11 pm: Here are the top updates from Friday:

  • The Centre decided to extend the nationwide lockdown imposed to combat the coronavirus until May 17. During this period, limited economic activities will be allowed in designated orange and green zones.
  • The number of coronavirus cases in India has risen to 35,365, according to the health ministry’s Friday evening update. Covid-19 has killed 1,152 people in the country.
  • The Centre has divided districts in the country into red, orange and green zones. All the metro cities including Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai have been included in the list of red zones. The West Bengal government has written to the health ministry, calling this categorisation “erroneous”.
  • Maharashtra reported a whopping 1,008 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, its highest single-day rise, taking the total number of cases to 11,506. Twenty-six more people died on Friday, taking the toll to 485.
  • Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat said at a press conference that the Indian Armed Forces will conduct fly pasts, mounted band displays, and light up its warships on Sunday, as a mark of respect to those who have been combating the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
  • A special train carrying 1,200 migrants stranded during the nationwide lockdown left from Lingampally in Telangana to Hatia in Jharkhand on Friday morning. This is the first such train arranged since the lockdown was imposed in March to break the chain of transmission of the novel coronavirus and after the Union Home Ministry allowed inter-state travel of stranded labourers, tourists, students and pilgrims.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday afternoon allowed movement of migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and “other persons” by special trains to be operated by the Ministry of Railways amid the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Subsequently, the railway ministry issued a slew of regulations meant to ensure travel without the risk of infection.

10.50 pm: Singapore reports 932 new Covid-19 cases, taking the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 17,101, PTI reports.

10.45 pm: Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani says it is important to ensure the virus does not enter municipalities in semi-urban areas as well as villages.The state has 4,721 Covid-19 cases. “You must ensure your municipalities remain free of coronavirus,” he told village heads and office bearers of 162 municipalities, according to PTI. “You need to regularly sanitize all the areas in your municipalities. Those municipalities which border cities having a high number of cases must be very alert. It must be ensured that people from red zones do not enter your areas and spread the infection.”

10.40 pm: Toll in the United Kingdom rises to 27,510, AFP reports.

10.35 pm: Two more Delhi Police personnel test positive for the coronavirus, PTI reports. More than 21 policemen have tested positive so far.

10.30 pm: The Trinamool Congress criticises the Centre for extending the lockdown by two weeks. “We have nothing to say about the extension of the lockdown for two more weeks as our party has already said that we would go by the Centre’s decision on the lockdown,” TMC leader and MP Saugata Roy says, according to PTI.

“But the Union government should come out clean on various issues including the exact reasons for extending the lockdown,” Roy adds. “We all know we are in the midst of a pandemic. But the government must explain whether the situation is under control or not. It should clarify whether community transmission has started.

He adds: “The country is waiting to hear from the Centre about a roadmap and an outlook on how the economy would be revived, how to help the unorganized and agricultural sectors. But there is no such assurance so far.”

10.24 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes the announcements by the armed forces to thank “Covid-19 warriors”.

“India has waged a strong fight against COVID-19 due to courageous frontline warriors who have cared and cured many,” Modi says in a series of tweets. “They are spectacular. India applauds them and their families. Our Armed Forces have always kept the nation safe. Even in times of disasters, they are out there helping people. Now, our Forces are, in a unique way, saying a big thank you to our frontline COVID-19 warriors for their endeavour towards making India COVID-19 free.”

10.18 pm: The Central Railway urges people to not throng railways stations and says that only passengers who have been allowed to travel by the government will be permitted to board trains. The Central Railways will also run a special Shramik Express train from Nashik to Lucknow, PTI reports.

10.17 pm: A Shramik Special train leaves from Nashik in Maharashtra to Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.

10.15 pm: The Karnataka government issues a standard operating procedure for migrant workers, tourists, students or any others who want to leave or enter the state amid the lockdown. They will have to submit an online application at sevasindhu.karnataka.gov.in. The applicants will then be screened before being permitted to travel. While the state will arrange for transport, the passengers will have to pay for their travel.

10.10 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a meeting to discuss the situation in the education sector amid the coronavirus. “Special emphasis was given on the use of technology in the education sector and enhancing learning and adapting by the use of technology,” the Prime Minister’s Office says.

9.55 pm: New cases in more states:

Rajasthan: 82 new cases, total rises to 2,666, toll now 62,

Himachal Pradesh: two new cases, total rises to 40, one person dead,

Chandigarh: three new cases, total rises to 43,

Haryana: 18 new cases, total rises to 357, toll four.

9.28 pm: The Delhi government has canceled its order regarding the shortage of staff in non-Covid-19 hospitals, The Indian Express reports.

9.20 pm: As many as 751 persons have tested positive in Mumbai on Friday, the highest in a single day. The total number of cases is now 7,625. Mumbai is by far the worst-affected city in India.

9.12 pm: Delhi has reported 223 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, and two more deaths. The total number of cases is now 3,738, and the toll 61.

9.03 pm: Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury backs the Centre’s decision to start special trains to take stranded people back to their home towns, PTI reports. He says Railway Minister Piyush Goyal informed him of the decision. Chowdhury also takes credit, claiming he had suggested starting special trains long ago.

8.55 pm: The Maharashtra Health Department says 1,008 new cases have been detected on Friday, the highest-ever single day spike, PTI reports. As many as 26 people have died. The total number of cases is now 11,506, and the toll 485.

8.48 pm: As many as 267 new cases have been reported in Ahmedabad district on Friday, taking the total number of cases to 3,293. Sixteen more people have died on Friday, taking the toll to 165, says Principal Secretary (Health) Jayanti Ravi.

8.38 pm: The Centre says in its order that all workplaces must be sanitized frequently, including between shifts. “Provision for thermal scanning, hand wash and sanitizer preferably with touch free mechanism will be made at all entry and exit points and common areas,” it adds.

8.34 pm: Pakistan has recorded 990 cases of the coronavirus on Friday, PTI reports. This takes the total number of infections to 17,439 with 391 deaths, according to the country’s health ministry.

8.29 pm: The Centre says wearing of face masks is compulsory at workplaces, The Indian Express reports. Social distancing at work places shall be ensured through adequate gaps between shifts, staggering the lunch breaks of staff, etc, the government says.

8.18 pm: The Delhi government has asked medical directors to get written explanations from Covid-19 infected healthcare workers on how they contracted the disease despite wearing protective gear, PTI reports. According to a Delhi government order, medical directors of non-coronavirus hospitals are “indiscriminately” sending doctors and other medical workers in quarantine for 14 days. “This practice is causing unnecessary shortage of doctors and staff at hospitals,” Health Secretary Padmini Singla says.

8.14 pm: Migrant labourers begin arriving at Nashik railway station in Maharashtra to travel to their hometowns.

8.11 pm: The railways will charge state governments for ferrying people stranded due to the lockdown, PTI reports.

8.07 pm: As many as 326 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in Gujarat. The state health department says the total number of cases has risen to 4,721, including 236 deaths and 736 recoveries.

8.02 pm: Telangana has reported six more cases of the coronavirus on Friday, taking the total number of those infected to 1,044. Nobody died on Friday, Health Minister E Rajender says.

7.53 pm: The Ministry of Home Affairs has reconstituted Empowered Groups, created for planning and implementation of Covid-19 response.

7.50 pm: The Centre has made it compulsory for people living in containment zones to install the Aarogya Setu app on their phones, PTI reports.

7.43 pm: Aam Aadmi Party MLA from Karol Bagh Vishesh Ravi says he has tested positive for the coronavirus, PTI reports. “I am currently in home quarantine,” Ravi says. “I do not have any symptoms of the disease but I have tested positive for it.”

7.39 pm: Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro claims that the distancing and isolation measures introduced by state governors and mayors are “useless”, The Guardian reports.

“We know many people will die, I am sorry,” Bolsonaro says. “Seventy percent of the population will be infected and, from what it seems, from what we are seeing now, up until now all this effort to flatten the curve was practically useless. What’s the consequence, the collateral effect of this? Unemployment. The people want to go back to work.”

7.31 pm: The Karnataka government has issued a notice to an Indian Administrative Service officer who attacked the media in a tweet for allegedly ignoring Tablighi Jamaat members who were donating plasma after recovering from Covid-19, PTI reports. The officer, Mohammad Mohsin, was in the news last year after the Election Commission suspended him for trying to inspect Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s helicopter during the Lok Sabha elections.

“More than 300 Tablighi Heroes are donating their plasma to serve the country in New Delhi only,” Mohsin had said in a tweet on April 27. “What about? #Godi Media? They will not show the works of humanity done by these heroes.”

7.22 pm: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope says 83% of coronavirus patients in Maharashtra are asymptomatic, PTI reports. He adds that 20% of patients have been cured. Tope also asserts that the mortality rate in the state has reduced to 3.5%, and the doubling rate of cases is more than the national average.

Maharashtra had by Friday evening reported 10,498 cases, with 459 deaths.

7.14 pm: Japan has decided to extend its state of emergency for a month, says Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The lockdown is due to expire next week. Japan has over 14,000 cases of Covid-19 and 432 deaths.

7.10 pm: China’s Hubei province has decided to lower its coronavirus emergency response from the highest to the second-highest level starting Saturday, The Guardian reports.

7 pm: No new cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Kerala on Friday, PTI reports. “No new cases were reported on Friday and samples of nine people have returned negative,” Health Minister KK Shylaja says. “The active cases in the state touched 102.” The last time no new cases were reported was on March 18.

6.53 pm: Tamil Nadu has reported 203 fresh cases of Covid-19, PTI reports quoting health officials. A 98-year-old man died due to coronavirus at a Chennai hospital increasing the toll to 28.

6.50 pm: Bipin Rawat says that it is wrong to conclude that the coronavirus is the result of biological warfare, PTI reports. He also says that no operational tasks of the Indian military will be affected by the pandemic.

6.44 pm: The Ministry of Home Affairs says standalone shops, shops in neighbourhoods and shops in residential complexes will be allowed to stay open irrespective of the zone.

6.38 pm: Movement of persons for non-essential activities shall be prohibited between 7 pm and 7 am, the Centre says. It adds that persons above 65 years of age, children below the age of 10, persons with co-morbidities and pregnant women should remain at home except for meeting health requirements and availing of essential services.

6.35 pm: The Centre says that in orange zones, apart from the services allowed in red zones, cab aggregators and taxis will be permitted to operate, with one driver and one passenger. However, they will not be allowed in red zones. Autorickshaw and cycle rickshaw have also been banned in red zones.

6.30 pm: Travel by air, rail, metro and inter-state movement by road, running of schools, colleges and other educational and training/coaching institutions will remain banned even in orange and red zones, says the Ministry of Home Affairs.

6.25 pm: The Centre has decided to extend the lockdown for two more weeks beyond May 4. The Ministry of Home Affairs says that relaxations will be allowed in orange and green zones during this period, as decided earlier.

6.19 pm: “The Navy on its part will have its warships deployed in formations in coastal areas in the evening on May 3,” the chief of defence staff adds. “Navy warships would also be lit up and their choppers would be used for showering petals on hospitals.”

6.17 pm: Rawat says that the Indian Air Force will conduct a flypast from Srinagar to Trivandrum amd another one starting from Dibrugarh in Assam to Kutch in Gujarat on Sunday. Both transport and fighter aircraft will be included.

6.15 pm: Rawat also thanks the people of the country for adhering to government guidelines by following social distancing, sanitation and so on.

6.12 pm: “The Army on its part will conduct mountain band displays along some of the Covid hospitals in almost every district of our country,” Rawat says. “The armed forces will also lay wreathe at the police memorial on May 3 in support of our police forces.”

6.07 pm: Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat thanks doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, police, home guards, delivery boys and their media for “reaching out with the message of the government” during the Covid-19 crisis, ANI reports. He calls them “corona warriors”.

6.06 pm: The press conference by the chief of defence staff and three service chiefs has begun.

6 pm: The Prime Minister’s Office says that at a meeting chaired by Narendra Modi, it was decided that the airspace should be used in such a way as to minimise flying time, ANI reports. This will help airlines save costs, in close cooperation with the Department of Military Affairs, the PMO says.

5.55 pm: The health ministry says that 1,755 cases have been added in the last 24 hours, and 77 people have died.

5.46 pm: India’s tally increases to 35,365 coronavirus cases on Friday evening, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Of this, 1,152 people have died, while 25,148 cases are active and 9,064 people have recovered.

5.42 pm: Dhankhar claims that while the state has reported 105 deaths due to Covid-19, the actual number is much higher. “Why do we want to hide the actual number of deaths?” he asks. “People will be more careful when they would realise that situation is grim.”

Dhankhar demands that Banerjee apologise for her remark that political parties in the state are like “vultures waiting for deaths”. He says all political parties have backed efforts to get rid of Covid-19.

5.40 pm: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar continues his attack on the Mamata Banerjee-led government. “West Bengal is the only state where Inter-Ministerial Central Team faced problems in carrying out their work,” he says according to ANI. “When entire country is fighting against Covid-19 and IMCT team came to assess the situation, we should have received it with red carpet.”

5.37 pm: Railways announces six “Shramik” trains – Lingampally to Hatia, Nasik to Lucknow, Aluva to Bhub, Nasik to Bhopal, Jaipur to Patna, Kota to Hatia. Aluva to Bhub, Nasik to Bhopal, Jaipur to Patna.

5.31 pm: The railway ministry says boarding states will have to bring people in batches to designated stations in sanitised buses. It adds that the trains will be run only on request from state governments.

5.28 pm: The Ministry of Railways has issued guidelines for train travel. The ministry says state authorities must screen passengers for coronavirus before they are allowed to board the train. Passengers must cover their faces, and food and drink will be provided to them at the time of boarding.

5.23 pm: Jammu and Kashmir reports 25 new coronavirus cases on Friday, according to PTI. Health officials say the total number of cases in the Union Territory is now 639.

4.58 pm: The Centre has ordered 2.2 crore personal protective equipment kits, the health ministry says. Out of these, 1.42 crore will be procured through domestic manufacturers and 1.87 crore kits will come from abroad. The demand for PPE kits has been projected at 2.01 crore in India, Vaghela, chairperson of Empowered Group-3, says.

4.54 pm: A Congress MLA in Rajasthan has urged Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to open liquor stores in the state, asserting that drinking alcohol will kill the coronavirus, PTI reports.

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‘Drinking alcohol can kill virus in the throat,’ claims Rajasthan’s Congress MLA

4.52 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath asked officials to ensure that state borders remain sealed so that people who may be “coronavirus carriers” cannot enter the state, PTI reports. “There should be alertness in border areas,” he said, according to an official release.

4.33 pm: The government has issued an order allowing movement of stranded migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and others by special trains. The ministry will soon issue detailed guidelines on the sale of tickets. Social distancing and other measures will be observed at train stations, platforms and within trains.

4.30 pm: The production of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine rose to 30 crore tablets in April, Vaghela says. “Hydroxychloroquine is a success story for India,” he says. “We have been able to help other countries and also meet our own demands for the drug.”

4.28 pm: The Centre has ordered 2.49 crore N-95 masks, the health ministry says.

4.27 pm: “So far, ventilator use in India has been limited. Enough oxygen production in the country,” says Vaghela. “We manufacture 6,700 metric ton oxygen of which 1,000 metric ton in medical oxygen.”

4.21 pm: There is a total demand of 75,000 ventilators in India, PD Vaghela, chairperson of Empowered Group-3, says at the health ministry briefing. A total 19,398 ventilators are currently available and another 60,884 ventilators have been ordered, he adds.

4.14 pm: “The home ministry today allowed the movement of stranded persons such as students, migrant workers, tourists and pilgrims and also arranged special trains,” says joint secretary Punya Srivastava. “States and the Railway Board will make necessary arrangements for the same.”

4.10 pm: The number of coronavirus cases in India is 35,043 on Friday with 1,147 deaths, the health ministry says. “The recovery rate is 25.37%,” says Lav Agarwal, joint health secretary of the health ministry.

4.03 pm: Union Health Ministry begins its press briefing on the coronavirus situation in the country.

3.58 pm: In Jammu and Kashmir, six new Covid-19 cases were reported in Goniopora area in Kupwara district, ANI reports. All six of them were in contact of another positive case and are asymptomatic.

3.57 pm: In the last 48 hours, 5 jawans of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police have tested positive in Delhi, according to ANI. Two of them were performing law and order duty in Delhi with the police.

3.56 pm: A woman facing trial has tested positive in a jail in Ludhiana, PTI reports. The 48-year-old woman’s samples were taken for testing on April 29 after she showed symptoms of the coronavirus. She tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday night and has been admitted to a local hospital.

3.48 pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the lockdown restrictions will be lifted in the state in a zone-wise manner after May 3, PTI reports. “We will tread cautiously,” Thackeray said in a live webcast. “ It is in nobody’s interest to lift the lockdown in the red zones such as Mumbai, Pune region, Nagpur and Aurangabad, where the number of positive cases is on the rise.”

3.30 pm: The West Bengal government has written to the Union Health Ministry, calling the fresh categorisation of 10 districts in the state as red zones “erroneous”. In a letter written by the state’s principal health secretary, Vivek Kumar, the government claimed that based on the Centre’s parameters, only four districts of Kolkata, Howrah, North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore, fall under red zone.

3.20 pm: Singapore extends the stay-at-home period for foreign workers employed in the construction sector by two weeks till May 18, PTI reports. This came after the country reported 932 new cases, taking the total tally to 17,101.

3.13 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan holds a meeting with Bihar Health minister Mangal Pandey via video conference to discuss the coronavirus situation in the state.

3.11 pm: Five more people test positive in Odisha, taking the total coronavirus cases in the state to 147, PTI reports. Out of these, two have recent travel history to Tamil Nadu.

3.05 pm: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor says violence and incendiary remarks against Muslims is bound to attract negative reactions from abroad, PTI reports. The Congress MP was referring to the criticism India recently received from Arab leaders over growing instances of Islamophobia in the country. Tharoor said it’s important to change the “domestic reality than do damage control”.

3.00 pm: Tamil Nadu government says it has received over Rs 300 crore in cash and in kind to invest in containing the outbreak in the state, PTI reports. Government employees, corporate entities, individuals, philanthropic organisations and others have contributed Rs 306.42 crore for this purpose to the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund so far, it says.

2.50 pm: The prices of non-subsidised LPG cylinders has been reduced in four states, ANI reports. The price was reduced by Rs 162.50 per unit in Delhi, by Rs 190 in Kolkata and by Rs 135.5 in Mumbai. The price of LPG cylinders in Chennai was reduced by Rs 192.

2.48 pm: Three Delhi Police constables of the metro unit were suspended on charges of indiscipline after they allegedly lied about coming in contact with another policeman who tested positive for the coronavirus, PTI reports.

2.47 pm: Russia records almost 8,000 new coronavirus cases today, taking the total tally of cases in the country to 1,14,431, AP reports.

2.45 pm: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding that “point to point” special trains be arranged to bring back migrant labourers who are stranded in other states, ANI reports.

2.39 pm: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has approves the consolidated revised guidelines for easing of lockdown in the state with immediate effect, ANI reports quoting the Chief Minister’s Office. As per the revised guidelines, activities shall be allowed on automatic route after obtaining a self-declaration from industrial units, commercial establishments and construction projects in compliance with statement of purposes provided by the Centre.

2.35 pm: The police of Tamil Nadu invoked the Goondas Act against 14 people who were arrested in Chennai for allegedly attacking health workers to stop them from performing the funeral of a doctor, PTI reports. The accused, including a woman, were arrested for assaulting an ambulance driver and damaging the vehicle carrying the body of the doctor who had died of Covid-19.

2.32 pm: Bengaluru’s civic body makes it compulsory to wear masks in public spaces with violations attracting a penalty of Rs 1,000, PTI reports. Spitting, urinating and littering in public places have also been banned and such acts will be considered as a public offence, according to an order issued by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike

2.28 pm: Congress says arrangement of special trains to ferry stranded migrants is a “knee-jerk reaction” and is “too little, too late,” PTI reports. Party leader Abhishek Singhvi says the Centre has “mercilessly and without second thought” abandoned migrant labourers, which reflects on the government’s approach towards poor people.

2.26 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says he is in talks with the governments of other states to make arrangements for the movement of stranded migrant workers. “However, everyone has to follow the restrictions of the lockdown till a plan is made” he says.

2.22 pm: A man who tested positive for the coronavirus in Andaman and Nicobar Islands has recovered, PTI reports. The man had contracted the Covid-19 infection after coming in contact with a 39-year-old police radio operator from the Bambooflat area.

2.05 pm: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has said eight coronavirus patients, all family members of a doctor who died of the disease, have recovered, reports PTI. “Eight family members of Dr [John L] Sailo have tested negative for Covid-19 for the third time,” he tweets. “This means that they are now officially cured of the disease as per the WHO protocol.”

2 pm: The Karnataka government proposes to increase the number of laboratories in the state to 60 by the end of this month from the current 26, Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar says, according to PTI.

“Gadag, Vijayapura and Tumakuru [districts] get their own COVID-19 testing labs,” he says. “From just two in February, we now have 26 labs and [are] capable of testing 5,000 per day. We will have 60 labs by end of May.”

1.41 pm: Aurangabad City Police Commissioner Chiranjeev Prasad imposes prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC in Aurangabad Municipal Corporation, reports ANI. The order will remain in effect till May 3.

1.30 pm: Thackeray says people will get relaxations after May 3 but it will depend on the condition of specific areas. “…But be cautious and co-operate, else whatever we have achieved in the past few days will be lost,” he adds. “So, we will go ahead with patience and caution.”

1.29 pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urges people to not panic. “It’s only about starting the treatment on time,” he says. “From few days old babies to 83 years old people have recovered and gone home. People on ventilators have also recovered well.”

1.04 pm: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant says the state has now been classified as a “green zone” by the central government.

1.03 pm: Karnataka reports 11 fresh cases from 5 pm on April 30 till today noon today.

1.02 pm: Two new cases in Bolangir, Odisha, today. This takes the total number of positive cases in the state to 145.

12.35 pm: The Maharashtra health department says there are 583 new cases and 27 deaths in the state today. Mortality Rate stands at 4.37%, it adds.

12.27 pm: The students returning from Kota will have to go into self-quarantine for 14 days, says Kejriwal.

12.26 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announces that the first patient from Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital under plasma therapy has recovered. “Trials are still going on,” he adds. “This is a positive and encouraging sign for our fight against coronavirus.”

12.23 pm: The Delhi government is sending 40 buses today to Kota in Rajasthan to bring back the students, says Kejriwal.

12.19 pm: Kejriwal says that his government is contacting the 1,100-odd people who have recovered to donate their plasma.

12.18 pm: “We are getting good results of plasma therapy; it is on trial basis,” says Kejriwal.

12.16 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says his government is conducting 2,300 tests per 1 million people in the national Capital.

12.15 pm: Vellore authorities have set up 14 checkposts to screen people who might return home from neighbouring states, reports PTI.

12.14 pm: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar holds a meeting through video conferencing with officials to discuss the problems of migrant labourers.

12.03 pm: Andhra Pradesh reports 60 new cases and two deaths in the last 24 hours, says the health department. The state’s tally goes up to 1,463 while toll is now 33.

11.56 am: Over 800 migrant fisherfolk reach Garikapadu checkpost on Andhra Pradesh border in 12 buses.

11.55 am: 12 Tablighi Jamaat members, including nine from Thailand, have been sent to a temporary jail in Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur district after they completed their quarantine, the police tell PTI.

11.51 am: Indore’s toll rises to 72 as four more patients die due to the infection over the last two days, reports PTI.

11.21 am: In an order, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation asks all staff over the age of 55 years to either work from home or work in office and not go for fieldwork, reports ANI. People in medical department, including doctors, nursing staff and paramedics over the age of 55 years with co-morbidities are advised to stay home for 2 weeks, it adds.

11.18 am: There are 3,515 positive cases in Delhi as of Friday morning, says Health Minister Satyendar Jain. “People living in ‘red zones’ will be screened again,” he adds. “Medical teams will conduct door-to-door health checkups.”

11.15 am: Amid the lockdown, the first train carrying migrants from Lingampally in Telangana to Hatia in Jharkhand started at 5 am today, reports PTI.

Watch: More heartbreaking scenes as migrants start walking towards north India from Telangana

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11.02 am: A woman dies at AIIMS in Rishikesh, reports ANI. She was admitted to the hospital after she suffered a brain stroke, and had tested positive for Covid-19 three days ago, says Circle Officer Virender Rawat.

10.52 am: China’s asymptomatic coronavirus cases rise to 981, including 631 in Hubei province and its capital Wuhan.

10.40 am: The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has said that coronavirus patients who took the antiviral remdesivir recovered about 30% faster than those on a placebo, reports PTI. “Specifically, the median time to recovery was 11 days for patients treated with remdesivir compared with 15 days for those who received placebo,” it adds.

10.38 am: Pakistan’s National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser has tested positive for the coronavirus. “I tested positive for coronavirus and quarantined myself in my house,” he says in a tweet. “I urge the entire nation to take preventive measures.”

Qaiser’s brother-in-law and sister have also tested positive for the infection, according to IANS.

10.33 am: Assistant Commissioner of Police Karan Goyal says media has been exempted from orders barring cross-border movement from Delhi-Gurugram border, reports ANI. “For those working in hospitals and living in Gurugram, arrangements have to made there itself [in Delhi],” he adds. “Restrictions apply to police too.”

10.30 am: On April 3, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order granting the tea industry an exemption from the lockdown, provided they followed certain restrictions on the workforce and social distancing measures were strictly enforced. Employers claim to have enforced social distancing norms. However, workers point to large gatherings at several points in the production process.

Read more here:One reason why tea garden employees went back to work despite Covid-19 fears – hunger

10.26 am: Delta Air Lines Inc and American Airlines Group Inc have decided to make passengers wear face masks throughout the trips, reports Bloomberg. “We take seriously the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines for adding this extra layer of protection,” says Bill Lentsch, Delta’s chief customer experience officer. “We believe this change will give customers and employees some additional comfort when traveling with us.”

10.22 am: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has written a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, requesting him to make necessary arrangements for the nearly 400 Kashmiri students stranded in Madhya Pradesh amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown, reports PTI.

10.15 am: Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan urges states to delineate the containment zones and buffer zones in the identified red and orange zone districts and notify the same, reports ANI. If no new outbreaks are reported within the last 21 days, the district can be declared a green zone, says the government.

10.08 am: The country’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki says it made zero dispatches to dealers in the domestic market in April 2020 amid the nationwide lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus, reports PTI.

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10 am: NITI Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant has suggested a six-point strategy for the “possible road ahead” and says that for the sake of livelihoods, the economy should kickstart with full supply chains.

9.56 am: Residents of Goa, who are stranded in different parts of the country due to the countrywide lockdown, will be quarantined for free by the government once they return to the state, says Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.

9.49 am: At least two doctors have been asked to vacate their rented houses in Maharashtra’s Pune and Pimpri over the past few days over fears of contracting the coronavirus, reports The Indian Express. “There was no way the doctor could get another rented premises at this time,” says Indian Medical Association General Secretary Sudhir Bhalerao. “Somehow, we managed to get an accommodation for him.”

9.40 am: The health ministry has designated 733 districts across India into red, orange and green zones, reports ANI. Health Secretary Preeti Sudan in a letter to all states and Union Territories says the classification is “multi-factorial” and is based on incidence of cases, doubling rate, extent of testing and surveillance feedback.

Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad have been classified into the “no activity” zone even after the nationwide lockdown ends on May 3, according to News18.

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Coronavirus: All metro cities are on list of red zones where no activity allowed after May 3

9.31 am: Rajasthan reports 33 fresh coronavirus cases and three more deaths. The state now has 2,617 total cases and 61 fatalities.

9.29 am: The Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Police Commissionerate has said it will impose a fine on shopkeepers and customers for failure to maintain a two-metre distance between any two persons. Buyers would also face action for violating the physical distancing norms.

9.25 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi wishes Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin a quick recovery from the coronavirus. “My best wishes to Russian Prime Minister Mishustin for early recovery and good health,” he tweets. “We stand with our close friend Russia in efforts to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.”

9.22 am: South Korea records nine new coronavirus cases, taking total to 10,774 infections, reports AP. None of the new cases were from the hardest-hit city of Daegu, where more than 6,800 people have been infected since February.

9.19 am: German authorities have agreed to reopen playgrounds, churches and cultural institutions such as museums and zoos from Monday, reports Reuters. However, Chancellor Angela Merkel warns that there is a risk of triggering a resurgence of the coronavirus if people dropped their guard and forgot about social distancing.

9.15 am: Visuals of vehicles at the Delhi-Gurugram border. The Gurugram district administration has issued orders barring cross-border movement, except for essential commodities vehicles, ambulances and Central government officials. The orders will come into force from 10 am today.

9.09 am: Mexican protest singer Oscar Chavez has died at the age of 85 after contracting the coronavirus, reports AP. Mexico’s culture secretary confirmed the singer’s death, and the Social Security Institute said he died of complications from Covid-19.

9.05 am: The Centre says indigenous antibody-based rapid test kits and real-time polymerase chain reaction swab-based kits developed by laboratories in India will be ready by mid-May, reports Hindustan Times.

9.02 am: Sangod Congress MLA Bharat Singh Kundanpur has written to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for opening liquor shops in the state, reports ANI. “When coronavirus can be removed by washing hands with alcohol, then drinking alcohol will surely remove virus from the throat,” he says in the letter.

9 am: The Delhi government has ordered authorities to screen all the people living in coronavirus containment zones at least thrice within 14 days of identifying such areas, reports PTI.

8.55 am: A 53-year-old male patient, the first to undergo plasma therapy for the coronavirus in Maharashtra, died on Wednesday, says Lilavati Hospital Chief Executive Officer Dr Ravishankar, according to ANI.

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Coronavirus: First patient to get plasma therapy in Maharashtra dies

8.52 am: China reports 12 new coronavirus cases, up from four a day earlier, according to the country’s National Health Commission. Six of the cases were imported.

8.50 am: The country recorded 1,993 cases and 73 deaths in the last 24 hours.

8.44 am: The health ministry has updated its coronavirus figures in India. The country now has 35,043 cases and the toll has risen to 1,147. Of these, 8,888 have recovered.

8.36 am: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he hopes many countries in the world will follow the “remarkable example” of South Korea, which he said has been “extremely successful” in addressing the pandemic, reports AP.

7.55 am: Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin says he has tested positive for the coronavirus, reports AFP. The number of confirmed cases in the country crossed 1 lakh after its largest daily increase.

7.52 am: The total number of positive cases in Odisha increased to 143 after another person tests positive, reports ANI.

7.50 am: The Maharashtra Police has registered over 85,500 offences against lockdown violators across the state and arrested 16,962 people so far, reports PTI.

7.48 am: United States President Donald Trump says the World Health Organisation should be “ashamed of” itself, likens it to a public relations agency for China.

Also read: Donald Trump threatens China with new tariffs, says evidence ties virus to Wuhan lab

7.47 am: The United States records more than 2,000 coronavirus deaths in a 24-hour period for the third continuous day, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

7.40 am: Here are the top updates from Thursday:

  • India’s number of coronavirus cases rose to 33,610 on Thursday evening and the toll increased to 1,075, according to the health ministry.
  • 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 health ministry said that India’s coronavirus recovery rate has improved from 13.06% to 25.19% in 14 days.
  • The home ministry 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.
  • United States President Donald Trump has said that his government will not extend Covid-19 social distancing guidelines. He also spoke of plans to hold massive rallies for the presidential elections in the next few months.