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AICTE, Mumbai University announce online workshop from 13 May to 17 May on 'Universal Human Values in Education'

The University of Mumbai in collaboration with AICTE (Western Region) will be organising an online workshop on 'Universal Human Values in Education' for institutions offering technical education.The workshop will commence on 13 May and end on 17 May. According to University of Mumbai, the workshop is of paramount significance to continue learning process amid COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown.The workshop will be conducted in Hindi and English. The morning session will be from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm and the evening session will be from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.File image of Mumbai University. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons “To understand the basics of value education an online workshop is being organized exclusively for the Vice Chancellors of Technical Universities and University Coordinators appointed for coordinating the activities related to FDPs on Student Induction Programme,” the circular said.The workshop is specifically designed for sharing All India Council for Technical Edu…

Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: Confirmed cases in Delhi jump by 428 to 5,532, toll rises to 65; 1,542 recovered so far

00:04 (IST)

Coronavirus in Gujarat Latest Updates

Private hospitals in Ahmedabad asked to open within 48 hours

Private hospitals, clinics, nursing homes in Ahmedabad to be asked to open within 48 hours or lose licence PTI quotes an official as saying

00:00 (IST)

Coronavirus in Delhi Latest Updates

Ten contacts of cop who died of COVID-19 quarantined

10 contacts of the deceased police constable (who tested positive for Covid-19 in his report that came today) have been quarantined, ANI quotes Delhi Police as saying

23:57 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

Another batch of foreign returnees reaches Leh

23:51 (IST)

Coronavirus in Delhi Latest Updates

Cases in Delhi jump by 428 to 5,532

428 positive cases and one death reported in Delhi today, taking the total number of positive cases to 5532 and toll to 65. 1542 persons have recovered so far, including 74 people who were cured today.

23:47 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Updates

26 cops from Mumbai's JJ Marg police station test positive

At least 26 personnel at Mumbai's JJ Marg Police Station have tested positive for the coronaviurs, reports PTI. All of them including, 12 officers are undergoing treatment, an official told the news agency.

23:43 (IST)

Coronavirus in Indiai Latest Updates

Air India opens bookings on evacuation flights to London, Singapore and US

Air India on Wednesday said it was taking bookings for flights being run under the MHA's evacuation plan to London, Singapore and select destinations in the US from 8 to 14 May. However, passengers would have to meet eligibility criteria and the airline said it will take no responsibility in case the applicants dont meet the eligibility criteria.

23:22 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

ICMR initiates clinical trial on efficacy of convalescent plams therapy

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has initiated a multi-center clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of convalescent plasma to limit COVID-19 associated complications in moderate disease, reports ANI.

23:03 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Updates

Pune records nearly a hundred new cases

99 more tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Pune in the last 24 hours while seven persons died due to the viral infection. Total number of cases in the district is has risen to 2,300, including 665 recoveries and 127 deaths, said the health department.

23:01 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

Navy ships to repatriate nearly 2,000 Indians from Male

Two Indian Navy ships have left for the Maldives to bring back nearly 2,000 Indian citizens stranded in the country due to the coronavirus lockdown. 

In a video, tweeted by All India Radio, Indian high Commissioner Sunjay Sudhir said that the two Navy ships will bring the stranded citizens from Male to Kochi and Tuticorin. Sudhir termed it the biggest evacuation exercise of its kind from the neighboring country. 

According to sources, Indians facing medical issues, women and those having lost their jobs will be a priority of the evacuation programme. Many Indians are employed in the hospitality sector in Maldives and have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

22:38 (IST)

Coronavirus in Rajasthan Latest Updates

Four deaths, 159 fresh cases in Rajasthan; total cases rise to 3,317 

Rajasthan reported a total of 159 fresh cases and four deaths till 9 pm on Wednesday with Jodhpur accounting for the highest number of new COVID-19 infections. 

Of the 159, Jodhpur accounts for 50 patients while 43 were reported in Jaipur. The number of cumulative positive cases in the state as of Wednesday 9 pm stands at 3,317.

With four new deaths reported on Wednesday, the total fatality from the novel coronavirus in the state now stands at  93,.

22:22 (IST)

Coronavirus in Telangana Latest Updates

Telangana reports 11 fresh COVID-19 cases; total rises to 1,107

Eleven fresh cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Telangana on Wednesday, taking the number of people infected by the virus in the state to 1107, according to PTI

All the 11 fresh cases have been reported from the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) area, a COVID-19 bulletin said.

No death occurred today and the number of people who succumbed to the virus continued to be 29, the bulletin added.

It said 20 people were cured/discharged on Wednesday and the number of people discharged till date stood at 648. The number of people undergoing treatment in hospitals (active cases) as of today was 430.

- PTI

21:47 (IST)

Coronavirus in Punjab Latest Updates

Home delivery of liquor to start in Punjab from 7 May

Home delivery of liquor will start from 7 May in Punjab with the state excise and taxation department issuing an order for opening of liquor vends on Wednesday, reports PTI. The liquor stores would be allowed to open only during the curfew relaxation period, which is from 9 am to 1 pm, officials said. However, the timing of delivery of liquor will be decided by the respective assistant excise and taxation commissioners in consultation with deputy commissioners, the order stated.
The delivery of liquor at people's doorsteps will be allowed only during the lockdown period, the order said. Only two litres of liquor will be allowed through home delivery to a buyer against a cash memo. People deputed for home delivery of liquor will be issued identity cards by the department and they will also carry curfew pass, as per the order. Home delivery of Punjab Medium Liquor (PML) will not be allowed, it said.

21:42 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

CRPF headquarters re-opened

Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) headquarters reopened today after having remained off bound since last Saturday, after a driver tested positive for coronavirus, reports ANI. During the period, the entire HQ building was duly fumigated as per the existing sanitization protocols, said the security force.

21:38 (IST)

Coronavirus in Haryana Latest Updates

Haryana records one more death, 46 new cases

 
Haryana reported one more coronavirus death on Wednesday as the number of people testing positive for the infection rose to 594 with 46 fresh cases.  So far, the virus has claimed seven lives in the state.  The latest victim of the infection is a 25-year-old Panipat man who died on Monday. His test report came on Wednesday, confirming him to be coronavirus case, officials told PTI .
 

21:35 (IST)

Coronavirus in Gujarat Latest Updates

11 inmates, three staffers at Ahmedabad's Sabarmati jail test positive in one week

 
Eleven inmates and three jail staff members at the Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad have tested positive for coronavirus in the last one week, an official said on Wednesday. However, none of the 11 prisoners, who include both convicts and undertrials, came in contact with other around 2,500 inmates as they had been already isolated, said Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sabarmati jail, DV Rana. Three staff members — two havaldars and one jail
sahayak (constable)— were the latest to test positive for virus, he said.

21:29 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Updates

Mumbai COVID-19 cases cross 10,000 

 
With 769 fresh infections, casse count in Mumbai climbed to 10,527 while toll rose by 25 to  412, PTI quotes the  Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation as saying.

21:18 (IST)

Coronavirus in Delhi Latest Updates

Two staffers in Shahdara DM's office test positive, says report

India Today reported that two staffers in the Shahdara DM's office tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday.

21:13 (IST)

Coronavirus in Madhya Pradesh Latest Updates

Special train carrying 1,030 migrants arrives in MP from Telangana

A special train carrying around 1,030 migrant workers arrived at Habibganj railway station in Bhopal from Telangana.

21:07 (IST)

Coronavirus in West Bengal Latest Updates

Bengal govt allows home delivery of liquor

The West Bengal government on Wednesday allowed home delivery of liquor, India Today reported. 

21:01 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

Nitin Gadkari says Centre will try to resume bus transport soon

Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said, "Soon government will try to resume bus transport based on some guidelines. There is a need to resume air, railways, and bus transport as people are stranded. I think it needs to be done."

20:49 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

Five flights to bring back Indians stranded in Saudi Arabia tomorrow

As part of the evacuation of Indians stranded abroad, the Centre has decided to operate five Air India flights from Saudi Arabia. The first flight will operate from Riyadh to Kozhikode on Thursday.

20:47 (IST)

Coronavirus in Nagpur Latest Updates

44 new COVID-19 cases reported in Nagpur

The Nagpur municipal corporation said that 44 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in the city on Wednesday, taking total number of cases to 200.

Of these, 139 cases are active. 58 patients have recovered while three others succumbed to the infection in the city.

20:37 (IST)

Coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh Latest Updates

Uttar Pradesh reports 118 new COVID-19 cases today

With 118 new positive cases in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, the tally for COVID-19 positive patients in Uttar Pradesh reaches 2,998. Total 60 deaths have also been reported so far.

20:26 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Updates

1,233 new COVID-19 cases, 34 deaths reported in Maharashtra today

The Maharashtra health department said that 1,233 new coronavirus cases and 34 deaths were reported in the state on Wednesday, taking the total number of cases in the state to 16,758; toll stands at 651.

20:23 (IST)

Coronavirus in China Latest Updates

China says 'won't prioritise' international investigation on source of COVID-19 till pandemic ends

AFP reported the China ambassador to UN as saying that Beijing will not prioritise inviting international experts in to investigate the source of COVID-19 until after the pandemic is beaten.

20:18 (IST)

Coronavirus in Gujarat Latest Updates

Gujarat reports 380 new COVID-19 cases today

The Gujarat health department said that 380 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the state in the last 24 hours. Total number of cases in the state is now at 6,625, including 1,500 cured/discharged and 396 deaths.

20:15 (IST)

Coronavirus in Tamil Nadu Latest Updates

711 new COVID-19 cases reported in Tamil Nadu today

The Tamil Nadu health department said that 711 coronavirus cases were reported in the state on Wednesday, taking the total number of cases to 4,829.

20:02 (IST)

Coronavirus in Odisha Latest Updates

Odisha health update today:

Total positive cases —185
Recovered — 61
Death — 02
Active cases — 122

19:57 (IST)

Coronavirus in Odisha Latest updates

Over 35,000 people returned to Odisha since 3 May

Since May 3, 35540 people have returned to Odisha from other parts of the country by trains, buses and other vehicles. Quarantine for 14 days is compulsory for the returnees to Odisha: Govt of Odisha

19:46 (IST)

Coronavirus in Karnataka Latest Updates

Siddaramaiah slams Karnataka govt over cancellation of trains for migrants

Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Wednesday criticised the Karnataka government for the decision to cancel trains taking migrants back to their native states.

"The decision of CMO  to cancel trains for migrants is not just inhuman but also violation of fundamental rights," he said, adding, "The argument of CMO that construction will not happen if migrants go back just exposes CM's mindset. He is willing to sacrifice the lives of helpless labourers for the sake of invisible hands."

"The decision to go back or to stay back should be with the labourers and not with the government. Labourers are free to choose health or work. Who will take responsibility if something goes wrong? Are we still practicing bonded labour?" he added.

19:39 (IST)

Coronavirus in Jharkhand Latest Updates

Two more COVID-19 cases reported in Ranchi today

Two more cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Ranchi, taking the total number of cases to 127 in Jharkhand, out of which 37 patients have recovered, said Jharkhand Health Secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni.

19:36 (IST)

Coronavirus in Punjab Latest Updates

Punjab govt says shops will remain open from 7 am to 3 pm in state

The Punjab home department said that shops will remain open from 7 am to 3 pm in the state. District authorities shall ensure that there is no overcrowding and social distancing is maintained as already advised.

19:28 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Updates

One death, 68 new COVID-19 cases reported in Dharavi today

The BMC said that one death and 68 new coronavirus cases were reported in Mumbai's Dharavi on Wednesday. The total number of cases in the area stands at 773, which includes 21 deaths.

19:20 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

Centre prohibits export of alcohol-based sanitisers

Export of alcohol based sanitizers has been prohibited by Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce and  Industry.

19:11 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

MHA writes to Bengal chief secy over COVID-19 situation in state 

The Ministry of Home Affairs secretary Ajay Bhalla on Wednesday wrote to West Bengal chief secretary Rajiv Sinha saying that the coronavirus testing in the state was very low and the mortality rate was higher than any other state.

"Response to COVID-19 in West Bengal is characterized by very low rate of testing in proportion to population and very high rate of mortality of 13.2 percent by far highest of any state. 

"This is reflection of poor surveillance, detection and testing in the state. There is also need to increase random testing in crowded clusters," he said.

19:05 (IST)

Coronavirus in Karnataka Latest Updates

Former Karnataka minister slams state govt over cancellation of trains

19:02 (IST)

Coronavirus in Assam Latest Updates

Assam's first COVID-19 patient recovers, says report

The first coronavirus patient in Assam has recovered after over a month since the infection, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday.

"The 52-year-old was a cancer patient too, and spent nearly 35 days in the hospital. Assam reported one more recovery on Friday — the patient was released from the Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital in Guwahati.

Both were confirmed by Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who said that the patients were discharged from hospital after testing negative in three consecutive tests," the report said.

18:47 (IST)

Coronavirus in Puducherry Latest Updates

Puducherry CM tells Centre to consult states before classifying zones

Puducherry chief minister V Narayanasamy on Wednesday said the Centre should consult the states before deciding on extending the lockdown and classifying as red, orange and green zones according to the severity of the COVID-19 spread.

Speaking to reporters here, he said, "Only, the state governments know the ground realities and the prevailing situation, hence the Centre should hold consultations with the states and take a decision on the extension of the lockdown."

He said only after getting the recommendation of the states should the Centre take a decision on the stretch of containment zone and also on further extension of the lockdown.

(PTI)

18:35 (IST)

Coronavirus in Delhi Latest Updates

Delhi govt says summer vacation will be till 30 June

The Delhi directorate of education said that summer vacation in government and government-aided schools shall be observed as usual from 11 May to 30 June for students.

"However, keeping in view COVID-19, students shall not be called to schools for any teaching learning activity during summer vacation," the statement said.

18:23 (IST)

Coronavirus in Gujarat Latest Updates

All non-essential shops to be closed from 12 am tomorrow to 6 am on 15 May

The Ahmedabad municipal corporation on Wednesday said that all shops except those providing milk and medicines in the city to remain closed from 12 am on 7 May to 6 am on 15 May.

18:15 (IST)

Coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh Latest Updates

No new COVID-19 case reported in Gautam Buddha Nagar today

The Gautam Buddha Nagar administration said that no new coronavirus case was reported in the district on Wednesday, taking the total number of cases in the district to 192 so far, including 83 active cases.

18:06 (IST)

Coronavirus in Himachal Pradesh Latest Updates

One person tests positive for COVID-19 in Himachal today

The Himachal Pradesh government said that one person tested positive for coronavirus in the state on Wednesday. Total number of cases in the state at is at 43, including three active cases, 34 recovered, and two deaths.

17:54 (IST)

Coronavirus in Odisha Latest Updates

Five new COVID-19 cases reported in Odisha

The Odisha health department said that five new coronavirus cases were reported in the state on Wednesday, taking the total number of positive cases in the state to 185 including 122 active cases, 2 deaths and 61 cured/discharged.

17:44 (IST)

Coronavirus in Karnataka Latest Updates

Karnataka govt raises excise duty on liquor by 11%

Reports said that the Karnataka government on Wednesday hiked the excise duty on liquor by 11 percent "to mop up revenues, two day after allowing its sale". This hike is in addition to the six percent that was announced in the budget, India Today reported.

17:37 (IST)

Coronavirus Pandemic Latest Updates

UN, World Bank issue guidelines to begin schools safely

Reports said that guidelines were laid down by the UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank and World Food Programme for the "best interests of children and overall public health considerations, based on an assessment of the associated benefits and risks to education, public health and socio-economic factor, must be central to national and local authorities' decisions to reopen schools."

17:29 (IST)

Coronavirus in Gujarat Latest Updates

Gujarat Congress blames 'Namaste Trump' event for COVID-19 spread in state

The Gujarat Congress on Wednesday alleged that the 'Namaste Trump' event organised by the state BJP government in on February 24 here was responsible for the spread of coronavirus in the state.

State Congress president Amit Chavda said his party wants an independent probe through a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into this, and will approach the Gujarat High Court soon against government's "criminal negligence".

"People were asked to stand shoulder to shoulder on the road to greet the leaders. Lakhs of people were brought to the stadium in buses. This triggered spread of the virus. This event was not a mistake, but a criminal negligence. The 'Namaste Trump' event was responsible for community transmission of the virus," Chavda alleged.

"We will soon file a petition in the Gujarat High Court demanding a judicial inquiry in it through an SIT having field experts as its members. We will demand action against the government, GCA and the 'Trump Abhivadan Samiti' (committee formed to organise the event) through this petition," he added.

(PTI)

17:25 (IST)

Coronavirus in Kerala Latest Updates

No COVID-19 case reported in Kerala today

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that no coronavirus positive case was reported in the the state on Wednesday. The number of total cases in the state is at 502, including 30 active cases.

17:18 (IST)

Coronavirus in Karnataka Latest Updates

Karnataka reports 20 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours

The Karnataka health department said that 20 more coronavirus cases were reported in the last 24 hours. The total number of cases in the state is at 693, including 354 discharged and 29 deaths.

17:03 (IST)

Coronavirus in West Bengal Latest Updates

112 new COVID-19 cases reported in West Bengal

The West Bengal government said that 112 coronavirus cases were reported on Wednesday, taking the total cases in the state to 1,456. Four deaths were also reported in the last 24 hours, taking the total toll to 72.

16:54 (IST)

Coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh Latest Updates

UP govt says 19 trains carrying people stranded in other states

Uttar Pradesh additional chief secretary Awanish Awasthi said that 19 trains carrying people stranded in other states have arrived in the state. More trains will be arriving. Around 1,200 persons are accommodated in each train.

Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: 428 positive cases and one death reported in Delhi today, taking the total number of positive cases to 5532 and toll to 65.

Two Indian Navy ships have left for the Maldives to bring back nearly 2,000 Indian citizens stranded in the country due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a video, tweeted by All India Radio, Indian high Commissioner Sunjay Sudhir said that two Navy ships will bring nearly 2,000 Indians from Male to Kochi and Tuticorin.

Rajasthan reported a total of 159 fresh cases and four deaths till 9 pm on Wednesday with Jodhpur accounting for 50 new infections.

Of the 159,  43 were reported in Jaipur. The number of cumulative positive cases in the state as of Wednesday 9 pm stands at 3,317, while the fatalities from COVID-19 rose to 93 with the four new deaths reported on Wednesday.

Eleven fresh cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Telangana on Wednesday, taking the number of people infected by the virus in the state to 1,107, according to PTI.

All the 11 fresh cases have been reported from the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) area, a COVID-19 bulletin said. No death occurred today and the number of people who succumbed to the virus continued to be 29.

With 769 fresh infections, case count in Mumbai climbed to 10,527 while toll rose by 25 to  412, PTI quotes the  Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation as saying.

As part of the evacuation of Indians stranded abroad, the Centre has decided to operate five Air India flights from Saudi Arabia. The first flight will operate from Riyadh to Kozhikode on Thursday.

The Ministry of Home Affairs secretary Ajay Bhalla on Wednesday wrote to West Bengal chief secretary Rajiv Sinha saying that the coronavirus testing in the state was very low and the mortality rate was higher than any other state.

"Response to COVID-19 in West Bengal is characterized by very low rate of testing in proportion to population and very high rate of mortality of 13.2 percent by far highest of any state.

"This is reflection of poor surveillance, detection and testing in the state. There is also need to increase random testing in crowded clusters," he said.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that no coronavirus positive case was reported in the the state on Wednesday. The number of total cases in the state is at 502, including 30 active cases.

The Border Security Force (BSF) on Wednesday said that while performing operational and essential duties, 85 more personnel have been infected with COVID-19. It's reiterated that in each establishment of BSF, SOPs are strictly being followed.

Instructions of MoHFW are enforced and religiously followed to check spread of pandemic, the statement added.

After the West Bengal government prohibited the entry of a goods truck through border crossings between India and Bangladesh, the Ministry of Home Affairs wrote a letter to the West Bengal chief secretary saying that the state's action to restrict movement of essential supplies violated the MHA order under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

"Under new guidelines on lockdown measures issued vide MHA order under Clause 12, no State/UT shall restrict cargo movement for cross-border land trade under treatries with neighbouring countries," read the letter written by Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla.

Haryana reported 555 confirmed cases so far after seven more people tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Wednesday. The state has reported six COVID-19 deaths till now, said Haryana Health Department.

Nineteen fresh cases have been detected in Karnataka on Wednesday taking the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 692. This figure includes 29 deaths, one non-COVID death and 345 discharged persons.

Among the new cases, 13 are from Bagalkote alone, The Hindu reported.

Centre's decision to raise petrol and diesel prices by Rs 10-13 per litre unfair, should be withdrawn, said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a tweet on Wednesday. In a tweet in Hindi, Congress leader said: 'The ongoing battle with Coronavirus is causing severe economic hardship for our millions of brothers and sisters. At this time, instead of lowering prices, the government's decision to increase the tax per liter is unfair and should be withdrawn.'

After sixty fresh cases of COVID-19 were reported in Andhra Pradesh in the past 24 hours, the total confirmed cases in the state climbed to 1,777 on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said that 12,76,781 samples have been tested for COVID-19 across the country till 9.00 am on Wednesday.

The Karnataka government announced an economic package of Rs 1,610 crore to provide relief to various sections of the society amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a journalist with the Deccan Herald, the relief package will benefit farmers, labourers, entrepreneurs, weavers and daily wage earners to overcome the financial crisis faced due to the lockdown imposed in view of COVID-19.

A one time relief of Rs 5,000 will be provided to people.

Senior leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday castigated the government on its coronavirus response, saying that new or higher taxes will impoverish families further.

Opposing Centre's decision to impose higher tax burdens when economic activity has ground to a halt, the former finance minister said, "Governments should give money to the people in times of distress, not squeeze and take money from the people."

After 296 fresh cases were registered in Delhi in the past 24 hours, the total confirmed cases in the National Capital rose to 5,104 on Wednesday, said Health Minister Satyendra Jain.

With 35 more individuals testing positive for the novel coronavirus in Rajasthan, the total confirmed cases in the state climbed to 3,193 on Wednesday, according to the health department.

While, another fatality due to COVID-19 took the toll to 90. The recovery rate stood at 48 percent after 1,536 patients were discharged.

Three BSF camps in Tripura's Dhalai district were sealed and declared "containment zones" after 40 personnel including two children tested positive for COVID-19 since Saturday.

On Tuesday, 13 more BSF personnel including a mess worker at 138 batallion posted in Ambassa sub-division tested positive.

The state health department sealed the BSF camp at Jawaharnagar, Karina border outpost and BSF base at Gandacherra, where the cases were detected and declared areas within 3-km radius into containment zones.

As many as 14,182 COVID-19 patients have been discharged so far, thereby taking the recovery rate at 29% on Wednesday. While, the infectious disease has claimed the lives of 1,694 people across the nation with the mortality rate being at 3.3 percent.

India registered 49,391 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday with 1,694 COVID-19 deaths, according to the latest data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Of the total, there are 33,514 active cases. The recovery rate across the nation stood at 29 percent after 14,182 were discharged.

An airlift operation will commence on Thursday with 64 flights bringing back close to 15,000 Indian nationals from 12 countries in the first week of the ambitious exercise to repatriate lakhs of people.

The operation, as foreign minister S Jaishankar said in a tweet, is titled 'Vande Bharat Mission'.

The official handle of Aarogya Setu contact-tracing app, developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, asserted late on Tuesday that "no personal information of any user has been proven to be at risk".

The reply from the team came in response to a tweet by Elliot Alderson, a French security researcher, earlier in the day, who claimed: "Hi @SetuAarogya, A security issue has been found in your app. The privacy of 90 million Indians is at stake. Can you contact me in private? Regards. PS: Rahul Gandhi was right."

A clause limiting the government's liability to user data for its Aarogya Setu contact tracing app has made some legal experts question whether, in case of unauthorised access to the information, a legal recourse would be the only option available, especially since the app has been made mandatory for a significant section of citizens.

According to the app's terms and conditions, the user "agrees and acknowledges that the Government of India will not be liable for…any unauthorized access to your information or modification thereof."

The nationwide tally of COVID-19 cases rose by a record 3,900 on Tuesday while deaths from the deadly coronavirus topped the 1,500-mark with nearly 200 more fatalities, even as the Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said "fighting coronavirus is no rocket science" and that "people may remember this pandemic as a blessing in disguise if they imbibe good hygiene practices".

Vardhan told PTI that India has been able to stave off community transmission of COVID-19 and hoped that the "behavioural changes" brought about by the infection could become the "new normal" for a healthy society after the pandemic abates.

In its 5 pm official update on the COVID-19 situation in India, the Health Ministry said the death toll due to COVID-19 has risen to 1,583 with 194 fatalities reported since Monday evening, while the number of cases saw a big jump of 3,875 to reach 46,711.

However, a PTI tally of numbers reported by different states and Union territories till 6.30 pm showed more than 47,000 people testing positive for the virus so far, while it put the death toll at over 1,500. It also showed nearly 13,000 COVID-19 patients having recovered.

India has been under lockdown since 25 March due to coronavirus. AP

Tamil Nadu, Gujarat report huge spike in COVID-19 cases

Tamil Nadu reported 508 new cases on Tuesday, which took its tally past 4,000, while in Gujarat too, 441 more people tested positive for the novel coronavirus, taking its total to more than 6,200. Several other states also reported rising numbers.

Experts, however, said the peak of this deadly virus outbreak was yet to come and may be witnessed in India over the next 4-6 weeks, while another spurt might be seen later during the winter season.

The numbers suggested that more than one-third of the total confirmed cases across the country have been detected in the past one week, with only a few urban centres in a handful of states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi accounting for a bulk of it.

Govt to bring back Indians stranded abroad

Fears also emerged that India's tally may increase further with the government announcing plans to bring back a large number of Indians from various countries, beginning on Wednesday.

PTI quoted sources as saying that over three lakh people have registered for the evacuation from the Gulf region itself.

While the absolute number of cases and the toll in India is lower than many others, with more than 2.5 lakh people having lost their lives and over 35 lakh having been infected worldwide ever since the emergence of this virus in China last December, the lockdown restrictions have been lifted in several countries and many of them are now reporting few or zero cases.

Government officials, however, maintained that India has managed to stave off a community transmission risk and the country remains in a "comfortable" position in terms of managing the COVID-19 crisis, though they cautioned against any laxity at the field level.

Meanwhile, scores of migrant workers, desperate to travel back to their native states amidst the coronavirus-induced lockdown, on Tuesday came out on streets in Ahmedabad and Surat in Gujarat, officials said.

While more than 1,000 migrant workers carrying luggage gathered in Nikol area in Ahmedabad following a rumour that buses would be run for Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, several others came on streets in Varachha area of Surat city.

According to PTI, Gujarat has seen the maximum movement of migrant workers to their home states in about 35 shramik special trains, followed by Kerala from where 13 such trains have left.

Among the receiving states, Bihar has accepted 13 trains, with 11 more currently on the journey and six in the pipeline, the data shows.

Neighbouring Uttar Pradesh has received 10 such trains and five more are on their way, with 12 in the pipeline, the data shows.

The West Bengal government has, however, given clearance to only two trains -- one each from Rajasthan and Kerala -- and they are on their journeys to the state, the data shows.

Highest single-day jump in toll and cases

The Health Ministry said the country recorded a record single-day increase of 195 deaths and 3,900 cases between Monday 8 am and Tuesday 8 am. These included fatalities reported from West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, among other places.

At the same time, the recovery rate has improved to 28.17 percent, health ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal said during a press briefing on the COVID-19 situation.

"We are very comfortable in terms of managing COVID-19 as of now, but any laxity at the field level or any lack of cooperation may have its consequences,” he warned. Agarwal also said that the delay in reporting of COVID-19 cases by certain states has led to the sudden spurt in figures.

The country's top medical institute AIIMS' Director Randeep Guleria, however, claimed that the COVID-19 curve has remained relatively flat so far, but cautioned that the continued rise in the number of cases at a steady rate is a cause of concern.

Different modelling experts have predicted that a peak in the number of cases of COVID-19 may occur in the next four to six weeks — that is by the end of May or the middle of June, Guleria said, while stressing on the need to remain extra vigilant and to make efforts to reduce the number of cases in the hotspots.

"However, the number of cases continue to rise at a steady rate and this is a cause of concern. Every citizen should understand his responsibility and sincerely follow the principles of lockdown and social distancing, especially if they are in hotspots or containment areas," Guleria, a pulmonologist, said.

He also said that the country may see a rise in COVID-19 cases during the winter again.

Must do 'balancing act' between health, economy: Harsh Vardhan

The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) said in a report that India's unemployment rate has soared to 27.11 percent amid the COVID-19 crisis, from below 7 percent in mid-March.

The Mumbai-based think tank said the rate of unemployment was the highest in the urban areas, which constitute the most number of the red zones due to the COVID-19 cases, at 29.22 percent, as against 26.69 percent for the rural areas.

Separately, Vardhan also underlined the importance of the nationwide lockdown, imposed since 24 March and scheduled to remain in place till 17 May, and said health should be on the radar just as much as the economy.

 

“The government has to do a balancing act,” Vardhan said on the need to focus on the health of people as well as on the economy.

He also said the nation, in a post-coronavirus future, could well look back on the pandemic period as a “blessing in disguise” if Indians imbibe hand, respiratory and environmental hygiene and practise it daily.

"By now we know that fighting coronavirus is no rocket science. If behavioural changes such as hand, environmental and respiratory hygiene, which are being practiced more rigorously during this period, get imbibed in society it will become the new normal," Vardhan said.

Other than smallpox and polio, no other viral infection has been completely eradicated from this country. Other diseases keep recurring, the minister said, indicating that COVID-19 might be here for the long haul.

In the meantime, new cases that were detected on Tuesday included the serving and retired armed forces personnel in the Army's Research and Referral hospital in the National Capital.

Authorities also sealed a floor of Shastri Bhavan, which houses several important ministries, after a senior official of the Law Ministry tested positive for the coronavirus. This was the second incident of a government building being partially cordoned off in the Lutyen's Delhi within a week, after the NITI Aayog building in the high-security zone was sealed on 28 April for 48 hours after a director-level officer tested positive for the virus.

Before that, Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, which houses the Civil Aviation Ministry, was sealed for sanitisation.

In other such incidents, the CRPF headquarters and a portion of the BSF headquarters were also sealed recently. These buildings are in CGO Complex in the national capital.

UK's COVID-19 toll crosses Italy's casualties

Britain on Tuesday became the first country in Europe to confirm more than 30,000 coronavirus deaths, and infections rose sharply again in Russia, even as other nations made great strides in containing the scourge. China marked its third week with no new reported deaths, while South Korea restarted its baseball season.

China and South Korea together reported only four cases on Tuesday, while Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand were among the countries having reported no cases for two consecutive days.

Also, focus seems to have shifted globally towards developing a vaccine with several world leaders committing more than $8 billion since Monday for this purpose.

In the US, some states took continued steps to lift the lockdown restrictions that have thrown millions out of work, even as the country recorded thousands of new infections and deaths every day.

Underscoring the stakes, New York state reported 1,700 more people died in nursing homes than it had previously counted.

The British government said about 28,700 people with COVID-19 had died in hospitals, nursing homes and other settings, while Italy reported close to 29,100 fatalities. Both figures are almost certainly underestimates because they include only people who tested positive, and testing was not widespread in Italian and British nursing homes until recently.

With inputs from agencies



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