Coronavirus in India Live Updates: Govt mulling extending lockdown after requests from states, experts, says report
How is the coronavirus spreading in India? What are the latest developments in our fight against coronavirus? Catch all the live updates here.
Here are the latest stats and data according to ministry of health and family welfare:
Day 14 of lockdown: Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Active Cases: 3981
Cured/Discharged/Migrated Cases: 325
Death Toll: 114
Globally, the disease has affected over 1 million people, leading to 74,702 deaths.
The Helpline Number for corona-virus : +91-11-23978046
Toll Free No: 1075
Here are the latest updates to the global health crisis, and its impact on India:
Dealing with COVID-19 like fighting a war with an unknown enemy: Punjab CM
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh says dealing with COVID-19 is like “fighting a war” wherein an “unknown enemy” is making the battle more complicated and challenging every day.
Underlining the state’s resolve to tide over the crisis, he says his government is leaving no stone unturned in procuring adequate life-saving equipment, including ventilators, PPE kits, N-95 masks and expanding bed capacity of isolation wards. The northern state has reported 79 coronavirus cases and seven deaths till Tuesday morning.
In an e-mail interview to PTI, Singh says the large number of non-resident Indian (NRI) population in the state makes it more vulnerable to the deadly disease.
“… another problem we are facing here in Punjab is the large number of NRIs and foreign returnees who have come to the state in the past one month or so. Tracking, tracing and following up on them is a massive task,” he says.
He says the Punjab government has already announced that the passports of NRIs would be impounded if they failed to reveal their travel history.
“Most of the 95,000 passengers who arrived through Mohali and Amritsar airports before suspension of flights and the Attari-Wagah and Dera Baba Nanak land ports have been traced,” he says.
“Subsequently, the Centre sent us a list of 55,000 people who arrived in Delhi and were quarantined. Contact tracing has also been completed in most cases, but there may be cases where people are hiding information, including their travel and contact history,” Singh says.
India partially lifts export ban on hydroxychloroquine; paves ways for supply to US
India has decided to partially lift a ban on export of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, paving the way for its supply to the US and several other countries hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Government officials said India would export hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol on a case-by-case basis to the countries which have already placed orders for them after meeting the domestic requirements.
The decision to partially lift the ban on hydroxychloroquine came to the fore hours after US President Donald Trump warned of retaliation if India does not heed to his request to supply the drug, cited by him as a viable therapeutic solution to fight coronavirus infection.
In a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, Trump sought supply of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to the US.
"In view of the humanitarian aspects of the pandemic, it has been decided that India would licence paracetamol and HCQ in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities," said Anurag Srivastava, Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs.
"We will also be supplying these essential drugs to some nations which have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic," he added, responding to queries on the issue.
Govt mulling extending lockdown after requests from states, experts: Sources
A lot of state governments as well as experts are requesting the Central government to extend the nationwide coronavirus lockdown beyond April 14, and the Centre is thinking in this direction, government sources said on Tuesday.
However, sources did not indicate if a final decision has been taken on the matter, reported PTI.
India is currently under the 21-day lockdown since March 25, with only essential services exempted, to contain the fast-spreading virus, which has claimed more than 75,800 lives and afflicted over 13.5 lakh people across 183 countries.
"A lot of state governments as well as experts are requesting Central Government to extend the lockdown. The Central government is thinking in this direction," a source said.
The development comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked countrymen to be ready for a long battle against the coronavirus pandemic, and exhorted people to not feel tired or defeated while and expressing confidence the country will emerge victorious in its fight.
COVID-19: North Central Railway makes masks, sanitizers for its personnel & families
In a bid to save its personnel and their families from the deadly coronavirus disease, the North Central Railway here is making protective masks and sanitizers at its workshops, and distributing them free of cost.
North Central Railway PRO Amit Malviya said on Tuesday, "So far, 61,400 masks and 4,762 litres of sanitizers have been made. These are being distributed to railway personnel and their families free of cost. Protective masks are being made every day."
He said railway personnel at Allahabad, Jhansi and Agra are engaged in making these masks and sanitizers.
Apart from this, the North Central Railway (NCR) has distributed over 23,000 food packets to needy people living in the vicinity of railway stations.
Malviya also said that social distancing is being strictly adhered to by the personnel while discharging their duties.
Next 7 days critical in evolving lockdown exit plan: Vice President
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said the final week of the ongoing lockdown is "critical" for evolving an exit strategy as data regarding the spread of coronavirus will have a bearing on the decision to be taken by the government.
He also appealed to the people to abide by whatever decision is ultimately taken by the government and cooperate with the same spirit that has so far been evident "even if it meant to continue with some degree of hardship still beyond April 14".
The 21-day nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 and it came into force on March 25.
"As today marks the completion of two weeks of nationwide lockdown in force since March 25, I thought it appropriate to reach out to the people and the leadership of the country with my views and concerns amidst current efforts to tide over the crisis caused by the outbreak of coronavirus," Naidu said in a statement.
The vice president said between the considerations of the health of the people and stabilization of the economy being debated, "the former shall take precedence over the later."
"In my view, while the concerns of economy can wait for another day, that of health can't," he said.
COVID-19: SC says 'not an expert body' on health, management issues of migrant workers
The Supreme Court Tuesday said it was not an "expert" body on dealing with health and management issues of migrant workers arising from the 21-day nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic and would rather ask the government to set up helpline for the needy.
A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and justices S K Kaul and Deepak Gupta, through video conferencing, was hearing the plea filed by two civil rights activists seeking enforcement of fundamental right to life for migrant workers and payment of wages to them as they have been left without work or food following the lockdown.
The bench, which had earlier issued notice to the Centre on the PIL, took note of the response of the government that it was monitoring the situation and has set up helpline number for helping the poor workers.
"We do not plan to supplant the wisdom of the government with our wisdom. We are not experts in health or management and will ask the government to create a helpline for complaints," the bench said while fixing the PIL for further hearing on April 13.
The bench also said it cannot take a "better policy decision" at this stage and moreover, it also does not want to interfere with the policy decisions for next ten-fifteen days.
At the outset, lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for activists Mander and Anjali Bhardwaj, said that more than 4 lakh migrant workers were living in shelter homes and this made mockery of distancing which is necessary to fight COVID-19 pandemic.
"If they are kept in shelter homes and then even if one person has Coronavirus they all get it. They should be allowed to go back to their own homes. Families need money for survival because they are dependant on the wages," Bhushan said.
He said that more than 40 per cent such workers did not try to migrate and are living in their own homes in the cities and they do not have money to buy food.
Delhi government announces five point plan to fight COVID-19 in the national capital.
12 new coronavirus cases in Bhopal; MP tally rises to 268
Twelve more coronavirus cases have been found in Bhopal, taking the number of such cases in Madhya Pradesh to 268, a health official said on Tuesday. Among the new patients, seven are police personnel and their family members, and five are health department employees, Bhopal's Chief Medical and Health Officer Dr Sudhir Kumar Deharia said. With this, the total number of coronavirus cases in the state capital has gone up to 74. Two persons from Bhopal have so far been discharged after recovery, he said.
India to export anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine on case-by-case basis: MEA
India has decided to export anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to several countries including those in the neighbourhood on a case-by-case basis in sync with its commitment to the international community to fight the coronavirus pandemic, officials said on Tuesday.
Last month, India banned export of hydroxychloroquine in the midst of views that the drug could be used as potential anti-viral agent to protect healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients from the infection.
President Donald Trump has warned India that the US may retaliate if it did not export hydroxychloroquine despite his personal request, saying he would be surprised if New Delhi did not relent as it has good relations with Washington.
"India has always maintained that the international community must display strong solidarity and cooperation. This approach also guided our evacuation of nationals of other countries," Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava said.
"In view of the humanitarian aspects of the pandemic, it has been decided that India would licence paracetamol and HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities," he said while responding to media queries on the issue.
India has received requests from several other countries including its immediate neighbours Sri Lanka and Nepal for supply of hydroxychloroquine.
Statewise Count: The death toll due to novel coronavirus rose to 114 and the number of cases in the country climbed to 4,421 on Tuesday, according to the Union Health Ministry.
While the number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 3,981, as many as 325 people were cured and discharged, and one had migrated, it stated. The total number of cases include 66 foreign nationals.
According to the ministry's data updated at 9 am, three new deaths were reported from Rajasthan, while Tripura recorded its first coronavirus case.
Maharashtra has reported the most coronavirus deaths at 45, followed by Gujarat at 12, Madhya Pradesh nine, Telangana and Delhi seven each, Punjab six and Tamil Nadu five fatalities.
Karnataka registered four deaths, while West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan have recorded three fatalities each. Two deaths each have been reported from Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala. Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana have reported one fatality each, according to the health ministry data.
However, a PTI tally based on figures reported by states directly on Monday night showed at least 138 deaths across the country, while the confirmed cases reached 4,683. Of them, 359 have been cured and discharged.
There has been a lag in the Union Health Ministry figures, compared to the numbers announced by different states, which officials attribute to procedural delays in assigning the cases to individual states.
The highest number of confirmed cases are from Maharashtra at 748, followed by Tamil Nadu at 621 and Delhi with 523 cases. Kerala reported 327 COVID-19 cases, Telangana 321, Uttar Pradesh 305 and Rajasthan 288 cases. Andhra Pradesh reported 226 coronavirus cases.
Novel coronavirus cases have risen to 165 in Madhya Pradesh, 151 in Karnataka and 144 in Gujarat. Jammu and Kashmir has 109 cases, West Bengal has 91, Haryana 90 and Punjab 76 cases of the infection.
Thirty-two people were infected with the virus in Bihar while Uttarakhand has 31 patients and Assam 26. Odisha reported 21 coronavirus cases, Chandigarh 18, Ladakh 14 and Himachal Pradesh 13 cases.
Ten cases each have been reported from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Chhattisgarh. Goa has reported seven COVID-19 infections, followed by Puducherry with five cases. Jharkhand has reported four cases and Manipur two. Tripura, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have reported one case of the infection each.
"State-wise distribution is subject to further verification and reconciliation," the ministry said on its website.
COVID-19: 'Phone booth' sample collection centre introduced in Jharkhand
In a bid to ensure safety of health workers, the West Singhbhum administration in Jharkhand has introduced an innovative portable unit for collecting samples from suspected coronavirus-infected persons, an official said. The unit looks like a public telephone booth and will reduce manpower needed for collecting samples for coronavirus tests, he said. "The phone booth COVID-19 sample collection centre is a unique, low-cost and portable unit. It ensures the safety of health workers while collecting sample from a suspected patient," the official said.
The sample collection kiosk can be mounted on a vehicle and transported to any location, he said. The model can also be useful for collecting samples in COVID-19 hotspots and border checkpoints, the official said, adding that each model costs about Rs 15,000-20,000. The structure of the centre is "just like a phone booth" consisting of a small cubicle along with personal protective equipment such as gloves for a health worker and kit for collecting samples. Explaining how the centre will function, the official said a person standing in a queue will be asked to come close to the kiosk and follow the instruction given through a public address system for collection of his or her swab sample.
Look into nurses testing COVID-19 positive due to PPE shortage: Ker CM to Modi
The Kerala government on Monday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to look into reports of nurses from the state getting infected with COVID-19 in Delhi and Maharashtra allegedly due to lack of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written a letter to Modi seeking his "attention to the situation", an official said.
In a press meet after the evaluation meet on COVID-19, Vijayan said 46 nurses from Kerala working in Mumbai have contracted the deadly virus and more than 150 nurses are under observation there.
He said, five nurses at Delhi's prestigious Cancer Institute have been infected with the virus amid complaints regarding lack of PPE across the country.
"I request that the concerned state governments may be advised to urgently look into the facts and circumstances... and provide due care, attention and necessary precautions so that the standard health protocols are followed and utmost protection is given to the health personnel who are rendering valuable service to our society," Vijayan said in the letter.
Vijayan said the nurses have requested that necessary steps be taken to separate people who are diagnosed positive for Coronavirus and those who presently have no symptoms.
"We are receiving frantic telephone calls from them (nurses). Many of them are informing us that there is lack of adequate precaution to prevent the contagion of the disease," Vijayan said.
Meanwhile, Opposition Congress Leader Ramesh Chennithala also wrote a letter to the prime minister seeking his "urgent intervention to improve the plight of expatriate community who are in doldrums owing to the lock down imposed by different countries".
Chennithala sought a "specific plan" to get all NRIs who want to return to India back here immediately after the easing of flight travel restrictions.
He also sought a special economic package for them as well as the setting up of a helpline number for all NRIs to call in case of emergencies.