Coronavirus Outbreak LIVE Updates: Maharashtra reports over 11,000 of India’s 37,336 cases; Andhra Pradesh sees 62 new patients in past 24 hours

11:47 (IST)

Coronavirus in Andhra Pradesh Latest Update

Andhra Pradesh reports 62 new patients, taking total cases in state to 1,525

Andhra Pradesh on Saturday reported 62 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of positive cases in the state to 1,525. The toll stands at 33, according to the Andhra Pradesh Health Department, reports ANI.

11:43 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Update

33% population in red zone, 43% in orange, says report

The 130 districts in the red zone form 17 percent of the total districts in the country, but account for about 33 percent of the population (2011 Census), according to The Indian Express.

The 284 districts in the orange zone — 39 percent of the total districts — account for about 43 percent of the population. And the 319 districts in the green zone form 44 percent of the total districts, but account for only about a quarter of the population.

11:36 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Update

20 people residing in Gurdwara Langar Sahib in Nanded test positive

Twenty persons currently residing in Gurdwara Langar Sahib at Nanded in Maharashtra have tested coronavirus positive, an official said on Saturday.

Swabs of total 97 people residing in the gurdwara had been collected for testing. Of them 20 have tested positive for the infection, civil surgeon Dr Neelkanth Bhosikar said.”They have been admitted to NRI Bhawan COVID Care Centre,” he said.

The samples had been collected on 30 April and 1 May, he said. Reports of 25 others have tested negative, while those of 41 others are awaited. Reports of 11 others are undecided, Bhosikar said in a statement. With this, the number of COVID-19 patients in Nanded has reached 26, he added.

11:32 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Update

Indian Railways announces 6 ‘Shramik Special’ trains 

The Indian Railways began running special “shramik” trains on Friday to ferry migrant workers and others back home from various states where they were stranded since the nationwide lockdown began on 25 March.

It has already run the first such train with 1,200 passengers from Hyderabad to Jharkhand at 4:50 am on Friday. The other five “Shramik Special” trains are — Nasik to Lucknow (9:30 pm), Aluva to Bhubaneswar (6 pm), Nasik to Bhopal (8 pm), Jaipur to Patna (10 pm) and Kota to Hatia (9 pm).​

“As per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, it has been decided to run ”Shramik Special” trains from ”Labour Day” today to move migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students, and other persons stranded at different places due to the lockdown.

11:18 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Update

Cases in Maharashtra rise to 11,506 with 485 deaths

Maharashtra continued to remain the most-affected Indian state with a total of 11,506 cases. The state registered 26 new deaths in the past 24 hours. Out of the total cases, 1,879 have recovered from the disease and a total of 485 have succumbed to it.

Gujarat has the second-highest number of cases at 4,721 followed by Delhi’s 3,738 cases. Gujarat has registered a total of 236 deaths and 735 have recovered from COVID-19.

11:15 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Update

Indian Railways runs ‘Shramik special’ trains to facilitate movement of migrant labourers 

In a relief to migrant labourers stuck in various places across the country, the Indian Railways on Friday started operating “Shramik Special” trains to move them to their home states.

“Zonal railways to run these trains as per the demand of state administrations. Local DMs and DRMs are coordinating. Specific details can be obtained from the zonal CPROs” the Indian Railways said in a statement. 

On Friday, it operated five trains from Maharashtra, Telangana, Kerala, and Rajasthan for transporting more than 7,000 people, including stranded labourers, pilgrims, tourists, and students.

Shramik special trains services that started on Friday will run as and when required by the state governments, following the guidelines issued by the home ministry,.

“In continuation of the measures taken in the wake of COVID-19, it has been decided that the cancellation of all passenger train services on Indian railways, that is mail/express, including premium trains, passenger trains, suburban trains and trains of metro railway Kolkata shall be extended till 14 May, 2020,” an official statement by the ministry said.

11:06 (IST)

Coronavirus in Delhi Latest Update

All 11 districts in Delhi to stay in ‘red zone’ till 17 May, says Satyendar Jain

Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain told ANI “All 11 districts in Delhi to stay in ‘red zone’ till 17 May. A red zone is defined where there are more than 10 cases of COVID-19 in a district. Relief measures given by the Centre in red zones will be applicable.”

11:01 (IST)

Coronavirus in Jharkhand Latest Update

Jharkhand registers 113 case, 2 deaths so far

Till now, there are a total of 113 COVID-19 positive cases, two deaths in Jharkhand, according to the State’s Health Department reports ANI.

10:57 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Update

Five including 3 SRPF jawans test positive for COVID-19 in Maharashtra

Five persons, including three SRPF jawans, have tested coronavirus positive, taking the overall tally of such patients in Jalna district of Maharashtra to eight, an official said on Saturday. Two of the total eight patients have recovered from the infection so far, the official said.

“The test reports of the five new patients, including three jawans of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), were received on Friday night,” district civil surgeon Madhukar Rathod said. The three SRPF jawans, who are natives of Jalna, were posted at Malegaon, which has emerged as the COVID-19 hotspot in Nashik district.

“Their swabs were sent to a laboratory in Aurangabad, which confirmed that they are infected,” he said. Two other patients had a travel history to Mumbai, Rathod said.

10:41 (IST)

Coronavirus in Odisha Latest Update

Odisha reports 5 new cases in Jajpur district, taking overall count to 154

Five more persons, including two women, tested positive for COVID-19 in Odisha’s Jajpur district, taking the total number of such cases in the state to 154, officials said. The new patients have a travel history to West Bengal’s Kolkata, they said.

They have been in a quarantine centre and were asymptomatic, the officials of the Information and Public Relations department said.

With these new patients, the number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 45 in Jajpur district which emerged as a “new hotspot”. “Contact-tracing and follow-up action is being done,” they said. The officials said 55 people have been cured and the number of active cases now stands at 98 in the state.

10:36 (IST)

Coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh Latest Update

Agra reports 22 new cases taking overall count to 501

22 new COVID-19 positive cases were reported in Agra on Saturday, taking the total number of positive cases in the district to 501, DM Agra Prabhu N Singh told ANI.

10:31 (IST)

Coronavirus in Karnataka Latest Update

Karnataka govt issues show cause notice to IAS officer for tweet on Tablighi Jamaat members

The Karnataka government on Friday issued a show cause notice to an IAS officer over his recent tweet eulogising coronavirus-cured Tablighi Jamaat members for donating plasma for treatment of other patients.

A senior state official said the action showed that Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa is not willing to compromise on any remarks by officials that have communal overtones.

The officer, Mohammad Mohsin, was in the news last year after the Election Commission suspended him for trying to inspect Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s helicopter during his visit to Odisha in April. He was deployed as a poll observer.

“More than 300 Tablighi Heroes are donating their plasma to serve the country in New Delhi only. What about? Godi Media? They will not show the works of humanity done by these heroes,” Mohsin said in a tweet on 27 April.

10:23 (IST)

Coronavirus in Uttar Pradresh Latest Update

7 labourers who recently returned from Maharashtra on special govt buses test positive in Basti

Seven labourers who had arrived from Maharashtra via Jhansi in government buses to Basti, have tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, said DM Basti.

10:11 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Update

IIT-Bombay reports first COVID-19 case on campus

The first case of COVID-19 at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, was reported on Thursday with the wife of a staffer testing positive for the virus.

According to the Hindustan Times, the woman is a health worker engaged in a government hospital in south Mumbai and likely contracted the virus from a patient she came in contact with. Her husband, who is an employee of the institute and her two children, have been quarantined in a separate facility on the campus.

10:05 (IST)

Coronavirus in US Latest Update

US announces relaxations for H-1B visa holders and Green Card applicants

The US government has given a grace period of 60 days to H-1B visa holders and Green Card applicants, who have been served notices for submission of various documents, in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Friday said the 60-day grace period for responding to its requests will include requests for evidence; continuations to request evidence (N-14); notices of intent to deny; notices of intent to revoke; notices of intent to rescind and notices of intent to terminate regional investment centers; and filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.

According to the statement, the USCIS will consider a Form I-290B received up to 60 calendar days from the date of the decision before it takes any action.

10:02 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Update

Western Railway clarifies only people nominated by state govt will be allowed to board special trains

Western Railways took to Twitter to clarify that the special trains being planned by state governments are registered and nominated persons only. “No person should to the railway stations for any reason. No individual train tickets will be given or any personal request will be accepted.” the tweet read.

09:55 (IST)

Coronavirus in Rajasthan Latest Update

Rajasthan records 12 new cases taking overall count to 2,678

12 new positive cases of COVID-19 and 3 deaths have been reported on Saturday in Rajasthan taking the total number of cases to 2,678 and 65 deaths. 1116 people have recovered while 714 have been discharged to date, according to Rajasthan Health Department.

09:50 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Update

68 CRPF jawan test positive in Delhi taking total cases in force to 122

Test results of 68 jawans have shown them to be COVID-19 positive. All jawans are attached to a battalion camped in East Delhi, reports ANI. 

The total positive cases in this battalion have reached 122 and overall figure of COVID-19 cases in CRPF is 127, including 1 recovered and 1 death, said CRPF officials,

09:26 (IST)

Coronavirus in Madhya Pradesh Latest Update

Train carrying stranded labourers reaches Bhopal from Nashik

A special train carrying over 300 stranded labourers from Nashik in Maharashtra reached on Saturday morning. A district administration official said that the non- stop special train reached Misrod Railway Station on the outskirts of Bhopal.

“We have started screening these passengers brought here from Nashik in the special train. After that, they will be sent to their respective towns in different buses,” the official said.

This is the first special train which reached Bhopal after the Centre’s announcement to run such services to facilitate the stranded labourers and workers.

09:20 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Update

Four buses ferrying stranded students from Kota reach Pune

Four buses from Maharashtra brought back stranded students from Kota, Rajasthan, on Friday night. All students underwent health screening at Swar Gate bus stand in Pune and were advised home quarantine.

09:09 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Update

India reports highest single-day increase in confirmed cases

2293 new cases, 71 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours in India. This is the highest number of cases reported in one day, said Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

09:04 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Update

India registers  37,336 cases, 1,218 deaths

India’s total COVID-19 confirmed cases rises to 37,336 out of which 26,167 cases are still active. 9,950 patients have been cured or discharged so far while the death toll has risen to 1,218 and one patient was moved out of the country.

08:59 (IST)

Coronavirus in West Bengal Latest Update

West Bengal govt asks private hospitals to resume normal services

The West Bengal Health Department on Friday issued directives to private hospitals and healthcare facilities to resume normal services in a planned manner. Ensuring the safety, protection, and comfort of the medical staff engaged in such facilities needs the highest priority, it said.

“There are reports that patients in need of regular critical care related to blood transfusion, dialysis, chemotherapy, owl, obstetric care, institutional deliveries, immunisation are facing hardship due to private hospitals and healthcare facilities either remaining non-functional or turning away patients out of fear of contracting COVID-19.

08:50 (IST)

Coronavirus in South Korea Latest Update

South Korea continuing downturn of new cases; reports 6 new cases

South Korea has reported six fresh cases of the new coronavirus, continuing a month-long streak of below 100. Infections continue to wane in the hardest-hit city of Daegu, where no new cases were detected.

Figures released by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday brought national figures to 10,780 cases and 250 virus-related deaths.

At least 1,081 cases have been linked to international arrivals, but these cases have also declined in recent weeks as the government strengthened border controls, such as enforcing 14-day quarantines on all passengers coming from overseas.

08:46 (IST)

Coronavirus in Assam Latest Update

3,673 people arrested in Assam for violating lockdown

The Assam Police said on Friday that it has arrested 3,673 people across the state in the last 38 days for violating the lockdown order imposed to contain the COVID-19 outbreak and collected over Rs 1.62 crore as fine.

In its daily report on the lockdown, the police said 1,690 cases have been registered for 2,532 incidents since the beginning of the restrictions. “A total of 3,673 people have been arrested for these cases and a collective fine of over Rs 1.62 core was collected from them for violating the lockdown norms,” the statement said.

Besides, 22,367 vehicles and 32 boats have been detained from various parts of the state during this period.

08:38 (IST)

Coronavirus in US Latest Update

US reports 1,883 deaths in past 24 hours

 There have been 1,883 deaths due to the novel coronavirus disease in the US in the past 24 hours, according to the John Hopkins University tracker.

08:34 (IST)

Coronavirus in Jharkhand Latest Update

Jharkhand students stuck in Kota set to return home

The Jharkhand government is facilitating the return of students stranded in Rajasthan’s Kota — the coaching hub for engineering and medical aspirants — following the imposition of the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“Resident Commissioner, Jharkhand, MR Meena, is on his way to Kota to facilitate the return of the stranded students,” an official release here said.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren said two special trains carrying students of Jharkhand will be flagged off from Kota tonight. “On behalf of the people of Jharkhand, I thank the central government and the Rajasthan chief minister for this support,” Soren tweeted.

08:31 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Update

68-year-old COVID-19 patient dies in Pune

A 68-year-old patient who had tested positive for COVID-19 had passed away in Pune. The cause of death is reported to be an acute respiratory failure due to ARDS with Myocarditis with COVID-19 infection. Total death toll in Pune district is now 100, said Pune Health officials, Maharashtra.

08:13 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in India Latest Updates

RBI guv to meet bank chiefs to take stock of financial sector

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das is expected to meet with bank chiefs on Saturday to take stock of the financial sector and deliberate on steps to be taken to boost industry amid the COVID-19 crisis, sources said.

The meeting will take stock of implementation of several steps announced by the RBI, including moderation in interest rate and its transmission, as well as liquidity infusion measures to support the industry.

07:54 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in India Latest Updates 

Amazon says India business most affected due to COVID-19 lockdown ​

Amazon has said that the COVID-19 pandemic had largely affected its business in India. The global e-commerce giant said that due to the nationwide lockdown it had to cut back on a lot of offerings in India and only deliver essential goods.

Amazon said that it will resume its operations after getting the nod from the government.

“I think the biggest impact internationally has been in India where, of course, similar to all companies in India, we’re now only fulfilling our essential goods such as grocery, so that’s cut back a lot on our offering,” Brian T Olsavsky, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Amazon saying during an earnings call.

Read full article here…

07:50 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Chhattisgarh Latest Updates 

Rapid tests of Chhattisgarh Police officials conducted

Coronavirus rapid tests are being conducted on all the officials of Chhattisgarh Police deployed in active duty. “Such directions to conduct the tests were given for the safety of police officials and their family members,” said DGP DM Awasthi. 

#Chhattisgarh police conducting #Corona rapid test of all of its officials deployed in active duty. DGP DM Awasthi says directions given  to conduct such test for safety of police officials & their family members. 

07:40 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in India Latest Updates 

COVID-19 cases rise to 35,365, toll at 1,152 in India

India reported another surge of COVID-19 cases on Friday with a record 1,755 patients testing positive and 77 people dying from the novel coronavirus that has claimed over 2,33,000 lives and shattered global economies since it originated in China’s Wuhan city in December last year.

The confirmed cases in the country climbed to 35,365 while deaths reached 1,152 as the Centre extended the nationwide lockdown till 17 May.

Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: Andhra Pradesh on Saturday reported 62 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of positive cases in the state to 1,525. The toll stands at 33, according to the Andhra Pradesh Health Department, reports ANI.

In a relief to migrant labourers stuck in various places across the country, the Indian Railways on Friday started operating ‘Shramik Special’ trains to move them to their home states. ‘Zonal railways to run these trains as per the demand of state administrations. Local DMs and DRMs are coordinating. Specific details can be obtained from the zonal CPROs.’ the Indian Railways said in a statement.

Seven labourers who had arrived from Maharashtra via Jhansi in government buses to Basti, have tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, said DM Basti. Meanwhile, 22 new COVID-19 positive cases were reported in Agra on Saturday, taking the total number of positive cases in the district to 501.

Test results of 68 jawans have shown them to be COVID-19 positive. All jawans are attached to a battalion camped in East Delhi, reports ANI.  The total positive cases in this battalion have reached 122 and overall figure of COVID-19 cases in CRPF is 127, including 1 recovered and 1 death, said CRPF officials,

2293 new cases, 71 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours in India. This is the highest number of cases reported in one day, said Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

A 68-year-old patient who had tested positive for COVID-19 had passed away in Pune. The cause of death is reported to be an acute respiratory failure due to ARDS with Myocarditis with COVID-19 infection. Meanwhile, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das is expected to meet with bank chiefs on Saturday to take stock of the financial sector and deliberate on steps to be taken to boost industry amid the COVID-19 crisis, sources said.

India reported another surge of COVID-19 cases on Friday with a record 1,755 patients testing positive and 77 people dying from the novel coronavirus that has claimed over 2,33,000 lives and shattered global economies since it originated in China’s Wuhan city in December last year.

The confirmed cases in the country climbed to 35,365 while deaths reached 1,152 as the Centre extended the nationwide lockdown till 17 May.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had first announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown from 25 March, which was later extended by two more weeks till 4 May to contain the virus spread.

On Friday, the Centre announced a third extension but this time, it provided some relaxations for various business activities and people’s movement within areas with limited or no COVID-19 cases.

In fact, on Friday morning, the first train carrying around 1,200 people left Lingampally in Telangana to Hatia in Jharkhand by a 24-coach special train on a pilot basis, while another train carrying migrant workers stranded in Kerala left for Odisha’s Bhubaneswar on Friday night.

Later in the day, the Centre announced that states and Union Territories will be able to avail “special train service” to bring stranded migrant workers, students and tourists home, provided they are willing to pay for it and both host and destination governments mutually agree to the movement of the people.

The government on Friday also announced that it has ramped up production of COVID-19 protective gear and medical equipment, giving a boost to its fight against COVID-19 and reducing it dependency on foreign countries for these items which are in high demand globally due to the pandemic.

The Centre on Friday said it has placed order for 2.22 crore personal protection equipment (PPE), of which around 1.43 crore will be procured from domestic manufacturers and the rest imported.

Separately, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat announced at a special press briefing, along with the three service chiefs, that the armed forces will express their gratitude to all “corona warriors” on Sunday by conducting fly-pasts, showering petals on hospitals treating COVID-19 patients and illuminating naval vessels.

Besides, the Army will conduct mountain band displays along some COVID-19 hospitals in almost every district.

Rawat also said it is not proper to conclude that the novel coronavirus outbreak is a result of biological warfare.

US president Donald Trump has often claimed that the deadly virus originated from a virology lab, but his comments undercut a rare public statement from his own intelligence community, which stated no such assessment has been made by them, whether the COVID-19 outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.

COVID-19 cases as of Friday

In its 5 pm update, the Health Ministry said the toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 1,152 with 77 fatalities reported since Thursday evening, while the number of cases saw a record jump of 1,755 to go up to 35,365 cases on Friday.

The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 25,148 while 9,064 people have recovered, and one patient has migrated, the ministry said.

“Thus, around 25.63 percent patients have recovered so far,” a health ministry official said.

The total number of cases include 111 foreign nationals.

A total of 77 deaths were reported since Thursday evening, of which 27 fatalities were reported from Maharashtra, 17 from Gujarat, 11 from West Bengal, seven each from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, three from Delhi, two from Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and one from Karnataka.

Of the 1,152 deaths, Maharashtra tops the tally with 459 fatalities. Mumbai on Friday recorded 751 new COVID-19 cases, the highest in a day, taking the number of coronavirus positive cases in the city to 7,625, civic officials said.

Gujarat reported 214 deaths, follwed by Madhya Pradesh at 137, Delhi at 59, Rajasthan at 58, Uttar Pradesh at 41 and West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh at 33 each.

The death toll reached 27 in Tamil Nadu, 26 in Telangana, while Karantaka has reported 22 deaths.

Punjab has registered 19 fatalities so far. The disease has claimed eight lives in Jammu and Kashmir, four in Kerala while Jharkhand and Haryana have recorded three COVID-19 deaths each.

Bihar has reported two deaths, while Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and Assam have reported one fatality each, according to ministry data.

According to the ministry’s data updated in the evening, the highest number of confirmed cases in the country are from Maharashtra at 10,498 followed by Gujarat at 4,395, Delhi at 3,515, Madhya Pradesh at 2,719, Rajasthan at 2,584, Tamil Nadu at 2,323 and Uttar Pradesh at 2,281.

The number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 1,463 in Andhra Pradesh and 1,039 in Telangana.

The number of cases has risen to 795 in West Bengal, 614 in Jammu and Kashmir, 576 in Karnataka, 497 in Kerala, 426 in Bihar and 357 in Punjab.

Haryana has reported 313 coronavirus infection cases, while Odisha has 143 cases. A total 111 people have been infected with the virus in Jharkhand and 57 in Uttarakhand.

Chandigarh has reported 56 cases, Assam has 42 while Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have registered 40 infections each so far.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands has 33 COVID-19 cases while Ladakh has reported 22 infections so far.

Meghalaya has reported 12 cases, Puducherry has eight cases while Goa has seven COVID-19 cases.

Manipur and Tripura have two cases each, while Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have reported a case each.

“Our figures are being reconciled with the ICMR,” the ministry said on its website adding, ” 393 cases are being assigned to states for contact tracing.”

States wise distribution is subject to further verification and reconciliation, it said.

Centre extends lockdown till 17 May, names 130 districts as red zones

While several countries including Italy, Switzerland, New Zealand, Austria and various states of the US have begun easing their respective lockdowns, the MHA on Friday announced that the nationwide lockdown will extended by another two weeks, starting from 4 May, a day after the second phase ends, till 17 May.

The MHA’s announcement came after the Ministry of Health issued a new list of districts categorised into red, orange and green zones depending on the virus-load. The updated list shows 130 districts in red zone, 284 in orange zone and 319 in green zone.

This classification of districts is to be followed by states and UTs till 10 May and the will be revised on a weekly basis or earlier if required.

All major urban centres including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad have been designated as red zones in the new classification.

Announcing the guidelines to be followed for third phase of the lockdown, the MHA said that some activities such as air travel, rail, metro and inter-state movement by road, running of educational and training institutions, hospitality services, cinema halls, malls, gymnasiums and sports complexes, will remain prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of the zone.

All social, political, cultural and other kinds of gatherings and religious places or places of worship for public will also remain shut, as per an order issued by the Union Home Ministry.

Outside the containment zone falling within red zones, certain more activities will be prohibited and these include plying of cycle rickshaws and auto-rickshaws, running of taxis and cab aggregators, intra-district and inter-district plying of buses, as also barber shops, spas and saloons.

Activities allowed in red zones with restrictions would include movement of individuals and vehicles for permitted activities, with a maximum of two persons (besides the driver) in four-wheelers and with no pillion rider in two-wheelers.

E-Commerce activities in red zones are permitted only for essential goods. Private offices can operate with up to 33 percent strength as per requirement, with the remaining persons working from home.

Commercial and private establishments allowed in red zones include print and electronic media, IT and IT enabled services, data and call centres, cold storage and warehousing services, private security and facility management services, and services provided by self-employed persons, except for barbers.

In orange zones, taxis and cab aggregators will also be permitted with one driver and one passenger only, while inter-district movement of individuals and vehicles will be allowed for permitted activities only. Four-wheeler vehicles will have maximum two passengers besides the driver and pillion riding will be allowed on two-wheelers.

In green zones, all activities are permitted except those prohibited throughout the country irrespective of the zone. However buses and bus depots can operate with maximum 50 percent capacity.

MHA allows movement of stranded migrants, students, pilgrims by special trains

On Friday, the MHA also announced that states will be able to use trains for ferrying people stranded due to the nationwide lockdown to their respective states.

Exercising the powers conferred under the Disaster Management Act, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said the movement of migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places is allowed by special trains to be operated by the Ministry of Railways (MoR).

The MoR will designate nodal officers for coordinating with the states and Union territories for their movement, he added

“The MoR will issue detailed guidelines for sale of tickets, and for social distancing and other safety measures to be observed at train stations, platforms and within the trains,” the home secretary said.

These trains will run provided “on request from both the Originating and Destination State Governments”.

News agency PTI quoted railways officials as saying that state governments will be charged the fare of ferrying stranded people in special trains back to their native places.

Joint Secretary in the MHA Punya Salila Srivastava said that states and the Railway Board will make the necessary arrangements for the transportation of stranded people.

Underlining that some problems are cropping up in the movement of trucks and load carriers, Srivastava also said the MHA has again written to the states, reiterating that no separate pass is needed for trucks and load carriers, including the empty vehicles.

Centre orders 2.2 crore PPEs; 1.43 crore to be manufactured in India

The Centre on Friday said it has placed order for 2.22 crore personal protection equipment (PPE), of which around 1.43 crore will be procured from domestic manufacturers and the rest imported.

“Earlier, there was no domestic manufacturing of PPE in the country and almost all of them were imported. We now have 111 indigenous manufacturers,” said PD Vaghela, the Secretary of the Department of Pharmaceuticals and Chairman of the Empowered Group-3, adding that the number of PPEs ordered is higher than the projected demand of two crore PPEs.

Vaghela also said about 19,398 ventilators are available in India and orders have been placed for 60,884 more, and of these 59,884 will be made by domestic manufacturers.

The Ministry of Health has indicated a projected demand of 75,000 ventilators till June, 2020.

“Against the same, the present availability is about 19,398. Out of the total orders placed, 59,884 ventilators have been ordered to domestic manufacturers and imports are to the tune of 1,000 ventilators,” he said.

He said of the total 2.49 crore N-95/N-99 masks to be procured, 1.49 crore have been ordered from domestic manufacturers and about one crore N- 95 masks are being imported.

On production of drugs and other medical equipment, he said, “HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) production has increased from 12.23 crore to 30 crore (tablets) per month.”

He further said that over four lakh oxygen cylinders are available which is “sufficient for today’s requirements”.
“Orders for more than 1 lakh oxygen cylinders have been placed and industrial oxygen is being converted into medical oxygen,” he added.

He also informed that against a demand for 35 lakh combined RT-PCR testing kits, the ICMR has ordered more than 21 lakh and close to 14 lakh kits have already been received.

With inputs from agencies



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