India reported three more coronavirus deaths on Sunday, including the first casualties from Bihar and Gujarat, taking the toll to seven and the number of COVID-19 cases rose to 361, officials said, as authorities suspended all train passenger and inter-state bus services till March 31 in unprecedented steps to contain the spread of the infection.
A 38-year-old man with a kidney ailment and recent travel history to Qatar died at AIIMS-Patna and a 67-year-old man died at a hospital in Surat in Gujarat, state officials said, but the Union Health Ministry was yet to confirm the deaths. Another death was reported from Mumbai of a 63-year-old man.
On Sunday, India is observing a 'Janata Curfew' from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., called for by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to practise social distancing in a bid to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus.
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Here are the latest updates:
Budget session likely to be concluded on Monday
The Budget Session of Parliament is likely to be concluded on Monday after passage of the Finance Bill in both Houses, sources said on Sunday.
The session, which was earlier scheduled to conclude on April 3, is now likely to be adjourned sine die on March 23, sources said.
The session is likely to be concluded almost 12 days before its scheduled winding up due to the looming threat of COVID-19.
Many political parties including TMC have decided not to attend the session on Monday due to the coronavirus scare amid lockdowns announced by many states for varied periods, sources said.
15 more fresh COVID-19 cases reported in Kerala
Fifteen new positive cases of coronavirus were detected in Kerala on Sunday, taking the total number of infected persons under treatment in the state to 64, the government said.
Health department said out of the 15, five are in Kasaragod district, four in Kannur and two each in Malappuram, Kozhikode and Ernakulam districts.
The state’s first three positive COVID-19 cases had been discharged already after they recovered.
This is the highest number of positive cases reported on a single day in the state so far.
“A total of 59,295 people are under observation in the state, out of which 314 are in isolation wards,” health ministry said in a release.
At least 4,035 samples have been sent for testing and 2,744 came back negative, the release said.
Domestic flights will continue to operate as usual from Delhi airport: DGCA
Minutes after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that no domestic or international flight will operate from the Delhi airport from Monday till March 31, a senior official of aviation regulator DGCA clarified that domestic flights will be operating as usual at the airport.
The Centre had announced three days ago that no international flight will be landing on the Indian soil from Sunday onward for a period of one week.
“Domestic flights to and from the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi will continue to operate and the airport will remain functional,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official said.
At a press conference on Sunday evening, Mr. Kejriwal told reporters that no domestic or international flight would be allowed to arrive at the Delhi airport from March 23 to March 31.
In an order, the Delhi government subsequently reiterated the same.
However, with the DGCA stating that domestic flights will continue to operate at the Delhi airport, the confusion was cleared.
Chinese Ambassador to India wishes country ‘early victory’
As the number of coronavirus cases across the world continues to rise, Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong on Sunday wished his host country an early victory over the pandemic.
“Pay tribute to all those who have contributed to the fight against COVID-19. Wish India an early victory over the epidemic,” Mr. Weidong said on Twitter.
The total number of positive coronavirus cases in India stands at more than 340, according to the Health Ministry. Seven people have died in the country so far due to the contagion.
Many Indian states have imposed partial or complete lockdowns for varying periods to hinder the spread of the virus.
Woman tests positive in Bhopal, fifth case in MP
A woman studying law, who recently returned from London, tested positive for coronavirus in Bhopal on Sunday, making it the fifth case of COVID-19 in Madhya Pradesh and first in the state capital, officials said.
Earlier four persons- three who returned from Dubai and one from Germany- had tested positive for coronavirus in Jabalpur, they said.
A 26-year woman, who had returned from London on March 17 and reached Bhopal next day tested positive fort COVID-19, an official said.
“The student recently returned to Bhopal from London where she was pursuing a post-graduate law course and her test report was found positive for coronavirus,” Bhopal commissioner Kalpana Shrivastava told PTI.
She is admitted to a hospital and being provided treatment as per the protocol, another official said, adding that the area where she resided is being sanitised.
Bhopal collector Tarun Kumar Pithode said there was no need to panic as standard protocols were immediately followed.
Youth tests positive in Dakshina Kannada
A youth who had arrived by a flight at Mangaluru International Airport on March 19 is positive for COVID-19, according to Sindhu B Rupesh, Deputy Commissioner.
She told reporters in Mangaluru on Sunday that the 22 year old youth has been quarantined in Government Wenlock Hospital and is recovering now.
"It is the first positive case confirmed in Mangaluru. The youth had been directly taken from the airport to Government Wenlock Hospital in an ambulance on March 19 as he had shown symptoms while screening at the airport," the DC said.
Lockdown announced in West Bengal
West Bengal will be almost entirely shut, with exemption to emergency services, from 5 p.m. on Monday till Friday, March 27, a State government order said.
All commercial establishments, offices, factories workshops or god-owns will remain shut along with public transport services, including auto-rickshaws and taxis.
However, transport of all kinds to and from hospitals are exempted. All essential services related to administrative work, media or civil supplies are exempted too. All health related services, banks and ATMs too will remain open, the order said.
All foreign returnees are directed to remain under strict home quarantine. Congregation of more than seven persons is also prohibited.
Section 144 to come into effect in Delhi from 9 pm
Delhi Police Commissioner S.N. Shrivastava imposed Section 144 in the entire city, which prohibits the gathering of five or more persons at any place.
The order issued by Mr. Shrivastava reads that it has become necessary to take all required precautionary steps to mitigate the possible detrimental effects of the spread of COVID-19 for public health, public safety and public order. Therefore, Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed all over the city.
The order will come into effect from 9 p.m. today and will remain valid up to March 31 midnight.
Our motto is 'isolate, isolate, isolate': ICMR Chief
"There's been an increase in number of case s in last few days," said Lav Agrwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry during a press briefing.
The 75 district lockdown a "natural and logical progression" of the Janata curwfew, Mr. Agrawal said.
"To isolate those coming in from abroad is critical," said ICMR Chief Balram Bhargava.
"There have been very few deaths. We have tested 17,000. 111 labs in India are capable of testing. 60 private labs are capable of testing. We have capabilities to conduct 60,000-70,000 tests per week.
"But we can't test indiscriminately. Our motto is 'isolate, isolate, isolate'.
"We have tested 5000 last week.
"This virus is a biosecurity hazard and we wanted to ensure that the private sector has the capabilities and personnel to conduct tests. There is no issue regarding the prices of testing.
"We are in the process of procuring anti-virals but we don't know how well they will work. We have anti-virals to use in moderate severity cases.
"Every State will have a hospital earmarked for COVID-19 treatment," Mr. Bhargava said.
Mr. Agrawal said 1200 new ventilators have been ordered.
Union government announces lockdown in 75 districts till March 31
The Union government on Sunday advised State governments to issue appropriate orders to allow only essential services to operate in the 75 districts which have reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 or casualties reported relating to the disease, up to a period ending on March 31. This would amount to a lockdown for these 75 districts spread across the country.
Click here for the district-wise breakup.
Gujarat reports first death
A COVID-19 patient in Surat has died. It is the first death from Gujarat where 18 cases have been found so far.
Seven fresh cases in Punjab, total climbs to 21
Seven people from Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a senior official.
“The seven people who have been tested positive had come in contact with the 70-year-old man of Pathlawa village in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district, who died last week and was tested positive for coronavirus,” Dr. Rajinder Bhatia, civil surgeon, S.B.S Nagar told The Hindu.
“All these seven patients had come in contact with the deceased. Three of them are family members, one is a close contact of the same village and two others are persons who travelled along with him from Germany via Italy,” said Dr. Bhatia.
Paramilitary forces suspend movement of troops till April 5
The country’s paramilitary forces comprising about 10 lakh personnel have ordered immediate suspension of movement of troops for any kind of travel, including leaves or routine work, and directed them to “be where they are” till April 5 to check COVID-19 outbreak in their ranks, officials said.
The forces have also asked all jawans and officers to fill up a declaration form to state that none of their family members have travelled to any foreign destination in the recent past and in case someone has, they need to be tested or put into isolation on a case-to-case basis.
All cities in Maharashtra to go under Section 144: Uddhav Thackeray
Maharashtra CM Udhhav Thackeray addressed a press conference and urged people to maintain the Janata curfew till tomorrow. All cities in Maharashtra will have Section 144 implemented from March 22, he announced, adding, "We have to be more sensitive towards next days. We have entered into critical stage now."
Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have also extended the Janta Curfew till tomorrow.
No gathering of more than 5 people will be allowed in urban areas of Maharashtra.
No international flights will arrive in Mumbai after tonight, he said.
The CM also announced that only 5% employees will be present in government offices across the State. The capacity allowed earlier was 25%.This will continue till March 31, said Mr. Thackeray.
Anand Mahindra offers to convert Mahindra resorts to temporary care facilities
Industrialist Anand Mahindra, chairman of Mahindra Group, has offered to convert Mahindra Holiday resorts as temporary care facilities and plans to make ventilators at Mahindra manufacturing units to help fight the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
Besides, he also decided to create a fund and contribute 100% of his salary towards this cause.
Four new cases in Gujarat, total goes up to 18
Four new COVID-19 cases were found in Gujarat, taking the total number of those infected with it to 18 in the State, officials said.
Of the four new cases, two each were reported from Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, they said.
“Total number of cases of coronavirus has risen to 18 in Gujarat,” Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel told reporters.
Bengal’s fourth COVID-19 patient in critical condition, put on ventilator
The fourth person who tested positive for COVID-19 in West Bengal is in critical condition and has been put on ventilator, sources at a city hospital, where he is undergoing treatment, said.
The 57-year-old man was diagnosed on Saturday. He was admitted to the hospital on March 16 with fever and dry cough.
Family members, who have been placed under quarantine, said the man had not travelled to any foreign country recently, following which police personnel visited his home for verification of the claim.
Initial investigations suggested that the man has a son who works abroad, but he has not visited home in the recent past, a source in the police department said.
All suburban train services cancelled till March 31
The Southern Railway has cancelled all suburban train services from March 23 to 31. The railway department had earlier cancelled all long distance trains till March 31, as a part of the COVID-19 prevention measure.
In a press release, the railway department stated that all suburban train services would be stopped from midnight of March 23 to 31. The suburban train services being operated to the minimum on Sunday to comply with the Janata Curfew would be fully stopped from 12 a.m.
The press note stated that only goods train services would be operated.
TN govt extends Janata Curfew till 5 a.m. Monday
Tamil Nadu government has extended the window of ‘Janata Curfew’ till 5 a.m. on March 23, according to an official release issued on Sunday afternoon.
The curfew was being extended “considering the welfare of the people”, it stated. “However, there is no ban on essential services,” it added and sought the cooperation of the general public on this regard.
22nd COVID-19 patient in Telangana
A 24-year-old man from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, who was confirmed positive for coronavirus on Sunday, has been admitted to a designated hospital in Telangana. He is the 22nd COVID-19 patient in the State.
He had returned from London via Dubai. His condition is stable.
All trains cancelled till March 31
The Ministry of Railways announced the cancellation of all passenger trains till March 31 in the wake of COVID-19.
In a statement issued on Sunday, it said that with the exception of goods trains, all services, including passenger trains, long-distance Mail/Express and Intercity trains (including premium trains), will remain cancelled till March 31.
Bare minimum suburban services and Kolkata metro rail service will continue to run till March 22 midnight, post which they stand cancelled as well.
The circular added that the trains that started journey before 4 a.m. on March 22 will run up to their destinations.
Banks to provide only essential services from tomorrow
The Indian Banks' Association has said banks will only provide basic services from March 23.
Cash deposit and withdrawal, clearing of cheques, remittances and government transaction are the essential services that will be provided.
"We request all our customers to bear with us as all other non-essential services during this period may be suspended," IBA said.
Punjab orders complete lockdown till March 31
As the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in Punjab climbed to 14, the State government ordered a complete lockdown with immediate effect across the State in a bid to check spread of the virus.
Punjab Chief Minister tweeted on Sunday that a State-wide lock down till March 31 has been ordered.
“All essential govt services will continue and shops selling essential items such as milk, food items, medicines, etc will be open. All Detuty Commissioners and Senior Superintendent of Police have been directed to implement the restrictions immediately,” said the order issued by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
In Punjab, as many as 11 positive cases were reported in a single day on March 21.
Meanwhile, most public places in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh wore a deserted look amid the 'Janata Curfew' proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara, Gandhinagar too will remain in lockdown till March 25. No public transport services, no commercial and business establishments to operate except essential services.
Fresh case confirmed in Chandigarh
A new case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Chandigarh, taking the total number of COVID-19 positive cases in the city to six, said the government, in a statement on Sunday.
The man, a secondary contact of the positive case who had returned from United Kingdom, had been tested at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in Sector 32, and his sample tested positive for coronavirus, said the statement.
The health condition of all positive cases is stable, it added.
TMC asks its MPs to withdraw from Parliament
The TMC on Sunday announced that it has given instructions to all its MPs to withdraw from Parliament and return to their constituencies in view of the coronavirus scare.
TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien has written to presiding officers of both houses urging then to wind up the proceedings of the House on Monday, March 23.
TMC has 22 MPs in Lok Sabha and 13 in Rajya Sabha
50 people with travel history stopped near Hyderabad
Around 50 people, who had arrived from Qatar at Mumbai and were travelling to Hyderabad in a hired bus, were stopped at the border village of Margi on Sunday.
After consulting authorities at Hyderabad, the group is to be shifted to a quarantine centre at Gachibowli in Hyderabad. Superintendent of Police S. Chandrasekhar Reddy confirmed that they will be shifted to quarantine centre.
Six passengers in Dubai flight show symptoms of COVID-19
In Bengaluru, six of the 195 passengers from Karnataka who arrived at the Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru from Dubai on Sunday have symptoms of COVID-19. They are suspected to have the virus, and their samples will be sent for testing.
Health and Family Welfare Minister S. Sriramulu said that they have been admitted to the isolation facility of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases. He said that the remaining passengers will be taken to Akash Institute of Medical Sciences, Bengaluru.
Bihar reports first death
Bihar on Sunday reported first its death due to COVID-19. The test of the deceased was found positive. He was also undergoing treatment for kidney ailment at the Patna-based All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
The deceased has been identified as Saif Ali, 38, from Munger district. He had recently returned from Qatar. The AIIMS officials have confirmed that deceased was COVID-19 positive.
“He had travel history and was put under observation for sometime”, said director of AIIMS Dr. Prabhat Kumar Singh.
Another person tests positive for COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu
Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar said another person had tested positive for COVID-19. The Minister said he had been isolated and was undergoing treatment.
Local health officials said that the patient, a woman student, native of Coimbatore and studying in Spain, had arrived in Bengaluru on March 17 and travelled to Coimbatore by train.
Her father and sister are to be quarantined, and officials are also trying to trace the taxi driver who transported her.
Mumbai records second COVID-19 death. A 63-year-old man who was admitted in the HN Reliance Hospital succumbed early on Sunday. The patient had diabetes and hypertension and developed acute respiratory distress syndrome leading to his death.
Karnataka seals borders with all States
The Karnataka government had decided to close all the State borders, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa announced on Sunday morning. All the upcoming elections would be put off for the time being, he said.
Victoria Hospital would be used especially to handle COVID-19 cases and the other patients there would be shifted to hospitals elsewhere.
Cluster sealed in Greater Noida after COVID patient detected
A cluster comprising of commercial establishments and several housing societies was sealed in Greater Noida on Sunday after a COVID-19 positive patient was detected in the area.
An order issued by B.N Singh, District Magistrate of Gautambuddh Nagar said that all blocks and residential societies in Alpha-1 sector shall remain temporarily sealed from 10 a.m. March 22 (Sunday) till 7 a.m. March 24.
The order said that the decision was taken after a person residing in B-Block at Alpha 1 was detected COVID-19 positive.
Any kind of movement by people and vehicles, except for emergency purposes have been prohibited in the area.
33-year-old man who came from Australia tests positive
A 33-year-old person who had arrived in Dharwad, Karnataka from Australia has been tested positive for COVID-19 .
Deputy Commissioner M. Deepa confirmed that he was the 21st case to be reported from Karnataka.
Prabhas in self-quarantine after returning from film’s shoot abroad
Actor Prabhas has announced that he is in self-quarantine in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a short statement posted on Twitter, the Baahubali actor said he recently returned from Georgia after completing a film’s shoot and therefore decided to keep himself insolation.
“On safely returning from my shoot abroad, in light of increasing risks of COVID-19, I have decided to self-quarantine. Hope you all are also taking the necessary precautions to be safe,” Prabhas tweeted on Saturday.
The actor is currently working on filmmaker Radha Krishna Kumar’s untitled film, which also features Pooja Hedge.
Punjab orders lockdown in few districts
Amid rising number of COVID-19 cases , the Punjab government has ordered a lockdown in few districts till March 25 including Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr), Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Jalandhar.
Punjab Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, in a statement said that ''establishments in districts of Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur have been closed while the partial lockdown has been ordered in Jalandhar with effect from 7 a.m. on March 22 up to midnight of March 25 by the District Magistrate. Likewise, it has also been advised to close down establishments in district Kapurthala from March 23 as a precautionary measures.”
Rajasthan announces complete lockdown till March 31
In a late night decision, the Rajasthan government on March 21 announced a complete lockdown of the State till March 31 to contain the spread of coronavirus. All government and private offices, malls, shops, factories and public transport across the State will remain closed in the duration, while Rajasthan's borders with other States will be sealed.
Only essential and medical services will be exempted from the lockdown, according to the orders issued after the decision was taken at a high-level meeting presided over by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot at his residence. Mr. Gehlot said it was necessary for people to “stay indoors” to fight the pandemic.
Stay home for three months, UK tells 1.5 million most at risk
Up to 1.5 million vulnerable people in Britain, identified as being most at risk from the coronavirus epidemic, should stay at home for at least 12 weeks , the government said Sunday.
Those with underlying health conditions such as bone or blood cancers, cystic fibrosis, or who have had an organ transplant have been advised by health officials to do all they can to shield themselves from the virus, including confining themselves at home for a long period.
"People should stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives," Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said in a statement.
Confined by virus, Frenchman runs marathon on his balcony
In the age of confinement, Elisha Nochomovitz figured out a way to run a marathon anyway back and forth on his balcony.
That’s right. He ran 42.2 kilometers (26.2 miles) straight, never leaving his 7-meter-long (23-foot) balcony.
Like athletes who ran around their Wuhan apartments or cyclists who found ways to train in their locked-down Abu Dhabi hotel rooms, Nochomovitz wanted to show others that it’s possible to stay fit as virus containment measures tighten around the world.