India on Friday recorded 10,956 new coronavirus cases, its highest single-day increase so far. The country’s overall count rose to 2,97,535, according to the health ministry. The toll reached 8,498 after 396 new deaths were reported. The number of recoveries remained more than the active cases for the third consecutive day.India has now surpassed the United Kingdom to become the fourth worst-affected country in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a meeting with the chief ministers of all the states on June 16 and 17, amid rising coronavirus cases in the country.
The central government further eased visa restrictions to allow entry to certain categories of foreigners, including Overseas Citizens of India card holders. On May 22, the Indian government had allowed entry to four categories of OCI cardholders.
Maharashtra’s case count crossed one lakh after the state reported 3,493 more infections, including 127 deaths. Tamil Nadu recorded its biggest-ever spike, registering an additional 1,982 cases, including 18 more fatalities. Meanwhile, Delhi also reported its highest one-day rise, with 2,137 new cases. The Capital’s tally rises to 36,824, including 1,214 deaths and 13,398 recoveries.
The Delhi government said the coronavirus-induced lockdown will not be extended in the state. The Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra governments debunked rumours that the lockdowns in their states will be reimposed.
The Supreme Court observed that the Centre needs to do “much more” to address the concerns of medical professionals as the country cannot have “dissatisfied soldiers in this war against the coronavirus. In another hearing, the top court issued a notice to the Centre to reply to a petition seeking full refund of air tickets that had to be cancelled amid the lockdown.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced Goods and Services Tax-related measures to provide relief to small businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Sitharaman said that no late fees will be levied on entities which have zero GST liability, but have not filed their returns from July 2017 to January 2020. The Centre also reduced the interest on late filing of GST returns by small taxpayers from 18% to 9%.
The Supreme Court that requests for coronavirus tests cannot be denied on technical grounds, as it pulled up the Delhi government amid a spurt in cases in the national Capital. “Government may consider simplifying the procedure so that more and more tests are done,” said the bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MR Shah.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that India and the United States have lost their “open DNA” of tolerance, which defined their partnership. Instead, Gandhi said the relationship between the two countries seems to have become “very transactional” and “episodic”.
Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 75 lakh people and claimed over 4.22 lakh lives so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University.