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.
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.
India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki has reported zero monthly domestic sales for the first time ever in April amid the nationwide lockdown. Automobile manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra also said it has sold zero units in the domestic market in the month of April.
The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi on Friday evening withdrew an order asking medical directors to seek an explanation from all doctors, nurses, paramedics and other medical staff working in hospitals not designated for coronavirus treatment, as to how they were getting infected despite wearing protective gear and following other precautions. It expressed apprehension that safety guidelines were not being followed.
Economist Jean Dreze on Friday claimed the real reason behind the resistance to allow migrant workers to return to their villages could be that employers in host states did not want to lose their “pool of cheap labour”. Dreze said the countrywide lockdown – one of the “harshest in the world” – was almost like a “death sentence” for the poor who have been living hand-to-mouth.
Globally, the coronavirus has infected 32.76 lakh people and caused 2.33 lakh deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker.