Coronavirus India lockdown Day 66 updates | May 29, 2020

A child takes a nap on his mother's shoulder while they are waiting outside Lokmanya Tilak Terminus to board Shramik Special Trains to reach their native place.

A child takes a nap on his mother's shoulder while they are waiting outside Lokmanya Tilak Terminus to board Shramik Special Trains to reach their native place.   | Photo Credit: Aadesh Choudhari

India is developing a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, and will begin testing it in October, according to the Principal Scientific Adviser to the government. He said that pre-clinical studies are likely to be completed by that period, following which it is likely to move on to human trials.

The COVID-19 situation in the country continues to be grave, with the national capital registering over 1,000 cases in a 24-hour period for the first time. As many as 1,024 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Delhi in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to 16,281.

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:

10:39 p.m. | Agartala

Tripura records 10 cases

Tripura recorded 10 cases with the total number of cases reaching 254. New cases include eight returnees from Bangladesh. Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said that samples of 166 passengers who returned from Kolkata by flight have tested negative.

- Syed Sajjad Ali

10:10 p.m. | Assam

Assam coronavirus tally crosses 1000-mark

Assam recorded 168 cases to take the total tally to 1024. There are 892 active cases in the State while 125 persons have been discharged.

- Rahul Karmakar

9 p.m.| Rajasthan

Four persons' death - 3 in Jaipur and 1 in Jhunjhunu - takes the COVID-19 related mortality figure in Rajasthan to 184. A total of 298 new COVID-19 positive cases were detected in the State today, taking the tally to 8,365. Of them, 5,244 have recovered and 4,553 have been discharged. The number of active cases in Rajasthan, as of now, is 2,937: Medical & Health Department.

- Mohammed Iqbal

8.50 p.m. | Maharashtra

136 police personnel infected in Thane Commissionerate

A total of 136 policemen have so far been infected with the novel coronavirus in Maharashtra’s Thane city and nine of them got discharged on recovery on Friday, an official said. The number of Thane Commissionerate policemen who have been discharged so far stood at 80, he added.

“One lady constable died of the infection. The number of active cases is 55, comprising five officers and 50 constables,”he said.


8.46 p.m. | Uttar Pradesh

With four new casualties, death toll in Uttar Pradesh goes up to 201, while total cases rise to 7,445. Active cases stand at 2,834: State Health Department.

- Omar Rashid


8.45 p.m. | Gujarat

COVID-19 cases in Ahmedabad district rise to 11,597

As 253 new coronavirus positive cases were reported in the last 24 hours, the number of such patients in Ahmedabad district of Gujarat climbed to 11,597, the State Health Department said on Friday.

Eighteen patients succumbed to the infection in various hospitals of Ahmedabad city in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 798, it said in a statement. Of the total 608 patients, who were discharged from hospitals across Gujarat during the day, as many as 468 were from Ahmedabad alone, it added.


8.40 p.m. | Indonesia

Coronavirus cases cross 25,000-mark in Indonesia, death toll at 1,520

The number of coronavirus cases in Indonesia has surpassed 25,000 with more than 1,500 virus-related deaths as authorities are stepping up to lift large-scale social restrictions next week. Indonesia’s COVID-19 Task Force on Friday reported 678 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s total to 25,216 with 1,520 deaths, the highest death toll in Southeast Asia. It also reported 6,492 recoveries.

Jakarta, the first large city to enforce partial lockdown rules in the country, has hinted that the restriction policy would not be extended after June 4.


8.35 p.m. | Chandigarh

No new case of COVID-19 in Chandigarh on Friday

No fresh case of coronavirus was reported in Chandigarh on Friday, a medical bulletin said. The number of total COVID-19 cases stood at 289 in the Union Territory. Three family members and two community contacts of a 91-year-old woman, who had contracted coronavirus on Thursday, tested negative for the infection, the bulletin said.

A total of 4,543 samples have been tested so far and of them, 4,222 are negative and reports of 31 are awaited, it said. A total of 96 cases are active in the city while 189 patients have so far been discharged from hospitals after they recovered from the virus, it added. Four people have so far died of coronavirus in the city, it said.


8.30 p.m. | Maharashtra

Maharashtra reports big spike of 2,682 cases; highest death toll of 116 fatalities

Maharashtra posted its highest death toll of 116 fatalities on Friday, while reporting another big spike of 2,682 cases, taking the State's death toll to 2,098, while its cumulative tally breached the 60,000-mark to rise to 62,228.

However, this was offset by the highest single-day recoveries in the State, with as many as 8,381 patients being discharged to take the total number of discharged till date to 26,997. Mumbai's case tally has now crossed the 36,000-mark to reach 36,932 cases, while it's death toll has risen to 1,173. As many as 38 of the new deaths reported today were from Mumbai city, 17 from Jalgaon, 13 from Pune district, nine from Navi Mumbai and five from Aurangabad among other parts of the State.

- Shoumojit Bajerjee

7.50 p.m. | Nagaland

Nagaland has entered crucial stage in fight against COVID-19: CM

Nagaland has entered a crucial stage in the fight against COVID-19, following detection of positive cases among the returnees, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said on Friday. Welcoming the stranded people, Mr. Rio said many of them have undergone challenging times and difficult experiences while many have lost their jobs.

“We are entering into the most crucial stage of the global pandemic... COVID-19 has reached Nagaland as positive cases have started emerging,” Mr. Rio said in a message.

Urging all to welcome back the returnees and extend their love and concern so that sufferings and trauma of the returnees are eased to some extent, Mr. Rio said many more will be returning in the coming days and “we all need to collectively ensure that make them feel welcome in all aspects“.

The CM also requested all returnees to strictly adhere to all government guidelines and make every effort to contain the virus at individual level.

He said the State government has decided to set up a Bio-safety laboratory for testing COVID-19 at Tuensang district and TrueNat testing facilities in all the districts, which will greatly enhance the State's testing capacity.


7.40 p.m. | Karnataka

Karnataka records biggest single-day spike of 248 cases

Karnataka recorded a biggest single-day spike of 248 COVID-19 cases with returnees from Maharashtra continuing to add to the State’s tally, taking the virus count to 2,781 on Friday. One casualty was reported and with this the COVID-19 death toll has gone up to 48, the Health Department said.

A whopping 208 out of the fresh cases are returnees from Maharashtra. The previous biggest single-day spike was recorded on May 23 with 216 cases, when the State had breached the 200 mark for the first time, in terms of number of positive cases per day.

As of May 29 evening, cumulatively 2,781 COVID-19 positive cases have been confirmed in the State, which includes 48 deaths and 894 discharges, the Health Department said in its bulletin.

It said out of 1,837 active cases, 1,822 patients are in isolation at designated hospitals and are stable, while 15 are in ICU. According to the bulletin, 60 patients have been discharged today.


7.36 p.m. | Nepal

Nepal records highest single-day spike of 170 coronavirus cases

Nepal on Friday registered its highest single-day surge in coronavirus cases with 170 new infections, taking the COVID-19 tally in the country to over 1,200, the Health Ministry said. A 35-year-old Nepali man, who returned home last week from India, has died of coronavirus, the Ministry said.

His swab samples were collected and the result came as coronavirus positive, the Ministry said. With this, the total number of coronavirus deaths in Nepal has risen to six. Among the 170 new cases, five are women. The rest are men aged between 4 and 70 years, the Ministry said. So far, 64,154 polymerase chain reaction tests have been conducted in the country.

Nepal, which has extended its nationwide lockdown till June 2 to contain the spread of the deadly virus, is among the countries having the least number of COVID-19 cases. Nepal has also extended the suspension on all domestic and international flights till June 14. The surge in coronavirus cases has prompted the government to seal the Kathmandu Valley, imposing complete restriction on people entering the capital city.

  - PTI


7.30 p.m. | Jammu & Kashmir

128 fresh COVID-19 cases in Jammu and Kashmir; number rises to 2,164

Jammu and Kashmir on Friday recorded 128 fresh COVID-19 cases, raising its tally to 2,164, officials said. While 36 of these cases are from Jammu, 92 are from Kashmir, the officials said. They said the total number of cases in the Union Territory has now reached 2,164. “Of these, 1,728 are in Kashmir, while 436 are in Jammu region,”officials added.

There are 1,261 active cases in the Union Territory, 929 in Kashmir and 332 in Jammu, while 875 patients have recovered, the officials said. The UT has witnessed 28 COVID-19 related deaths so far.


7.15 p.m. | Meghalaya

6 more COVID-19 cases in Meghalaya, total rises to 27

Six more persons have tested positive for COVID-19 in Meghalaya on Friday, taking the total number of cases in the State to 27, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said. Of the 27 COVID-19 cases, 14 are active while 12 have recovered from the disease and one has died.

Those who tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday had returned from Maharashtra, Bangalore and Chennai, the Chief Minister said. All the six new COVID-19 cases are in quarantine and are asymptomatic.


7.10 p.m. | Kerala

One more COVID-19 death in Kerala; 62 new cases, taking the tally to 1,150

A health worker, two cabin crew of Air India and two prisoners were among the 62 who tested positive for the coronavirus in Kerala on Friday, taking the infection count in the State to 1,150. A Gulf returnee succumbed to the virus, taking the total number of fatalities in the State to eight.

The 65-year-old deceased, hailing from Thiruvalla in Pathnamthitta district, was undergoing treatment at the Kottayam medical college hospital, where he succumbed to the virus infection. He returned from the Gulf on May 11.

Of the infected, 33 people had come from various countries while 23 had come from other States, including Tamil Nadu and Maharastra (10 each), Karnataka, Delhi and Punjab (one each) while one person was infected through contact, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters.

Palakkad reported 14 cases today, Kannur seven, Thrissur-Pathnamthitta six each, Malappuram and Thiruvanthapuram five each, Kasaragod and Ernakulam four each.

Ten people have been cured and discharged from hospitals on Friday, Mr. Vijayan said. The number of active cases has touched 577 and 1.24 lakh people are under observation, he added.


6.57 p.m. | Uttarakhand

Private labs to be allowed to conduct COVID-19 tests in Uttarakhand

The Uttarakhand government on Friday said it has decided to allow private labs which have ICMR permission to test suspected COVID-19 cases. The decision was taken at a meeting of the State Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat.

“Private labs which have the permission of the ICMR will be roped in through a proper tender process to test suspected COVID-19 cases in the State as we are going to need more testing labs,”State government spokesman and Cabinet Minister Madan Kaushik said.

The tender process will be concluded within four days instead of 15 as decided earlier, Mr. Kaushik told reporters at the media briefing soon after the cabinet meeting. The Cabinet decision came on a day when Uttarakhand reported more than one hundred coronavirus cases, the highest in a single day in the State so far.


6.45 p.m. | Uttar Pradesh

Scale up COVID-19 testing capacity: Yogi Adityanath to officials

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday stressed on scaling up the testing capacity for COVID-19 in the State and directed officials to improve the functioning of testing labs. At a meeting with senior officials to review the lockdown situation, the Chief Minister asked officials to improve functioning of testing labs through micro-planning and directed them to increase COVID-19 testing capacity to 10,000 per day, an official spokesperson said.

The Chief Minister said over 27 lakh labourers and workers have safely returned to the State so far and the process to bring them back, free of cost, would continue.


6.30 p.m. | India

38 COVID-19 positive CISF personnel posted at defence PSU in Kolkata discharged

Thirty-eight out of 41 COVID-19 patients detected among CISF personnel posted at Defence PSU Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, have been discharged, while two of them died due to the contagion, GRSE sources said on Friday. Only one CISF personnel is under treatment at present, they said.

The entire CISF barracks in the GRSE main unit, where all the infected personnel were staying before they were diagnosed, has been sanitised, the sources said. All the personnel who have been found COVID-19 negative and those discharged from hospital have been quarantined within the barracks in separate locations.


6.20 p.m. | Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu reports 874 cases, nine deaths

874 persons test positive for COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu on Friday, taking the total to 20,246. Number of deaths reported in the State stands at nine; 765 discharged and the total discharged is 11,313.

- Serena Josephine

6.14 p.m. | Bihar

COVID-19 count from Bihar: Number of deaths: 17; total positive cases: 3,276; total recovered: 1,209 and total sample tests done: 72,256.

- Amarnath Tewary

6.10 p.m. | Sri Lanka

176 stranded Indians evacuated from Sri Lanka

Over 170 Indians stranded in Sri Lanka due to the global travel restrictions left for their homes on Friday aboard a special Air India flight. The Indian High Commission said the flight AI0276, carrying 176 Indians under the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’, took off from Colombo for Mumbai, Bhubaneswar and Kolkata.

Apart from the flight, Indian Naval Ship Jalashwa will make a voyage to Thoothukudi from Colombo Port on Monday to repatriate nearly 700 Indians stranded in the country amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Arrangements were being made in coordination with the government of Sri Lanka. The voyage will be under Samudra Setu, the naval repatriation exercises under Vande Bharat Mission.


6 p.m. | Arunachal Pradesh

Swab samples of 61 people who returned to Arunachal Pradesh with coronavirus-positive man test negative

The swab samples of 61 people who travelled to Arunachal Pradesh with a coronavirus-positive man from Delhi, tested negative, Chief Minister Pema Khandu said on Friday.

All the passengers reached the State on May 18 along with the infected person in two buses travelling through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam. A fresh case of COVID-19 was reported in the State on Sunday, over a month after Arunachal Pradesh was declared coronavirus-free. The 30-year-old student had returned to the State on May 18 from the national capital.

Arunachal Pradesh has two active COVID-19 cases at present as another student, a returnee from Chennai, tested positive on Wednesday night.

5.50 p.m. | Punjab

Punjab raises fine for spitting, not wearing masks in public to ₹500

Punjab on Friday announced stricter penalties for those not adhering to restrictions put in place to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, increasing significantly the fine for spitting and not wearing masks in public to ₹500.

The State also increased the fine for violating the home quarantine to ₹2,000. Previously, the State imposed a fine of ₹200 for not wearing masks, ₹100 for spitting at public places, and ₹500 for violating home quarantine guidelines. It also fixed ₹2,000 as fine for violating social-distancing norms by owners of shops or commercial places.

A fine of ₹3,000 will be imposed on owners of buses, ₹2,000 on cars, and ₹500 on auto-rickshaws and two-wheelers for violating social-distancing norms, the State’s Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said.


5.35 p.m. | New Delhi

No change in fare for Rajdhani special trains

For Rajdhani special trains, there is no change in the fare structure, as it was before the lockdown. The special trains will keep running till the last migrant worker reaches the destination. Our effort is such that the requirements raised by any State are met within 24 hours.

Two hundred normal trains have been notified for resuming operations and bookings have already started. Yesterday, we also decided to normalise the advance booking period. In the second phase, we would increase the number of trains by monitoring the requirements, Mr. Yadav said.

Further, some special trains were diverted keeping in view the destination of passengers along the route, after consulting with the local and State administration.

On a query about why fares are being taken from States, Mr. Yadav says 85% of the cost is being borne by the Centre. If the trains were run for free of charge, it would have become difficult to manage the operations.

5.15 pm | New Delhi

News about trains losing their way fake: Railways

The Railways Board Chairman terms news about some trains "losing their way" as fake.

"Only 10% trains were delayed by few hours. Fake news dent the morale of the 12-lakh Railway employees who have been working round the clock for smooth operations of the special trains," he said.

He condoled the death of the passengers onboard trains. The GRP is investigating the deaths to determine the cause, he said.

"There were some reports about deaths due to starvation. We found that there was no shortage of food on those trains. We are compiling data on deaths from the respective States.  The picture will be clear when he receive all the relevant information," Mr. yadav said.

For cases where passengers were deboarded due to protocols of screening and issuing certificates, we issued an order for refund of ticket charges to such passengers.

Payment of fares is being made in coordination with the originating and receiving States. The cost of running special trains, which return without any passenger, is not more than that of normal trains, which bring back passengers. Fares of special trains amount to only 15% of the running cost, the rest is borne by the Central government.

Initially, some States had started paying fare since day one; in some cases, States charged money from migrant labourers, which were later refunded.

With regard to "alleged" deaths due to starvation, Mr. Yadav said the cause of death has to be determined by doctor. In many cases, doctors attended to the ailing passengers. To say that someone died due to starvation without any sound basis is not proper, particularly amid the pandemic situation.

- Devesh Pandey

5.00 pm | New Delhi

12 lakh Railways employees are working round-the-clock: Chairman

12 lakh Railways employees are working round-the-clock to ensure that migrant workers reach home, he said and appealed to passengers with co-morbidities (suffering from hypertension, diabetes, etc), children below 10 years of age and persons above 65 years of age to avoid travel by rail except when essential.

At several places, the Railways organised community kitchens to supply food to the passengers. It also provided doctors for over 30 deliveries onboard trains, he said.

When asked about about incidents of looting of food material by some passengers, he said, "initially, when there were less trains, due to restrictions, contractors were not ready to distribute food. We then involved Scouts and Guides, apart from Railway employees to distribute food packets. In 97-99% of the trains, no such issue was faced. Now, the system is running robustly."

- Devesh Pandey

4.45 pm | New Delhi

Only four of the 3,840 trains took more than 72 hours to reach destination: Railways

The Railway Board Chairman said that local trains were being arranged at places, where there were problems in arranging buses to help migrant labourers reach their destinations.

He said there was skewed loading of routes and terminals. "Two-third of the trains originated in a 10-hours band. Most trains (76%) were run between 2 p.m. and midnight; the least (10%) between midnight till 8 a.m. and 23% between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.," he said.

There was huge rush at some terminals, including Gorakhpur, Jaunpur, Purnia and Katihar.

71 trains (1.85%) had to be diverted, he said, giving their details: via Palwal- 23, via Rewari- 04, via Jharsuguda- 37 and via Singrauli- 07. Destination States for which trains were diverted: Bihar-51, U.P. - 15, Jharkhand- 2, Assam -1 and Manipur-1. Originating States for which trains were diverted: Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan. The trains were diverted from May 20 to May 24.

The Railway Board Chairman said only four of the 3,840 trains took more than 72 hours to reach destination. "These four were destined to Manipur, Agartala and Jiribam. The main factor (for the delay) was landslide and waterlogging on railway tracks in Assam," he said.

3500 trains (90%) reached destinations earlier than the time taken by normal express trains, he said.

Some trains were delayed due to gas leak and they had to be diverted.

- Devesh Pandey

4.30 pm | New Delhi

Railways details protocols for "Shramik movement"

Mr. Yadav said Shramik movement protocols, including health and screening protocols, were developed.

"Meals - breakfast, lunch, dinner - to be served enroute stations and not onboard. At origin points, respective States will provide food and water," he said.

"IRCTC and railway divisions arranged free meals and water for the travelling workers enroute and over 85 lakh meals and 1.25 crore water bottles were supplied for free," he said. "NGOs also supplemented efforts. Railway divisions mobilised local cooks and bakeries at various stations to prepare snacks and food for travellers."

"However, there have been reports of lack of food supplies. The moment we receive such information, the issue is addressed the next day. Due to lockdown, there is scarcity of raw material and difficulty in arranging cooked food. Despite these restraints, arrangements are being made," Mr. Yadav said.

- Devesh Pandey

4.30 pm | New Delhi

80% migrant workers are Bihar and U.P. bound: Yadav

Railway is providing special trains as per the demands of the originating States, said the Railway Board Chairman, adding that demand had reduced in the past two days. "137 trains were operated on Thursday and 172 on Wednesday. On May 24, the States had demanded 923 trains, yesterday they have reduced it to 449," Vinod Kumar Yadav SAID.

The stranded migrant workers should be patient, trains will be arranged at the earliest as per demands raised by the States, he said.

80% migrant workers were Bihar and UP bound, Mr. Yadav said.

4.15 pm | New Delhi

52 lakh passengers have been ferried on Shramik Special trains since May 1: Rly. Board Chairman

Since May 1, 3,840 Shramik Special trains have been operated and 52 lakh passengers have been ferried, Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav said at a press conference.

"In the last one week, from May 22 to 28, 1,524 trains were operated and over 20 lakh passengers ferried," he said.

"The Railways has accommodated almost all requests received from the sending States. It is ready to meet all demands of Shramik movements," Mr. Yadav added.

279 Shramik Trains operated on May 20, demand of 450 Shramik trains exists as of now.

- Devesh Pandey

4.00 pm | West Bengal

Bengal Minister Sujit Bose, wife, domestic help test positive

West Bengal's Fire and Emergency Services Minister Sujit Bose has tested positive for COVID-19. Along with Mr. Bose, who is  Trinamool Congress MLA from Bidhannagar, his wife and domestic help have also tested positive for the contagious viral infection. All the three have been put under home quarantine.

3.30 pm | Maharashtra

Sonu Sood airlifts 177 Odia girls from Kerala

Actor Sonu Sood came to the rescue of 117 girls as he helped them reach home in Odisha. The actor airlifted the girls who were stuck in Kerala due to the nationwide lockdown.

According to a source close to the actor, Sood was informed about the group of girls by a close friend from Bhubaneswar.

The actor along with his friend Neeti Goel have won hearts of millions of Indians with their ‘Ghar Bhejo’ initiative.


3.15 pm | Karnataka

Two more test positive in Mandya

Two more positive cases of COVID-19 were reported in Mandya district in Karnataka, taking the district's total figure to 257.

The new patients, P-2548 and P-2549, a 10-year-old boy and 50-year-old man, are natives of near K.R. Pet in the district. They were settled in Mumbai and had recently returned to the district, said sources at the district administration.

- M.T. Shiva Kumar

3.15 pm | Bihar

90 more COVID-19 positive cases reported n Bihar, taking the total number to 3,275 in the State.

- Amarnath Tewary

3.10 pm | Maharashtra

Head constable succumbs to COVID-19 in Mumbai

A Head Constable with a police station in western Mumbai succumbed to COVID-19 in the early hours of Friday morning, taking the death toll among policemen in the city to 15.

At least 2,211 police personnel in Maharashtra have tested coronavirus positive so far, of whom 25 have lost their lives due to the infection, an official said on Friday.

As many as 249 of these COVID-19 patients are police officers, while 1,962 others are constabulary-rank personnel, he said.

Till now, 970 of them have recovered, the official added.

- Gautam Mengle, PTI

3.00 pm | Maharashtra

BEST decides not to charge bus fare from migrants

The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) announced that no ticket fare will be charged from migrant labourers while dropping them at the city railway stations for their journey to their home States.

A BEST spokesperson said that the decision was taken as per the directives of the Supreme Court.

The apex court on May 28 directed that no fare for travel either by trains or buses be charged from migrant workers stranded across the country, and they be provided food and water.


2.55 pm | New Delhi

CISF official posted at warship building GRSEL succumbs to COVID-19

A Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel posted at the GRSEL, a warship manufacturing facility in Kolkata, has succumbed to COVID-19, officials said. Head constable Susanta Kumar Ghosh, 58, was a resident of Murshidabad district of West Bengal.

This is the fourth death from coronavirus in the about-1.62 lakh-personnel strong force and the second from this unit, a defence PSU located in Kolkata.


2.45 pm | Kerala

Kerala govt. reviews Bev Q amidst mounting complaints from public

Mounting exasperation among the public over the glitches in the smartphone-based liquor purchase application, Bev Q, has forced the government to rethink its plans.

Excise Minister T. P. Ramakrishnan has called a high-level meeting at 2 p.m. to weigh in on whether the State should set aside the order that public can purchase liquor only via the application and restore the direct sale of alcohol as takeaway from stores and bars. 

Kerala had banned the sale of liquor on March 25 as part of the COVID-19 lockdown. When it eased lockdown restrictions two months later in May,  the government had contracted a start-up to create a smartphone application it hoped would help prevent overcrowding in front of liquor vends.

- G. Anand

2.40 pm | Kerala

Bev Q goes kaput disrupting liquor sale

Long queue seen outside a premium Bevco outlet in Kochi after the Bev Q app, the virtual queue management app, became inoperative on May 29, 2020.

Long queue seen outside a premium Bevco outlet in Kochi after the Bev Q app, the virtual queue management app, became inoperative on May 29, 2020.   | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu


Liquor sale across the State was disrupted after Bev Q, the virtual queue management app for maintaining social distancing at liquor outlets, went kaput denying access to majority of users trying to book time slots. Only a couple of customers turned up with tokens issued over the app at a premium outlet of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (KSBC) in the heart of Kochi city till afternoon.

A large number of users complained of not being able to access the app to book tokens for time slots.  There were also complaints that though bar hotels were issued user id and password for accessing the app to record their stock levels, the system was yet to take off.

- Praveen

2.30 pm | New Delhi

Delhi reports biggest single-day jump in positive cases

1,106 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Delhi in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to 17,386, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said while addressing a press conference. This is the biggest single-day jump in the number of cases in the city so far. 

Also, 82 more deaths have been reported taking the total number of deaths to 398, the Minister said. But only 13 of these deaths have happened in the past 24 hours. "Rest of the deaths are old. 52 deaths from Safdarjung hospital are very old and they submitted it to us two days back and we have added it after auditing," Mr. Jain said.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who was also present at the press conference, said that of the total COVID-19 patients in Delhi, the recovery rate was about 50%. "80-90% people recover from home quarantine. So, do not panic," he said.

- Nikhil M. Babu

2.15 pm | New Delhi

Decision on opening shops in malls will be taken soon

The decision to open shops in malls, will be taken soon, after taking into account the guidelines of the Health ministry, the Commerce and Industry ministry said.

Issues of retail traders were discussed in a meeting between Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday with representatives of traders associations through video conferencing.


2.00 pm | Sweden

Sweden opens up for sport

Competitive and professional sport can resume from June 14, the Swedish government said, but games would have to be played mostly without an audience.

With Sweden’s softer approach to coronavirus pandemic, children’s sports activities continued and adults were able to go to practice sessions.

“Now we’re also opening up for competitive play among all ages, which means that high-level sports can resume once again,” culture minister Amanda Lind told a press conference. She said it would apply to all sports and at all levels, but only in a way that respects current guidelines from the Public Health Agency.


1.30 pm | Manipur

3 more test positive in Manipur, total count 58

Three more persons tested positive for COVID-19 in Manipur, raising the total number of such cases in the state to 58, an official said.

All three hail from Imphal West district, he said. Necessary containment measures and contact tracing were underway, the official at the State's COVID-19 common control room said. Manipur currently has 53 active cases. Five patients have been discharged following their recovery.

1.00 pm | Karnataka

178 new COVID-19 cases reported in Karnataka today. With this, the total number of cases stand at 2,711

12.30 pm | Puducherry

Four COVID-19 cases were reported from Solai Nagar in Muthialpet while nine patients got discharged in Puducherry on Friday.

All new cases were traced to transmission within the family of already infected patients,  health officials said.

With the discharge of two patients, Mahe enclave has no cases alongside Karaikal and Yanam. The active cases in Puducherry stand at 35.

The cumulative total of COVID-19 cases is 56 with 21 discharged.

12.20 pm | Meghalaya

One more tests positive in Meghalaya

A person who recently returned to Meghalaya from Haryana has tested positive for COVID-19, raising the number of active cases in the State to eight, Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma said.

Another person who had travelled from Haryana has tested positive. The patient is in Tura and under quarantine.

12.15 pm | Himachal Pradesh

Nine new COVID-19 cases in Himachal Pradesh, tally 291

Nine more people tested positive for COVID-19 in Himachal Pradesh on Friday, taking the number of coronavirus cases in the state to 291, officials said.

Of the fresh cases, five were reported from Hamirpur and four from Kangra, they said, adding that all of them had recently returned from other states.

Four of them had returned from Maharashtra, two each from Gujarat and Delhi, and one from Rajasthan, the officials added.

The number of active cases in the State now stands at 208.

While 77 COVID-19 patients have recovered, six have died.

12.10 pm | Rajasthan

Two more deaths in Rajasthan

Rajasthan reported two more COVID-19 deaths on Friday, taking the death toll in the State to 182, the Health Department said.

Over 90 new coronavirus cases were also reported in the State, taking the virus tally to 8,158.

"One death each was reported from Jaipur and Jhunjhunu," Additional Chief Secretary (Health), Rohit Kumar Singh, said.

There are 3,121 active cases in the State and 4,289 people have been discharged.

12.00 noon | Kerala

CIAL steps up safety measures for employees

With the increase in the number of passengers following the resumption of domestic flights, the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) has tightened the COVID-19 safety protocol for the airport staff.

The entire process of passenger services, beginning with thermal scanning of passengers as they arrive, was technologically-backed.

Safely gadgets had been issued to the staff of support agencies working at the airport.

Personal protection equipment had been issued to employees coming into close contact with passengers. The airport will also introduce a monitoring mechanism to ensure that employees complied with the safety protocol.

11.50 am | Haryana

Haryana seals border with Delhi after rise in cases

Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij has asked the State Home Secretary to completely seal the border with Delhi and restrict unregulated movement of people.

The Minister issued the order in the wake of the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases in the bordering districts (National Capital Region), including Gurugram, Faridabad, Sonipat and Jhajjar, which reported 111, 98, 27 and six COVID-19 cases respectively in the past week.

11.40 am | Nagaland

Nagaland govt sends 169 returnees home without following mandatory quarantine; one among them test positive

Civil society organisations and political parties on Thursday slammed the Neiphiu Rio government in Nagaland for violating its own COVID-19 protocols by allegedly sending a positive patient along with 168 others from a quarantine centre in State capital Kohima without waiting for the test results.

They were allegedly made to vacate the centre three days after being lodged.

It was alleged that the Kohima authorities sent the 169 away without quarantining them for the mandatory 14 days and waiting for their swab test results to come.

They had reached their destination when results showed one of them had tested positive.

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11.30 am | Delhi

DD News video journalist tests positive posthumously

Nearly 50 personnel of the camera division of Doordarshan News will be tested for coronavirus infection after 53-year-old video journalist who died of ‘heart attack’ on Wednesday tested positive posthumously.

The DD News has temporarily shut down the studio. It would be re-opened after sanitisation.

“We have made contingency plans so that news operations are unaffected, by leveraging our pool of studios in Delhi,” a top official at DD News said.

11.15 am | Odisha

Odisha reports two non-COVID deaths

63 more COVID-19 cases were detected in Odisha taking the total to 1,723 on Friday.

The number of active cases stood at 827, while 887 had recovered and seven had died of COVID-19. Two non-COVID-19 related deaths were also reported, said State Health Department. - Prafulla Das

11.00 am | West Bengal

Bengal minister tests positive for COVID-19

West Bengal's Fire and Emergency Services Minister Sujit Bose has tested positive for COVID-19. His wife and domestic help have also tested positive. All the three of them are currently under home quarantine. - Shiv Sahay Singh

10.45 am | USA

Trump feeling ‘absolutely great’ after taking hydroxychloroquine

U.S. President Donald Trump is feeling “absolutely great” after taking a two-week dose of antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine and will take it again if he thinks he is exposed to the coronavirus, a top White House official has said.

The drug is not FDA-approved for the treatment of COVID-19 but it has been identified as a possible treatment for the infection.

10.20 am | Madhya Pradesh

Results for 144 samples delayed by month in Indore declared negative

The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College, Indore, has declared COVID-19 test results for at least 144 persons as negative, almost a month after their samples were collected. An overwhelmed testing capacity caused the delay, college officials said.

Anita Mutha, Head of the Microbiology Department, explained that around mid-May the workload overwhelmed the capacity. “We catered to 14 districts and Indore, using just one laboratory. The lockdown affected logistics, making it difficult to ramp up testing,” she said.

But now, she added, there was no pendency. “We have four laboratories now, and will get another two soon...”

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10.15 am | Kerala

Gulf returnees stranded on Kannur-Kasaragod border

A group of 18 expatriates who returned from Kuwait were stranded in the KSRTC bus in which they were travelling for more than four hours on the Kannur-Kasaragod border on their way from the Nedumbassery airport on Thursday, when they were informed that they would be allowed entry only after a medical examination and necessary arrangements were made to quarantine them at their respective places.

The Additional District Magistrate (ADM) N. Devidas said they had received no information about their arrival. As the authorities had to bring medical staff and arrange facilities to quarantine the returnees, they were advised to wait, he said.

10.00 am | New Delhi

India ninth-worst hit country

India now has 165799 COVID-19 cases, making it the ninth worst affected country in the world.

India reported one of the highest rise in the number of cases overnight, 7466. As many as 175 deaths were also reported taking the cumulative number of COVID-19 victims to 4706.

71105 patients have recovered so far, according to the Ministry of Health.

According to Worldometer, India has now overtaken Turkey as the ninth-worst hit nation in terms of number of COVID-19 cases reported.

9.30 am | Brazil

Brazil registers record 26,417 coronavirus cases in a day

Brazil reported a daily record of 26,417 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, according to the Health Ministry, bringing its total tally to 4,38,238, second only to the United States in confirmed cases.

Brazil's death toll rose 1,156 from a day earlier to 26,754 confirmed fatalities from the COVID-19 respiratory disease, just shy of a record 1,188 deaths registered on May 21. - Reuters

9 am | USA

U.S. records 1,297 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours: Johns Hopkins

The United States recorded 1,297 coronavirus deaths on Thursday, bringing its total to 1,01,573 since the global pandemic began, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The country has also officially logged 17,20,613 cases of the virus, far more than any other nation, the tracker kept by the Baltimore-based university showed at 8:30 p.m. - AFP

8.30 am | Kottayam, Kerala

One more COVID-19 death in Kerala

Kerala recorded its eighth COVID-19 death on Friday morning when a 65-year-old man, who was in critical condition at the Government Medical College (GMC) in Kottayam, died.

The deceased has been identified as a native of Perumthuruthy in Thiruvalla. He returned from Abu Dhabi on May 11, and was admitted to the Pathanamthitta District Hospital on May 18 after being tested positive for COVID-19.

According to health officials, he was shifted to the GMC in Kottayam on May 26 after his condition deteriorated. The person had comorbidities including acute diabetes.

The funeral service will be held later in the day in accordance with the WHO protocol under the directions of trained personnel of the Health Department.

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8 am | Karnataka

No more COVID-19 test for asymptomatic travellers

Two days after issuing a circular permitting home quarantine of international and inter-State travellers after seven days of institutional quarantine, Karnataka has now also done away with the previously mandatory COVID-19 test for asymptomatic individuals.

Stating that the new guidelines were based on recommendations from the State’s COVID expert committee, Mr. Akhtar said, “There is not enough space in hotels and as more and more travellers are coming in, it may lead to overcrowding.”

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 4:36:16 PM |

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