1. Coronavirus Deaths, Cases in India See Biggest Jump in a Day

Coronavirus killed eight more people in India on Thursday and 88 new cases – the highest in a single day – were confirmed to be carrying the disease on the second day of 21-day long nation-wide lockdown, while the global tally, according to the AFP, also crossed the figure of 500,000 infections and close to 22,000 fatalities.

According to the data released by the health ministry, there are 647 confirmed cases in India, most of them in Maharashtra-121 and Kerala-110, however, the figures released by these states are higher at 130 and 138 respectively.

An analysis by the Medical Education and Drugs Department, Maharashtra says that 54 percent of the infected cases had travel history to foreign countries, 29 percent were those who came in contact with the infected while in 11 percent of the cases, the cause of transmission is awaited and in the remaining 6 percent, the reason for the infection is inconclusive.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

2. G20 Readies $5 Trillion War Chest to Combat Coronavirus

The G20 states on Thursday said they would inject more than $5 trillion into the global economy to counter the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to safeguard jobs and revive growth.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who joined an extraordinary virtual G20 leaders’ summit, said the pandemic offered an opportunity to forge a new concept of globalisation that wasn’t focused solely on an economic agenda. He also called for the reform of the WHO, which was based on “last century’s models”, according to people familiar with developments.

The summit, convened by G20 president Saudi Arabia following a suggestion from Modi, marked the first time the grouping’s leaders met via video conference and discussed issues that were not focussed on economy and finance.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Focus on Collective Well-Being of Entire Humankind: PM Modi at G20

3. Congress Says Govt Package Modest, CPM Calls Rs 20 Hike in MGNREGA Pay a ‘Joke’

Hours after the Centre announced a financial assistance package for the poor, unorganised workers and those who need immediate help amid the 21-day lockdown, the Congress and the CPM on Thursday called the measures announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman “inadequate” and “too little, too late”.

While former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi called the package ‘the first step in the right direction”, senior party leader P Chidambaram only gave it a “cautious welcome”. Congress leader Anand Sharma said he “broadly” supports the action plan.

The party’s communications department head Randeep Surjewala asked the government to revise the package, and said the quantities of free rice and wheat announced for the poor are insufficient. He also asked the government to declare harvesting and procurement as essential services.

(Source: The Indian Express)

4. Top Panel to Look Into Logistic Issues; MHA Issues Sop to Fix Supply Chain

Identifying the delivery of essential items as key to the success of the 21-day nationwide lockdown, the government has formed a high-level inter-departmental Logistics Committee for COVID-19 Relief Operations. This committee comprises six Secretaries, Chairman Railway Board and others to sort out all issues related to supplies.

On Thursday, the Home ministry issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for states to ensure the smooth running of the supply chain during the lockdown. It identified restaurants supplying home delivery of food as essential, among others. “Large brick and mortar stores or e-commerce companies would be allowed to operate ensuring strict social distancing,” states the letter to states and Union Territories.

(Source: The Indian Express)

5. As States in East Send SOS, Centre Too Says: Help Stranded Migrants

The Centre Thursday asked all states to ensure food and shelter for thousands of migrant workers who have been left stranded without jobs amid a national lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The Centre stepped in after the chief ministers of West Bengal and Odisha appealed to the rest of the country to assist workers from the two states, Bihar announced relief measures of its own, and Jharkhand set up a team of IAS officers to coordinate its efforts.

“We have asked state governments to arrange food and shelter for migrant workers. We are sensitising everyone that wherever they are, they should remain there,” said Punya Salila Srivastava, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs.

(Source: The Indian Express)

6. Taking Testing Cue From South Korea, ICMR Seeks 5 Lakh Antibody Kits

As part of efforts to step up testing for coronavirus, the Indian Council of Medical Research has invited manufacturers to supply 5 lakh antibody kits for diagnosis of infection. Experts in the government point out that the serological test will act as a screening process, as was done in South Korea, one of the few countries which has been able to flatten the pandemic curve.

Dr V Ravi, Head and Senior Professor, Department of Neurovirology, NIMHANS, who specialises in public health virology and development of indigenous kits, told The Indian Express that considering the large number of suspected patients being quarantined in the country through contact tracing of just a single patient, the antibody testing for COVID-19 will act as a “screening test” that will give quick results in a few hours.

(Source: The Indian Express)

7. Youth Who Jumped to Death From Safdarjung Hospital Tests Negative for COVID-19

The 23-year-old man who committed suicide by jumping off the seventh floor of Safdarjung Hospital, where he was taken for coronavirus testing from Delhi’s IGI Airport earlier this month, has tested negative for COVID-19.

A resident of Punjab’s Balachaur district, the man had arrived from Sydney on 18 March, and was taken to the hospital after he complained of a headache during screening at the airport.

“He reached the hospital around 9 pm along with four other passengers. The incident took place within 30-35 minutes. His sample was collected and the report came back negative, a few days after the incident,” said a senior doctor from the hospital.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak: What Our Urdu Poets Wrote About Pandemics

8. Delhi Cop Tips Over Vegetable Carts Amid Lockdown in Video, Suspended

Armed with a stick, a man is seen tipping over "thelas", or vegetable carts, in a video taken in Delhi amid a lockdown over coronavirus. The man caught on camera turned out to be a police constable in plainclothes, apparently bullying vegetable sellers for "violating" lockdown.

The constable, Rajbir, has been suspended after the video, filmed on mobile phone camera on Wednesday at Ranjit Nagar in central Delhi, emerged on social media and was widely circulated.

Rajbir is seen going from cart to cart, tipping them over, leaving vegetables scattered on the road. Three vendors look helplessly as he goes around lifting the plastic sheet covering their wares before toppling them.

(Source: NDTV)

9. Ban On International Flights Extended to 14 April Over Coronavirus Crisis

International flights will remain banned till 14 April, the government announced today amid a complete national lockdown to fight coronavirus.

A week long ban imposed last week has been extended, the civil aviation ministry said. The ban will not apply to cargo flights or those specially permitted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviaion.

Domestic flights have been banned till 31 March.

Trains, metros, inter-state buses and all public transport has been banned to check the spread of the disease, which has infected over 600 in India.

(Source: NDTV)