DD/AIR News

  • The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 942, while 99 people were either cured or discharged and one had migrated, the ministry stated. In its updated data at 10.30 am, it said two fresh deaths were reported from Maharashtra. Thus, Maharashtra has reported the maximum number of eight COVID-19 deaths so far, followed by Gujarat (5), Karnataka (3), Madhya Pradesh (2), Delhi (2) and Jammu and Kashmir (2). Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, West Bengal, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have reported a death each. The total number of 1,071 cases includes 49 foreigners. The highest number of confirmed cases of the pandemic has been reported from Kerala (194) so far, followed by Maharashtra at 193. The number of cases has gone up to 80 in Karnataka, while Uttar Pradesh has reported 75 cases. The number of cases has risen to 69 in Telangana, 58 in Gujarat and 57 in Rajasthan. Delhi has reported 53 cases, while in Tamil Nadu, the number of positive cases is 50. Punjab has reported 38 cases, while 33 COVID-19 cases have been detected each in Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. There are 31 cases of the contagion in Jammu and Kashmir, followed by Andhra Pradesh (19), West Bengal (19) and Ladakh (13). Bihar has 11 cases, while nine cases have been reported from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Chandigarh has eight cases, while Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand have reported seven cases each. Goa has reported five coronavirus cases, while Himachal Pradesh and Odisha have reported three cases each. Puducherry, Mizoram and Manipur have reported a case each, the Health Ministry said.  

  • Those who performed from their homes for the “IHeart Living Room Concert for America” also included Mariah Carey, Camila Cabello, Alicia Keys, Shawn Mendes and Sam Smith. The one-hour show, broadcast on Fox television without commercials, was the biggest joint effort in the pandemic to lift spirits, raise money for those in the frontlines, and remind Americans to wash their hands and keep their distance. “There’s doctors, nurses and scientists on the frontlines. They’re living proof that most superheroes don’t wear capes,” said John, who hosted the show from his kitchen. “We hope this bit of entertainment can feed and fuel your souls.” All the performances and appearances by celebrities ranging from comedian Ellen DeGeneres to R&B artist Lizzo and country singer Tim McGraw were filmed on phones, home cameras or online platforms. The songs were interspersed with short personal stories from nurses, doctors, truckers, grocery staff, and other essential workers as millions of Americans entered a third week subjected to orders to stay home. Dr Elvis Francois, a surgeon from Rochester, Minnesota, stole hearts on social media with an emotional rendition of “Imagine” performed in medical scrubs. “Did this doctor just out sing every artist that’s performed?” one viewer, Ender Wiggins, asked on Twitter. The concert, also broadcast on iHeart radio stations nationwide, urged listeners to donate to charities Feeding America, and First Responders Children’s Foundation. The amount raised was not immediately known, but more than $1 million was donated in the first 10 minutes, courtesy of $500,000 from household goods giant Procter & Gamble and a matching sum from Fox Television. “My heart goes out to people who have lost loved ones and also those who are losing their jobs,” said Lady Gaga, clad in pink sweatpants and a hoodie.

  • Grey seals need ice - which helps them keep a distance from predators like wolves or foxes - in order to breed pups during the winter. Without it, they have been forced onto islets they would not normally inhabit, causing overcrowding, disrupting the breeding season and reducing the survival rate of newborns. "There were some islands that were white, all covered with seal pups ... We haven't seen such a picture before," researcher Mart Jussi, who has studied seals for the last 30 years, said. He said some of the larger islands were so over-populated that he estimated the mortality rate among seal pups there would be at least 50 percent. That high rate was in part because pups lose their mothers more easily and so don't get enough food. Around 3,000 seal pups are born each year on the Baltic Sea coast. "Most of the pups are going to die right now," Jussi added. This spring the problem is compounded by the coronavirus, which is keeping researchers away from the seals, as Estonia has halted travel between the mainland and its islands. Agnese Balandina, a specialist working with Latvia's nature conservation agency, said the coronavirus outbreak combined with the warm weather had driven Latvians to the country's beaches, increasing the likelihood of contact between people and seals. The agency has set up warning signs on Latvian beaches asking people to keep a distance of at least 50 metres (164 feet), but some people ignored the advice and ventured closer to take photographs of seal pups on their phones at Jurmala near Riga. Balandina, who with a colleague caught an injured seal pup at Jurmala, said the agency had received 200 calls about lone seal pups on Latvia's beaches over the previous weekend. Unless the pups are injured or in danger the agency prefers not to intervene - and even those that are rescued and sent for rehabilitation in Riga's zoo or in other facilities around the country may not survive. Meteorological agencies in both Estonia and Latvia said on their websites at the beginning of March that the winter of 2019-2020 was much warmer than usual. The Estonian Weather Service said the average air temperature over winter was 2.5 degrees Celsius (36.5 Fahrenheit) rather than the historical average of -3.3 Celsius (26.5 Fahrenheit) - the warmest since 1961. Latvia's Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre said it was the warmest winter since records began in 1924.

  • Cities including Brussels, Paris, Madrid, Milan and Frankfurt showed a reduction in average levels of noxious nitrogen dioxide over March 5-25, compared with the same period last year, according to the Sentinel-5 satellite images. That coincides with lockdowns in many European countries which have curbed road transport – the largest source of nitrogen oxides - and slowed output at gas-emitting factories. The new images, released by the European Space Agency (ESA) and analyzed by the non-profit European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), show the changing density of nitrogen dioxide, which can cause respiratory problems and cancer, like heat maps. Daily weather events can influence atmospheric pollution, so the satellite pictures took a 20-day average and excluded readings where cloud cover reduced the quality of the data. Data from the European Environment Agency (EEA) showed a similar trend over March 16-22. In Madrid, average nitrogen dioxide levels decreased by 56% week-on-week after the Spanish government banned non-essential travel on March 14.

  • Luckily for restaurants in Mexico, people still need to eat, and mobile application connecting businesses, delivery personnel and clients might just help them weather the economic storm. The chefs at Los Parados taqueria in Mexico City were still busily flipping tortillas and carving tacos al pastor on Thursday but many orders were being packed and handed to delivery drivers to take to clients observing the social distancing measures now common around the world to fight the highly infectious coronavirus. "Uber has been helping us out a lot in the two weeks since we've had with the emergency," says Los Parados manager Guadalupe Gonzalez. According to Uber Eats, some 60% of its affiliates are small and medium businesses like Los Parados. Uber Eats has also responded to the growing demand of people practicing social distancing by adding a tool to allow users to request that orders be left at entrances to homes or buildings without any face-to-face interaction.

  • Union Government, on Monday, clarified that there is no plan to extend the 21 days' lockdown which came intro force on 25th of this month. In a tweet, Press Information Bureau said, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba has denied media reports claiming that the government will extend the lockdown.   It said, there are rumours and media reports claiming that the government will extend the lock down when it expires. The Cabinet Secretary rejected these reports and stated that these are baseless.

  • They include community health workers, who may have to be in direct contact and care of COVID-19 patients and who may be at risk of being impacted by this.  The scheme will also include accidental loss of life on account of contracting COVID-19. The Health Ministry has said, the insurance provided under this scheme will be over and above any other insurance cover being availed by the beneficiary. It said, on account of the unprecedented situation, private hospital staff, retired, volunteer, local urban bodies, contract, daily wage,  ad-hoc and outsourced staff requisitioned by States and  Central hospitals, autonomous hospitals of Central, States, AIIMS and hospitals of Central Ministries can also be drafted for  COVID-19 related responsibilities. These cases will also be covered subject to numbers indicated by the Health Ministry.

  • Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will transfer 611 crore rupees in the accounts of 27.15 lakh MNREGA labourers on Monday. The amount will be transferred electronically to help the labourers in the situation of Lock down due to Corona Virus. State Government has said that there are no signs of community spread of the virus in state. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed private enterprises and organisations to must give one month salary to their employees without any deduction. Additional Chief Secretary, Home Awanish Awasthi said that no landlord would charge one month's rent from any worker or labourer. On receiving any such complaint, the police will take strict action against the landlord who took the rent.   State Government reiterated that nodal officers in 16 states of the country are helping the people of Uttar Pradesh in their respective areas and appealed everyone to remain wherever they are and follow the lock down. Meanwhile, Gautam Buddh Nagar administration took over the JP sports city to convert it into the shelter home for the labourers.   

  • This will go a long way in reassuring the people of the region that even at this hour of trial, they are receiving as much attention as any other part of the country. It has been intimated that the contact details and road map for the Cargo operation will be provided soon. The Directors of the airports of the region have been asked to inform about their requirements through Twitter.   Dr Jitendra Singh noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always placed the welfare of the North Eastern Region highest on the priority. It was primarily because of his personal outreach that Northeast has undergone a revolutionary transformation over the last six years. And, the decision to operate Cargo flights for North-East is only a reiteration of the fact that the concern for Northeast is close to PM Modi’s heart even at this crucial time.

  • Three Indians are also among the new positive cases include a 35-year-old female with a long-term pass, a 34-year-old male holding Singapore work pass.Both of them have a travel history to India.   A 34-year-old Indian holding Singapore work pass was infected locally. The Ministry of Health said that of these new cases, 24 are imported and have a travel history to Europe, North America, Middle East, ASEAN and other parts of Asia.   Of the 423 confirmed COVID-19 cases who are in hospitals, 19 are in critical condition. The others are stable or improving. In total, 212 people in Singapore have fully recovered from the deadly disease.

  • In a conference call with these boxers, the President of the Boxing Federation of India, Ajay Singh took stock of their preparations amid a national lockdown till April 14 to fight the pandemic.  He told the boxers that this is a challenging time for all of us and is all the more a reason for us to take care of ourselves stay fit. He asked them to continue with the exercises as directed by the coaches and try to maintain weights as much as possible. Elaborating further on the 45-minute discussion, BFI's Executive Director R K Sacheti told that the areas of concern are diet control and mental health. He said India boxing's High Performance Director Santiago Nieva, who is now in Patiala after completing a 14-day self-isolation period in Delhi, will be conducting classes for men. The classes for women will be conducted by their high performance director Rafaelle Bergamasco.  India booked an unprecedented nine Olympic slots at the Asian qualifiers in Jordan earlier this month.

  • The lender's external benchmark lending rate is linked to the RBI's repo rate, which was reduced by 75 basis points, to 4.40 percent, on March 27.   It has also cut benchmark marginal cost of funds based lending rate by 25 basis points across tenors from one year to one month, and by 15 basis points for overnight tenor. The one-year marginal cost of funds is now 7.95 percent per annum. 

  • As a part of the Government’s preparedness to fight the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has decided to make available all National Skill Training Institutes (NSTIs) and their hostels across the country for conversion into quarantine/isolation facilities. The decision was taken by the Ministry to align its efforts with the Centre in preparedness for the pandemic that has led to a nationwide lockdown for 3 weeks to encourage social distancing among people.   MSDE has also provided the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare a list of around one lakh personnel who have been trained in healthcare skills through various programmes under the Skill India Mission. Trained in various job roles, these candidates will boost the efforts to contain the spread, and treatment and care of infected people in the new quarantine/ isolation/ hospital facilities being set up.   In addition, a list of 2000 health care trainers and more than 500 health care assessors has also been shared with health ministry. Further, the personnel of the Ministry have also decided to contribute at least minimum one day salary to the PM CARES fund, to aid the Government’s efforts to fight the corona virus pandemic.   Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has said that the addition of NSTIs will help district and state administrations in treating those infected by the virus by providing an alternative for hospitals and health centres. He said, they have requested all Regional Directors of NSTIs to fully cooperate with State Government authorities to help them meet the requirement .   Dr. Pandey said, state Governments can also use the premises of ITIs. Run by the Directorate General of Training, NSTIs are premier institutes that provides training in specialised skills across its spread of training centers and hostels in the country. The nearly one lakh candidates who will aid in emergency and isolation work in the battle against COVID-19 have been trained in various job roles.

  • Since doctors did not know exactly when Sophie Trudeau became virus-free, the Prime Minister said he would observe another 14 full days of confinement. Trudeau has been in self-isolation since his wife tested positive for the coronavirus on March 12 following a trip to London.   Trudeau also announced new financial measures to help vulnerable Canadians, particularly children and the aged. As of Sunday, 6,243 Canadians had tested positive for the coronavirus, and 64 have died.

  • The decision was taken by the High Power Coordination Committee for the prevention and control of novel Coronavirus in Kathmandu on Monday. The government has also decided to allow Nepalis stuck at border points on their way back home on the basis of their identity cards. However, they have to compulsorily undergo a 14-day quarantine at the nearest quarantine facility. Meanwhile, Nepal has received medical supplies from China to tackle possible COVID-19 outbreak. Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi handed over the supplies to Nepal’s Minister for Health and Population Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal in Kathmandu. According to Health officials, 917 people have been tested for COVID 19 in the Himalayan nation, out of whom five tested positive. Four patients are currently in isolation while one has recovered. 

  • Over six lakh 67 thousand declared cases have been registered in 183 countries and territories since the epidemic first emerged in China in December. Of these cases, at least one lakh 34 thousand are now considered recovered. Italy, which recorded its first Coronavirus death in February, has declared ten thousand fatalities so far. Spain has more fatalities than 6500 as well as 78,747 infections. China, excluding Hong Kong and Macau has declared 3,295 deaths and 81,394 cases, with 74,971 recoveries. The other worst-hit countries are Iran with 2,640 deaths and 38,309 cases, and France with 2,314 deaths and 37,575 cases. The United States has the highest number of infected people with 124,686 diagnosed cases, 2,191 deaths and 2,612 recoveries. Europe has listed over three lakh 63 thousand cases and 22,259 deaths while, Asia recorded more than one lakh four thousand cases and 3,761 deaths. The West Asia has registered nearly 46 thousand cases and 2,718 deaths. In the US and Canada together 2,250 deaths have been recorded. 

  • Centre has asked state governments and Union Territory administrations to effectively seal state and district borders to stop movement of migrant workers. It has ordered to ensure adequate arrangement of temporary shelters and provisions of food and other facilities for poor and needy people stranded due to lockdown announced in view of COVID -19 outbreak.   In its fresh directive, the Home Ministry said, the migrant people, who have moved out to reach their home states, must be kept in the nearest shelters by the concerned states and quarantined after proper screening for a minimum period of 14 days. The Ministry has also directed the employers including industry, shops and commercial establishments to make payment of wages of their workers on the due date without any deduction.   The landlords of workers have also been ordered not to demand rent for a period of one month. It has been warned that action will be taken if any landlord forces labourers and students to vacate their premises. Yesterday, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla held meeting with state chief secretaries and DGPs through video conferencing.   In the meeting, it was noted that, by and large, there has been effective implementation of the lockdown guidelines across all States and UTs and essential supplies have also been maintained. Terming the movement of a large number of migrant workers to reach their home towns as a violation of the lockdown, the Home Ministry asserted that District Magistrate, Superintendent of Police and DCP will be personally liable for implementation of the direction of the Centre  and lockdown measures.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is continuing his interactions with various stakeholders in India’s fight against COVID-19. PM  interacts with over 200 people on a daily basis to get a first-hand feedback on India’s fight against Coronavirus. Prime Minister also telephonically reaches out to various doctors, nurses, health workers, and sanitation staff from various corners of the country in order to encourage them and to pay gratitude to their yeomen service to the nation and society. PM Modi interacts with people from various walks of life through video conferencing in an effort to control the spread of the Corona virus. Prime Minister also telephonically reaches to some of those who are affected with Corona Virus and to some of those who have recovered from its affects in order to keep an update on their progress. PM had been holding meetings on a daily basis wherein he is updated regularly by the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office. Prime Minister is also being updated by the Group of Ministers (GoM) set up under the chairmanship of the Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan on the steps being taken by the Government.

  • In an official directive to the states, the centre has asked states to enforce lockdown strictly. The Cabinet Secretary and the Ministry of Home Affairs are in constant touch with state Chief Secretaries and DGPs. Video conferences were held by the Cabinet Secretary and Home Secretary with Chief Secretaries and DGPs. By and large, there has been effective implementation of guidelines across all states and Union Territories. Essential supplies have also been maintained. The situation is being monitored round the clock and necessary measures are being taken as required. However, there has been movement of migrant workers in some parts of the country, directions were issued that district and state borders should be effectively sealed. States directed to ensure there is no movement of people across cities or highways. Only movement of goods should be allowed. DMs and SPs should be made personally responsible for implementation of these directions which have been issued under the DM Act. Adequate arrangements for food and shelter for poor and needy including migrant labourers be made at the place of their work, centre has issued orders to use SDR Funds for this purpose. States have also been directed to ensure timely payments of wages to labourers at their place of work.

  • The six member strategic task force will deal exclusively with the issues related to the lockdown. The eleven empowered groups and the strategic task force have been set up in order to deal with coronavirus spread and its aftermath. These groups have been set up under the Disaster Management Act. The groups have been empowered to formulate plans and to take all necessary steps for their time bound implementation. The Department of Expenditure has issued special instructions to enable expeditious decision making in procurement matters. Each group has senior representatives from PMO and Cabinet Secretariat to ensure seamless coordination. Of these 11 empowered groups, 9 are headed by secretary level officers, one by Member, NITI Aayog and one by CEO, NITI Aayog. In case of any need of guidance, these groups may seek guidance from Union Cabinet Secretary.

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