Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said the Centre will immediately create a fund of Rs 1 lakh crore for farm-gate infrastructure under the third tranche of the Rs 20 lakh crore economic relief package. However, the Congress claimed the third tranche of measures were a “jumla” and accused the Centre of playing “voodoo economics.”
Mizoram extended the lockdown to tackle the coronavirus crisis till May 31.
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government allowed liquor shops to reopen in the state from Saturday. A token system will be implemented and only 500 tokens will be given at each liquor shop everyday. The shops will be open from 10 am to 5 pm and masks are mandatory for customers.
The number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 81,970 on Friday morning and the toll went up to 2,649. The country recorded 3,967 cases and 100 deaths in the last 24 hours. Globally, Covid-19 has infected more than 44.40 lakh people and claimed 3.02 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.
10.43 pm: Here are the day’s top updates
10.41 pm: Tamil Nadu records 385 new infections and five deaths today, taking the state’s tally to 10,108 and toll to 71, reports ANI.
10.37 pm: Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says no relaxations should be made in containment zones, but economic activities shall resume in other areas. “This may lead to an increase in coronavirus cases, we have all arrangements in place to deal with it,” he says, according to ANI.
10.26 pm: India’s coronavirus cases have surpassed China’s after the country recorded a total of 85,546 cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. So far, China has reported 84,031 infections.
10.19 pm: Thousands of migrant workers line up at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station to board trains to their home states, reports NDTV. “We will never come back to Mumbai,” one of them says. “Faced a lot of problems here. The government did not help at all. Even if we have to survive with limited income in our village we will stay there.”
10.15 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath has asked the state’s officials to form teams in every police station area to make sure no migrant worker travels on foot or bike or in any other unsafe way, reports Hindustan Times.
10 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi praises the measures announced in the third tranche of the economic relief package. “I welcome today’s measures announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman,” he tweets. “They will help the rural economy, our hardworking farmers, fishermen, the animal husbandry and dairy sectors. I specially welcome reform initiatives in agriculture, which will boost income of farmers.”
8.33 pm: Maharashtra reports 1,576 new coronavirus cases and 49 fatalities today, according to ANI. The state has 21,467 total cases and 1,068 deaths. Meanwhile, 6,564 patients have recovered from the infection so far.
8.27 pm: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal says the state has been losing around Rs 1,000 crore every day because of the lockdown to contain the coronavirus, reports PTI. He also says the Rs 20 lakh crore special financial package announced by the Centre is a “game-changer”.
8.20 pm: Mumbai reports 933 fresh positive cases of the coronavirus and 24 deaths, according to ANI. With this, the tally of infections in the city has increased to 17,512 and the toll stands at 655.
8.18 pm: More new cases in states:
8.15 pm: Mumbai’s Dharavi slum reports 84 new coronavirus cases, taking the total tally of infections in the area to 1,145. No new fatalities were recorded today and the toll stands at 53.
8 pm: Mizoram has extended the lockdown to rein in the coronavirus pandemic till May 31.
7.52 pm: For sales at TASMAC, the state government has said only 500 tokens will be issued per day. People who come to buy liquor must also wear face-mask and follow physical distancing guidelines.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court stayed the Madras High Court order of May 8 to close all state-run liquor shops in Tamil Nadu, with immediate effect, to enforce physical distancing amid the nationwide lockdown to rein in the coronavirus outbreak.
7.50 pm: The Tamil Nadu government has issued an order on reopening of state-run Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation, or TASMAC shops, from tomorrow, reports ANI. However, the order will not be applicable in Chennai, Thiruvallur, malls and containment zones.
7.38 pm: The Karnataka health department has issued guidelines for marriages in the state after Centre eases lockdown restrictions. The wedding should not have more than 50 guests, no consumption of liquor and paan, no invitation to pregnant women and to people aged above 65 and below 10 years, it says.
7.32 pm: All 90 patients in Karnataka’s Mysuru district, a coronavirus hotspot, have recovered, reports PTI.
7.25 pm: “After May 17, the government of India is going to relax so many things, let us wait for it,” says Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, reports PTI. “According to me they [Centre] will relax everything...maybe for things like five star hotels and others they may not give permission for the time being, but for other things they are going to give permission.”
7.22 pm: Ten central trade unions have given a call for a nationwide strike on May 22 to protest against the suspension of labour laws by some states during the nationwide lockdown period, reports PTI.
7.20 pm: Union minister Giriraj Singh says the fisheries and livestock sector has the capacity to increase the wages of farmers, reports ANI. “Opposition has nothing to say,” he adds. “It is unfortunate that it can not even praise our good steps. They can’t abuse us so indirectly they are calling these initiatives jumla.”
Earlier in the day, the Centre announced Rs 20,000 crore for marine and inland fisheries development. The allocation is part of the Centre’s 20 lakh crore economic relief package to prop up the ailing economy.
7.17 pm: Jammu and Kashmir records 30 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the total cases in the Union Territory to 1,013, according to ANI.
7.15 pm: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel once again urges the Centre to allow the states to decide on red, green, and orange zones based on the severity of the coronavirus situation in the districts. He also requests the government that provision be made for expenditure towards transportation of migrants from the State Disaster Relief Fund. “A huge sum of money is expected to be spent in transportation of workers and ensuring them other facilities,” he says in a letter to Modi.
7.07 pm: Tamil Nadu reports 447 new coronavirus cases and two fatalities. The state now has total 9,674 infections and 66 deaths.
7.05 pm: The Airports Authority of India has directed travellers to mandatorily download Aarogya Setu app before boarding flights, reports PTI.
The Aarogya Setu app is meant to alert users if they have come in contact with a Covid-19 patient and what measures they need to take in case that happens. Cybersecurity experts, however, have expressed concerns that it could violate the users’ privacy and become a surveillance tool in the hands of the government.
7.02 pm: The Tamil Nadu government has directed all the government offices to function on a rotational basis starting May 18 with 50% staff, reports PTI. Earlier, the working strength of all government offices was kept at a maximum of 33%.
7 pm: Over 2,000 people have been detained in Delhi for violating lockdown norms, reports PTI. Meanwhile, 51 cases were registered under Section 188 (for disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code till 5 pm today.
6.56 pm: ‘Voodoo economics’ being followed by the prime minister and the finance minister, says Congress on the announcements made by the government today.
6.50 pm: Congress accuses the Narendra Modi government of being insensitive towards farmers. “The government has not given single penny to them in Covid-19 economic package, the finance minister must apologise to them,” says Randeep Singh Surjewala.
6.47 pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala criticises the announcements made by the Centre today. “Neither the farmer nor the farm labourers will benefit from these Jumla announcements of the finance minister,” he says. “Today, farmers and farm workers are frustrated and disappointed.”
6.45 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah praises Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s third set of announcements on the economic stimulus package. “The Modi government believes that India’s welfare lies in the welfare of farmers,” he tweets. “The unprecedented assistance given to farmers today shows Modi ji’s foresight to make the country self-sufficient by empowering farmers.”
6.41 pm: Scores of migrant workers from West Bengal gather outside the district magistrate’s office in Shivamogga district in Karnataka. They are demanding transportation arrangements to go back home.
6.35 pm: Slovenia becomes the first European country to declare an end to the coronavirus pandemic, despite new infections still being reported, according to AFP. “Today Slovenia has the best epidemic situation in Europe, which enables us to call off the general epidemic,” Prime Minister Janez Jansa says, two months after the epidemic was declared.
6.32 pm: Rajya Sabha member Anbumani Ramadoss urges Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar, to bring back Indian Tamils stranded in Gulf countries, reports The Hindu.
“About 40 lakh Indian nationals are working in Saudi Arabia, one of the largest country in the Gulf,” he says in a letter. “Tens of thousands of Indian nationals, including Tamil Nadu workers, have lost their jobs, after the imposition of the lockdown due to global coronavirus threats. Apart from them, a considerable amount of Indians, those who went on a three-month business visa to perform minor maintenance and contractual works are also stranded after completing their tasks.”
6.30 pm: Over 150 people from Goa, who returned to the state today after working on ships as crew members, will be quarantined in paid facilities, says Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
6.26 pm: The health ministry has issued additional guidelines on rational use of the personal protective equipment for different settings. “The PPEs are to be used based on the risk profile of the health care worker,” it says.
6.20 pm: Karnataka reports 69 new coronavirus cases, taking the state’s tally of infections to 1,056.
6.16 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at the Centre over its preparedness to fight the coronavirus outbreak. “The geniuses at Niti Aayog have done it again,” he tweets. “I’d like to remind you of their graph predicting the government’s national lockdown strategy would ensure no fresh Covid cases from tomorrow, May the 16th.”
6.07 pm: Kerala has 16 more cases of the virus today, taking the state’s total to 576. Of these, only 80 are active cases, reports ANI.
6.05 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath tells ANI the government is skilling labourers who have returned to the state and are currently in quarantine centres.
6 pm: The Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation, or Tasmac, will be open in the state from tomorrow to sell liquor, after the Supreme Court strikes down a Madras High Court order.
5.38 pm: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel urges Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to open state boundaries for the next few months except for the transportation of migrants or essential services, PTI reports.
5.22 pm: Highlights of the third tranche of the Centre’s Rs 20 lakh crore economic package:
- Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announces 11 new measures to benefit farmers and agricultural sectors. While eight of these focussed on financial support, three measures are aimed at bringing reforms in governance and administrative services.
- The Centre will immediately create a fund of Rs one lakh crore for farm-gate infrastructure.
- The government will also make amendments to the Essential Commodities Act to enable better price realisation for farmers.
- Agriculture food stuff including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potato will be deregulated.
- The government announces a Rs 10,000 crore scheme for the formalisation of micro food enterprises.
- A central law will be implemented to help farmers by giving them adequate choice to sell their produce at an attractive price, conduct “barrier-free interstate trade” and use e-trading of farm produce.
4.59 pm: A central law to be formulated to provide adequate choice to farmers to sell produce at an attractive price, says Sitharaman.
4.51 pm: The Centre proposes amendments to the Essential Commodities Act to enable better price realisation. Under this, agriculture food stuff including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potatoes will be deregulated, according to Sitharaman. “Stock limit will be imposed only under exceptional circumstances,” she adds. “No stock limit will apply to processors or value chain participants.”
4.49 pm: The government extends Operation Green for Tomatoes, Onions, and Potatoes, or TOP “to all fruits and vegetables”, or TOTAL.
4.44 pm: The finance minister announces a beekeeping initiative worth Rs 500 crore. This scheme will focus on capacity building with a thrust on women. Under this, the government will undertake infrastructural development related to collection and marketing. Storage systems for beekeeping will also be developed.
4.42 pm: The Centre allocates Rs 4,000 crore for promotion of herbal cultivation. “10,000 hectare will be covered under herbal cultivation in next two years with an outlay of Rs 4000 crore,” Sitharaman says. “This will generate income worth Rs 5,000 crore for farmers.”
4.41 pm: An Animal Husbandry Development Fund worth Rs 15,000 crore will be set up to support private investment in dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure.
4.38 pm: The government will launch the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana for integrated, sustainable, inclusive development of marine and inland fisheries to plug critical gaps in fisheries value chain, Sitharaman says. “This will provide employment to over 55 lakh people and double the exports to Rs one lakh crore.”
4.35 pm: Centre launches a National Animal Disease Control programme for foot and mouth disease and Brucellosis with the total outlay of Rs 13,343 crore. The scheme will ensure 100% vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pigs.
4.27 pm: The Centre announces a Rs 10,000 crore scheme for formalisation of Micro Food Enterprises. Under this:
- Existing MFEs, Farmer Producer Organisations, Self Help Groups and Cooperatives will be supported.
- Cluster-based approach will be taken in the implementation of the scheme.
- The outcome is expected to improve health and safety standards.
4.24 pm: The Centre announces a Rs 1 lakh crore-worth Agri Infrastructure Fund which will focus on short term loans and investment in long-term agriculture infrastructure. “Financing facility of Rs 1,00,000 crore will be provided for funding the agri-infrastructure projects at farm gate and aggregation points,” Sitharaman says. “The fund will be created immediately.”
4.22 pm: In order to help Fisheries sector, operations of Marine Capture Fisheries and Aquaculture has been relaxed to cover Inland Fisheries, the finance minister says.
4.17 pm: The government took additional steps during the pandemic to assist the animal husbandry sector, the finance minister says. “The Centre procured 560 lakh litre of milk per day by cooperative against the daily sale of 36 lakh litre of milk per day,” she says. “The government has come up with a new scheme to provide interest subvention at 2% per annum to dairy cooperatives. The scheme will unlock Rs 5,000 crore additional liquidity benefitting 2 crore farmers.”
4.15 pm: ‘The Minimum Support Price purchases of more than Rs 74,300 crore was made during lockdown,” Sitharaman says. “Rs 18,700 crore transferred to farmers under PM-KISAN Yojana.”
4.09 pm: “I will be announcing eleven measures for agricultural activities and allied sectors,” Sitharaman says. “Eight of these are related to government allocating money to strengthen capacities, undertaking activities, ramping up storage, while the remaining three focuses on governance and administrative response.”
4.06 pm: Third set of measures focuses on agriculture, allied sectors and fisheries, says Sitharaman.
4.05 pm: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveils the third tranche of stimulus as part of Rs 20 trillion fiscal and monetary package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to support the economy battered the pandemic.
3.58 pm: A 94-year-old woman in Maharashtra was discharged from hospital after recovering from Covid-19, ANI reports.
3.52 pm: Twenty people who were repatriated to India from Dubai test positive for the coronavirus in Mangaluru, Karnataka, PTI reports.
3.47 pm: Restaurant aggregator Zomato announces it will lay off around 13% of its employees and announced pay cuts of up to 50% across its workforce for six months starting June, NDTV reports.
The company says its co-founder Gaurav Gupta and CEO-food delivery business Mohit Gupta will be in touch with the impacted staff through video calls over the next few days to “help find them jobs as soon as possible”.
3.22 pm: Delhi records 425 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, reports ANi, quoting the health department’s figures. No new deaths were reported in the period. The total number of cases in the Capital is now 8,895.
3.14 pm: The Arunachal Pradesh government decides to resume state transport bus service to various destinations from May 18, PTI reports. The decision was taken in view of the huge demand for public transport to ferry stranded people and other passengers from one district to another, State Transport Services General Manager Abu Tayeng says.
3.10 pm: A woman gives birth to a boy in the car of the sub-divisional magistrate of Barwani, Madhya Pradesh, ANI reports. “We had gone to screen some workers who returned from Gujarat when a woman went into labour,” Dr Kishore Mukati says. “We were just on the hospital gate when she delivered the baby in the car.”
3.06 pm: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy announces Rs 50 lakh solatium to the family of a Village Administrative Officer, who was killed in a road accident when he was returning home from Covid-19 duty in Tiruchirapalli, PTI reports.
2.59 pm: The Aam Aadmi Party-led government in the Capital tells the Delhi High Court that it will release the members of Tablighi Jamaat who have completed the mandatory quarantine period and show no coronavirus symptoms, PTI reports.
The submission was made at the outset of the hearing on a petition seeking the release of nearly 3300 Tablighi Jamaat members, who have allegedly been illegally quarantined for nearly 40 days despite testing negative for Covid-19.
2.55 pm: Ahmedabad Mayor Bijal Patel flags off 40 vans that will carry out Covid-19 screening of people in densely populated areas of the city, ANI reports.
2.51 pm: The US Food and Drug Administration says that Abbott Laboratories’ speedy coronavirus test, which can deliver results within minutes and is used at the White House, could potentially be inaccurate, Reuters reports. However, it can still be used to test patients, it adds.
2.47 pm: The Planning Board in Odisha decides it will prepare a roadmap focusing on MSME, agriculture and allied sectors to expedite economic activities affected by the prolonged shutdown, PTI reports. “The document will be prepared after consulting with the scientists, social activists, economists and senior officials, the state Planning Board’s Vice Chairperson Sanjay Das Burma says.
2.44 pm: Gahlot says that in case there are huge crowds at a metro station, the entry of people will be curbed. “Only main stations will be opened so that we can put our complete manpower there,” he adds.
2.40 pm: Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot says the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is “ready” to resume metro services in the Capital, ANI reports. However, the decision on the matter will be taken by the Delhi government, he adds. “On every station, there will be thermal checking, proper sanitisation and usage of currency will not be encouraged.”
2.39 pm: A group of at least 15 people allegedly attacked a police sub-inspector and two constables with sharp weapons at Antop Hill locality in Mumbai, after the policemen enquired why they were not wearing face masks, PTI reports.
2.36 pm: The West Bengal government says it had already told to the Union government about the arrangements made by the state to welcome back its people stranded in other countries. Attaching letters of communication, the state’s home department in a tweet said “Bengal awaits [the] flights.”
2.33 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan appeals to all states and Union Territories to ban the sale of tobacco products and prohibit spitting in public places, in line with the orders of the Rajasthan and Jharkhand governments to prevent the spread of Covid-19, PTI reports.
2.27 pm: The Supreme Court asks the Centre to treat as representation a plea seeking directions to the government to make arrangements for the repatriation of Indian workers who were granted amnesty by Kuwait and are living in vulnerable conditions in deportation camps there, PTI reports.
2.26 pm: Meanwhile, another truck bringing migrants from Mumbai overturned when the driver lost control of the vehicle after it hit an electric pole on the Lucknow-Bahraich highway, the police told PTI. Over 32 people were injured.
2.23 pm: Three migrant workers were killed and 71 were injured in separate road accidents in Jalaun and Bahraich districts of Uttar Pradesh, PTI reports.
Satish Kumar, superintendent of police, Jalaun, says a truck with 46 migrants on its way to Mumbai, overturned and fell in a roadside ditch after it was hit by another truck on Thursday night. “Two people died on the spot and 40 others were injured and admitted to Orai Medical College,” he adds.
2.21 pm: Hundreds of migrant workers from Tamil Nadu who travel to Mumbai every year for work are now stuck there amid the lockdown. According to a video posted on YouTube, the workers are currently living in huts covered by polythene bags in a forested area.
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2.05 pm: The Supreme Court decides that five benches comprising three judges, will take up all pending and fresh matters, including urgent hearings, through video conferencing from May 18 to June 19, ANI reports.
2.03 pm: The Supreme Court asks the Centre to apprise it about steps taken for quarantining doctors and medical staff engaged in fight against coronavirus in accommodations near the hospitals itself, PTI reports.
2.00 pm: A community quarantine centre in Manipur’s Imphal East district was sealed after a man who was lodged in the facility tests positive, PTI reports.
1.57 pm: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel asks the Centre to return Corporate Social Responsibility donations made by industrialists of his state to the PM CARES fund, saying the money “is ours...of the people of the state”, PTI reports.
1.55 pm: BJP leader Ram Kadam tweets a video allegedly shot at the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, in which patients can be seen sleeping and sitting on the floor. “No medical help, nothing?” he tweets. “When will Maharashtra government wake up?”
1.44 pm: United States has seen unfortunate reports of Covid-19 related “rhetoric and harassment” against the Muslim community in India, says Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback. This has been exacerbated by fake news and misinformation shared on social media, he says, according to PTI.
1.42 pm: The Maharashtra government sets up two committees at the state and district level for better coordination between public and private hospitals in tackling the spread of the coronavirus, PTI reports.
1.37 pm: The World Health Organization cautions countries in South East Asia to take “evidence-informed action” and conduct careful assessment of the local epidemiology before winding down the health and social measures taken to combat the virus. The region has nearly 12.20 lakh cases and 4,000 deaths due to Covid-19.
1.29 pm: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal says his government has written to the Centre demanding the lockdown be extended for two more weeks beyond May 17, PTI reports.
1.26 pm: The Madras High Court stays its order directing the Tamil Nadu government to close all state-run liquor shops, ANI reports. Following the stay on the high court order by the apex court, the state-owned liquor shops may reopen in the state.
1.24 pm: Andhra Pradesh records 57 new coronavirus cases today, ANI reports, quoting the state health department’s figures. The total number of positive cases in the state is now 2,157.
1.05 pm: A part of the Indian Army headquarters building, the Sena Bhawan, has been closed for fumigation and sanitisation after a case of Covid-19 was detected, ANI reports.
1 pm: Punjab’s count reaches 1,942, ANI reports.
12.45 pm: In Ahmedabad, shops selling essential items reopen after a week on Friday.
12.40 pm: The Calcutta High Court has allowed changes in dress code for lawyers due to the Covid-19 outbreak, PTI reports. Advocates of the High Court and subordinate court will now wear “plain white shirt or white salwar kameez or white saree, with a plain white neck band” during the hearings, which are being conducted through video conference.
12.36 pm: Karnataka reports 45 new coronavirus cases, taking the state’s tally to 1,032.
12.33 pm: The United Nations Security Council reform process and negotiations have been postponed till further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic, PTI reports.
12.30 pm: Liquor shops open in rural Nagpur today. Long queues are seen outside the shops.
12.27 pm: In Haryana, bus services resume as state decides to start special bus services on select routes, ANI reports.
12.18 pm: “Every advocate read incidents in the paper and become knowledgeable about every subject,” the Supreme Court says while dismissing the petition, according to. NDTV. “Your knowledge is totally based on newspaper clippings and then you want this court to decide. Let the state decide. Why should this court decide or hear? We will give you special pass. Can you go and implement government orders?”
12.15 pm: The Supreme Court dismisses a petition that sought for directions to the Centre to provide food and water to migrants on the roads, NDTV reports. “It is impossible for this court to monitor who is walking and not walking,” the court says. “Let the state decide. Why should the court hear or decide?”
The petition had also referred to the death of 16 migrant workers on railway tracks in Aurangabad last week. “There are people walking and not stopping. How can we stop it,” the judges say in response, adding that it is for the states to decide.
“How can anyone stop this when they sleep on railway tracks?” the judges ask.
12.02 pm: The Delhi High Court seeks a response from the Delhi government on petitions challenging the levying of a special corona fee on liquor.
11.58 am: So far, 1,061 personnel of the Maharashtra Police test positive for the coronavirus, ANI reports.
11.54 am: Indian citizens will be evacuated from Male in Maldives to Kochi on an Indian Navy ship.
11.52 am: The Supreme Court refuses to entertain a petition seeking direction to close liquor shops, ANI reports.
11.42 am: The humanitarian crisis that has followed lockdown implemented by the Narendra Modi government on March 25 to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is gut-wrenching. Deprived of their daily-wage jobs and without access to food in the cities in which they lived, lakhs of migrant workers are making long, perilous journeys on foot to their villages. Many have died en route. Cartoonists react to the long journeys of migrants, the Centre’s economic relief package and the changes in labour laws.
Read more here:
11.40 am: Nineteen passengers, who reached Bengaluru from Delhi via a special train on Thursday, were sent back to the Capital after they refused to be placed under quarantine. The first special train carrying over 550 passengers from Delhi had arrived at the Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station in Bengaluru on Thursday morning. Hours after the mandatory screening for the coronavirus began, around 140 passengers started to protest and refused to check-in to designated quarantine facilities. Eventually, all passengers, except the 19, agreed to follow the protocol after officials intervened.
Read more here:
11.35 am: Union Group of Ministers meet on the coronavirus situation.
11.30 am: New York City is investigating 110 Covid-19 cases related to a rare inflammatory illness in children, PTI reports. It has led to three deaths.
11.25 am: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant suggests to the Centre that a special train from New Delhi to Thiruvananthapuram, which will begin on May 15 and reach Madgaon on May 16, should not halt at the station.
He says that 720 people had booked tickets on that train to get down at Madgaon. “We have realised that hardly anyone of them is Goan,” he says, according to PTI. “We are concerned about what will happen once they get down. We will have to test them. We will advice them home quarantine, but we are not sure if they will do that. That is why we have suggested that the train skip the station.”
The statement came on the day Goa reported eight new cases of the coronavirus after a month with no infections. All these eight patients had arrived from other states.
11.15 am: The Word Bank will partner with the government in three areas – health, social protection and Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, says its India Director Junaid Ahmad, according to ANI.
11.02 am: “In the second phase, the program will deepen the social protection package, whereby additional cash and in-kind benefits based on local needs will be extended through state governments and portable social protection delivery systems,” the World Bank adds.
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11 am: The first phase of the operation will be implemented countrywide through the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, the World Bank says. “It will immediately help scale-up cash transfers and food benefits, using a core set of pre-existing national platforms and programs such as the Public Distribution System and Direct Benefit Transfers; provide robust social protection for essential workers involved in COVID-19 relief efforts; and benefit vulnerable groups, particularly migrants and informal workers, who face high risks of exclusion under the PMGKY,” the organisation says in a statement.
10.58 am: The World Bank says that the $1 billion will be funded in two phases – “an immediate allocation of $750 million for fiscal year 2020 and a $250 million second tranche that will be made available for fiscal year 2021”.
10.56 am: “The response to the COVID-19 pandemic around the world has required governments to introduce social distancing and lock downs in unprecedented ways,” World Bank’s Country Director for India, Junaid Ahmad, says. “These measures, intended to slow down the spread of the virus have, however, impacted economies and jobs – especially in the informal sector. India with the world’s largest lockdown has not been an exception to this trend. In this context, cash transfers and food benefits will help the poor and vulnerable access a ‘safety bridge’ towards a time when the economy will start to revive.”
10.48 am: Maharashtra Industry Minister Subhash Desai says the lockdown in Mumbai will be extended, NDTV reports.
An unidentified official, meanwhile, has told PTI that the government has expressed its intent to extend the lockdown in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune, Solapur, Aurangabad and Malegaon town in Nashik district till May 31. “The state’s view will be conveyed to the centre in writing,” the official said. “In the rest of the state, the guidelines of the centre will be implemented when they are announced before the [current] lockdown ends on May 17.”
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10.42 am: Mumbai’s yellow taxis are expected to begin plying from Monday with a 30% rise in fares, PTI reports.
10.40 am: The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation has formed a three-member committee to review its chartered taxi and bus fare structures, the Hindustan Times reports.
In a letter issued on May 9 to the corporation’s regional managers in Noida and Ghaziabad, UPSRTC Managing Director Raj Shekhar said passengers cleared by the Delhi government who have no symptoms of Covid-19 can use the bus and taxi services at the airport. However, the fares were to be as high as Rs 10,000 for a taxi ride from the airport to any destination within a 250 km radius.
10.36 am: The World Bank announces $1 billion social protection package for India, ANI reports.
10.20 am: The Delhi government on Thursday closed the Ghazipur market for two days after two officials test positive, the Hindustan Times reports.
10.18 am: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will address a press conference at 4 pm today to announce the third tranche of the Centre’s economic rescue package of Rs 20 lakh crore. The second tranche, announced on Thursday, focussed on migrant workers, street vendors, small traders, the self-employed and small farmers.
10.16 am: China reports 15 new coronavirus cases, taking the country’s total number of infections to 82,933.
10.13 am: After nearly 50 days of one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns to combat Covid-19, during which the Indian economy went into freefall, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an economic package that would put the country back on its feet and make it self-reliant. However, Modi offered no details of the economic package in his speech. He left it to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to confoundingly provide information through “tranches of announcements” spread over several days.
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10.10 am: Nepal’s toll rises to 258, ANI reports, citing the country’s health ministry.
10.09 am: A group of people pelted stones at a municipal school that was functioning as a ration distribution centre in West Delhi’s Prem Nagar area on Thursday because foodgrains were not distributed, The Indian Express reports.
“Ration distribution was not to be done today as Thursday was reserved for paper work,” Principal Mahavir Gupta said. “We had posted a note at the gate. For the past three days, supplies have not been available, but fresh stock came on Wednesday evening and was supposed to be distributed Friday onwards. We informed people, but they kept arguing for hours and later pelted stones. Police had to be called to control the situation.”
A Delhi government spokesperson said they will examine the matter.
10.04 am: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar wrote to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday reiterating his request for information about a caretaker board of administrators set up to run the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, The Indian Express reports.
10 am: The Delhi police have booked at least eight landlords in Mukherjee Nagar for forcing their tenants to pay rent amid the ongoing nationwide lockdown, the Hindustan Times reports.
9.54 am: Hundreds of migrant workers on Thursday staged a protest in Sendhwa town on the Madhya Pradesh-Maharashtra border, demanding food and transport arrangements to go back home. The town is an important stopping point for migrant labourers going to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh from Maharashtra.
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9.52 am: Odisha reports 61 new cases, taking the state’s tally to 672. Three people have died so far.
9.48 am: Health official Dr Rajesh Punia resumed duty on Thursday after Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij intervened, PTI reports. Punia, a gazetted officer, works in Hisar’s government hospital to contain vector-borne diseases like malaria, dengue and swine flu. He was assigned coronavirus-related duties, which includes putting a suspected patient in home quarantine. But he was taken off Covid-19 duty for allegedly putting up a quarantine poster in front of the home of a top politician’s aide.
9.44 am: A judge of the Supreme Court and his family have quarantined themselves after their cook tested positive for the coronavirus, NDTV reports. SC judges have been hearing cases on videoconference since the nationwide lockdown was announced. But single-judge benches began hearing cases in courtrooms from Tuesday.
9.42 am: The Union Territory of Ladakh was one of the first places in the country to report cases of the virus. Most of these were traced back to Yokma and Gongma villages in the Chuchot area of Leh district. Much before the national lockdown was declared on March 24, both villages were sealed. And yet, the region has reported 18 new cases.
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9.38 am: “Prime Minister also highlighted how some of the previous developmental initiatives taken by government – expanding financial inclusion, strengthening last mile delivery of health services, popularising cleanliness and hygiene through the Swachh Bharat Mission, drawing upon India’s Ayurvedic wisdom to enhance people’s immunity, etc – had helped increase the effectiveness of India’s response to the present pandemic,” the PMO said.
Modi appreciated the health-related work being done by the Gates Foundation and also sought suggestions from Gates on how India could do better.
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9.34 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates via video conference on Thursday evening. They discussed the global response to Covid-19, and the importance of global coordination on scientific innovation and research and development to combat the pandemic, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
Modi underlined the “conscious approach” that India has adopted in its fight against the health crisis, the statement said, adding that it was an approach “based on ensuring public engagement through appropriate messaging”.
9.32 am: Thousands of graves dug up in Santiago, Chile, amid an increase in Covid-19 cases and deaths.
9.30 am: The International Olympic Committee said on Thursday it had created a fund of $800 million to tackle the financial hardships created by the coronavirus pandemic which has forced the postponement of this year’s Tokyo Olympics until 2021.
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9.27 am: Children explain how the novel coronavirus spreads and how to live with it. An animated video was created by putting together the sketches made by 6-year-old Kaayampoo and 10-year-old Abinanthan. Watch here.
9.25 am: Covid-19 could kill 1.5 lakh people in Africa in a year and affect nearly 20 crore people, a study conducted by the World Health Organization says, AFP reports.
9.23 am: The Manipur Police have detained 870 people and seized 696 vehicles for violating lockdown norms in the state, PTI reports.
9.20 am: Rajasthan records 4,589 cases of the coronavirus after 55 more people test positive, ANI reports. The toll has risen to 125.
9.16 am: People flout physical distancing norms and gather in Kolagondanahalli village of Ramanagara in Karnataka for a village fair, ANI reports. Panchayat Development Officer NC Kalmatt, who had given permission for the event, has now been suspended.
9.12 am: Of India’s 81,970 cases, 51, 401 patients are still undergoing treatment, while 27,919 have been discharged after treatment.
9.10 am: India reports 3,967 new cases and 100 deaths in 24 hours. India’s tally rises to 81,970 coronavirus cases and 2,649 deaths on Friday morning.
8.45 am: King George’s Medical University in Lucknow says seven of the 708 samples tested on Thursday are positive.
8.43 am: The gates of the Badrinath temple in Uttarakhand were opened at 4.30 am today, reports PTI. Officials say only 27 people, including the head priest, allowed at the temple. “Devotees will not be allowed entry into the temple during that time,” says Anil Chanyal, the sub-divisional magistrate of Joshimath. “The decision has been taken in view of the guidelines issued by the Centre amid the Covid-19 pandemic.”
8.40 am: GK Sharma, the senior manager of Delhi Transport Corporation, says they have made 29 trips so far and cleared the passengers of two trains. “Seven more trains are scheduled to arrive,” he adds. “21 buses are parked here.”
8.37 am: Delhi Transport Corporation starts bus shuttle services for railway passengers arriving at New Delhi station, reports ANI. The passengers are dropped off at Shivaji Stadium and Ambedkar Stadium from where they are given further change over of transport.
8.08 am: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur requests External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to facilitate the return of a man from the state who tested positive for the coronavirus in United Arab Emirates, PTI reports.
8.06 am: The Noida administration says four Shramik special trains will run from the district to Bihar on Saturday, PTI reports.
8.03 am: The United States reports over 1,700 deaths in 24 hours.
8.02 am: People arrive at the fruit and vegetable market in Okhla in Delhi to start business for the day.
8.01 am: Migrant workers reach the Delhi-Ghazipur border to return to their native places in Uttar Pradesh.
7.40 am: Here are the top updates from Thursday
- Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced that about eight crore migrant workers, irrespective of whether they have ration cards, will get free foodgrains for the next two months. The Centre has also planned to introduce an affordable housing scheme for urban poor and migrant workers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the decisions, saying it will benefit the farmers and migrant workers in the country.
- The total number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 78,003 with 49,219 active cases, according to the health ministry. The toll is now 2,549. In the last 24 hours, India has recorded 3,722 new infections while the toll increased by 134.
- The Indian Railways cancelled all train tickets booked for travel on or before June 30. All passengers will be fully refunded, the railways said. Meanwhile, the railways will allow waitlisting of passengers from May 22 for journeys not just on the special trains, but also on all its upcoming services.
- Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said his government received over five lakh suggestions from people over the last two days on easing lockdown restrictions after May 17 in the national Capital. The chief minister added that he will meet Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal at 4 pm to discuss the post-lockdown plan.
- United States President Donald Trump criticised the congressional testimony delivered by the nation’s top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci a day earlier against the dangers of reopening the economy and schools too quickly. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a Senate committee that premature lifting of the lockdown could lead to additional outbreaks of the coronavirus.