The total number of novel coronavirus cases in India skyrocketed to 2,069 on Thursday (April 2). So far, 53 people have died, and now, the Tablighi Jamaat incident has triggered a major concern, prompting the Centre and state governments to start identifying the attendees stranded in several parts of the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has discussed with chief ministers the situation, and asked them to brainstorm and send suggestions on a strategy from exit from the lockdown. In a tweet, he later said he will share a video message, which could possibly be about the pandemic and the lockdown, at 9 am on Friday.
Here are the latest developments from the day:
328 cases, 12 deaths in 1 day: India reported 328 confirmed cases and 12 deaths in the last 24 hours since Wednesday, said the government on Thursday. It said about 400 cases were found whose epidemiological linkage can be traced to the Tablighi Jamaat. However, the revised numbers on the ministry’s website put the count at 2,065 cases and the toll at 53.
PM video-meet with CMs: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a video conference with the chief ministers, during which he told them to focus on COVID-19 containment measures with a common goal of ensuring minimum loss of life, and pitched for a joint strategy for a “staggered” exit from the ongoing lockdown.
960 Tablighi visas cancelled: India has blacklisted 960 foreigners and cancelled their visas after finding they were involved in Tablighi Jamaat activities violating their visa conditions. The Home Minister’s Office has asked Delhi Police and police chiefs of other states, where these foreigners are currently living, to take legal action against them.
Will Flight services be back? Airlines are free to take ticket bookings from passengers for any date after April 14, said Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola, suggesting the bookings may have to be cancelled in case the 21-day lockdown is extended. The Centre said resumption of international flights will be considered depending on which countries passengers are coming from after April 15.
Cops, docs under attack: Police personnel faced attacks in several parts of the country while trying to enforce the lockdown. In Bihar, police and medical personnel were attacked in Munger when they had gone there to collect samples from suspects. In West Bengal, at least nine personnel were injured in attacks in several districts like West Midnapore and South 24 Paraganas.
Ministers violate guideline: Two Telangana ministers — Allola Indrakaran Reddy and Puvvada Ajay Kumar — and their wives participated in the Ram Navami celebrations at the Sri Sita Ramachandra Swamy Temple in Bhadrachalam on Thursday, despite the government orders against mass gathering during the ongoing 21-day lockdown period over the coronavirus pandemic.
Panic in Dharavi: The death of a COVID-19 patient from Mumbai’s Dharavi, known as one of the biggest slums in Asia, exposed its residents to vulnerability of contracting the infection and sparked a fear of its spread in the highly congested area. A civic official said the area has been demarcated as a ‘containment zone’.
Doctors infected in Delhi: Two resident doctors of the Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi have tested positive for COVID-19, said official sources. At state government-run Sardar Patel Hospital and Delhi State Cancer Institute (DSCI) too, a doctor each has tested positive for the coronavirus infection, they said. DSCI has been shut for a day to disinfect the premises, an official said.
Swiggy initiative: Swiggy said it has tied up with commercial kitchens, state governments and NGOs to provide daily meal to thousands of underprivileged, daily wagers and stranded migrant labourers during the 21-day lockdown. The goal is to serve five lakh meals daily, the company said about its ‘Hope, Not Hunger’ initiative.
Row over foreign funds: The Centre’s decision to accept contributions from abroad to PM-CARES fund has prompted social media users to take potshots at it as Kerala was not allowed to receive foreign aid after the 2018 floods. PTI sources, meanwhile, said the decision to accept foreign funds is in sync with the policy of receiving donations to the PMNRF since 2011.
Global markets rebound: Global equities mostly rebounded on Thursday from recent coronavirus-fuelled losses, as oil rallied on hopes of an end to a Saudi-Russia price war, and resurgent Chinese energy demand, said dealers. London stock market advanced 0.3% in midday deals and oil soared over 10%. The European single currency meanwhile dipped versus the dollar.