At least 26 Indian Navy personnel have tested positive for coronavirus, in the first major case of COVID-19 outbreak in country’s armed forces, even as the Centre asserted that 30% of all cases in the country are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi.
“An encouraging trend has been noted in 47 districts across 23 States with no positive cases being reported over the past 28 days. This includes 22 new districts in 12 States that have not reported any fresh case during the past 14 days,” Joint secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said.
The Hindu has brought out a multi-language e-book on essential COVID-19 information, in addition to covering the developments related to the coronavirus pandemic as it unfolded. Here is a collection of our daily cartoons on COVID-19 .
Here are the latest updates:
Out of 35494 samples, 2154 tested positive, says ICMR
The ICMR in its updated noted that on April 18 till 9 pm it had tested 35,494 samples of these 2154 were positive for SARS-CoV-2.
Speaking about the difference in the positive cases of over 1,500 a Union Health Ministry official maintained that the COVID-19 numbers first come to ICMR network and are then updated to the Ministry.
One death and 186 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Delhi on Saturday, taking the total number of deaths to 43 and cases to 1,893, according to the Delhi government.
--Nikhil M. Babu
RT-PCR only confirmatory test, says government
The Union Health Ministry has said that the Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) is the gold standard frontline test for coronavirus ( COVID-19 ) and that rapid antibody test cannot replace it.
The statement comes after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)’s national taskforce issued guidelines on testing strategy to all States, following a review of the worldwide testing methodology.
“The Rapid Antibody Test gives us an idea about prevalence of disease in a particular area and thus is used for epidemiological studies and surveillance purpose in hotspots. It can also be used in districts which are not hotspots to study emerging trends,” Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said on Saturday.
Two more deaths reported in Rajasthan, 122 new cases detected
With two more deaths reported from Jaipur, the death toll because of COVID-19 in Rajasthan increased to 21 today.
The deceased were a 48-year-old woman and a 53-year-old man. Medical & Health Department says the woman was suffering from hypertension, hypothyroidism and bilateral pneumonia and the man was suffering from chronic artery disease, hypertension and chronic kidney disease.
122 new COVID-19 positive cases were detected in Rajasthan today, taking the State's tally to 1,351. Of them, 200 patients have been cured and 93 discharged from hospitals.
In order to clear the backlog of pending samples, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has decided to get the samples tested by authorised private laboratories. As many as 40,000 samples currently with Sawai Man Singh Government Hospital in Jaipur are being taken to a Delhi-based testing facility. The results should be available in the next 36 to 48 hours, it has been mandated, according to the Medical & Health Department.
Madhya Pradesh recorded 92 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, taking the count to 1,402. So far, 69 patients have died of the disease and 127 recovered from it, according to the State Health bulletin.
Death toll in Dharavi rises to 11
A 80-year-old woman succumbed at the civic-run Sion Hospital on Friday. Civic officials said she had multiple co-morbid conditions. This is the first case reported from Dharavi’s Sanaulla Compound area and civic officials are now trying to investigate the source of infection.
Maharashtra reported 328 new cases today, taking the State's tally to 3,648. Eleven deaths were also reported today, raising the total death toll to 212.
26 Navy men in Mumbai test positive
In the first instance of COVID-19 in the Navy, 26 personnel have tested positive at INS Angre , a shore-based logistics and administrative support establishment of the Western Naval Command in Mumbai.
“There has so far not been a single case of COVID-19 onboard any ship, submarine or air station,” the Navy stated. Separately, a woman medical officer of the Army tested positive at Dehradun, taking the total count in the Army to nine.
With one more COVID-19 positive case in Bihar, the total number of cases in the State went up to 86. A 32-year-old lady from Khajoura locality of Patna tested positive and was admitted to AIIMS, Patna. Her contacts are yet to be ascertained.
2 more recover in Assam, 11 cured so far
Two more COVID-19 patients were discharged from a hospital on Saturday, taking the total number of persons cured of the disease to 11 in Assam, out of 34 people who have tested positive for novel coronavirus in the State so far, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
The two persons were released from Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital in the city after results of “their four successive tests came as negative”, he said. They will spend the next 14 days under home quarantine as a precautionary measure, the minister added.
COVID-19 infection spreads unabated in Gujarat, adding 104 new cases and five deaths to the State's tally. Today's total cases are 280 cases and 12 deaths. So far, 1,376 cases and 53 deaths have been reported in the State while 93 people have recovered.
'Patient used private bus to reach Mangaluru from Bengaluru'
The 39-year-old person who tested positive for COVID-19 in Dakshina Kannada on Friday after returning from Delhi had travelled by a private bus (Bharati Travels KA 51 – AD-5832) from Majestic in Bengaluru to Mangaluru on March 20.
All 32 passengers who had travelled by the same bus were advised to undergo health checkups at their nearest primary health centres, Deputy Commissioner Sindhu B. Rupesh said in a release on Saturday.
Deaths in Africa above 1,000, including Nigerian chief of staff
frica now has more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 , the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Saturday, while Nigeria said the president’s chief of staff had died.
A total of 52 of the continent’s 54 countries have reported the coronavirus, with the overall number of cases more than 19,800.
Nigeria’s government said Abba Kyari, chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, died Friday of COVID-19. “May God accept his soul,” the statement said.
Two more deaths reported in Ludhiana
Punjab on Saturday reported two more Covid-19 related death, including an Assistant Commissioner of Police and a revenue officer (Kanungo), both of whom had fallen victim to the deadly virus.
State Health Department said both patients were from Ludhiana district. The total number of COVID-19 deaths in Punjab has reached 16 so far. The State has also reported 8 fresh cases on April 18, taking the total number of positive cases to 219 in the State, while 31 patients have so far been cured, it added.
21-month-old boy tests positive in Kolkata
A 21-month-old boy has tested positive for COVID-19 in the city even as none of his family members exhibited any coronavirus-like symptoms, a health official said on Saturday.
The infant, a resident of Uttar Panchanna Gram in south Kolkata, was shifted to the Beliaghata ID and BG Hospital from the Institute of Child Health (ICH) after he tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday night, the official said.
“The child was admitted to the ICH on April 16 with a severe cough. He is stable now but we have kept him under observation at the special isolation ward of the Beliaghata ID and BG Hospital,” he said.
U.K. virus death toll rises by 888 to 15,464: Health Ministry
The number of people in Britain who have died in hospital from coronavirus has risen by 888 to 15,464, according to daily Health Ministry figures revealed on Saturday.
“As of 5p.m. on 17 April, of those hospitalised in the U.K., who tested positive for coronavirus, 15,464 have sadly died,” the Ministry said on its website, up from 14,576 on Friday.
49 persons have tested positive for COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu on Saturday. Total number of cases is 1,372. Another 82 persons were discharged today. No deaths have been reported in two days, Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar told reporters today.
--Serena Josephine M.
Mysuru has highest active cases in Karnataka
Mysuru has overtaken Bengaluru urban in COVID-19 cases and the district has the highest number of active cases in Karnataka.
With 58 active cases, Mysuru has pushed past Bengaluru, whose active cases stand at 44 with about 42 patients discharged so far. The total number of positive cases reported from Mysuru was 80 while it was 89 from Bengaluru urban. Most cases were from Nanjangud, a cluster, and 66 cases alone had been linked to Jubilant Generics Limited.
One more tests positive in Jharkhand, number of cases rises to 33
A 35-year-old man in Jharkhand tested positive for the virus on Saturday, taking the total number of such cases in the State to 33, an official said.
The man from Hindpiri locality, a ‘COVID-19 hotspot’ in Ranchi city, was quarantined and is now undergoing treatment at a hospital here, the official said. Of the 93 samples tested on Saturday, report of one came in as positive, Director of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) Dr.D.K. Singh said.
16 new cases, including a 15-year-old boy, detected in Dharavi
A 40-year-old ward boy from an urban health centre in Dharavi was among the 16 people from the area who have tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.
An 18-year-old woman who has tested positive is the niece of a man who had come in contact with a Tablighi Jamaat congregation attendee. The man had later succumbed to the infection. A 15-year-old boy is the youngest of the new positive patients from the slum pocket.
According to assistant commissioner of the G North ward Kiran Dighavkar, the total number of cases in Dharavi has now touched 117 and the death toll stands at 10.
"One NDMC (New Delhi Municipal Council) engineer has tested positive for COVID-19. Contact tracing as per protocol is being done and necessary action would be taken. NDMC is disinfecting his office and entire NDMC building," an NDMC spokesperson said.
--Nikhil M. Babu
Youth from Uttar Pradesh dies after police allegedly beat him up for violating lockdown
Rizwan Ahmed, 22, a daily wage worker, died in U.P.’s Ambedkar Nagar district on Saturday three days after he was allegedly thrashed by police when he stepped out during the lockdown period.
In his police complaint, Rizwan’s father Israil said he had stepped out in the Chajjapur locality of Tanda town in Ambedkar Nagar to buy domestic items on April 15 at around 4 p.m. According to a relative, he went to buy biscuits as he was hungry.
Global death toll crosses 154,000
The worldwide death toll from the novel coronavirus pandemic rose to 154,188 on Saturday, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP .
More than 2,251,690 declared cases have been registered in 193 countries and territories since the epidemic first emerged in China in December.
Of these cases, at least 497,600 are now considered recovered.
"The Delhi government today received 42,000 rapid testing kits (from central government). We will start testing using these kits in containment zones from tomorrow," Health Minister Satyendar Jain said.
Rapid tests or rapid antibody tests use blood samples of a person and gives faster results in less than 30 minutes.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had earlier said that rapid antibody tests will be used for surveillance and to monitor whether novel coronavirus hotspots in the country are increasing or decreasing and not for diagnosis.
--Nikhil M. Babu
"Over the last three days, the number of new cases coming to light daily have reduced and we pray that these will reduce further in days to come," Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during a press briefing today.
He said 71 containment zones have been set up in Delhi as of now and appealed to the residents of the zones to not move from house to house.
"Yesterday, in Jahangirpuri, there were 26 cases which came to light because of this; they belonged to the same family. You have to take care of yourself and your family; don’t think that you are immune to it; no one should be under the misapprehension that they will not catch it," Mr. Kejriwal added.
Three more COVID-19 patients, all from Bhubaneswar, have recovered. Of the total 60 cases detected in Odisha so far, 24 have recovered, 35 are under treatment and one person has died, according to State Health Department.
COVID-19 death toll in West Bengal has increased to 12. 23 new infections recorded in the past 24 hours, according to Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha's update.
--Shiv Sahay Singh
Ficci seeks bailout package for aviation industry
Industry lobby FICCI has sought a bailout package for the domestic aviation industry, including direct cash support from the government, interest-free soft loans and a two-years tax holiday to help the sector overcome the COVID-19 crisis .
It also pitched for deferment of term-loans by up to six months, 180-days credit window by the oil marketing firms and waiving of aircraft insurance premium, among others.
Tamil Nadu to monitor asymptomatic, high risk patients in high dependency units
Asymptomatic patients, who fall in the high risk category, including those in an older age group and those with co-morbid conditions, will be monitored in high dependency units.
Many patients, who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu, are asymptomatic. So far, 15 COVID-19 positive patients have died in the State. Doctors involved in the treatment of patients have been monitoring their lung signs and oxygen saturation levels to prevent sudden deterioration.
Visa validity for stranded foreign citizens to be extended till May 3: Home Ministry
In a daily press conference, a Home Ministry spokesperson said visa validity will be extended till May 3 without any charges for the stranded foreign citizens whose visa has either expired or is going to expire, on their application. "No penalty for overstaying will be levied. They can apply for exit permit till May 3."
Home Ministry helplines 1930/1944 are being used to address public grievances. Single emergency response number 112 is also being used for police/fire service intervention and ambulance service. It works on GPS to find the location of the aggrieved, the spokesperson said.
Health Ministry: "Union Health Minister yesterday had a video-conference with Delhi Lieutenant-Governor, Delhi Health Minister and other officials on increasing blood banks.
"In 23 States' 47 districts, we have noticed a positive trend that in the past 14 days, no case has been reported
"Among them are 22 new districts in 12 states where no case has been reported in the past 14 days
"Three such districts where no case was reported in the past 14 days, new cases have come up. These districts are in Patna, Nadia and Panipat.
"The mortality rate is 3.3%.
"14.4% deaths occur in 0-45 years age group, 10.30% in 45-60 years age group, 33.10% in 60-75 years group and 42.20% in those above 75 years of age.
"In 83% cases, co-morbid conditions have been found.
"29.8% of confirmed cases have been linked to Nizamuddin cluster."
The ICMR has issued a new guideline under which it has said that real-time PCR test is the gold standard of testing .Rapid anti-body test cannot replace it, it can only indicate the prevalence of the disease in a particular area. The symptoms emerge after about seven days, only after which rapid test can detect any infection
ICMR: "HCQ study being undertaken by ICMR is observation based, it is not trial based. About 480 patients will enroll, it will go on four 8 weeks.
"A second study has also been launched to examine the side effects of HCQ in health care workers (average age 35 years) who took it. 10% of them reported stomach ache, 6% complained of nausea. In all, 22% of them were diabetic.
"The use of remdesivir is not trial based, it is observation based, indicating that 68% users did not require oxygen support. The company which manufacturers the drug, is conducting a study involving over 5,000 persons and it says that its use for five days can have positive results."
People spitting or urinating in public places in New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) limits will be fined Rs 1,000, according to an NDMC order issued on Saturday. The order is aimed to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“The aforesaid directive shall remain in force till same are expressly withdrawn,” Amit Singla, Secretary of NDMC, said in the order.
--Nikhil M. Babu
Maharashtra announces financial assistance of Rs 12 lakh construction workers
After it announced an evacuation plan for the migrant sugarcane workers, the Maharashtra Government has now declared a financial assistance of Rs 2,000 each for near 12 lakh construction workers affected by the Covid lockdown. The assistance will be paid to workers registered with the Maharashtra Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, said Labour Minister Dilip Walse-Patil.
Karnataka announces some relaxation in lockdown norms
The State government announced some relaxation measures, including allowing 33% of the workforce in the IT/BT, which will come into effect from April 20.
However, section 144 would continue all over the state till May 3.
Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said Bengaluru Urban, Rural and Ramangaram district would be treated as one district till May 3 for ensuring movement of workers and employees to offices and their homes in these districts.
However, no inter-district movement would be allowed in other districts of the State.
All two wheelers would be allowed movement, except in 32 containment zones in Bengaluru City, without any passes. But no pillion rider would be allowed. Construction activities too would allowed from April 20. All industries located in rural areas to be allowed to operate, he said.
But the government decide against sale of liquor, modes of mass transport such as buses and metro trains.
Senior doctor at Pune’s Sassoon hospital tests positive for COVID-19
A 52-year-old senior doctor from Pune’s Sassoon General Hospital has tested positive for COVID-19 , an official said on Saturday.
Sassoon Hospital is the designated COVID-19 critical care centre in Maharashtra’s Pune city and so far, over 40 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported from the state- run facility.
All police personnel in Perambalur to be tested for COVID-19 after policeman tests positive
All police personnel in Perambalur district have been asked to get themselves tested for COVID-19 after a policeman in the district tested positive for the virus.
The policeman, attached to the V. Kalathur police station in the district, tested positive for COVID-19 and has been admitted to the Tiruchi Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital (MGMGH) where he has been undergoing treatment since Friday night, Superintendent of Police Nisha Parthiban said.
All 10 active cases in Meghalaya linked to doctor who died
Meghalaya has recorded 10 active COVID-19 positive cases in less than a week, all linked to the family of the 69-year-old doctor who died on April 15 within 48 hours of infection.
“Two more positive cases were detected, taking the total to 10 active cases in the State. Both cases are from the house of the first patient – one is a member of the family and the other a helper in the house,” Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma said.
As coronavirus infections mount, Japan at last expands testing
Japan, alarmed by rising coronavirus deaths and the spectre of the collapse of the medical system, is scrambling to expand testing with drive-through facilities and general practitioners helping to collect samples.
For weeks Japan has limited its testing for the coronavirus, which emerged in neighbouring China late last year, despite calls from many health experts who see testing as vital to detecting and isolating cases and slowing the spread.
South Korea COVID-19 cases maintain downward trend
South Korea has reported 18 new cases of the coronavirus, its lowest daily jump since February 20, continuing a downward trend as officials discuss more sustainable forms of social distancing that allows for some communal and economic activity.
Kerala denies death of octogenarian is COVID-19 related, says he was cured
An 85-year-old man from Malappuram district who was being treated for COVID-19 at the Government Medical College Hospital in Manjeri, died on Saturday morning. Health authorities said that he had been cured of the infection and that his death was not due to COVID-19.
According to authorities, he suffered from multiple ailments and died of cardiac arrest.
The patient, hailing from Kariyamad near Poonthanam in Keezhattur panchayat, was admitted to the hospital on April 2 after he was tested positive for COVID-19. He had been under treatment for heart ailment when the infection was confirmed. The health authorities said that he was cured after two weeks treatment for COVID-19 at Medical College, Manjeri. He was tested negative twice following the treatment.
12 new cases reported in Karnataka
Twelve new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Karnataka on Saturday, taking the total number of cases in the State to 371. The State has seen 13 deaths while 92 people have recovered from the infection.
The new cases include two from Nanjangud, one from Mysuru, two each from Kalaburgi and Bagalkote, one each from Gadag, Mandya, Vijaypura, Dharwad and Belagavi.
No case has been detected from Bengaluru Urban till Saturday afternoon.
Cases rise by 3,609 to 1,37,439 in Germany
Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases have risen by 3,609 to 137,439, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday, marking a fourth straight day of a spike in new infections.
The death toll has risen by 242 to 4,110, the tally showed.
China mandates coronavirus tests for key public workers leaving Wuhan
China ordered on April 18 that anyone in Wuhan working in certain service-related jobs must take a coronavirus test if they want to leave the city.
The order comes after the central city, where the coronavirus emerged late last year, lifted a 70-day lockdown that all but ended the epidemic there.
People in Wuhan who work in nursing, education, security and other sectors with high exposure to the public must take a nucleic acid test before leaving, the National Health Commission said in an order.
ICMR gets nod for clinical trial of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 treatment
The central drug regulator has given its go-ahead to a proposal by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for the clinical trial of convalescent plasma in COVID-19 patients, as per the protocol developed by ICMR.
The Drug Controller General of India said ICMR has submitted a list of institutes, which have shown an interest in the trial, to the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation and they may do so in consultation with the health research body.
In convalescent plasma therapy, antibodies from the blood of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 are used to treat severely infected patients.
Kittur MLA helps procure medicine amidst lockdown
A woman in Kittur in Belagavi district of Karnataka recieved her medicines amidst the lockdown, thanks to BJP MLA and Karnataka Deputy Speaker Anand Mamani.
Geeta Badiger, a resident of Katrigaddi village near Kittur who suffers from chronic epileptic seizures, recieved medicines at her doorstep on Saturday night. She had complained to a local leader that she had run out of her regular medicines and was unable to buy new ones due to the national lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus. Her problem was communicated to Mr. Mamani, who is the Kittur MLA. On his direction,drug control officials and the police traced Ms. Badiger and procured medicines for her in a day.
North Korea says released all foreign nationals from coronavirus quarantine
North Korea on Saturday said it has released all foreign nationals from coronavirus quarantine while it continues to strengthen anti-virus efforts.
The official Korean Central News Agency also said that authorities released all citizens who had been quarantined in the provinces of South Phyongan and North Hwanghae, which are near capital Pyongyang, and the city of Rason at a tri-point bordering China and Russia.
The report didn’t specify how many people remained under the country’s 30-day quarantine. Figures from previous state media reports suggest the North would have released close to 10,000 people over the past weeks.
One death and 31 fresh cases reported in AP
Andhra Pradesh has reported one more death and 31 new cases from six districts during the last 24 hours. The State tally of COVID-19 positive cases went up to 603. The death toll in the State is 15.
Krishna district has alone reported 18 fresh cases and one death. This takes the number of infections in the district to 70. A majority of the cases in the district have been reported in Vijayawada, one of its densely populated cities.
Kurnool reported five new cases while Nellore reported three new cases. Prakasam and East Godavari reported two fresh cases each. West Godavar reported one fresh case.
The State's tally of people who have recovered is 42.
7 deaths in Gujarat
Gujarat registered seven deaths and 176 new COVID-19 positive cases on Saturday, bringing the total death toll in the State to 48.
Out of seven dead, six are female. Four of the deaths took place in Ahmedabad while Surat, Vadodara and Aravali saw one death each. Only the patient in Vadodara was male.
Of today’s cases, 143 are from Ahmedabad. Total cases in the city are 765. Ahmedabad has seen 25 deaths and 24 have recovered.
The State now has 1,272 confirmed coronavirus infections. Eighty eight people have recovered so far.
Two dead in Rajasthan, total toll now 19
The death of two COVID-19 positive patients in Rajasthan has brought the death toll in the State to 19.
The patients, both of whom died at the Sawai Man Singh Government Hospital in Jaipur had additional health problems, according to the State Medical and Health Department.
One of them, a 76-year-old resident of Subhash Chowk in Jaipur, was suffering from chronic kidney disease and hypertension while the other, a 47-year-old resident of Shastri Nagar in Jaipur, was acutely diabetic, said officials.
Forty-one new COVID-19 positive cases have been detected in Rajasthan, taking the State's tally to 1,270. The highest number, 27, was reported from Bharatpur today. As many as 183 patients have been cured of the disease so far.
Two new cases detected in Bihar
Two more cases of COVID-19 have been detected in Bihar, bringing the total number of positive cases in the State to 85.
The newly-detected cases include a 17-year-old boy from Biharsharief in Nalanda and a 42-year-old man from Begusarai .
As many as 14,378 cases of COVID-19 have been detected across India, according to the latest update from the Health Ministry.
Data released by the Ministry shows that 480 people have died due to the disease while 1,991 have recovered. The active case count in the country is 11,906.
Three more test positive; total cases climb to 39 in Himachal Pradesh
Three more persons tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, taking the total number of coronavirus cases in Himachal Pradesh to 39, officials said.
Two persons from Hamirpur district and one from Chamba district tested positive, they added.
Hamirpur deputy commissioner Harikesh Meena confirmed that two cases tested positive from the district on Friday. Their contact history was being ascertained, he added.
Till Thursday, there was no COVID-19 positive case in Hamirpur district.
With the new cases, total positive cases have been found in six of the 12 districts of Himachal Pradesh -- Kangra, Una, Solan, Chamba, Sirmaur and Hamirpur.
China's revised COVID-19 figures are a bid to 'leave no case undocumented': WHO
A sharp upward revision in China's coronavirus death toll on Friday was “an attempt to leave no case undocumented” after medical services in Wuhan were overwhelmed at the start of the outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
Nearly 1,300 people who died of the coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan, or half the total, were not counted in death tolls because of lapses, state media said on Friday, but Beijing dismissed claims that there had been any kind of cover-up.
Looking into reports that coronavirus ‘escaped’ from Wuhan lab: Trump
The U.S. is looking into reports that the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 150,000 people globally, “escaped” from a Wuhan lab in China, President Donald Trump has said.
“We’re looking at it, a lot of people are looking at it. It seems to make sense,” Mr. Trump told reporters at a White House news conference on Friday when asked if there was an investigation into whether the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China.