According to the 5 pm update issued by the Union health ministry, India now has 42, 836 confirmed cases of coronavirus while 1,380 persons have died due to the disease. Maharashtra has reported the highest number of cases (12,974), followed by Gujarat (5, 428 cases), Delhi (4,549) cases, Tamil Nadu (3,023 cases) and Madhya Pradesh (2942).
Maharashtra also recorded the highest number of fatalities with 548 deaths followed by 290 in Gujarat and 165 in Madhya Pradesh.
According to the health ministry, the number of active cases stood at 29,685 as 11,761 persons were cured/discharged while one has migrated.
Earlier, while addressing a press briefing, Joint Secretary at the health ministry Lav Agarwal said that as many as 1,074 COVID-19 patients have recovered in the last 24 hours, the highest number of recoveries recorded in one day.
The rate of recovery stands at 27.52 percent , he said, but stressed that there is a need for rigorous implementation of the containment strategy while people also need to strictly adhere to hygiene as well as social distancing habits.
Agarwal cautioned that if the virus spread is detected in areas that do not have any active cases for now, restrictions can be reimposed there.
Kerala did not report a single new case for the second consecutive day, but neighbouring Tamil Nadu saw its tally rising by a record number of 527 new cases. Gujarat and Maharashtra also reported significant rise in their numbers. Several other states including Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha also reported a rising number of cases.
Gujarat reported 376 new cases and 29 more deaths — the highest for a day — to take its total tally of confirmed cases to more than 5,800 and fatalities to 319. Ahmedabad alone reported 259 new cases and a record number of 26 deaths on Monday, taking its tally of confirmed cases to above 4,000 and the death toll to 234.
In Maharashtra’s Mumbai, the case count crossed the 9,000-mark and jumped to 9,123 with the addition of 510 new patients, while 18 more died due to the viral infection.
While several big urban centres across the country continued to report rise in the number of cases, several smaller states and Union Territories — including Goa, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Meghalaya, Assam, Aruranchal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Manipur, Mizoram, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Tripura — have witnessed nil or very few cases getting detected in the last few days.
Confusion prevails as restrictions are eased in green, orange zones
In the third phase of the lockdown, more categories of stores including of apparel and electrical goods, as also various kinds of repair centres, and even barber shops in some places, reopened in several parts of the country. Liquor shops saw the biggest of the crowds and had to be closed at many places, including in the National Capital, after social distancing norms appeared totally missing.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said whatever happened on Monday was not right and all have to follow the social distancing norms . “It is sad that people were not following social distancing norms at some shops today. I request everyone to not take any risk,” he said.
#WATCH It was unfortunate that chaos was seen at some shops today in Delhi…If we come to know about violations of social distancing and other norms from any area, then we will have to seal the area and revoke the relaxations there: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal pic.twitter.com/0eFgaqrKsB
— ANI (@ANI) May 4, 2020
On the other hand, confusion prevailed in large industrial and business clusters across the country, including in Noida and Gurgaon on the outskirts of Delhi, on reopening of offices and industrial establishments due to lack of clarity on daily commute of their staff given continuing restrictions on major modes of the public transport.
Row over rail fares of migrant workers
The transport of migrant workers back to their home states continued for the third consecutive day on Monday. Kerala opened its borders at six places for Keralites stranded in other states due to the COVID-19 lockdown to return to their native places.
A total of 21,500 migrant workers and their family members stranded in Gujarat for over 40 days were sent back to their native states, including UP and Bihar, through 18 trains in the last three days, a senior official told PTI.
Union health ministry officials also said the process of transporting stranded migrant labourers was being coordinated by states, though the central government guidelines have clearly stated that the infectious disease management requires everyone to stay where he or she is.
“Based on the request given from states for particular cases, permission was given to run special trains. Be it the government of India or the Railways, we have not talked about charging from workers. Eighty-five per cent of the transportation cost is borne by the Railways, while states have to bear 15 percent of the cost,” Agarwal told reporters.
Earlier in the day, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi lashed out at the Centre and said the party’s state units will bear the cost of rail travel of needy migrant workers and labourers stranded at their workplaces due to the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.
“What is particularly disturbing is that the central government and the Rail Ministry are charging them (migrant workers) for train tickets in this hour of crisis,” she said. “When the government can spend nearly Rs 100 crores on transport and food for just one public programme in Gujarat, when the Rail Ministry has the largesse to donate Rs 151 Crores to the PM’s Corona fund, then why can’t these essential members of our nation’s fabric be given a fraction of the same courtesy, especially free rail travel, at this hour of acute distress?,” the Congress president asked.
Centre to facilitate return of Indians stranded abroad
Separately, the Union Home Ministry said the government will facilitate the return of Indians stranded abroad and the process will begin from 7 May in a phased manner. Only asymptomatic people would be allowed to travel and it would be arranged by aircraft and naval ships, and the facility will be available on a payment basis.
After their arrival in India, medical examinations will be conducted on everyone and they will be subsequently put under quarantine for 14 days, either in a hospital or in an institutional facility, the ministry said.
Modi calls for new template of globalisation at NAM virtual conference
At a video-conference of leaders of the Non- Aligned Movement (NAM), Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi called for a new template of globalisation post COVID-19, saying humanity is facing a major crisis.
“COVID-19 has shown us the limitations of the existing international system. In the post-COVID world, we need a new template of globalization, based on fairness, equality, and humanity,” the prime minister said. “We need international institutions that are more representative of today’s world. We need to promote human welfare, and not focus on economic growth alone. India has long championed such initiatives,” he said.
Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends ‘Non-Aligned Movement’ Summit via video conferencing#COVID19 pic.twitter.com/fe7NA9E7ky
— ANI (@ANI) May 4, 2020
With inputs from agencies