The PM Cares Fund Trust will allocate Rs 3,100 crore for the fight against Covid-19, the Prime Minister’s Office announced. This will include about Rs 2,000 crore for ventilators, Rs 1,000 crore for migrant labourers and Rs 100 crore to support vaccine development.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday announced a slew of measures to help micro, small and medium enterprises as part of measures to combat the economic damage caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The measures include collateral-free, automatic loans worth Rs 3 lakh crore for small business, change in definition of MSMEs and raising slabs to ensure they get the benefits.
The number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 74,281 on Wednesday morning and toll stood at 2,415. The country recorded 3,525 cases and 122 deaths in the last 24 hours. Globally, Covid-19 has infected more than 42.59 lakh people and claimed 2.91 lakh lives, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
The national helpline number for the coronavirus is 011-23978046, and a toll-free number 1075.
These are the updates of the day:
11.15 pm: Union minister Nitin Gadkari believes the coronavirus came from a laboratory, not at a market in Wuhan, China. He adds that many countries are working on a vaccine, which will be produced soon.
10.36 pm: The Tripura government says it is getting “no help” in bring back stranded labourers from West Bengal, reports The Indian Express. “We are getting help from all state governments for bringing back our stranded people,” the daily quoted Tripura’s Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath as saying. “But we are not receiving any kind of help from West Bengal government. They aren’t cooperating with us.”
Tripura’s first batch of workers returned to the state on Wednesday, while a second train from Karnataka is scheduled to depart to the state on May 15. Trains from Chennai and Mumbai will also take people back to Tripura.
10.30 pm: Kerala is increasing the tax on liquor by 35% and on beer and wine by 10%, reports Deccan Herald. The state is also planning to introduce a virtual queue system and to allow bars to sell liquor in bottles. Kerala has not yet announced when it will resume selling liquor.
9.55 pm: Six Border Security Force personnel who tested positive for the virus after visiting West Bengal have beeb released today, ANI quotes the BSF director as saying. The personnel went to Bengal along with a central ministerial review team.
9.50 pm: West Bengal has 117 more cases of the virus, taking its total to 2,290. So far 135 people have died of the virus in the state, and 72 others due to comorbidities.
9.35 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath tells state officials to make arrangements to provide vehicles to migrants found walking home, reports Hindustan Times. In a review meeting, he orders medical treatment for unwell migrants returning to the state and that all workers returning should be screened for the coronavirus and quarantined.
8.42 pm: PM CARES, or Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations, Fund Trust will allocate Rs 3,100 crore for the fight against Covid-19, the Prime Minister’s Office announces.
“Out of Rs 3,100 crore, a sum of approximately Rs 2,000 crore will be earmarked for the purchase of ventilators, Rs 1,000 crore will be used for care of migrant labourers and Rs 100 crores will be given to support vaccine development,” the PMO says in a statement.
8.25 pm: Mumbai records 15,747 cases and 596 deaths, ANI reports.
8.20 pm: New cases reported today:
Gujarat: 364 new cases, total rises to 9,268; toll at 566,
Madhya Pradesh: 187 new cases, total rises to 4,173; toll at 232
Maharashtra: 1,495 new cases, total rises to 25,922; toll now 975.
8.10 pm: The Karnataka government issues a circular saying pregnant women, children below 10 years of age, senior citizens above 80 and terminally-ill patients, who return from foreign countries, will be allowed to quarantine themselves at home if they test negative, ANI reports.
8.05 pm: Positive cases in Chandigarh rises to 191, ANI reports.
8.03 pm: The African country of Lesotho has reported its first coronavirus case, according to The Guardian. All African countries are now affected.
7.58 pm: Asian public health experts say socioeconomic factors rather than genetics are likely to be behind findings of a British study that showed that Asians and African-Americans were more likely to die from the coronavirus, The South China Morning Post reports.
“The data from South Asia as well as the Caribbean and Africa do not support any genetic differences in outcomes,” Paul Tambyah, president of the Asia Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection says. Abrar Chughtai, an epidemiologist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, points to social disparities.
7.52 pm: Thirty-seven new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Jammu and Kashmir, ANI reports. The total number of cases is 971, and the active cases 494.
7.47 pm: Union Minister Piyush Goyal said the prime minister has set the tone for a rapid recovery of the Indian economy. He says the measures announced for MSMEs and NBFCs will create confidence in the market.
7.41 pm: “Modi government’s decision to provide Rs 3 lakh crore collateral-free Automatic Loans to Businesses, including MSMEs, will surely help them meet their operational liabilities, built up due to COVID-19 and resume their business,” Home Minister Amit Shah tweets. “About 45 lakh units and employees will benefit from this step.”
7.35 pm: Union minister Nitin Gadkari says India needs to develop khadi and village industries as they provide a lot of employment in backward areas, ANI reports. “So this [the economic package] is going to give a good boost to village industries,” he adds.
7.28 pm: BJP President JP Nadda thanks Modi and Sitharaman for the economic package. “In this testing time, we have a compassionate and responsive governmentt under the leadership of our Prime Minister Modi Ji,” he tweets.
7.20 pm: Union minister Nitin Gadkari claims in an interview with NDTV that the coronavirus is not natural but emerged in a laboratory. ““We have to understand the art of living with corona,” he says. “It is not a natural virus, but a virus from the laboratory. Countries are struggling to create a vaccine.”
7.15 pm: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram claims the package has nothing for the poor and hungry migrant labourers, PTI reports. “Except for the modest MSME package, we are disappointed with today’s announcements,” he says at a virtual press conference. “Where is the rest of the Rs 16.4 lakh crore? This government is a prisoner of its own ignorance and fears.”
7.11 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the measures the finance minister announced earlier in the day will go a long way in addressing problems faced by MSMEs and other businesses.
6.46 pm: Migrant labourers in Kutch in Gujarat have blocked a main highway passing through Gandhidham town, and resorted to stone pelting at vehicles, PTI reports. The workers have claimed that though they had finished the necessary registration process, there has been no word from the administration on their evacuation.
6.33 pm: Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said there is no clear indication about where the money for the Rs 20 lakh crore package will come from, PTI reports. The chief minister, a Congress leader, says Modi’s announcement has evoked both appreciation and confusion among the people.
6.18 pm: The number of coronavirus cases in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum has crossed the 1,000 mark with 66 new infections, reports PTI. The toll has risen to 40.
In Asia’s largest slum that saw its first positive case on April 1, authorities have embarked on an ambitious screening process because of the density of the population and poor sanitation in the area.
6.15 pm: Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says Centre is trying to bulldoze federalism and mislead people with economic package, reports PTI.
6.06 pm: “This is a cruel blow dealt to those who toil everyday,” says Chidambaram on the announcements made by Nirmala Sitharaman.
6 pm: Congress criticises the relief measures announced by the finance minister. “There’s absolutely nothing in the measures announced by Sitharaman today for poor migrants who are walking back to their homes,” says party leader P Chidambaram.
5.55 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says Centre’s special economic package a “big zero”, reports PTI. She also adds that the package does not help states.
5.47 pm: Karnataka reports 34 new coronavirus cases, taking the state’s total tally of infections to 959.
5.45 pm: The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Centre and state government on a petition seeking direction to permit the operation of public transport in all districts of the national Capital amid the lockdown, reports ANI.
5.25 pm: “Banks have sanctioned loans to businesses but customers have told them that they will take the loan amounts after the lockdown is lifted,” says the finance minister. “That’s why banks are putting money back taking the route of the RBI’s reverse repo rate.”
5.22 pm: The government has given a slightly altered borrowing schedule, says Sitharaman. “This is one of the ways in which we will finance the economic package.”
5.17 pm: The Vivaad say Vishwas scheme is extended upto December 31 and no extra payment will be sought.
5.15 pm: Meanwhile, the due date of income tax returns for 2019-’20 will be extended from July 31 and October 31 to November 30. The date of assessments getting barred on September 30 is extended to December 31, and those getting barred on March 31 will be extended to September 30.
5.12 pm: The government will also infuse Rs 50,000 crores liquidity by reducing rates of TDS, for non-salaried specified payments made to residents, and rates of tax collection at source for specified receipts, by 25% of the existing rates. This reduction shall be applicable for the remaining part of the 2020-’21 i.e. from tomorrow to March 31.
5.10 pm: Sitharaman says the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs will also advise states and their regulatory authorities to extend the registration and completion date suo-moto by six months for all registered projects expiring on or after 25th March.
5.08 pm: “The six-month extension should cover construction work, good and services contracts,” says the finance minister.
5.06 pm: The Central agencies will also provide an extension of up to six months, without cost to contractors.
5 pm: Centre announces emergency liquidity injection of Rs 90,000 crore to all DISCOMs against their receivables to help with plummeting revenues and those facing an unprecedented cash flow problem.
4.59 pm: Sitharaman announces Rs 45,000 crore liquidity infusion through a partial credit guarantee scheme for the non-bank financial institutions.
4.57 pm: The Centre launches a Rs 30,000 crore special liquidity scheme for non-bank financial institutions and microfinance institutions.
4.55 pm: “Statutory PF contribution is being reduced from 12% to 10%... government will however continue to pay 12% for PSUs,” says Sitharaman.
4.52 pm: The Centre has also decided to provide more take home salary for employees and to give relief to employers. The PF and EPF contribution is being reduced for businesses and the workers for 3 months, amounting to a liquidity support of Rs 6,750 crores.
4.48 pm: Under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, payment of 12% of employer and 12% of employee contributions was made into EPF accounts of eligible establishments. This support will be extended by another three months to salary months of June, July and August 2020.
4.47 pm: The Centre also decides to continue EPF support to businesses and workers for 3 more months to provide a liquidity relief of Rs 2,500 crore. Sitharaman says this will ease financial stress as business restart work after lockdown.
4.46 pm: Sitharaman says the Centre will clear all pending payments in the next 45 days. The government will also ensure e-market linkage in the absence of trade fairs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
4.42 pm: Global tenders to be disallowed in government procurement upto Rs 200 crores to help MSMEs do business with confidence, says Sitharaman. She adds that small units in participate in government purchases.
4.38 pm: According to the revised definition of MSME:
- Micro: Investment < Rs 1 crore and turnover of < Rs 5 crore.
- Small: Investment < Rs 10 crore and turnover of < Rs 50 crore.
- Medium: Investment < Rs 20 crore and turnover of < Rs 100 crore.
4.36 pm: The Centre changes the definition of MSMEs, adding that the investment limit will be revised upwards and additional criteria of turnover is being introduced.
4.34 pm: Sitharaman announces Rs 50,000 crore equity infusion for MSMEs through fund of funds. This will be operated through a mother fund and few daughter funds to help expand MSME size as well as capacity.
4.32 pm: The finance minister says the loans will enable 45 lakh MSME units to resume business activity and also safeguard jobs.
4.30 pm: Sitharaman says government will facilitate provision of Rs 20,000 crore as subordinate debt to provide stressed MSMEs with equity support.
4.27 pm: The loans will have a four-year tenure and 12 month moratorium will be given, says Sitharaman.
4.25 pm: The Centre announces Rs 3 lakh crores collateral-free automatic loans for businesses, including Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
4.23 pm: “Within hours of lockdown announcement, PM Garib Kalyan Package was announced,” Sitharaman says.
4.20 pm: Over Rs 52,000 crore transferred into DBT accounts of 41 crore Jan Dhan holders, says Sitharaman.
4.18 pm: Sitharaman says the team will announce details about the package from today. “We have a responsibility towards the poor of the country, we will not forget,” she adds.
4.17 pm: Sitharaman says government being led by Modi is a sensitive and responding government.
4.15 pm: Anurag Thakur, the junior finance minister of the country, says Modi is known to make big decisions and his thinking will help make self-reliant India.
4.14 pm: Sitharaman adds that due to Jan Dhan, Aadhar and mobile technology, the direct benefit transger has been a revolution.
4.13 pm: Sitharaman says self-reliant India does not mean making an isolationist India. “We have the capability and enterprise, we’ll continue contributing to the globe,” she adds.
4.12 pm: Five pillars of self reliant India are economy, infrastructure, system, demography and demand, says the finance minister.
4.10 pm: Modi exhorted Indians to become vocal for our local products, says Nirmala Sitharaman. She adds that the package will focus will be on nurturing local brands as part of this mission.
4.08 pm: “Focus will be on land, labour, capital and enterprise,” says the finance minister on the new financial package.
4.07 pm: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid out a comprehensive vision after wide consultations with every section of the society,” says Sitharaman.
4.05 pm: Package is meant to spur growth and build self-reliant India, says the finance minister. She translates the word “atma-nirbhar” in other languages.
4.03pm: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman begins her press briefing to share details of the Rs 20 crore package.
3.47 pm: More updates from Health Minister Harsh Vardhan’s briefing:
- 5,577 care centres in the country for people who don’t have severe infection.
- 8,708 quarantine facilities in the country.
- 900 dedicated hospitals in India.
- Over 3 lakh personal protection equipments and masks being made in India.
- Over 18 lakh tested so far.
3.45 pm: Harsh Vardhan says no new coronavirus case has been reported in nine states/UTs in the last 24 hours, adding that four states/UTs have not reported any infections so far.
3.43 pm: The health minister adds that India’s recovery rate is now at 32.8%.
3.40 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says coronavirus recovery rate in India getting better. “Doubling rate has slowed from 3 days to 12.65 days,” he says.
3.28 pm: A study conducted by a not-for-profit public health organisation called Swasti shows that most districts in Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra are more vulnerable to Covid-19 than other places, PTI reports.
3.16 pm: Air India partly seals its Centaur Hotel at the Indira Gandhi International Airport for sanitisation after a crew member tests positive for Covid-19, PTI reports.
2.56 pm: The Union health ministry designates 14 health establishments to review proposals for approving new laboratories for Covid-19 tests in different states, PTI reports.
The designated health institutes include the All India Institute Of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh and Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research in Puducherry.
2.54 pm: The Bombay High Court directs all district collectors, council authorities and police commissioners in Maharashtra to form special teams to monitor highways and arrange travel till the state border for migrant workers trying to walk back to their native places, PTI reports.
2.49 pm: The police in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district charge 33 people for violating lockdown rules, PTI reports.
2.44 pm: Ten inmates at the Agra Central Jail test positive for Covid-19, ANI reports.
2.42 pm: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar attends a video conference with his couterparts from Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member countries.
2.19 pm: Two migrant labourers and a two-year-old child die in an accident on the Kanpur-Jhansi highway, PTI reports. Forty-three others suffer injuries as the truck they were travelling in crashes into a stationary vehicle.
2.14 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a meeting with chairpersons of the Empowered Groups later in the day to discuss the coronavirus crisis, ANI reports.
2.12 pm: From coping with basics like internet connectivity and India’s notoriously undependable power supply to more structural issues such as curriculum and teaching methods, educators have come under tremendous stress since India’s schools began shutting down sometime in mid-March.
2.08 pm: Bangladesh’s development coach and former cricketer Ashiqur Rahman tests positive for Covid-19, PTI reports.
2.03 pm: A 76-year-old man dies in Kolkata after a private hospital denies to admit him over suspicions that he was infected with Covid-19, PTI reports.
1.55 pm: Dubai allows public parks to reopen and hotel guests to access private beaches as the emirate gradually lifts restrictions imposed to combat the coronavirus, Reuters reports.
1.54 pm: The Delhi High Court adjourns the hearing on a petition seeking the transfer of Tablighi Jamaat Chief Maulana Saad’s case to the National Investigation Agency to May 28, ANI reports.
1.50 pm: A 56-year-old cancer patient dies of Covid-19 in Bihar, PTI reports. The state’s tally rises to seven.
1.43 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah says Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to use indigenous products will pave the way for India to lead the world in the future. He adds that Central Armed Police Forces canteens will sell only indigenous products from now.
1.37 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra writes to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and suggests measures to provide relief to the people of the state.
1.32 pm: A passenger says there was complete disregard of physical distancing rules on the first train that reached New Delhi from Ahmedabad on Wednesday, PTI reports. The passenger adds that people crowded the pantry to buy dry food and water bottles.
1.30 pm: Pakistan reports over 2,000 new Covid-19 cases, according to PTI. The country’s count rises to 34,000.
1.26 pm: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami says the lockdown could be lifted “gradually” and appealed to the people to cooperate with the government, PTI reports. The state has recorded 8,718 cases of the coronavirus and 61 deaths so far.
1.21 pm: Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri says that the government has brought back 8,500 Indian citizens so far. He adds that 30,000 Indians will return on 149 flights during the second phase of the Vande Bharat mission.
1.06 pm: Passengers from Delhi are being marked with quarantine stamps in Raipur.
1.03 pm: The Maharashtra government requests the Centre to send 20 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces to manage the situation in the state.
12.49 pm: A study published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health shows that Covid-19 causes deaths through an overreaction of the immune system, whose function is precisely to fight infections. Researchers explain step-by-step how the virus infects the airways, multiplies inside cells, and in severe cases causes the immune defences to overshoot with a “cytokine storm”.
12.39 pm: A 31-year-old soldier, who tested positive for Covid-19, died by suicide at the Base Hospital in Delhi on Tuesday, according to PTI.
12.33 pm: Nepal records its highest single-day increase in the number of coronavirus cases, with 83 new infections, PTI reports. The country’s tally rises to 217.
12.31 pm: The number of coronavirus cases in Indore, Madhya Pradesh’s worst-affected district, rises to 2,107 with 91 new cases, PTI reports.
12.23 pm: Britain’s economy shrank by a record 5.8% in March from February as the coronavirus crisis escalated and the government imposed a lockdown, Reuters reports.
12.18 pm: The residents of Tungjoy village in Manipur’s Senapati district build at least 80 huts to serve as quarantine centres to accommodate natives who are scheduled to return to the state, PTI reports.
12.14 pm: Karnataka’s Covid-19 tally rises to 951 with 26 new cases.
12.11 pm: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel says there is a need for better coordination between the Centre and the states to deal with the coronavirus crisis effectively, PTI reports. He criticises the Centre for taking unilateral decisions.
11.57 am: Opposition leaders hit out at the Centre over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of the Rs 20 lakh crore-stimulus package.
11.54 am: The workers at a factory in Punjab’s Malerkotla district staged a protest on Tuesday night over salary cuts.
11.47 am: Andhra Pradesh reports 48 new coronavirus cases. The state’s tally rises to 2,137.
11.43 am: Protective coveralls are a critical component of the personal protective equipment that shield doctors, nurses and other health workers from the novel coronavirus. These coveralls cannot be supplied to government hospitals unless they are tested for quality and given certifications of approval by one of eight government-appointed laboratories.
11.39 am: India’s Jubilant Life Sciences on Tuesday signed a non-exclusive licensing agreement for selling Gilead Sciences Inc’s experimental Covid-19 treatment remdesivir in 127 countries, including India, according to Reuters.
11.37 am: Thailand records no new coronavirus cases for the first time since March 9, Reuters reports.
11.31 am: Bharatiya Janata Party President JP Nadda says the migrant workers and small industries have been given special preference in the Rs 20 lakh crore-economic package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
11.28 am: The New Development Bank of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) grouping disburses $1 billion emergency assistance loan to India, PTI reports.
11.19 am: Twitter’s Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey on Tuesday said the company will allow employees to work from home permanently even after the end of the coronavirus lockdowns, BBC reports.
11.18 am: A special train from Howrah in West Bengal reaches Delhi.
11.14 am: Domestic benchmark indices record early gains as the market remains optimistic after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of an economic stimulus package worth Rs 20 lakh crore.
11.11 am: Over 300 lawmakers from around the world request the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to cancel the debt of the poorest countries and boost funding to avert a global economic meltdown, Reuters reports.
The initiative, led by Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Ilham Omar, comes amid growing concern that developing countries and emerging economies will be devastated by the pandemic.
11.06 am: More than 170 Indian citizens land in Karnataka’s Mangaluru city from Dubai, PTI reports.
11.00 am: A migrant labourer, cycling home to Uttar Pradesh from Chhattisgarh, dies after being hit by a speeding truck, PTI reports. The 41-year-old labourer and three others had stopped to rest when they were hit by the truck.
10.56 am: Delhi reports 359 new Covid-19 cases and 20 deaths. The Capital’s tally rises to 7,998 and the toll reaches 106.
10.40 am: A 113-year-old woman, believed to be the oldest person living in Spain, recovers from Covid-19, AFP reports.
Maria Branyas contracted the infection in April at the Santa Maria del Tura care home in the eastern city of Olot, where she has lived for the past 20 years, and fought the respiratory illness off in isolation in her room.
10.35 am: A train carrying 545 passengers leaves for Delhi from Bhubaneswar.
10.32 am: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will address a press conference at 4 pm.
10.28 am: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu welcomes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of a Rs 20 lakh crore-stimulus package.
10.23 am: A 21-year-old migrant worker died due to a sunstroke on Tuesday after walking 300 km from Hyderabad towards Odisha, PTI reports
10.17 am: The police in Madhya Pradesh’s Sagar district begin an investigation after the people defied lockdown guidelines and gathered to welcome a monk on Tuesday.
10.13 am: More than 160 people, stranded in various parts of the country due to the lockdown, return to Sikkim, PTI reports. More than 1,100 people have returned to the state so far.
10.09 am: The US Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a $3 trillion-plus coronavirus relief package with funding for states, businesses, food support and families, Reuters reports. The Heroes Act was introduced in the House of Representatives and could be voted on in the Democratic-led chamber this week.
10.03 am: Passengers arrive at the Bhubaneswar railway station to board a train to Delhi.
9.57 pm: The administration of Wuhan city in China’s Hubei province, where the novel coronavirus was first reported, on Tuesday decided to test all its 1.1 crore residents, due to a fresh cluster of community cases.
9.53 am: Congress leader P Chidambaram says Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of a Rs 20 lakh crore-stimulus package is a “headline and a blank page.”
9.52 am: The Maharashtra government says nearly 42,000 migrant workers have been sent home on 35 special trains so far, PTI reports.
9.47 am: The first passenger train from Mumbai arrives in Delhi
9.45 am: Odisha’s Covid-19 tally rises to 538 with 101 new cases, ANI reports, quoting the state’s health department.
9.43 am: Rajasthan reports 87 new coronavirus cases. The state’s tally rises to 4,213 and the toll reaches 117.
9.35 am: Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Tuesday warned of a surge in the number of coronavirus deaths and economic damage alike if the government lifts stay-at-home orders too fast, AP reports.
9.32 am: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged religious leaders to challenge inaccurate and harmful messages that are fueling stigma, hate speech and conflict amid the coronavirus pandemic.
9.27 am: Indian students wait at the Dhaka airport to board a special flight to Jammu and Kashmir.
9.22 am: Passengers from Gujarat arrive in Delhi on special trains.
9.13 am: A train from Patna reaches the New Delhi Railway Station.
9.06 am: The number of coronavirus cases in India rises to 74,281.
8.28 am: A man, who returned to Jharkhand from Telangana, in a “Shramik Special” train tests positive, ANI reports.
8.26 am: The United States reports a record $738 billion budget deficit in April amid an increase in government spending and dipping revenue generation as Covid-19 cases rise in the nation, Reuters reports.
8.24 am: United States reports 1,894 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours, bringing the toll to 82,246, AFP reports.
8.22 am: United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention commits $3.6 million to assist India’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, PTI reports. The aid will support prevention, preparedness and response activities.
Here are the top updates from Tuesday:
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a Rs 20 lakh crore financial package to combat the coronavirus outbreak. He also announced that the nationwide lockdown would be extended into its fourth phase, beyond May 17. However, Modi said this phase of the lockdown will be “very different” from the first three, and that people cannot let the coronavirus rule their lives.
- West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticised the Centre’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. “There are expectations during meetings with the prime minister, however, we return with an empty basket every time,” she said. “There is no income since last two months but we are not getting any alternative from Centre. We are supposed to get Rs 52,000 crore. Corona is here to stay but what about the income?”
- The number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 70,756. The toll reached 2,293. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said India’s coronavirus recovery rate is improving everyday. A total of 22,455 patients have recovered so far from the infection.
- The Maharashtra government on Tuesday allowed home delivery of liquor during the coronavirus lockdown period to facilitate physical distancing. However, the home delivery will not be applicable in Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad and Nagpur, where the civic bodies have not allowed liquor shops to open their establishments.
- The World Health Organization said “extreme vigilance” was needed as countries begin to exit from lockdowns amid global concerns about a second wave of infections.
- The Centre released a protocol for the usage and sharing of data collected through its coronavirus contact tracing app Aarogya Setu. The Centre specified that the users’ data can be stored for up to 180 days but said it is only meant for health purposes.The protocol came amid concerns about privacy and surveillance risks posed by the app, which has over nine crore users.