Here are the latest developments on coronavirus from India and the world:
576 COVID-19 cases in Delhi
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday confirmed a total of 576 positive COVID-19 cases in Delhi so far, out of which 35 patients are in ICUs and eight on ventilators. As per a health bulletin, 51 new coronavirus positive cases have been reported in Delhi on Wednesday, including 35 with a history of travel to a foreign country and four from Markaz. Two deaths were reported on Wednesday. Jain said that the government has put around 2600-2700 people, who had attended Tablighi Jamaat, in quarantine and 3,000 people have been rescued so far.
Maharashtra records highest single-day count
Maharashtra alone recorded 150 new cases — the highest single-day count for any state — on Tuesday with total number of infections crossing 1,000. Sixteen deaths were reported from Maharashtra on Tuesday. The total death toll in the state stood at 64. That’s nearly 43% of all deaths from the virus in the country. Maharashtra is followed by Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh at 13 each.
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About 400 million workers in India may sink into poverty: UN
About 400 million people working in the informal economy in India are at risk of falling deeper into poverty due to the coronavirus crisis which is having “catastrophic consequences”, and is expected to wipe out 195 million full-time jobs or 6.7 per cent of working hours globally in the second quarter of this year, warned International Labour Organization (ILO) in a report. The UN body report has described coronavirus pandemic as “the worst global crisis since World War II”.
Health professionals struggle amid a shortage of PPE
Personal Protection Equipment or PPE is the protective gear that doctors and nurses, who are dealing with Covid-19 positive patients are required to wear so they don’t get infected. Global standards limit usage of one set of PPE to 6-7 hours and doctors cannot wear their suits a second time. Doctors and nurses treating Covid-19 patients in government hospitals in Bengaluru are avoiding drinking water to reduce the need to go to washrooms. Some are using adult diapers. PPE causes excessive sweating in hospitals as ACs and fans remain switched off to prevent the virus from spreading. Over 50 doctors and medical staff have tested positive for coronavirus across the country and over 100 have been quarantined.
PM Modi condoles death of veteran Indian-American journalist
PM Modi on Wednesday condoled the demise of veteran Indian-American journalist Brahm Kanchibotla who died of coronavirus, saying he will be remembered for his fine work. Kanchibotla, who was a former contributor to the United News of India news agency, died of coronavirus at a New York hospital on Monday night. “Deeply anguished by the passing away of Indian-American journalist Mr. Brahm Kanchibotla. He will be remembered for his fine work and efforts to bring India and USA closer,” the prime minister tweeted.
Kirana stores come to rescue of consumers
Due to the lockdown, the e-commerce platforms are struggling to keep pace with deliveries. However, the friendly neighbourhood kiranawalla has come to the rescue of many. Not only are the local kirana store owners going the extra mile to ensure consumers get their daily essentials, they are also turning out to be more innovative than their digital counterparts. Like the small kirana shop owners in Kolkata’s Shyambazar area, who have adopted a primitive yet useful way of maintaining supply chain during the lockdown.
14-month-old India’s youngest victim of Covid-19
A 14-month-old COVID-19 positive child died at a government hospital in Gujarat’s Jamnagar on Tuesday. The toddler, who tested positive for the virus on April 5, and who was put on a ventilator soon after being hospitalised, passed away around 4 pm, officials said. The death was due to multiple organ failure. His parents, both labourers, however, tested negative for the virus and they have not shown any symptoms so far. Health officials are yet to ascertain the source of the baby’s infection. Gujarat has so far recorded 175 positive cases of COVID-19, with 16 deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.
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Karaga festival allowed but with restrictions
The Karnataka government has granted permission for the celeberations of the annual Karaga festival with certain restrictions. Chief minister BS Yediyurappa said that not more than five people would participate in the event, which starts at the city’s Sri Dharmarayana Swamy Temple, old Bengaluru from today. The event which is associated with the Thigala community attracts thousands of devotees every year. But due to the coronavirus spread, the government has banned all events across the state which involves public gathering.
The ‘Bhilwara model‘ of containment
The SCST strategy to contain the spread of Covid-19 — surveying, combing, screening, testing— seems to have worked well in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara. Coupled with an intensive curfew an extensive house-to-house survey was started. The survey till March 27, had covered 22 lakh people and by the end of last week, the entire population of 28 lakh had been screened — to identify people suffering from influenza like illness (ILI). The strategy appears to have borne fruit, with Bhilwara’s last new case being reported on Saturday — that too after a gap of four days. Additionally, the district reported no new positive case from those who had been quarantined. The city was dubbed “India’s Italy” as out of 43 cases in Rajasthan, 20 were from Bhilwara.
Containing coronavirus one cluster at a time
The government’s cluster containment strategy to tackle Covid-19 seems to be working. Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, ministry of health and family welfare said that the strategy is producing positive results, especially in Agra, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Pathanamthitta, Bhilwara and East Delhi. Citing a study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Agarwal said one Covid-19 patient could potentially infect 406 people in 30 days if he/she doesn’t practise social distancing. Agarwal said that if people follow the proper measures and social distancing, the infection rate can be cut down to just 2.5 people per patient in 30 days.
Chandigarh makes it mandatory to cover mouth and nose
The Chandigarh Administration has made it mandatory for people to cover their nose and mouth either with a piece of cloth or with a mask while venturing outside their homes. Notably, Chandigarh is the first Union Territory which has made wearing mask compulsory. On Tuesday Odisha had issued a similar directive to residents in the state.
Jack Dorsey pledges 28% of his wealth to fight coronavirus
Twitter co-founder and chief executive Jack Dorsey on Tuesday announced to pledge 28 per cent of his overall wealth to fighting coronavirus. Dorsey said in a series of tweets that he would transfer his equity in his digital payments group Square to his limited liability corporation Start Small. The move could be the largest from a single individual for coronavirus relief. Dorsey said that after the pandemic ends, the fund would focus on health and education for girls and “universal basic income” efforts. Dorsey’s net worth is estimated at about $3 billion including his stake in Twitter and Square.
Joy, relief as exodus from Wuhan begins
Voicing joy and excitement from behind face masks, tens of thousands of people fled Wuhan on Wednesday after a 76-day travel ban was lifted on the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic first emerged. Previously quiet train and bus stations bustled as an exodus began from the city of 11 million, with some passengers wearing hazmat suits. Up to 55,000 people are expected to leave Wuhan on Wednesday just by train, according to government estimates. Wuhan led the world with an unprecedented quarantine lockdown on January 23 in a bid to stop the spread of the then-mysterious respiratory virus.
Virus may spark ‘devastating’ global condom shortage
A global condom shortage is looming as the coronavirus pandemic shutters factories and disrupts supply chains, the world’s top maker of the contraceptives said, with the United Nations warning of “devastating” consequences. Malaysia — one of the world’s top rubber producers and a major source of condoms — imposed a nationwide lockdown last month as infections surged to the highest level in Southeast Asia. But restrictions on the operations of Malaysian contraceptive giant Karex, which makes one in every five condoms globally, mean the firm expects to produce 200 million fewer condoms than usual from mid-March to mid-April.
Trump threatens to freeze WHO funding, accuses it of being ‘China centric’
President Donald Trump has threatened to put a “very powerful” hold on US’ funding to the World Health Organization, accusing the UN agency of being “very China centric” and criticising it for having “missed the call” in its response to the coronavirus pandemic. “The WHO helped the Chinese Communist Party hide the threat of COVID-19 from the world and now more than 10,000 Americans are dead, a number that is expected to rise dramatically in the coming weeks,” Congressman Guy Reschenthaler alleged. The Geneva-headquartered World Health Organization (WHO), receives vast amounts of money from the United States.
Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong continue unhindered
Life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis. Taiwan’s response was forged in a previous epidemic — the deadly SARS outbreak in 2003. This time the island was ready. Before Wuhan was even locked down, Taiwan activated its Central Epidemic Command Centre, began screening arrivals, rolled out comprehensive testing and deployed detailed contact tracing. South Korea is being hailed in a different way — as a country that managed to flatten the infection curve despite a major outbreak. South Korea had a workable test within just a few weeks of the government issuing tenders and is now a major exporter of kits around the world. Similar successes have been seen in Hong Kong and Singapore, although their outbreaks are beginning to worsen.
NYC virus deaths exceed 4,000, topping toll for 9/11 attacks
New York City’s death toll from the coronavirus rose past 4,000 on Tuesday, eclipsing the number killed (2,977) at the World Trade Center on 9/11. New York state recorded 731 new coronavirus deaths, its biggest one-day jump yet, for a statewide toll of nearly 5,500. But in an encouraging sign, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said hospital admissions and the number of those receiving breathing tubes are dropping, indicating that social distancing measures are succeeding.
(With inputs from agencies)