashtra are asymptomatic.

He assures migrant labourers in the state that he is talking to the Centre and will soon do whatever is possible. “One thing is sure, that trains are not starting because we don’t want a crowd, otherwise lockdown will be needed to be further extended,” he says.

2.30 pm: In an online briefing, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray pays tribute to the two head constables in Mumbai who died of Covid-19, ANI reports.

Also read

Covid-19: 80% patients in Maharashtra asymptomatic, says CM Uddhav Thackeray

2.14 pm: Thirty-one Covid-19 cases have been found at an ISKCON temple in Dhaka, Bangladesh, reports PTI. The building has been locked down by authorities.

Bangladesh has nearly 5,000 Covid-19 cases and 140 deaths.

2.13 pm: Singapore reports 931 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total number to 13,624.

2.11 pm: A 52-year-old head constable has died due to Covid-19, the Mumbai Police say. Another head constable had died of Covid-19 on Saturday.

2.09 pm: South Korea confirms 10 new cases in the past 24 hours, marking the ninth straight day that the country has reported fewer than 20 new cases, AP reports.

2.08 pm: Fourteen Border Security Force jawans have been quarantined in Chhattisgarh for suspected infection after they returned from Agra, PTI reports. Their test results are awaited, say officials.

2 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi says “a bottleneck” is stopping India from scaling up the testing from around 40,000 a day to 1 lakh a day, “for which test kits are already in stock”. He says Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to act fast and clear the bottleneck.

1.55 pm: The Delhi High Court says Covid-19 testing kits should be made available urgently at the lowest price possible to safeguard the health of people at the time of an “unprecedented medical crisis”, PTI reports.

Justice Najmi Waziri issues the direction to three private companies which had entered into an agreement to import 10 lakh test kits from China and distribute them here at a cost of Rs 600 each, the rate approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research. However, the court says the kits cannot be sold at a price higher than Rs 400.

Read more: Delhi HC caps price of testing kits imported from China at Rs 400 per unit

1.48 pm: Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra says the government’s focus should be on spreading the correct information and providing the right treatment to stop the spread of the coronavirus. This came after Agra Mayor Naveen Jain wrote a letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, requesting him to “save Agra”.

“The situation in Agra city is bad and the number of coronavirus patients is going up everyday,” she tweets. “The mayor of Agra says that if the right arrangements are not made, the matter can go out of hand.”

1.43 pm: Several pollution hotspots in Mumbai and Delhi have recorded minimal to zero levels of pollution amid the countrywide lockdown, PTI reports. Some of these areas in the National Capital Region are Vinoba Puri, Adarsh Nagar, Vasundhara, Sahibabad, Ashram road, Punjabi Bagh, Okhla and Badarpur.

In Mumbai, Worli, Borivali and Bhandup were among areas which recorded cleaner air as compared to other areas of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

1.41 pm: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says that without developing aggressive testing facilities, India cannot conquer the challenges posed by Covid-19. In a video message, Singh says testing and tracing are key to “fighting the menace”. “There are problems with regard to the inadequacy of testing facilities and without more aggressive facilities of testing, we are not going to conquer this menace.”

1.36 pm: Two judges are travelling distances of around 2,000 km each by road amid the lockdown to take oath as chief justices of high courts in different parts of the country, PTI reports. While Justice Dipankar Dutta of the Calcutta High Court is driving to Mumbai, Allahabad High Court judge Justice Biswanath Somadder is driving to Shillong via Kolkata.

1.34 pm: Ten survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984 have died of the coronavirus in the city, The Times of India reports.

1.32 pm: A woman in Ecuador was accidentally pronounced dead of Covid-19, after a hospital wrongly identified someone else’s body as hers, AFP reports.

1.28 pm: A farmer stranded in Mumbai bought 25 tonnes of onions, loaded them onto a truck, and travelled all the way to his village located on the outskirts of Prayagraj in a desperate attempt to get back home amid the lockdown, PTI reports.

1.25 pm: The Bangladesh government refuses to allow about 500 Rohingya refugees stranded on board two fishing trawlers in the Bay of Bengal to come ashore, reports Al Jazeera. The country’s foreign minister AK Abdul Momen says the refugees are not “Bangladesh’s responsibility”.

1.22 pm: The vast illegal wildlife trade and humanity’s excessive intrusion into nature is to blame for the coronavirus pandemic, says US scientist Thomas Lovejoy, according to The Guardian. “This is not nature’s revenge, we did it to ourselves,” he adds. Lovejoy coined the term “biological diversity” in 1980 and is often referred to as the godfather of biodiversity.

12.59 pm: US President Donald Trump says that his daily coronavirus briefings were “not worth his time”, two days after sparking a furore by suggesting patients might be injected with disinfectant to combat Covid-19. “What is the purpose of having White House news conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, and then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately,” he tweets.

12.55 pm: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urges media houses not to lay off journalists or announce pay cuts amid the pandemic, PTI reports. He says the government will also take necessary steps to test journalists and media persons in the state to ensure they have not contracted the deadly virus.

12.52 pm: The Karnataka Police books Janata Dal (Secular) legislator KT Srikante Gowda and his son for allegedly assaulting healthcare workers in Mandya who were conducting tests of journalists in the district, IANS reports.

12.50 pm: Six people in the Bargaon village in Madhya Pradesh test positive after they went to a salon for a haircut, PTI reports. The entire village has been sealed off. The barber at the store reportedly used the same cloth while shaving and cutting hair of the six customers.

12.48 pm: Hindu Rao Hospital in Delhi has been sealed after a nurse tested positive for the virus, PTI reports. The hospital falls under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and is the largest hospital of the district.

12.28 pm: The health of a Covid-19 patient at the Lok Nayak Hospital in Delhi has significantly improved after he was administered the plasma therapy, Kejriwal says.

12.24 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announces that some shops in the Capital will be allowed to function. Medical stores, grocery stores, and dairy shops will be open. Meanwhile, standalone shops in residential areas and neighbourhood markers will also be allowed to function, he says. However, the exemptions will not apply to shops in malls, coronavirus hotspots and containment zones.

12.20 pm: The Maharashtra government issues a circular stressing on the importance of social distancing, hygiene and wearing protection gear, after some of its employees tested positive for the coronavirus, PTI reports. Employees should wear masks, hand gloves and if necessary, even aprons, and ensure that soap, water and hand sanitisers are available at workplaces, it said.

12.14 pm: Doctors in Indore say a more virulent strain of the coronavirus may be infecting people in the city, which is one of the infection hotspots in Madhya Pradesh, PTI reports. The samples will now be sent to the National Institute of Virology to confirm whether their observations are accurate.

12.10 pm: The Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association writes to Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, demanding that accomodation arrangements be made for resident doctors who have been asked to go in quarantine at home. The doctors’ body says that since many of them live with their families, they are anxious of infecting others at home, especially the elderly and children.

12.05 pm: In Jharkhand, 13 Covid-19 patients have recovered till now. Out of these, six are from Ranchi, four are from Bokaro, two are from Hazaribagh and and one person is from Simdega. The state’s recovery ratio for this week is 18%, ANI reports, quoting the state’s health department.

12.03 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath holds a meeting with chairpersons of 11 committees of the state to discuss the coronavirus situation in the state.

12.02 pm: A group of 164 Swiss nationals who were stranded in Kerala have been airlifted from the Cochin International Airport in a Swiss Air flight.

12.00 pm: Streets in Coimbatore wore a deserted look as an “intense lockdown” began in five cities of Tamil Nadu.

11.46 am: Two Air India flights and one Blue Dart flight have delivered about 78 tonnes of cargo to the country as part of a consignment of one million PPE kits from a Singapore-based company, ANI reports, quoting the High Commission of India in Singapore.

11.44 am: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan holds a meeting via video conference with all district collectors, police chiefs and medical officers to review the coronavirus situation in the state.

11.40 am: Modi says medical workers and doctors have expressed satisfaction with the ordinance that provides stringent punishment for those indulging in violence against “coronavirus warriors”. “It was critical to ensure the safety of all doctors, nurses and paramedical staff,” he adds.

11.32 am: Modi asks Indians to fall back on the country’s culture, traditions and history in their collective fight against the coronavirus.

11.26 am: “When I speak to the leaders of other countries, they thank India and people of India,” Modi says. “India’s ayurveda and yoga is also being talked about and is appreciated across the world,” he adds.

11.24 am: Talking about India’s decision to export hydroxychloroquine and other drugs to countries, Modi says: “This is a time when India does not need to share its medicines with other countries, but still, India acted beyond its own self-interests and considered the humanitarian needs of the world.”

“We took the responsibility to provide medicines to different countries to help everyone,” he adds.

11.22 am: Prime Minister Modi stresses on the importance of wearing masks and urges citizens to use handmade cloth masks to protect themselves. “Covid-19 has led to many changes around us and the most prominent among them is wearing a mask.”

11.18 am: “Today, we are realising every person’s value – people who work in our houses, shopkeepers, drivers... We are now realising the importance of people during this coronavirus lockdown,” Modi adds.

11.17 am: Modi says the police force’s humanitarian side has come to the fore, as they have taken every step to assist people in the time of the crisis.

11.16 am: “Be it in cities or a village, everywhere we can see people getting involved in this fight against the pandemic,” Modi says. “While some are feeding the poor, some are making masks, others are selling their lands to raise money for this fight. Some are even contributing their pensions.”

11.09 am: Modi launches a digital portal called Covidwarriors.gov.in and urges all citizens to use it.

11.07 am: “People of our country are fighting this war together with the administration,” Modi says. “We are also fighting poverty. I am proud that all of us are part of it. All of us are soldiers in this fight.”

11.06 am: Farmers are working hard to provide food amid the countrywide lockdown, while doctors are working round-the-clock to fight the pandemic, Modi says.

11.04 am: Modi says the fight against coronavirus in India is “people driven”.

11.03 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses India about the coronavirus situation in his monthly radio programme Mann ki Baat.

9.20 am: Rajasthan reports 58 new Covid-19 cases, taking the total cases in the state to 2,141, ANI reports.

9.10 am: Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday urged Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath to reconsider his plan to bring back migrant workers stranded in other states and Union Territories amid the countrywide lockdown to contain the coronavirus, warning that this could turn into a “big problem”.

Read more here:

Covid-19: ‘This is not the time’ to bring back migrant workers, Nitin Gadkari tells Adityanath

9.05 am: Health workers on Covid-19 duty say working in protective gear leaves them drained and it feels ‘like a sauna bath’. However, they are thankful they have adequate protective equipment to begin with. Read more here.

9 am: India has recorded 1,990 Covid-19 cases and 49 deaths in the last 24 hours.

8.55 am: “We’re capable of undertaking any operational task assigned to us,” Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat tells ANI.

8.52 am: Rawat adds that Covid-19 has “taught us a lesson that the time has now come to be self-reliant”, according to ANI.

Scientists and other agencies that were “involved in medical research have come up with innovative ideas to produce medical equipment in the country, which we were so far importing, to help us tide over Covid-19”, the general says. “We in the defence services have been importing our weapons, equipment and ammunition from abroad. But I think, if we can give this challenge to the industry, to our own research and [development organisations], I think we can start manufacturing our own ammunitions in the country.”

8.50 am: The infection has affected the three services in a “limited number”, Rawat tells the news agency.

8.48 am: Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, says patience and discipline will help India overcome Covid-19, ANI reports. “As armed forces, we understand our responsibility in the fight against COVID19,” he says. “We’ve to make sure that we remain safe because if our soldiers, sailors & airmen get affected by this virus, how’re we going to support our people.”

8.45 am: India’s Covid-19 tally rises to 26,496 on Sunday morning, according to latest data from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Of these cases, 19,868 are still undergoing treatment, while 5,803 have recovered and 824 have died.

8.30 am: The Delhi Minorities Commission has expressed concern about the death of two Tablighi Jamaat members at a quarantine centre for Covid-19 patients in Sultanpuri area of North West Delhi, and urged Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to investigate the matter.

Read more here:

Covid-19: Two Tablighi members die in quarantine centre in Delhi, minorities’ panel demands probe

8.25 am: The recent decision by United States President Donald Trump to halt US funding to the World Health Organisation in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic sparked a major controversy. The US is one of the largest donors to the WHO, contributing nearly $90 million, or about 16% of the organisation’s total budget in 2018-’19. To put the debate in perspective, it’s useful to understand how the World Health Organisation decides where to spend its funds, and how it allocates money between different global health programmes and regions.

Read more here:

Explained: How the WHO is funded and where the money is spent

8.20 pm: The Kuli Bazaar area in Kanpur is declared a “red zone”, ANI reports.

8.15 am: From street sweepers and farmers to rural housewives, poor Indians who breathe some of the world’s dirtiest air are at greater risk of dying from the new coronavirus than wealthier groups, health experts have warned.

Read more here:

India’s abysmal air quality makes its poor more vulnerable to Covid-19

8.10 am: Twelve railway coaches have been converted into isolations wards at the Moradabad railway station, ANI reports.

8 am: The Rajasthan High Court will be closed till May 3 after an official tests positive for Covid-19, PTI reports. Only urgent matters will be held.

7.40 am: Pakistan clarifies that it is not preparing any vaccine with China, PTI reports. But, the government says, a Chinese company got in touch and asked Pakistan to be a part of its clinical trials. Pakistan has sought more details.

The number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan climbed to 12,644, and 256 people have died.

7.30 am: Globally, Covid-19 has infected more than 28.96 lakh people and caused over 2.02 lakh deaths in 185 countries or regions, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker.

7.25 am: Complete lockdown begins in Chennai and four other cities of Tamil Nadu. On Friday, the government had announced that Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore would be completely shut for four days, starting at 6 am on April 26 to 9 pm on April 29. The cities of Salem and Tirupur will also be shut for three days. During this period, standalone grocery stores and other shops such as bakeries will be closed.

Extremely essential services such as grocery stores, medical shops, hospitals and ATMs will be open.

7.20 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address India through his monthly radio programme Mann ki Baat at 11 am. He is expected to speak about the country’s coronavirus situation.

7.15 am: The toll in UK crosses 20,000, AFP reports.

7.10 am: America records 2,494 deaths in 24 hours, AFP reports. The toll in US is now 53,511, and the number of confirmed infections rose to 9,36,293.

7 am: Here are the top 10 updates from Saturday:

  1. The number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 24,942, and the toll to 779 on Saturday evening, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. As many as 5,209 patients have been cured so far. Saturday’s rise of 1,490 cases was the lowest daily percentage rise in cases since the country hit 100 infections.
  2. The Centre eased lockdown curbs to allow standalone shops in residential areas to open with conditions. However, the relaxations will not apply to shops in malls, coronavirus hotspots and containment zones. “It would be mandatory for all permitted shops to open only with 50% strength of workers, ensure compulsory wearing of masks and strict adherence to social distancing norms,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in its order.
  3. China rejected global calls for an independent international investigation into the origins of the virus. A top Chinese diplomat in the United Kingdom claimed that such demands were political in nature. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said America will make sure the entire world knows that the virus originated in Wuhan city in China.
  4. The World Health Organization said there is no evidence that people cured of Covid-19 cannot be reinfected with the virus. The United Nations agency warned governments against issuing “immunity passports” or “risk-free certificates” to infected people who have recovered.
  5. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath banned public gatherings in the state till June 30. The chief minister also directed people to perform prayers at home with the beginning of Ramzan.
  6. There was panic buying in some cities in Tamil Nadu, which will go under an “intense lockdown” for three to four days from Sunday. Only extremely essential services such as medical shops, hospitals and ATMs will be open in the cities of Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Salem and Tirupur during these days.
  7. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other Congress leaders criticised the Narendra Modi government’s decision to cancel the dearness allowance of pensioners, government employees and soldiers. The party castigated the Bharatiya Janata Party for continuing with Central Vista project to reconstruct an iconic section of New Delhi, while cutting into the allowances of government servants during the crisis.
  8. The total deaths from the coronavirus pandemic crossed 50,000 in the United States. The country has over 8,75,000 confirmed cases and over 3,000 deaths were reported in a single day on Friday.
  9. The number of coronavirus cases in Mumbai’s Dharavi reported on Saturday declined to seven, as extensive screening continues in Asia’s largest slum. On Friday, the slum had reported 25 cases. However, Maharashtra reported 811 new cases and 22 new deaths, taking its total number of cases to 7,628 and deaths to 323.
  10. Globally, the total number of cases rose to over 28.3 lakh, and the number of deaths to 1.98 lakh by Saturday evening. The virus is now present in 185 countries or territories across the globe.