Coronavirus India lockdown Day 86 updates | June 18, 2020

A medic wearing protective gear takes a swab from a man to test for COVID-19 at Patel Nagar in New Delhi on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asked States to make full use of the expanded COVID-19 testing capacity and saving lives a top priority.  “We need to fight against rumours of lockdown since the country is now in the phase of unlocking. We need to think about Phase-II of Unlock and how to minimise harm to our people,” PM Modi said.

Maharashtra reported another massive surge of 3,307 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday taking the tally to 1,16,752 of which 51,921 are active ones. It recorded 114 deaths taking the toll to 5,651.

Here is a list of State Helpline numbers. You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here.

Here are the latest updates:

New Delhi

Delhi sees highest single-day spike

2,877 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Delhi in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to 49,979, according to a health bulletin released by the Delhi government on June 18.

This is the highest number of cases reported in a single day in the city so far.

Also, 65 more deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of deaths to 1,969.

Of the total cases, 21,341 people have recovered and there are 26,669 active cases. — Nikhil

New Delhi

Vardhan launches India’s first mobile laboratory for coronavirus testing

Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan on June 18 launched the country’s first mobile laboratory for coronavirus testing that can be deployed in rural areas to help promote last-mile testing access.

The mobile laboratory, also called I-Lab or Infectious Diseases Diagnostics Lab, can run 50 RT-PCR and about 200 ELISA tests in a day. A double set of machines can help increase the capacity to about 500 tests per day in an eight-hour shift, Mr. Vardhan said.

“Launched India’s first mobile lab for #COVID19 testing to promote last-mile testing access in rural & inaccessible areas of India. Present with me on the occasion was Smt @RenuSwarup Ji, Secretary, @DBTIndia. @IndiaDST.

“It can run 50 RT-PCR reactions and about 200 ELISA in a day. Double set of Machines can help increase the capacity to about 500 per day in 8 hours shift. @DBTIndia @IndiaDST @AP_MedTechZone @PMOIndia,” he said in a series of tweets.

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Ministry of Science and Technology, along with the Andhra Pradesh Med-tech Zone (AMTZ), has initiated the DBT-AMTZ COMManD (COVID-19 Medtech Manufacturing Development) consortia to address the shortage of critical healthcare technologies in the country and move progressively towards a stage of self-sufficiency.

AMTZ is Asia’s first medical equipment manufacturing ecosystem, uniquely dedicated to medical technology and supported by various ministries.

The mobile testing laboratory is an outcome of this initiative.

“This mobile testing facility will be deployed through the DBT testing hubs to remote regions of the country for coronavirus testing,” the Minister said.

There are over 20 such hubs in the country now with 100 testing laboratories and these facilities have tested more than 2,60,000 samples for COVID-19 so far.

Mr. Vardhan said there are 953 testing laboratories in all corners of the country at present.

“In the near future, with all these collective and cooperative efforts, India will achieve self-sufficiency in healthcare technologies, leading towards ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’,” he said.

DBT Secretary Renu Swarup said through the concerted efforts of Indian scientists, the country has achieved a capacity of producing over five lakh COVID-19 testing kits per day, exceeding the target of one lakh test kits by May 31.

She also noted that I-Lab has been created in a record eight days by the AMTZ team with the support of the DBT. — PTI


210 new cases and 12 deaths in Karnataka

With 12 coronavirus related fatalities reported on Thursday, the toll mounted to 114 in Karnataka, where 210 new cases were confirmed, taking the total number of infections to 7,944.

The day also saw 179 patients getting discharged in the state after recovery.

As of June 18 evening, cumulatively 7,944 COVID-19 positive cases have been confirmed in the state, which includes 114 deaths and 4,983 discharges, the health department said in its bulletin.

Out of 2,843 active cases, 2,770 patients are in isolation at designated hospitals and are stable, while 73 are in ICU.



Chennai police to strictly implement intensified lockdown curbs

The Chennai City Police will strictly implement the intensified lockdown measures starting Thursday midnight in Chennai and its adjoining areas covering three districts, a top police official said.

Referring to surging COVID-19 numbers in the city and areas in neighbouring districts coming under the Greater Chennai Police limits, Commissioner A. K .Viswanathan said public support was key to tide over the “extraordinary situation.”

The arterial Anna Salai and the busy Kamaraj Salai besides other key roads will be closed for public transport while emergency vehicles like ambulances alone will be allowed to ply, he told a press conference here.

West Bengal

GPO suspends operations for two days to sanitise building

The General Post Office (GPO) here has decided to suspend operations for two days and sanitise the over 150-year-old building in Dalhousie area, after an employee there tested positive for COVID-19, official sources said on Thursday.

A 50-year-old employee at the GPO’s savings bank section was found to have contracted the disease on June 14.

New Delhi

Supreme Court rejects plea for directing Centre to move ICJ for compensation from China

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea seeking a direction to the Centre to approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and file a $600 billion compensation case against China, alleging that the COVID-19 pandemic was “deliberately created” by it.

“The writ petition is dismissed,” said a bench headed by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde, which granted liberty to petitioner K. K. Ramesh to make a representation to the government in this regard.

“However, liberty is granted to the petitioner to make a representation to the government. As a sequel to the above, pending interlocutory applications, if any, stand disposed of,” said the bench, which also comprised Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and A S Bopanna, in its order.

Advocate C. R. Jaya Sukin, appearing for the petitioner, through video conferencing, told the bench that the petition should be treated as a representation by the government.

The plea had claimed there was strong evidence that coronavirus or COVID-19, which has “destroyed” the Indian economy and killed hundreds of it citizens, originated from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.


92-year-old woman recovers from COVID-19 in Dombivli

A 92-year-old woman, who had tested positive for coronavirus in Dombivli town of Maharashtra’s Thane district, was discharged from a hospital following recovery, a health official said on Thursday.

A resident of Sant Namdeo Nagar, the woman had tested positive for the deadly infection on June 8 and was admitted to Neon Hospital, chief of the hospital Dr. Milind Shinde said.

The nonagenarian walked out of the hospital on Wednesday under a shower of flower petals and said it was sheer willpower that helped her fight the disease


Fresh cases reported in Navi Mumbai

A record 202 persons, including half a dozen children aged below 10, tested positive for coronavirus in Navi Mumbai, taking the tally to 4,391 on Thursday, while nine more patients succumbed to the infection, an official said.

This was the highest single-day spike in cases in Navi Mumbai since the outbreak of COVID-19, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) PRO Mahendra Konde said in a statement.

He said nine more personsdied due to the pandemic, taking the toll to 138.

New Delhi

Six States to benefit from Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan

Explaining about the scheme, Rural Development Ministry Secretary N N Sinha said: "The 116 districts are in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha and Jharkhand. Works in which workers would be used are anganwadi centres, rural housing, rural connectivity including Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, national Highway, Railway works, community sanitation complex, gram panchayats, among others."

Minimum of 25000 shramiks have returned in each of these 116 districts, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said. "But the number can change and some districts may have different number. For example, Siddharthnagar in UP has 1.61 lakh workers," she added.

New Delhi

PM to launch Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan for migrant labourers

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a new scheme for migrant labourers who have returned to their native places — Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan.

The Prime Minister will launch the scheme from Khagaria in Bihar, she said.

The scheme aims to generate employment to labourers who have returned to their native places after facing hardship due to the COVID-19 induced lockdown.

"We have tried to find which are the districts to which the migrant workers have returned. 116 districts have received the largest number of workers and they are spread across 6 states. In these States, both the States and the Centre have meticulously mapped their skills sets."

"For 125 days, 25 schemes of the government will be brought together to those districts where we have identified as having received the highest number of workers. All those who need work/employment will be given work in these districts," she said.

New Delhi

Centre targets 6 lakh rapid COVID-19 tests in Delhi; to add 500 ventilators, 650 ambulances

The Centre plans to conduct six lakh rapid antigen COVID-19 tests in Delhi at 169 new facilities being set up in the capital where 50,000 kits have already been supplied, Union Minister G Kishan Reddy said.

He also said the central government is going to provide 500 additional ventilators and 650 ambulances to hospitals in Delhi, which has seen a spike in number of coronavirus cases over the past few days.

New Delhi

 SC stays Puri’s Rath Yatra this year

The Supreme Court has restrained the conduct of annual Jagannath Rath Yatra this year on June 24 amid COVID-19 pandemic in light of concern for public health and safety. Further there shall be no activity, religious or secular, associated with the Rath Yatra during this period.

The top court’s order came on a PIL filed by Odisha based NGO seeking cancellation or postponement of this year’s Rath Yatra, which continues for 10 to 12 days and is attended by millions of devotees from across the world. - Krishnadas Rajagopal


Delhi govt caps rate of COVID-19 test at Rs 2,400

The Delhi government has decided to cap the rate of COVID-19 RT-PCR test at Rs 2,400, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Home Affairs had announced that the price of COVID-19 test in Delhi has been fixed at Rs 2,400 as suggested by a high-level committee set up by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday and now tests will be done via Rapid Antigen methodology.


Lakhs of students sit for second PUC exam in Karnataka

Atudents lined up for screening before entering examination hall at Kengeri Sheshadripuram College in Bengaluru on Thursday .

Atudents lined up for screening before entering examination hall at Kengeri Sheshadripuram College in Bengaluru on Thursday .   | Photo Credit: Sampath Kumar G P


The second year pre-university course (PUC) English paper examination in Karnataka, nearly three months after being postponed in March due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

An estimated 5.59 lakh students were slated to appear for the examination at over 1,000 thousand centres across the state.


Amit Shah reviews COVID-19 situation in Delhi-NCR

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday reviewed the coronavirus situation in Delhi and the National Capital Region, including Noida, Gurugram and Ghaziabad, officials said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and district magistrates are among those present in the meeting currently underway at North Block.

Read The Hindu's Editorial: United front in Delhi


Kalamasserry police station shut after cop tests positive for COVID-19

The Kalamasserry police station within the Kochi city limits remains closed to the public and the entire police personnel have been sent into quarantine after a civil police officer attached to the station was tested positive for COVID-19 on late Wednesday night.

The officer who tested positive was deployed for visiting people quarantined on returning from abroad to ensure that they complied with quarantine protocol.

Nearly 60 police personnel attached to the station will either serve institutional or home quarantine. As of now, around 12 personnel have been isolated in a facility at Eda Kochi. - M.P. Praveen

Tamil Nadu

Natarajar temple’s ‘Aani Thirumanjanam’ car festival cancelled

The annual ‘Ani Thirumanjanam’ car festival at Sri Sabanayagar temple, popularly known as Sri Natarajar temple, in Chidambaram scheduled on June 27 has been cancelled this year owing to COVID-19 outbreak.

Though the festival has been cancelled, the Pothu Dikshithars will perform the rituals in-house while maintaining physical distancing,” an official said.

This is one of the two important annual 10-day festivals when Lord Nataraja is taken around the car streets in the temple-town, the other being Arudra Darshan.


28-year-old Excise driver dies in Kannur

A driver of the Excise Department who tested positive for COVID-19 died at the Kannur Government Medical College Hospital on Thursday morning. With this, the number of deaths in the State increased to 21.

It is not known how he contracted the disease. But after his test results turned positive, 18 officials at the Excise office in Mattanur were immediately asked to be in home quarantine.

Meanwhile, the Health Department also managed to trace 60 primary contacts. - C.P. Sajith


Only COVID-free can board flights to Kerala from June 20

From June 20, Kerala will give operational clearance only to flights consisting entirely of passengers with medical testimonials proving that they are COVID-19-free.

The policy applies to the Vande Bharat Mission and chartered flights equally, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said at his customary COVID-19 news briefing on Wednesday.

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II PU English exam today

A total of 5.95 lakh students will appear for the II pre-university (II PU) English exam in 1,016 exam centres across Karnataka. The Department of Pre-University Education said instructions had been given to create new additional exam centres wherever needed, to ensure social distancing.

This will be the first State-level exam after Karnataka went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is set to become a test case for future exams, including SSLC examination.

Read more


Bus operations between A.P., Karnataka resume

Passengers alighting from a KSRTC bus at Anantapur on Wednesday.

Passengers alighting from a KSRTC bus at Anantapur on Wednesday.  


Inter-State bus operations between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka resumed on Wednesday after 84 days of suspension in view of the COVID-19. Passengers going to Bengaluru were being stamped ‘Home Quarantine’ at Bagepalli border check-post after collecting their personal data and phone numbers. Andhra Pradesh officials, however, did not collect any such information and those arriving at the bus stations, were being checked with thermal guns for body temperature.

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WHO says more understanding needed on Dexamethasone

The emergencies chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) welcomed the news this week that dexamethasone, a cheap steroid, was shown in a British trial to reduce deaths among patients critically ill with the coronavirus, but said it was too soon to change how patients are treated.

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Tamil Nadu

Staff member of CM’s office who tested positive dies

A senior private secretary in the Chief Minister's Office (CMO), who had tested positive for COVID-19 and was undergoing treatment at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH), died in the wee hours of Wednesday.

Condoling B.J. Damodharan’s death, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said he was hospitalised “due to illness”, but subsequently died.

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280 people stranded in Bangladesh set to return to India

The Ministry of External Affairs has amended its list provided to the Tripura government for stranded Indians slated to return from Bangladesh. The Ministry has fixed Thursday and Friday to facilitate the arrival of 280 people through Agartala Integrated Check Post (ICP). It was earlier decided that 230 people would return from Bangladesh on Thursday.

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Odisha to set up ‘COVID Care Homes’ in all gram panchayats

Changing its strategy, the Odisha government on Wednesday announced the setting up of COVID Care Homes (CCHs) in all the 6,798 gram panchayats of the State to fight the pandemic in the coming days.

Each of the CCHs will have facilities for the stay of 10 to 20 persons, and all put together they can accommodate about 70,000 people. Patients with symptoms of cold, cough and fever will be kept in these facilities instead of being taken straight to a hospital. Those testing positive for COVID-19 will be shifted to a hospital.

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Supreme Court stays Telangana HC order on COVID tests on bodies

The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed a May 26 direction of the Telangana High Court to conduct COVID-19 tests on bodies before they are released from hospitals.

A Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan also stayed the direction passed on June 8 by the High Court that non-compliance would invite contempt action.

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