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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: ICMR expands list of private labs from 8 to 13 for real-time RT-PCR tests for COVID-19 in Delhi

00:00 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

Special flight reaches Kozikhode in Kerala

An Air India Express flight, that took off from Dubai International Airport with 177 Indians on board earlier today, has landed at Kozhikode International Airport. 

23:46 (IST)

Coronavirus in INdia Latest Updates

Air India flight to SIngapore leaves Delhi

Air India’s first flight to Singapore departed from Delhi at around 11:20 PM today, with one passenger, under the Vande Bharat Mission.

23:38 (IST)

Coronavirus in Delhi Latest Updates

Delhi Police inspector tests positive for COVID-19, says report

Reports said that a Delhi Police inspector tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday. He was posted at the Sangam Vihar Circle area.

"All those officials and staff who came in contact with the infected inspector will be quarantined," India Today reported.

23:31 (IST)

Coronavirus in Delhi Latest Updates

Special train to leave from Delhi for Bihar tomorrow

A 'sharmik special train' will leave from Delhi for Muzaffarpur in Bihar tomorrow, said Northern Railway.

23:23 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

Second repatriation flight from Dubai reaches Kozhikode

23:19 (IST)

Coronavirus in Assam Latest Updates

Another 4 test positive for COVID-19 in Assam

23:14 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Updates

Final figures of Arthur Road jail COVID-19 infections:

The final figures for the Arthur Road jail coronavirus infection is that 77 inmates and 26 staff have tested positive for COVID-19.

23:05 (IST)

Coronavirus in Delhi Latest Updates

Delhi reports 448 new COVID-19 cases today

448 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Delhi on Thursday; taking the total number of cases to 5,980. One death has been reported, toll rises to 66, the Delhi government said.

23:02 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Updates

207 COVID-19 patients discharged in Maharashtra today

The Maharashtra health department said that 207 patients have been discharged on Thursday which takes the tally of discharged patients to 3,301 in the state. 43 deaths have been reported on Thursday; toll rises to 694.

22:54 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates 

DRDO installs ultra violet disinfection chamber in Cochin airport

The DRDO has installed its ultra violet disinfection chamber at the Cochin International Airport in Kerala. The chamber would be used to disinfect the baggage coming at the airport. The chamber has been developed by a laboratory in Cochin, DRDO officials said.

22:48 (IST)

Coronavirus in Delhi Latest Updates

Four areas removed from Delhi containment zones list

Four areas have been removed from the list of COVID-19 containment zones in Delhi. The number of containment zones in the national capital is now at 83.

22:39 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

First repatriation flight arrives in Kerala from Abu Dhabi

First repatriation Air India Express flight from Abu Dhabi lands at Cochin International Airport in Kerala.

22:25 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Updates

692 new COVID-19 cases reported in Mumbai today

692 new positive cases have been reported in Mumbai on Thursday, taking the total number of positive cases to 11,219. 25 deaths have been reported, taking the toll to 437, the BMC said. 

22:16 (IST)

Coronavirus in Punjab Latest Updates

Punjab govt opens liquor shops in some parts

"Liquor shops reopened in some parts of Punjab after more than 40 days but not many people turned up, which some vendors blamed on loss of jobs due to the coronavirus lockdown and reverse migration of workers from other states. Contractors in several districts kept their liquor shops shut, seeking a review of the 2020-21 Excise Policy," News18 reported.

22:02 (IST)

Coronavirus in Assam Latest Updates

Four more test positive for COVID-19 in Assam 

21:43 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

ICMR expands list of private labs for RT-PCR tests

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has expanded the list of private laboratories performing real-time RT-PCR for #COVID19 testing in Delhi from 8 labs to 13 labs.

21:36 (IST)

Coronavirus in Rajasthan Latest Updates

Rajasthan reports 110 new COVID-19 cases today

Rajasthan on Thursday reported 110 new cases of coronavirus, taking its total tally to 3,427. The state also reported six coronavirus deaths on Thursday, taking the toll to 99.

21:31 (IST)

Coronavirus in Odisha Latest Updates

Odisha health update today:

Total positive cases — 219
Recovered — 62
Death — 02
Active cases — 155

21:23 (IST)

Coronavirus in Japan Latest Updates

Japan approves Gilead Sciences' remdesivir as COVID-19 drug

Japan has approved Gilead Sciences Inc’s remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19, the health ministry said on Thursday, making it the country’s first officially authorized drug for the coronavirus disease.

Japan reached the decision just three days after the U.S. drugmaker filed for fast-track approval for the treatment.

Remdesivir will be give to patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms, a Japanese health ministry official said at a press briefing. With no other approved treatments for COVID-19, interest in the drug is growing around the world.

(Reuters)

21:21 (IST)

Coronavirus in Gujarat Latest Updates

Three special trains for tomorrow from Surat to Odisha cancelled

Reports said that three special trains to transport migrants from Surat to Odisha on Friday were cancelled on Thursday, "following Odisha HC order directing Odisha govt not to allow migrant Odia workers without negative test reports."

21:16 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Updates

Liquor worth Rs 48.14 cr sold in Maharashtra since 4 May

Reports quoted the Maharashtra excise department as saying that liquor worth Rs 48.14 crore has been sold in the state since 4 May, a day after the government allowed standalone shops to open outside containment zones. However, the order was revoked in Mumbai after violations of social distancing norms in several areas.

21:06 (IST)

Coronavirus in Uttarakhand Latest Updates

Uttarakhand cabinet decides to hike petrol price by Rs 2

The Uttarakhand cabinet has decided to increase the price of petrol by Rs 2 and the price of diesel by Rs 1, said state minister Madan Kaushik.

21:01 (IST)

Coronavirus in Telangana Latest Updates

Telangana reports 15 new COVID-19 cases today

The Telangana government on Thursday reported 15 new COVID-19 cases. The state's total tally of cases reached 1,122, including 400 active cases. The toll in the state currently stands at 29.

20:57 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Updates

Maharashtra govt to only conduct thermal screening for migrants

"We have decided that migrant labours who want to go to their native places need not procure medical certificates from now onward. Only thermal checking will be done. This decision taken to avoid big queues outside doctors' clinics,"said Rajesh Tope, Maharashtra Health Minister.

20:50 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Updates

40 people test positive for COVID-19 in Mumbai Central prison, says report

40 people in the Mumbai Central prison have tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, Hindustan Times reported. This included undertrial and jail officials.

"The fresh infections were reported a day after a 45-year-old inmate, facing charges under the narcotics act, tested positive for the disease. The Arthur Road jail, which has a capacity of 800, is housing about 2,700 prisoners," the report said.

20:43 (IST)

Coronavirus in Gujarat Latest Updates

388 new COVID-19 cases reported in Gujarat

The Gujarat health department on Thursday said that 388 new coronavirus cases have been reported in last 24 hours. Total positive cases stand at 7,013 including 1709 cured/discharged and 425 deaths.

20:31 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Updates

72 inmates, 7 staffers test positive in Mumbai's Arthur Road prison

Maharashtra jail authorities said that 72 inmates and seven staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in Mumbai's Arthur Road prison.

All infected inmates will be shifted to GT Hospital and St George Hospital in guarded vehicles on Friday morning while staff members will be shifted separately, the statement said.

20:20 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Updates

Maharashtra reports 1,362 COVID-19 cases today

Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said that 1,362 new coronavirus cases were reported in the state on Thursday, taking the total number of cases in the state to 18,120.

20:10 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Updates

50 new COVID-19 cases reported in Dharavi today

Mumbai's Dharavi reported 50 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, taking the total number of cases to 783 in the densely-populated area.

So far, 21 people have succumbed to the infection in the area.

20:01 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Updates

Maharashtra govt says migrants won't need to produce medical certificates

The Maharashtra government on Thursday said that migrants stranded in the state won’t need to produce medical certificates, as earlier mandated by the government.

19:53 (IST)

Coronavirus in Arunachal Pradesh Latest Updates

Over 4,500 people leave Arunachal in four days

Reports said that over 4,500 people, largely migrant workers, stuck in Arunachal Pradesh have left the state in the last four days, amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

"The return of the migrant workers was facilitated by the Capital Complex and Papum Pare district administrations, in consultation with their counterparts in Assam," News18 reported.

19:45 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

Air India flight with 177 Indians takes off from Dubai

News18 reported that the Air India express flight carrying 177 Indians stranded in Dubai has taken off for Kozhikode in Kerala.

19:41 (IST)

Coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh Latest Updates

73 new COVID-19 cases reported in UP

Uttar Pradesh reported 73 fresh cases of coronavirus on Thursday reports said, taking the total tally of cases to 3,071. The toll stands at 62. Out of 3,071 total COVID-19 cases in the state, 1,153 are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat event.

"As many as 120 patients were declared recovered and were discharged from the hospitals on Thursday, taking the total number of recoveries to one," India Today reported.

19:32 (IST)

Coronavirus in Jammu and Kashmir Latest Updates

J&K tests over 3,000 samples for COVID-19

The Jammu and Kashmir government said that the union territory "broke the 3,000 tests barrier", with 3,429 samples tested. Rohit Kansal added that 18 positive cases were detected on Thursday.

Total number of cases rose to 793 — 68 from Jammu and 725 from Kashmir.

"Our positivity rate is 2.1 percent, and mortality rate 1.13 percent," he added.

19:28 (IST)

Coronavirus in Delhi Latest Updates

37 new ITBP personnel test positive today

The ITBP said that 37 personnel posted in Delhi have tested positive for coronavirus in the last 24 hours. The total number of infected personnel in ITBP is now at 90.

19:22 (IST)

Coronavirus in West Bengal Latest Updates

West Bengal reports 92 new COVID-19 cases today

The West Bengal government said that 92 new cases of coronavirus were reported on Thursday, taking the total count to 1,548. The toll in the state currently stands at 79.

19:14 (IST)

Coronavirus in Jharkhand Latest Updates

Five new COVID-19 cases reported in Jharkhand

The Jharkhand health department said that five more coronavirus cases were reported in Jharkhand on Thursday, all from the Palamu district. They had returned from Chhattisgarh, the total number of positive cases in the state is now at 132.

19:02 (IST)

Coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh Latest Updates

Uttar Pradesh reports 73 new COVID-19 cases

The number of COVID-19 cases reaches 3,071 in Uttar Pradesh, with 73 new cases being reported on Thursday. The number of recovered/discharged patients abd deaths stands at 1,250 and 62, respectively. The Ghazipur district is now free of COVID-19, the statement said.

18:57 (IST)

Coronavirus in Rajasthan Latest Updates

Milk vendor uses funnel and pipe to maintain social distancing

Sanjay Goyal, a milk vendor in Jodhpur is using a funnel and pipe tied to a stick to supply milk to the customers while maintaining social distance amid COVID-19 outbreak.

18:46 (IST)

Coronavirus in Tamil Nadu Latest Updates

580 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths reported in Tamil Nadu

The Tamil Nadu health department on Thursday said that 580 more COVID-19 positive cases and two deaths were reported in the state on Thursday. The total number of cases in the state is at 5,409, including 37 deaths. A large number of today's cases are linked to the Koyambedu market (Chennai).

18:37 (IST)

Coronavirus in Himachal Pradesh Latest Updates

Active cases in Himachal rise to 6

The Himachal Pradesh health department said that the number of active cases of coronavirus increased to 6 in the state, and two people have succumbed to the infection while 34 others recovered.

18:31 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Updates

Uddhav Thackeray holds all-party meeting over COVID-19 situation

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday held an all-party meeting via video-conference over coronavirus. Deputy chief minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, Congress' Ashok Chavan, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, and other leaders were also present.

18:24 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

JEE Advanced exam to be conducted on 23 Aug

Union HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal on Thursday said that the JEE Advanced Exam will be conducted on 23 August.

18:16 (IST)

Coronavirus in Kerala Latest Updates

No COVID-19 case reported in Kerala today

There were no new cases of coronavirus reported in Kerala on Thursday, the state governemnt said. Additionally, with five new recoveries, the number of active cases has reduced to 25 in the state.

"Starting tonight, Kerala’s four international airports will begin to receive the first batch of expatriates stranded abroad as part of the Centre’s Vande Bharat evacuation efforts. As part of phase one of the evacuation efforts, 15 of the scheduled 64 flights from different countries between May 7 and May 13 are destined for Kerala, each carrying nearly 200 passengers. Flights operating to Kerala will carry people from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Doha, Bahrain, Kuwait, Muscat, Kuala Lumpur and Dammam," The Indian Express reported.

18:08 (IST)

Coronavirus in Odisha Latest Updates

Odisha declares Ganjam district as red zone

The Odisha government on Thursday declared the Ganjam district as a COVID-19 red zone and the Jagatsinghpur and Mayurbhanj districts as orange zones.

17:54 (IST)

Coronavirus in Karnataka Latest Updates

12 more COVID-19 cases reported in Karnataka

12 more coronavirus cases were reported in Karnataka in the last 24 hours. Total number of cases in the state is at 705, including 366 discharged and 30 deaths, the state health department said.

17:46 (IST)

Coronavirus in Chandigarh Latest Updates

15 new COVID-19 cases reported in Chandigarh

The Chandigarh health department said that 15 new coronavirus cases have been reported in the union territory in last 24 hours; taking the total number of positive cases to 135.

17:35 (IST)

Coronavirus in Assam Latest Updates

Assam govt declares summer vacation from 1 to 31 May

The Assam government has decided to declare summer vacation for schools and colleges from 1 May to 31 May, said state minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

17:26 (IST)

Coronavirus in Madhya Pradesh Latest Updates

75 DTC buses ferry migrants to MP

News18 reported that 75 buses of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) are taking migrants from shelter homes back home to Madhya Pradesh. A special train to Madhya Pradesh will leave at 8 pm on Thursday.

17:18 (IST)

Coronavirus in Assam Latest Updates

Assam govt says people returning from red zone will be under institutional quarantine

Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that on Thursday, the state government has issued a notification that any person returning from a red zone district in any state will be put in institutional quarantine even if he is asymptomatic.

Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said that 1,362 new coronavirus cases were reported in the state on Thursday, taking the total number of cases in the state to 18,120.

Maharashtra jail authorities said that 72 inmates and seven staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in Mumbai's Arthur Road prison.

All infected inmates will be shifted to GT Hospital and St George Hospital in guarded vehicles on Friday morning while staff members will be shifted separately, the statement said.

The ITBP said that 37 personnel posted in Delhi have tested positive for coronavirus in the last 24 hours. The total number of infected personnel in ITBP is now at 90.

The Tamil Nadu health department on Thursday said that 580 more COVID-19 positive cases and two deaths were reported in the state on Thursday. The total number of cases in the state is at 5,409, including 37 deaths. A large number of today's cases are linked to the Koyambedu market (Chennai).

The Border Security Force, in a statement on Thursday said that two of its personnel had succumbed to the coronavirus infection.

"Grief stricken with deaths of two BSF personnel during this pandemic. A critically ill patient died who had contracted infection of #COVID19 while visiting super speciality clinics for his treatment.

"Other borderman died on Monday, 4 May in Safdarjung hospital, where he was admitted on 3 May. From normal ward he was shifted to ICU on 4 May. After his death, prior to postmortem, COVID19 test was done and result came positive by late night of 6 May, Wednesday.

Reports on Thursday said that the Karnataka government has decided to restart the operation of special trains for stranded migrants to return to their native states, after the BS Yediyurappa government faced criticism over its refusal to allow migrants to leave the state.

The state government wrote to nodal officers of various states, asking for consent to operate trains to their states, as per the MHA guideline.

354 Indians stranded in the UAE will be brought back on Thursday, News18 reported, in accordance to the Centre's plan to repatriate them amid the coronavirus lockdown.

The group reportedly includes 11 pregnant women and a pair of twins, and will travel in the first two flights from the UAE to Kerala "as India begins its biggest ever repatriation exercise to bring back its citizens stranded abroad amidst the international travel lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic."

Vizianagaram district in Andhra Pradesh reported its first three cases of the novel coronavirus after almost two months since the first positive case was reported in the State, The Hindu reported.

It was the only green zone district in the State until now as declared by the Centre.

 To assess the COVID-19 situation in Mumbai, Lav Agarwal, an IAS officer in the Ministry of Health and Welfare, is expected to reach the financial capital on Thursday, News18 reported.

The Central government sent a review team led by the joint secretary, including eight doctors.

Mumbai remained the worst COVID-affected city along with Pune and Thane in Maharashtra, amid rising number of confirmed cases and deaths. Apart from these, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Surat in Gujarat also some of the worst-affected cities across the country.

With 56 more people testing positive for the novel coronavirus in Andhra Pradesh in the past 24 hours, the total confirmed cases in the state climbed to 1,833 on Thursday. While, 39 COVID-19 patients have succumbed to the viral infection in the state so far.

"As many as 51 people have been discharged in the past 24 hours, the total discharged are 780 till date," ANI quoted the state health department as saying. Therefore, the recovery rate was at 43 percent.

An undertrial and two prison guards have tested positive for COVID-19 at Mumbai Central Prison, triggering fears of a possible infection hotspot.

As many as 150 others, including over 15 staffers and senior prison officials who came in close proximity with the three, have undergone tests, with results expected on Thursday, Inspector General (Prisons) Deepak Pandey was quoted as saying by Indian Express.

With Indians stranded in the Middle East to be evacuated from Thursday, elaborate safety measures have been put in place at Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), where the first flight from Abu Dhabi is expected to land at 9.40 pm on Thursday.

Odisha on Thursday reported the "highest number of COVID-19 cases" in a day as 20 people, who recently returned from Surat, tested positive for COVID-19, an official said.

With these new cases, the total number of people afflicted with the disease has climbed to 205, he said.

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has called a COVID-19 review meeting with all party members and Opposition leaders on Thursday at 2 pm, The Times of India reported.

The chief minister is likely to discuss the mitigation and exit plan for COVID-19 pandemic situation.

According to the Maharashtra Health Department, of the 34 new fatalities reported in the state on Wednesday, 26 COVID-19 patients succumbed to the infection in Mumbai alone. This takes the toll in the city to 412.

Three deaths were reported from Pune. The cumulative fatalities in the district have risen to 122.

The total number of cases of the novel coronavirus in Rajasthan climbed to 3,355 after 38 more people tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. The viral infection claimed two more lives, taking the toll in the state to 95, said the health department.

Otavio Rego Barros, spokesman for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Thursday.

The 59-year-old former army general "is home following all recommended protocols" after his positive test result was confirmed on Tuesday, the president's office says.

The Koyambedu market has been linked to more than 500 cases in several districts of Tamil Nadu state and adjacent Kerala state. Over 7,000 people with connections to the market are being traced and quarantined, says J Radhakrishnan, the leader of Chennai's response to the coronavirus.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in India climbed to 52,952 while, 1,783 patients succumbed to the infectious disease. Of the total confirmed cases, there are 35,902 active cases.

The recovery rate stood at 29 percent after 15,266 COVID-19 patients were discharged, according to the latest data released by Health Ministry.

The number of active COVID-19 cases are growing faster at 6.6 percent now, leading to a shorter doubling time of 11 days, as compared to 15 days on 2 May when the growth rate for such cases was 4.8 percent, according to the data analysis by economist Shamika Ravi, earlier part of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council.

The West Bengal government has identified over 92,000 cases of influenza-like illness and 870 people with severe acute respiratory illness across the state, findings that serve as "early warning signals" in the fight against COVID-19, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.

Mamata said the results were the outcome of her government's extensive door-to-door surveillance over a month in April, covering over 5.5 crore households, and the exercise will continue "till the virus is defeated".

India's tally of confirmed coronavirus cases neared the 50,000-mark on Wednesday with a large number of healthcare professionals and security personnel testing positive amid the worsening spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, authorities flagged high fatality rates in states like West Bengal, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.

While the Kerala government said that no new infection was reported on Wednesday, Maharashtra reported a record single-day increase of more than 1,200 in its number of cases.

The evacuation exercise to bring back Indians stranded abroad is set to begin on Thursday, with five Air India flights scheduled to bring nationals back from Saudi Arabia.

Fuel, liquor prices increase as govts deal with damage to economy

The economic cost of the pandemic also began to hit the people with a sharp increase in fuel prices. Looking to shore up their dwindling resources, more states announced higher taxes on liquor sales, while Punjab pegged its overall revenue loss for the month of April at 88 percent due to all its tax revenues having dried up and only 1.5 percent the industry being operational.

Industry sources in various parts of the country told PTI that they were wary of opening their plants and offices due to concerns over the movement of their staff, suppliers, transporters and vendors till the nationwide lockdown, which has been been extended till 17 May, gets completely lifted.

While announcing the third phase of the lockdown, the government had provided relaxations in restrictions in a bid to get the industrial and agricultural activities restarted, but not much has changed on the ground because only a few companies, especially in the manufacturing sector, resuming their operations in a limited way.

The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India on Wednesday said it would resume operations at its Manesar plant in Haryana from 12 May.

Total cases near 50,000-mark

There are widespread fears that the virus spread may get worse with easing of the lockdown measures, as the number of cases have been rising continuously across most of the major urban centres of the country.

While the Health Ministry stopped giving an evening update of the COVID-19 tally from Wednesday, its morning update showed the deaths rising to 1,694 and the number of cases climbing to 49,391, registering an increase of 126 deaths and 2,958 cases since Tuesday morning.

It also showed more than 15,000 people having recovered, giving a recovery rate of nearly 29 percent.

However, a PTI tally of figures reported by different states and union territories till 9 pm put the total number of confirmed cases at 51,435 and the toll at 1,694.

While Maharashtra has reported the maximum number of cases and fatalities, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka and Punjab are among other major states affected badly by the virus.

Kerala also has reported more than 500 confirmed cases so far, but it did not report a single new case on Wednesday and the state government officials said the number of active patients is now only 30 as a big majority of COVID-19 patients have recovered.

Health minister Harsh Vardhan also expressed concern over the high fatality rate among COVID-19 patients in some districts of Maharashtra and Gujarat and asked the states to focus on early surveillance, aggressive contact tracing and early diagnosis to reduce the number of deaths in the areas.

Maharashtra reports highest single-day jump in COVID-19 cases

Maharashtra reported 1,233 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, taking its tally to 16,758, while 34 more deaths raised the toll to 651, a health department official said. Mumbai alone has more than 10,500 cases now.

Gujarat reported 380 new cases and 28 more deaths during the day, taking its total case count to 6,625 and the number of fatalities to 396.

This included 291 new cases and 25 more deaths in Ahmedabad alone, where the civic authorities have ordered closure of all shops except those selling milk and medicines for a week.

Separately, the MHA also wrote to the West Bengal government that the COVID-19 response in the state was "characterised by a very low rate of testing and a very high rate of mortality of 13.2 percent", which it said was by far the highest for any state.

The ministry also flagged instances of overcrowding in markets, free movement of people in large numbers without masks, bathing of people in rivers, people playing cricket and football, serious laxity in enforcing lockdown measures in containment zones, plying of rickshaws without any restriction, saying these were grave violation of lockdown instructions and social distancing norms.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said her government has identified over 92,000 cases of influenza-like illness and 870 people with severe acute respiratory illness across the state, findings that serve as "early warning signals" in the fight against COVID-19.

Banerjee said the results were the outcome of her government's extensive door-to-door surveillance over the last one month, covering over 5.5 crore households, and the exercise will continue "till the virus is defeated".

Meanwhile, the Karnataka Congress slammed the state government for cancelling the special trains to transport stranded migrant workers back to their native states.

548 medical staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 so far, says Centre

Official sources said around 548 doctors, nurses and paramedics across the country have been found to be positive for the infection so far. This includes 69 doctors in the National Capital.

However, this figure does not include field workers, ward boys, sanitation workers, security guards, lab attendants, peons, laundry and kitchen staff among others and the figures may be much higher after taking these people into account.

Also, at least 154 personnel of the Border Security Force (BSF) have tested positive for coronavirus, including 85 cases that were detected on Wednesday.

These include more than 60 deployed for law and order duties in the Jamia and Chandni Mahal area of the National Capital, and six from the escort team of the inter-ministerial central team (IMCT) that toured West Bengal to check COVID-19 containment measures in the state.

At least 37 infected personnel are from the Tripura frontier of the force.

In the meantime, the Delhi government ordered the release of 4,000 Tablighi members who have completed their required quarantine period in centres, PTI reported.

A huge congregation of 'Tablighi Jamaat' in Delhi's Nizamuddin area earlier in March was seen as a major hotspot for the virus spread, after which there were also several cases of Muslims getting targeted and blamed by some for the pandemic.

Thousands of the Jamaat members were subsequently traced in various parts of the country and quarantined, including around 4,000 in Delhi itself.

While nearly 900 of those being released from quarantine are from Delhi itself, the rest are from other states and would be sent back to their home states. A majority of them hail from Tamil Nadu and Telangana.

Trump says US' COVID-19 team not dismantling

One day after saying that the White House COVID-19 task force would be winding down, President Donald Trump said Wednesday it would continue indefinitely but focus more on rebooting the economy.

Trump’s reversal comes as deaths and infection rates outside of New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus, are rising even as states move to lift their lockdowns.

Trump tweeted that the special task force’s focus now would be on “SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN.”

A White House official acknowledged on Wednesday that signaling that the task force was preparing to shut down had sent the wrong message and created a media maelstrom.

On Tuesday, Trump had praised the task force for doing a great job, but said “we’re now looking at a little bit of a different form, and that form is safety and opening. And we’ll... we’ll have a different group probably set up for that.”

With inputs from agencies



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