Coronavirus updates | March 20, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a Janata Curfew on March 22 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. to control the spread of the virus.

March 20, 2020 08:55 am | Updated March 21, 2020 07:36 am IST

Passangers, mostly migrant workers, stand in queues to buy tickets at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Mumbai on Friday, March 20, 2020

Passangers, mostly migrant workers, stand in queues to buy tickets at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Mumbai on Friday, March 20, 2020

The total number of positive COVID-19 cases in India touched 234 on March 20.

On Thursday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on the pandemic, and called for a Janata Curfew on March 22 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. to control the spread of the virus.

COVID-19 | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

We have been  covering the developments  related to the coronavirus pandemic as it unfolded. Here are  answers from experts  on your queries about the virus, a list of State Helpline numbers , and a map of confirmed cases in India .

The new 24/7 national helpline numbers are 1075 and 1800-112-545 and  011-23978046. Email:

Here are the latest updates:


Centre caps retail price of surgical masks, sanitisers

A notification from the Consumer Affairs Ministry said that it has capped the retail price of hand sanitisers at ₹100 (for 200 ml). It has also capped the prices of surgical masks.

- Jacob Koshy

Jabalpur | 8.30 p.m.

Madhya Pradesh records first cases

Madhya Pradesh recorded its first COVID-19 cases as  four people tested positive for novel coronavirus in Jabalpur. These patients included three members of a family who had returned from Dubai recently, said Jabalpur collector Bharat Yadav.

The fourth person had returned from Germany, he added.


9.00 p.m.

Universal screening for all passengers from US, UK and Australia

The Health Ministry has decided to expand universal screening for all passengers coming from the United States, U.K. and Australia. They will be either quarantined or isolated, depending on their risk profile, the Ministry said in a tweet.

Haryana  | 8.20 p.m.

Two test positive in Haryana

Two more people tested positive in Haryana, one each from Panipat and Faridabad. Both the people had travel history to affected countries. With this, the total count in the State touched 6, with four cases in Gurugram reporter earlier.

- Ashok Kumar

Lucknow | 7.50 p.m.

The Taj Hotel in Lucknow where singer Kanika Kapoor stayed was shut down temporarily by the administration, as per a statement by the District Magistrate. She tested positive for COVID-19 on March 20 .

- Omar Rashid

7.30 p.m.

CRPF personnel in J&K on extended leave

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has directed its men already on leave to avail further 15 days leave and not to join duties in Jammu and Kashmir till April 5.

“All our men, including officers, who are on leave, have been asked not to join duties till April 5. Their leave period has been extended for 15 days. Similarly, leaves of those who intend to leave Kashmir for vacations have been cancelled and only emergency cases will be allowed to avail leave,” a CRPF spokesman in Srinagar said.

- Peerzada Ashiq


HRD Ministry advises States, UTs to provide meals to eligible children

To protect the health & promote immunity among school-going children, the HRD Ministry has advised the State governments & Union Territories to provide freshly cooked meal or food security allowance, whichever is feasible, to eligible children, till the time their schools are closed due to COVID-19 outbreak.

- Priscilla Jebaraj

7.00 p.m.

The total number of positive COVID-19 cases in the country have touched 220. Of these, 200 are active cases.

The virus has claimed four lives so far.

Four new people in Chandigarh have tested positive, taking the total cases to five in the city. In Kerala, five UK citizens were confirmed positive, with which the count in the State went up to 33.

Chandigarh | 6.40 p.m.

Four people test positive in Chandigarh

Four new people tested positive for COVID-19 in Chandigarh, taking the total number of infected people in the State to five, the State government said in an official statement on Friday.

- Vikas Vasudeva


Haryana | 6.40 p.m.

Haryana government Home department has advised all district magistrates to impose Section 144 under CrPC in their respective areas in view of the situation emerging out of COVID-19.

- Ashok Kumar

Ahmedabad | 6.30 p.m.

'Voluntary Family Quarantine' in Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra said on Friday: "We are starting Voluntary Family Quarantine where entire family of a person coming from overseas agrees to stay at home for 14 days. AMC will deliver all essential items like ration, masks, sanitiser, medicines, etc. free at the home of such families."

- Mahesh Langa

6.20 p.m.

Goa postpones State board exams

A circular issued by authorities in Goa declared that all examinations for classes 9 till 12, scheduled for  March 21st onwards have been postponed till further orders. This includes State board exams for class 10 and 12.



Yogi Adityanath instructs State government hospitals to offer only emergency services

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has instructed government hospitals in U.P. to offer only emergency services to avoid crowding.

Non-essential OPD and tests should be deferred till March 31, says UP CMO.

All cultural, social and "manglik" events in UP will be deferred, the CM said and appealed to the people to restrict number of invites to marriage functions to 10 people.

Official functions like junta darshan, tehsil diwas, arogya mela etc. were postponed till April 2.

- Omar Rashid

6.10 p.m.

Uttarakhand bans entry of domestic and foreign tourists


The Uttarakhand government on Friday banned the entry of domestic and foreign tourists into the State till further orders to contain the spread of coronavirus.

An order issued by Health Secretary Nitesh Jha said several advisories have been issued in the past asking people to avoid unnecessary travel.


6.00 p.m.

Five UK citizens test positive in Kerala

Five UK citizens who were under treatment at the isolation facility of Government Medical College, Ernakulam, tested positive for COVID-19. They were part of the group comprising the COVID-19- infected UK citizen who was offloaded from a plane and was brought for treatment here.

- S. Anandan

5.45 p.m.

All 25 cases sent to BHU-IMS test negative

All the 25 cases sent to the Institute of Medical Sciences, BHU (Varanasi) tested negative and the patients have been discharged. The cases included a patient from France, one each from Dubai and USA, and the rest from east UP and Bihar, as per data shared by medical superintendent of Sir Sunderlal Hospital, Institute of  Medical Sciences, BHU.

- Omar Rashid


Gujarat | 5.25 p.m.


Two more test positive for COVID-19 in Gujarat, taking the number of positive cases in the State to 7. It includes 3 in Ahmedabad, 2 in Vadodara and one each in Rajkot & Surat.


Chennai | 5.20 p.m.


Chennai Metro Rail has announced there will not be any services on Sunday March 22.

"In the wake of “JANTA CURFEW” to be observed on 22-03-2020(Sunday), Chennai Metro Rail Limited has decided to keep its services closed for one day. The move is aimed at encouraging the public to stay indoors and maintain social distancing and fight COVID-19," the Chennai Metro announced on Twitter.


Derek O’Brien goes into self-quarantine

Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien self-quarantined himself after BJP MP Dushyant Singh, who sat beside him in Parliament, revealed that he he  attended a party by singer Kanika Kapoor , who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Mr. Singh and his mother,  former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje,  have also gone into self-quarantine after attending Ms. Kapoor’s party in Lucknow, Ms. Raje tweeted on Friday.


Vasundhara Raje, son Dushyant Singh go into self-quarantine after attending singer Kanika Kapoor’s party

BJP MP and son of former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Dushyant Singh, has gone into self-quarantine after attending singer Kanika Kapoor’s party, sources said on Friday.

Ms. Kapoor is the first Bollywood celebrity to test positive for COVID-19 in the country and says she’s under complete quarantine and medical care.

There were reports that the singer landed in Lucknow from the United Kingdom via Mumbai and was admitted in a city hospital after she showed signs of flu. In a statement released on instagram, the 41-year-old ‘Baby Doll’ singer said she developed signs of flu in the last four days.

Mr. Singh was among several socialites present at a party thrown by Ms. Kapoor. Thereafter, he also went to the Parliament.


Ladakh | 3.30 p.m.


Two more test positive in Ladakh

Two more persons have tested positive for coronavirus in Ladakh, taking the number of such patients in the Union Territory to 10, a senior government official said on Friday. Commissioner Secretary (Health) Rigzin Samphel said both the latest cases were from Choshot village of Leh, which was already notified as a containment area by the district administration.

“After the reports of the two patients came positive, they were immediately shifted to an isolation ward in a hospital here by health officials,” Samphel told reporters here.

He said the test reports of 55 more patients, including 11 taken on Friday, were sent to a laboratory in Delhi.

Officials said the condition of all the coronavirus patients in the Union Territory was stable.




Odisha has put restrictions on assemblage of more than seven persons in public spaces.

Lucknow | 3.15 p.m


Partial shutdown in Lucknow till March 23

All offices, establishments and institutes barring essential services like hospitals, ration shops, medical stores, etc to be shut down in a part of Lucknow till March 23, as per orders of the district magistrate.

The affected area falls within Aliganj, Mahanagar, Indira Nagar, Gudamba and Vikas Nagar of the U.P. capital. Lucknow has reported 8 positive cases, with four new cases today.

- Omar Rashid



Assam to wire money to each person from State stranded abroad

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said that the State government has advised the state election commission to defer BTC polls, scheduled on April 4, due to COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing.

He added that the Assam government would transfer $2,000 to each person from the State who went abroad in the last 30 days and are stuck/unable to return home.

- Rahul Karmakar

Telangana | 2.50 p.m.


Telangana court tells government to postpone SSC exams

The Telangana High Court on Friday directed the State government to postpone the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams, which had begun on Thursday, from March 23 to 30. There will be no change in the exam to be held on Saturday. 

The first of the annual SSC exams was held on Thursday. The second exam too was conducted on Friday. The exam on March 31 would be held without any change. A division bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A. Abhishek Reddy gave the interim direction, after hearing a PIL petition seeking deferment of the SSC exams.

The plea was filed by a private educational institute faculty member M. Bala Krishna. Hearing the petition which was moved as lunch motion, the bench sought to know why the Telangana government wanted to go ahead with the exams while the central boards postponed CBSE and ICSE exams. The bench said that already authorities imposed prohibitive orders under section 144 of Cr.P.C. in Karimnagar town after a group of Indonesia nationals, who arrived there by train, showed symptoms of COVID-19. 

The petition would be heard again on March 30.

- Marri Ramu

Punjab | 2.30 p.m.


Fresh case reported in Punjab

A fresh case of  COVID-19  was on March 20 reported in Punjab, taking the total number of positive cases in the State to three, according to an official.

A 69-year-old woman, who recently returned from the United Kingdom, tested positive in Punjab's Mohali town of Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar district.

Mohali civil surgeon Manjit Singh told  The Hindu  that the condition of the patient was ‘stable’. “She is under treatment at Civil Hospital,” he said.



AIIMS Bhubaneswar superintendent concealed son’s travel history, say resident doctors

The Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) of AIIMS Bhubaneswar on March 20 demanded action against the medical superintendent of the premier institute as he reportedly hid the travel history of his son, who tested positive for coronavirus.

In a representation to B. Geetanjali, Director of AIIMS-Bhubaneswar, the association said it was gross negligence on the part of the medical superintendent to conceal the travel history of his son who was admitted in the AIIMS isolation unit and kept in doctors room.


Mumbai | 1.40 p.m.


Local trains and buses to continue to function: Maharashtra CM

Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray addresses a press conference in Mumbai on the measures taken by the State.

Thackeray: "Only 25% government employees will be present from earlier 50%. Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nagpur is seeing a rise in the number of patients – a ll offices, shops will be closed except essential commodities , till March 31.

"There are 52 positive patients – 5 are cured – but they will under observation for the next 14 days. Banks will remain open.

" Local trains and buses to continue to function . They are the lifelines of the city. Nearly all staff of essential services such as hospitals depend on them. Hence we have taken the decision to keep trains and buses working.

"Do not stop the daily wages of labourers – kindly don’t skip humanity. If crowd continues in railway and buses, only then we will take the steps to stop them. It has reduced considerably but we want to reduce it more.


State Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad has said that all exams from standard 1 to 8 are cancelled. Remaining papers of standard 9 and 11 to be held after April 15.

All teachers, except that of standard 10 will work from home.

- Mumbai Bureau

New Delhi | 12.25 pm

206 cases in India

Indian Council of Medical Research in a release issued by Friday said that a total of 206 individuals have been confirmed positive among suspected cases and contacts of known positive cases so far in India.- Bindu Shajan Perappadan

Gandhinagar | 12.20 pm

Three more test positive in Gujarat

Three more persons tested positive for coronavirus infection in Gujarat, taking the number of such cases in the state to five, officials said on Friday.

Two of them are women from Ahmedabad, while the third patient is a male from Vadodara. All of them had recently visited foreign countries. - PTI

12.15 pm | Bhubaneswar

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to postpone house-listing, updating National Population Register, and census-related activities in view of COVID-19 scare. - Satyasundar Barik

12.10 pm | Mumbai

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope in his daily briefing, said the total number of cases in the State stands at 52.

12.05 pm | Kolkata

Second case reported in Kolkata as student who returned from U.K. tests positive

The second case of COVID-19 was reported in Kolkata on Friday morning as another student who returned from the U.K. tested positive. “The patient returned to Kolkata on March 13 from London and tested positive,” an official told The Hindu .

The 22-year-old-student has been kept in isolation at the hospital of infectious diseases in central Kolkata, the official said. He is a resident of south Kolkata.

11.55 am | Uttar Pradesh

Lucknow has reported four fresh cases, taking the total number of cases in Uttar Pradesh to 23.

The total number of confirmed cases of the deadly infection in the state is 23 — eight each in Agra and Lucknow, four in Noida, two in Ghaziabad and another in Lakhimpur Kheri.

11.50 am | Punjab

Pathlawa village  quarantined after resident dies of COVID-19

After a 70-year-old resident, with travel history to Germany and Italy, tested positive for COVID-19 and died in Punjab, his native village Pathlawa — with a population of around 3,000 — in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district has been quarantined.

Vinay Bublani, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar, told The Hindu that all entry and exit points had been restricted and adequate arrangements put in place to fulfil the basic requirements of residents in the village. “We are collecting samples of those displaying symptoms,” he added.


11.40 a.m. | Bengaluru


Rail official in Bengaluru who hid her COVID-19 positive son in guest house suspended

An official of South Western Railway has been suspended for “hiding” her son, who returned from Germany and later tested positive for coronavirus, at a railway guest house in Bengaluru, officials said on Friday.

She not only failed to inform authorities about her son’s return from Germany but also endangered the lives of others by lodging him in a railway rest house near the main Bangalore railway station, railway spokesperson E. Vijaya told PTI .

The Assistant Personnel Officer (Traffic) has been suspended, Vijaya said.

The 25-year-old man, who came from Germany via Spain and was instructed to be in home quarantine after he landed at the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru on March 13, later tested positive for COVID-19 on March 18, a railway spokesperson told PTI .

“She virtually hid her son to protect her family but endangered all of us,” a South Western Railway official said.


10.20 am | Bhubaneswar

Odisha reports second case

Odisha has reported the second confirmed case of novel coronavirus after a man who returned from a COVID-19-affected country tested positive, the state health department said.

"Today 14 samples were tested at RMRC (Regional Medical Research Centre) Bhubaneswar out of which one is positive for #COVID2019," the Health and Family Welfare Department tweeted on Thursday night. "This is the second positive case in Odisha."

The man has a travel history to a COVID-19-affected country. The state surveillance unit has started tracing the contacts, according to the department.

This is the second positive case in the state after a Italy-returned researcher was found positive, the department said. - PTI

9.30 am | India

Stay where you are, MEA tells Indians abroad

Urging Indians and residents who are stranded in different cities abroad to find alternative accommodation locally at least until the end of the month, the Ministry of External Affairs said Indian missions are helping them make arrangements and they must “stay put where they are”.

“It is not advisable for people to move from one region to another region. This must be understood in the context of the gravity of the crisis. These restrictions are temporary, so one should not panic. If Indians are held up in some places, our advice would be to stay put,” said Dammu Ravi, additional secretary in charge of coordinating the efforts to counter COVID-19.

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar added that the government was requesting other countries to extend the visas for Indians who have to stay on, in the same manner that India has facilitated visa-extensions for foreign nationals in India.


9.10 am | India

Railways withdraws concessions to discourage travel

In a first, the Ministry of Railways has withdrawn concessions for all categories of passengers, except students, persons with disabilities and patients, to discourage non-essential travel.

Citing a health advisory issued to control the spread of COVID-19 , the railways said as a special case, no concessional general and computerised reservation tickets for bookings made on or after March 20, 2020, till further advice.

The railways provides rail travel concessions to 51 categories of people, including senior citizens, sportspersons, those nationally awarded, journalists, and unemployed youth.



8.50 am | China

China exonerates doctor reprimanded for warning of virus

China has taken the highly unusual move of exonerating a doctor who was reprimanded for warning about the coronavirus outbreak and later died of the disease .

The official China News Service late on Tuesday said police in the epicenter city of Wuhan had revoked its admonishment of Dr. Li Wenliang that had included a threat of arrest and issued a “solemn apology” to his family.

It said two police officers had been issued “disciplinary punishments” for the original handling of the matter , without giving further details.

The 33-year-old ophthalmologist died in early February at Wuhan Central Hospital, where he worked and likely contracted the virus while treating patients in the early days of the outbreak.


8.30 am | India

Opinion | President Kovind on coronavirus pandemic: What nature seems to be telling us

The outbreak of COVID-19 has created an unprecedented situation around the world. Humankind is no stranger to calamitous outbreaks of diseases. However, this is the first viral outbreak of this nature and scale in our lifetime.

Today, my thoughts are with all those battling the virus, with the families of all the victims around the world, and also with the doctors, paramedics and health officials and all others who have put their lives at risk for the rest of us.

I commend people for their mature response in the face of the crisis. Their support is helping all institutions work in a coordinated manner to fight the outbreak. Our healthcare system has shown great alacrity and competence in meeting the extraordinary and evolving challenge. Our leadership and administration have proved their mettle in these testing times. I believe that together we will weather the storm. I also commend the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, for taking pre-emptive measures in right earnest to contain the pandemic at the very beginning and reaching out to our neighbours in SAARC to launch joint efforts to check its spread in the neighbourhood. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged India’s efforts as worthy of emulation for the rest of the world.


Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.