10.55 pm: Here are today’s top updates:

  • India’s number of coronavirus cases rose to 33,610 on Thursday evening and the toll increased to 1,075, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The number of Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra, India’s worst-hit state, crossed the 10,000-mark after 583 new infections were recorded. The state reported 27 more deaths, taking the toll to 459.
  • Former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan said that any further lockdown would be “devastating” for the economy and added that India needed to be “clever” about the removal of restrictions. The lockdown is scheduled to end on May 3.
  • The Indian embassies in the United Arab Emirates and the United States have started online registration to contact Indian nationals who are stranded in the two countries because of the lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic. However, no date of travel has been announced yet.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday said that no separate passes were required for inter-state movement of trucks carrying goods or returning after deliveries, amid the nationwide lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19.
  • Globally, Covid-19 has infected 32.31 lakh people and caused 2.29 lakh deaths across 185 countries or regions, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker.
  • United States President Donald Trump has said that his government will not extend Covid-19 social distancing guidelines, scheduled to end on Thursday. He also spoke of plans to hold massive rallies for the presidential elections in the next few months.

10.37 pm: Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin tests positive for Covid-19.

10.32 pm: The Delhi government plans to screen all people living in Covid-19 containment zones, PTI reports.

9.42 pm: The Covid-19 virus was neither man-made nor genetically modified, the US intelligence community says, according to AFP.

The intelligence community “will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan”, the US intelligence directorate adds.

9.34 pm: New cases in more states:

Rajasthan: 146 new cases, total rises to 2,584, toll now 58,

Madhya Pradesh: 65 new cases, total rises to 2,625, toll now 137

Gujarat: 313 new cases, total rises to 4,395, toll now 214

Uttar Pradesh: 77 new cases, total rises to 2,211, toll now 40

Bihar: 13 new cases, total rises to 422.

9.03 pm: The World Health Organisation express concern over the community spread of the coronavirus in a significant number of West African countries, reports Reuters. Sub-Saharan Africa has confirmed around 23,800 cases with over 900 deaths.

8.56 pm: The Delhi government has set up a coronavirus testing centre exclusively for police personnel, reports PTI.

8.52 pm: The Tamil Nadu government has appointed senior IAS officer Atulya Misra as the state’s nodal officer to regulate the movement of people stranded in other states due to the nationwide lockdown, reports PTI.

8.48 pm: Mumbai has 6,874 cases after 417 patients tested positive for the coronavirus, reports PTI.

8.42 pm: Delhi government issues notification stating the guidelines for home isolation of patients with “very mild” or no symptoms.

8.40 pm: Maharashtra reports 583 new coronavirus cases to breach the 10,000-case mark, reports ANI. The state now has 10,498 cases. Meanwhile, 27 deaths have been recorded to take the total toll to 459 in the state.

7.29 pm: Punjab records 105 new cases, which is the biggest single-day increase so far for the state. Total number of positive cases stands at 480 now.

7.26 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh directs officials to prepare data of migrant labourers stranded in the state due to the lockdown and also urges Prime Minister Narendra Modi to arrange special trains for their return, reports PTI.

7.20 pm: Mumbai’s Dharavi slum reports 25 new coronavirus cases, taking total number of infections to 369, according to ANI.

7.18 pm: The Gujarat High Court has cancelled summer vacation scheduled this year from May 11 to June 7 due to the coronavirus crisis, reports Bar and Bench. The court will continue its present arrangement of hearing cases through video conferencing.

7.12 pm: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President MK Stalin urges the state government to make a decision without delay on whether to extend or not the coronavirus lockdown after May 3, reports The Hindu.

“The second phase of the lockdown comes to an end on May 3 and people are keen to know whether it would be extended or lifted in a phased manner,” he says in a statement. “Let the government make a quick decision without delay as it will avoid unnecessary tension and confusion.”

7.10 pm: The Madhya Pradesh government has brought back over 20,000 migrant labourers, who were stranded in other states due to the nationwide lockdown, reports PTI. “Labourers travelling in 200 buses from Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer, Nagaur, Jodhpur and Jaipur cities had reached Neemuch, Agar-Malwa, Sheopur and Guna entry points in Madhya Pradesh,” says Additional Chief Secretary ICP Keshari.

7 pm: Indian analytical company Crisil Research has said that the coronavirus pandemic could lead to a permanent 4% loss in the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Read more here.

6.46 pm: Chandigarh reports seven new coronavirus cases, taking the total number of positive cases to 74, according to ANI.

6.42 pm: Congress urges the Himachal Pradesh government not to rush opening schools in the state as there is a risk of local transmission of the coronavirus, reports PTI. “Majority of scientists in the world are advising that at the moment Covid-19 can be avoided only through social distancing,” party spokesperson Jitendra Sharma says. “In schools, it will be impossible to follow social distancing norms.”

6.38 pm: Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi urges the Centre to allow running of special trains to facilitate the movement of people stranded in different parts of the country. “If we depend on buses, the process could take months to complete,” he adds. “These people are spread across the country. Their number is noticeably large in places like Delhi. We can opt for buses to bring people from places which are close to Bihar. But for far-off ones, the Centre should consider our request for special trains.”

6.30 pm: Centre asks states to ensure uninterrupted inter-state movement of loaded as well as empty trucks during the nationwide lockdown, reports PTI. The home ministry says no separate passes will be required for trucks and goods vehicles to move across states. “This is essential to maintain supply chain of goods and services in the country,” the ministry adds.

6.26 pm: Delhi Health Department has designated Maha Durga Charitable Trust Hospital and Ganga Ram City Hospital to treat confirmed/suspected coronavirus patients.

6.22 pm: Tamil Nadu records 161 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 2,323, according to ANI. Of these, 138 cases were reported from Chennai.

6.20 pm: West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha says 11 people have died due to Covid-19 in the state, taking the toll to 33, reports PTI.

6.18 pm: The Maharashtra government says all asymptomatic positive patients without comorbidity should be shifted to appropriate coronavirus care centres to decongest hospitals, reports ANI. Similarly, patients in private hospitals should be stamped and be under home quarantine after proper counselling.

6.06 pm: Here is a look at how the coronavirus cases have risen in the past few weeks.

5.59 pm: The foreign ministry also says testing kits brought from China are under examination by the Indian Council of Medical Research. “Priority is now to enhance rapid test kits,” the ministry adds. “MEA is helping as part of the empowered group.”

5.56 pm: The Ministry of External Affairs says India has provided 2.8 million hydroxychloroquine, or HCQ, tablets, and 1.9 million paracetamol tablets as part of assistance, reports ANI. These medicines were also provided on a commercial basis to 87 countries.

5.50 pm: Karnataka reports 30 new coronavirus cases, taking the total number of infections in the state to 565, according to ANI.

5.42 pm: The health ministry has updated the coronavirus patient figures in the country. India now has 33,610 cases and the toll has risen to 1,075. Of these, 8,372 patients have recovered from the infection.

5.33 pm: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan says Kasaragod Collector D Sajith Babu, Inspector General Vijay Sakhare and Ashok Yadav have gone into self-quarantine after a journalist in the district tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, reports ANI.

5.30 pm: India’s largest company Reliance Industries entire board and senior leaders will take pay cuts ranging between 30 to 50% and the firm’s chairperson Mukesh Ambani will forgo all his compensation for 2020-’21 due to the coronavirus crisis, reports PTI.

“The hydrocarbons business has been adversely impacted due to reduction in demand for refined products and petrochemicals,” says the company. “ This has of course put pressure on our Hydrocarbons business necessitating organization and cost reduction across all fronts.”

5.26 pm: States where coronavirus doubling time is above 40 days:

  • Assam: 59 days
  • Telangana: 70.8 days
  • Chattisgarh: 89.7 days
  • Himachal Pradesh: 191.6 days

5.20 pm: List of states where coronavirus doubling time is between 20 to 40 days from the health ministry briefing.

  • Karnataka: 21.6 days
  • Ladakh: 24.2 days
  • Haryana: 24.4 days
  • Uttarakhand: 30.3 days
  • Kerala: 37.5 days

5.17 pm: Modi has directed officials to take “proactive approach” to help investors get all the necessary Central and state clearances in a time bound manner. “Various strategies to bring investments into India in a fast-track mode and to promote Indian domestic sectors were discussed,” says the statement. “Detailed discussions were held on guiding states to evolve their strategies and be more proactive in attracting investments.”

5.15 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting to discuss strategies to attract more foreign investments into India as well as to promote local investments in order to give a boost to the economy against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, says a press release from his office.

5.07 pm: New coronavirus cases in more states:

  • Odisha: 14 new cases, total rises to 142.
  • Assam: Four new cases, total rises to 41.
  • Chhattisgarh: Two new cases, total rises to 40.  
  • Uttar Pradesh: 69 new cases, total rises to 2,203.

5 pm: The Maharashtra government has issued a notification designating all the district collectors as the nodal authority for inter-state movement of stranded migrant workers, tourists, pilgrims, students and others, reports PTI.

“No movement shall be permitted into or outside Maharashtra unless the group of stranded persons has obtained a letter from the appropriate district collector or the director of the state disaster management,” the notification says.

4.52 pm: Pune Joint Police Commissioner Ravindra Shisve has issued an order for closure of all shops, excluding hospitals and medical stores, in 23 hotspots between May 1 to 3, reports ANI. During this period, milk shops will open between 10 am to 12 pm and home delivery of milk will be allowed between 6 am to 10 am.

4.44 pm: The health ministry says for testing and treatment protocol only RTP-PCR test can be used. “RT-PCR tests are available in 292 government and 97 private facilities across the country; 49,800 tests conducted on average in last 5 days,” says Lav Agarwal.

4.40 pm: Health ministry’s breakup of the coronavirus deaths in India:

  • 65% of deaths are male and 35% are female.   
  • Less than 45 years: 14% 
  • 45-60 year age group: 34.8%  
  • More than 60 years: 51.2%  
  • 60-75 years: 42%  
  • Above 75 years: 9.2%  

4.35 pm: Bihar Disaster Management Department nominates nodal officers to coordinate with officers of other states to bring back people stranded in different parts of the country, reports ANI.

4.22 pm: Agarwal says private sector facilities need to function and cannot refuse services, adding that hospitals cannot demand negative coronavirus tests before accepting patients.

4.20 pm: “We have requested states to not refuse services to non-coronavirus patients,” says Agarwal. “TB, leprosy, dengue, cancer, dialysis etc services need to regularly continue and we have issued guidelines.”

4.17 pm: Agarwal adds that based on the data, 3.2% cases are fatal and the country’s doubling rate is 11 days.

4.15 pm: Joint Health Secretary Lav Agarwal says the country recorded 1,780 new cases in the last 24 hours. “We have over 23,000 active cases,” he adds. “Our country’s recovery rate is 25.19%. There is a progressive trend in recovery rate, 14 days ago it was 13.06%.”

4.12 pm: In Chennai, the central teams found Tamil Nadu has a good recovery rate of 71%, says Punya Salila Srivastava. She also says migrants are happy with the facilities being provided for them and that the coronavirus test reports are available within 24 hrs.

4.09 pm: The home ministry official says two inter-ministerial central team visited Hyderabad and Chennai. She says the teams found that Hyderabad has enough kits, adding that the state is using an end-to-end IT dashboard to track patients right from testing to discharge.

4.05 pm: Joint Secretary of Home Ministry Punya Salila Srivastava says inter-state movement of people has been allowed, but states have to follow standard protocol for the same. All of the stranded people will be screened and asymptomatic ones will be allowed to move.

4.04 pm: The Centre is briefing the media on the coronavirus situation.


3.58 pm: Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb says the state government is not considering withdrawal of the ongoing lockdown in near future but will weigh options to relax some restrictions in a phased manner, reports PTI. “It is impossible to resume inter-state bus, train or air services after May 3,” he adds. “People have to accept the lockdown.”

3.51 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says India is doing better compared to other countries on all parameters in the fight against the pandemic, reports PTI. He hopes the country will win this decisive war in the coming few weeks.

3.45 pm: Iran’s toll crosses 6,000-mark with 71 new fatalities, reports AFP.

3.31 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he held discussions with Myanmar state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi on mitigating the effects of Covid-19.

3.26 pm: Gurugram district administration issues notification for enforcing stricter measures from 10 am on May 1.

3.24 pm: Telangana minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav says trains are a better mode of transport than bus for migrant workers in this heat. “Over 2 crore people are stranded in different States amid lockdown,” he says. “[The] Central government’s guidelines [on their movement] are not appropriate. How can people travel 3 to 4 days in buses in this heat? Train is better mode of transport than bus.”

3.20 pm: Singapore reports 528 new coronavirus cases, taking total to 16,169.

3.19 pm: Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk on Wednesday called the lockdown meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic a “fascist” action and “an outrage” that infringes on personal freedom.

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Covid-19: Elon Musk calls lockdown a ‘fascist act’, says it is not democratic

3.15 pm: The Reserve Bank extends the truncated trading hours of debt as well as currency markets till further notice, reports PTI.

3.12 pm: Spain’s toll increases by 268 – the lowest daily number since March 20 – reports AFP.

3.11 pm: Adil Khan, the chairman of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (Azadpur) says 46 people have been quarantined after 15 people tested positive. “We sanitised their shops and sealed them,” he tells ANI. “Several samples [have been] collected, [and] results [are] awaited.”

2.44 pm: The Bombay High Court calls the recent gathering of 2,000 migrant workers in Bandra a “one-off incident”, reports The Indian Express. It also refuses to pass urgent directions to the Maharashtra government to prevent such developments.

2.38 pm: Here’s a look at the number of tests conducted in India so far

2.35 pm: The Supreme Court refuses to stay the Central Vista project, a Rs 20,000-crore venture that aims to build a new Parliament and other central government offices in Lutyens’ Delhi.

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SC declines stay on Central Vista project, says there will be no work on it during Covid-19 crisis

2.32 pm: Four more cases from Assam’s Bongaigaon district. The number of patients in Assam now stands at 41.

2.31 pm: Rajasthan reports 118 new cases today. Total cases in the state rise to 2,556.

2.21 pm: The Delhi government is making arrangements to soon bring Delhi students back home from Kota, says Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

2.11 pm: Over 2,300 students from West Bengal will return home from Rajasthan’s Kota in 95 buses arranged by the state government, says Home Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay. They are expected to reach West Bengal by Friday.

2.02 pm: Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac says the central government should come out with a package to rehabilitate interstate and international migrant workers. “Centre should take their responsibility as it comes under the Union list,” he tells ANI.

2.01 pm: Haryana reports 18 new cases, taking the total number of infections to 329. Three people have died so far.

1.26 pm: Indian markets soared over 900 points in the opening trade on Thursday, as sentiment improved due to hopes of finding a potential treatment for the coronavirus infection, Reuters reported. Early results on Wednesday from a United States trial of the drug remdesivir showed that it might help patients recover from the illness caused by the coronavirus.

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Sensex jumps nearly 900 points as US trial rekindles hope of potential Covid-19 drug

1.24 pm: The toll in Madhya Pradesh’s worst-hit Indore rises to 68 after three more people die, reports PTI.

1.23 pm: Karnataka will allow inter-state movement, especially for students and migrant workers, says state minister JC Madhuswamy. “They’ll have to bear the transport charges,” he adds. “We’ll allow inter-district movement for once. It’ll happen according to guidelines.”

1.05 pm: Thailand reports seven new cases, but no deaths, reports Reuters.

12.51 pm: Spain announces a four-phase plan to lift the lockdown, reports Reuters.

12.47 pm: From 5 pm on April 29th till today noon, Karnataka reported 22 new cases, says the state health department. The total number of cases in the state is now 557, including 21 deaths and 223 recoveries.

12.31 pm: South Korea reports zero new domestic cases, reports AFP.

12.19 pm: A Lancet study finds no significant clinical benefits of antiviral drug remdesivir.

12.17 pm: The United States announces an additional grant of $3 million to help India fight the pandemic, reports PTI. On April 6, the USAID had announced a grant of $2.9 million.

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Covid-19: US government’s aid agency declares additional $3 million grant for India to combat virus

12.03 pm: Chinese President Xi Jinping hails the country’s battle against the pandemic as a major strategic achievement. China’s National Health Commission says the country reported only four new cases on Wednesday, taking the total number to 82,862.

11.43 am: The Indian missions in the United Arab Emirates have opened online registration for expatriates who want to fly back home.

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Covid-19: Embassies in US, UAE open registrations for stranded Indians who wish to return

11.29 am: 71 new cases in Andhra Pradesh in the last 24 hours. The state’s total count stands at 1,403 now.

11.20 am: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain says problems faced by healthcare workers and those rendering essential services at the Delhi-Haryana border will be resolved soon.

11.14 am: Climate activist Greta Thunberg donates a $100,000 to the United Nations Children’s Fund for use against the pandemic, reports AFP. Thunberg had won the prize money from a Danish foundation. “Like the climate crisis, the coronavirus pandemic is a child rights crisis,” UNICEF quotes Thunberg as saying. “It will affect all children, now and in the long term, but vulnerable groups will be impacted the most.”

11.09 am: Migrant workers are stranded between Mumbai-Barwani stretch of National Highway 3 near Sendhwa after the Madhya Pradesh Police stopped them at state border. The workers are coming from Maharashtra.

11.06 am: The Meghalaya government declares 10 of the state’s 11 districts as green zones and allows inter-district movement there, Political Department secretary Cyril V D Diengdoh tells district magistrates, according to PTI. All the 12 cases in the state, including one death, have been reported from East Khasi Hills district.

11.04 am: Cases in Nashik district of Maharashtra increases to 276 after 71 more people test positive, reports PTI. The new patients include six police personnel and three children – aged three months, 5 years and 11 years.

11.01 am: United States President Donald Trump says he believes China’s handling of the coronavirus is proof that Beijing “will do anything they can” to make him lose the upcoming elections in November. In an interview with Reuters, Trump criticises China and said the country should have been more “active” in letting the world know about the coronavirus much sooner.

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Coronavirus: ‘China will do anything to make me lose elections,’ claims Donald Trump

10.55 am: The Uttar Pradesh Police have ordered over 10,000 personal protective equipment and asked its personnel above the age of 55 years with health history to stay off the frontline duty, reports PTI. This comes after 28 police personnel tested positive, says Director General of Police Hitesh Chandra Awasthi. “We have already ordered 10,000 PPE kits. But due to shortage, only 3,000-4,000 kits have been received so far,” he adds. “Over 6,000 PPE kits are being purchased at the district level. We have to take extra precautions to save our personnel from coronavirus.”

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Coronavirus: After 28 personnel test positive, Uttar Pradesh Police orders 10,000 PPE kits

10.35 am: Four more traders associated with Delhi’s Azadpur Sabzi Mandi have tested positive, reports ANI citing an official. A total of 15 cases have been reported from the vegetable market so far.

10.25 am: Three more coronavirus patients recovered in Shamli, reports PTI. With this, the district in Uttar Pradesh has only one active case. There were a total of 17 infections in Shamli, says District Magistrate Jasjit Kaur.

10.10 am: Pune district reports 127 fresh cases in the last 12 hours, says District Health Officer Bhagawan Pawar, according to ANI. The total cases in the district stand at 1,722.

10.07 am: Rajasthan reports 86 new cases today. With this, the state’s tally goes up to 2,524 including 57 deaths.

9.55 am: Rajan says India can find opportunity for its industry and supply chain in the world.

9.45 am: Rajan tells Rahul Gandhi that there will have to be rethinking on everything in global economy once the pandemic is under control.

9.32 am: Rajan tells Gandhi that the present situation is an unprecedented one and “we need to break norms in order to tackle the crisis, while also keeping in mind the limited resources that we have”.

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Covid-19: India needs Rs 65,000 crore to help the poor tide over the pandemic, says Raghuram Rajan

9.31 am: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is having a video dialogue with former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan.

Rajan says India needs Rs 65,000 crore to feed the poor during the pandemic and it can afford to do that.

9.29 am: The Indian Embassy in the United States has started to contact stranded Indians who wish to return home once the travel lockdown is lifted, PTI reports. The embassy has started sending emails to community organisations and those who reached out to it in recent weeks. Those interested in returning home can register on the embassy’s website.

9.15 am: Ten positive cases have been found in Haryana’s Jhajjar district, ANI reports. Nine of them are vegetable vendors who had travelled to Delhi.

9 am: Andaman and Nicobar Islands Chief Secretary Chetan Sanghi says the Union Territory has not reported any new cases in four days.

8.52 am: The number of cases in India rises to 33,050, including 1,074 deaths, says the health ministry. The number of those who have recovered reaches 8,324.

The ministry has confirmed 1,718 new cases and 67 deaths in the last 24 hours.

8.36 am: Almost 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy – nearly half of the global workforce – face an immediate danger of losing their livelihoods because of the Covid-19 outbreak, the International Labour Organization has said, according to PTI. More than 430 million enterprises in hard-hit sectors such as retail and manufacturing are at a risk of “serious disruption”, the UN agency says.

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Covid-19 lockdown: Almost half of the world’s workforce is at risk of losing livelihoods, says ILO

8.33 am: The Varanasi district administration announces complete lockdown in the limits of municipal corporation till May 3, ANI reports. Home delivery will be done for people who need anything.

8 am: Kalaburagi deputy commissioner Sharat B announces the imposition of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in the district till May 7, ANI reports.

7.39 am: As many as 35 of the 50 American states have released formal opening plans, PTI reports.

7.37 am: The United States records 2,502 coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. This takes the toll to 60,853.

7.36 am: D Sajith Babu, the Kasaragod district collector in Kerala, his driver and gunman have been advised to quarantine themselves after a television journalist tested positive for coronavirus a few days after interviewing him, PTI reports.

7.35 am: The number of cases in Delhi rises by 125 to 3,439. The toll rises to 56.

7.30 am: Here are the top updates from Wednesday:

  1. The number of coronavirus cases in India has gone up to 31,787, according to data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Covid-19 has killed 1,008 people in India.
  2. The Centre on issued guidelines to allow states, with conditions, to bring back migrant workers, tourists and students stranded in other states because of the nationwide lockdown. The stranded people can be allowed to move only after states consult with each other, the government said.
  3. The home ministry said new guidelines that will come into effect from May 4 will give “considerable relaxations” to many districts. The details about this will be announced in the “days to come”, the ministry said.
  4. Punjab extended its curfew by two more weeks after May 3. Lockdown guidelines in the state will be relaxed from 7 am to 11 am everyday. The state has reported 322 cases of Covid-19 and 19 deaths, according to the Union health ministry.
  5. The University Grants Commission told universities and colleges that they could start the academic session for new college students in September and for already enrolled students from August due to the disruption in the academic calendar due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Central Board of Secondary Education reiterated its decision to hold Class 10 and Class 12 examinations only for the 29 subjects which it had enumerated in an April 1 release.
  6. The number of Covid-19 cases in the United States surpassed 10 lakh on Tuesday – the first country to cross the figure. Covid-19 has infected 31.57 lakh and caused 2.2 lakh deaths across 185 countries or regions, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.