India has 618 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 562 are active, according to data from the Health Ministry and State governments. The death toll stands at 13, with Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh recording their first COVID-19 deaths. Gujarat has reported its second death.
Among India’s immediate neighbours, China has registered over 80,000 confirmed cases so far, according to the WHO. Over 3,000 people have died due to the virus. In Pakistan, over 800 confirmed cases and six deaths have been registered.
The new 24/7 national helpline numbers are 1075 and 1800-112-545 and 011-23978046. Email: ncov2019-at-gmail.com. The Prime Minister has announced a WhatsApp helpdesk number: 9013151515.
Here are the latest updates:
11.25 p.m. | Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu reports three more cases
Three more cases has been reported from Tamil Nadu. State Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar tweeted that an 18-year-old man who was in contact with Tamil Nadu’s second patient, a Dubai-returned 63-year-old man who returned from Dubai and a 66-year-old Man who was in contact with infected Thai nationals are among the new cases. The new cases are isolation at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Chennai, Wallajah GH and IRT, Perundurai respectively.
10.45 p.m.| Telangana/A.P.
Telangana, A.P. report two fresh cases each
Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have reported two new cases of coronavirus each. Of the two A.P. cases, one has returned from the U.S. and the other from Delhi.
10.40 p.m. | Rajasthan
Two fresh COVID-19 positive cases have been reported in Rajasthan. One each from Bhilwara and Jhunjhunu, taking the number of coronavirus-infected patients in the State to 38.
10.20 p.m. | Gujarat
Second death reported in Gujarat
A lady patient infected with Coronavirus has died in Ahmedabad civil hospital. This is the second death in Gujarat.
Two fresh cases reported in Punjab taking total to 31
The Punjab government on Wednesday issued a fresh set of directives to the police and civil administration to ensure that the people are not inconvenienced during the lockdown even as the State has reported two fresh cases of COVID-19.
The State’s Health department said two new cases of COVID-19 had been reported in Punjab on March 25 taking the total to 31. One patient is from the Hoshiarpur district is a close contact of a positive case. The other patient is from Ludhiana and doesn’t have a travel history. The source of the patient’s infection is being identified, it said.
8.00 p.m. | Karnataka
Karnataka sees 10 new cases on March 25, total rises to 51
Ten new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Karnataka on March 25 taking the total number of cases to 51.
Although Health Minister B. Sriramulu tweeted on March 25 morning that a woman from Gowribidanur who tested positive after returning from Mecca succumbed to the infection in Bowring and Lady Curzon hospital at 1 a.m. on Wednesday, department officials said as she also had other co-morbidities, they were waiting for all her other reports.
The 51 cases include one death and three persons who have been discharged.
The COVID-19 positive cases in UP is now 38, with a fresh case in Pilibhit, as per directorate of health services. The patient is a contact of a recent positive case, a woman who had travelled from Saudi Arabia.
Election Commission allows use of indelible ink to mark those quarantined
The Election Commission of India on Wednesday said it had allowed the government to use indelible ink, which is normally used to mark voters, to mark people ordered quarantine themselves at home in view of the “extraordinary circumstances” due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a letter to the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, the ECI wrote that it had taken the suo motu decision to allow the use of indelible ink with certain conditions. The ECI’s decision followed several State governments using different stamps to mark those who had been ordered to quarantine at home after returning from abroad.
6.40 p.m. | Indore
M.P records first death
Madhya Pradesh recorded its first COVID-19 death after a 65-year-old woman, originally from Ujjain, succumbed to the disease in Indore on Wednesday. She was tested positive earlier today.
Mamata Banerjee demands ₹1,500 crore package from Centre to tackle coronavirus
Speaking to reporters through video-conference from the State secretariat, Ms. Banerjee said the Centre should provide a special package as the State is finding it difficult to do “everything” with its “limited resources”.
“We had made the same request at the all-party meeting two days back. The Centre should announce a special financial package for the State in the current situation,” she said.
Watch | A history of pandemics since the 20th century
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6.20 p.m. | Bhopal
Journalist who attended Kamal Nath’s press meet tests COVID-19 positive
Panic gripped officials and journalists in Bhopal on Wednesday as a senior journalist, who had attended a press conference of former Chief Minister Kamal Nath and visited the Vidhan Sabha and the Raj Bhavan, tested positive for COVID-19.
The journalist is the father of the woman, who was the first case in the city to test positive on March 22 after returning from London. He is the 15th positive case in the State.
6.05 p.m. | New Delhi
Please abide by conditions of lockdown given by PM Modi: Kejriwal
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal addresses the media. “I appeal to you with folded hands: please abide by the conditions of lockdown announced by the prime minister,” he says a day after Narendar Modi’s address to the nation announcing the nationawide 21-day lockown.
“We have devised a method to assist those private employees who do not have ID cards — whether they are employed at Govt. hospitals or facilities associated with essential services or private ones — everything to do with their manufacturing, storage or distribution will get passes.
“Just call 1031 and you will be assisted with information about how you can get an e-pass.”
“This was for those associated with essential services; when it comes to those who are not associated with these services, there is no pass needed. You can walk to your neighbourhood store and purchase what you need to, no one will stop you from doing so.”
He talked about the issues of medical staff being harassed by landlords.
“We will take very strict action against those landlords who are harassing or misbehaving with doctors, nurses, hospital staff dealing with corona patients based only on suspicion; orders to this effect have been issued,” Mr Kejriwal said.
“I appeal to you again, the Navratras are also on, take a pledge that you will ensure that anyone around you will not go to sleep hungry. This is real worship, this is real service for the nation.”
5.50 pm | J&K
Four people test positive Kashmir
Four more people testes positive in Kashmir on Wednesday, taking the total number of cases to 11. All four persons were part of a religious event attended by a patient who tested postive on Tuesday, said the Jammu & Kashmir government.
5.30 pm | New Delhi
PM Modi announces WhatsApp number to serve as coronavirus helpdesk
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said he was very pained by the misbehaviour of some people against doctors, airlines crew and staff of essential services who are at the forefront of combating coronavirus.
He also asserted that the deadly virus does not differentiate between the rich and the poor asked people to be at home and practice social distancing.
Addressing people of his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi via video, he said the Mahabharata war was won in 18 days but this war against coronavirus will take 21 days.
He was referring to the 21 day nation-wide lockdown announced by him on March 24.
He pointed out that around one lakh people infected with COVID-19 are recovering and this also needs to be highlighted.
The PM announced that the Centre has tied up with WhatsApp to create a helpdesk for providing credible information on coronavirus. The number is 9013151515.
5.00 p.m.| New Delhi
Shops selling essentials, medicines will remain open throughout 21-day lockdown: Javadekar
Union minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday said there was no need for people to panic as shops selling essentials and medicines will remain open throughout the 21-day lockdown imposed to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
He also said there were sufficient legal provisions available to deal with black marketeers and hoarders.
4.40 pm | Chennai
4.30 pm | Mumbai
Passenger train services cancelled till April 14
The Railways in an official release said all passenger train services, including suburban trains and Kolkata Metro, will remain suspended till April 14.
However, freight operations shall continue.
4.20 pm | New Delhi
Delhi allows production of ethanol-based sanitisers
The Delhi government has granted permission to all the manufacturers of drugs and cosmetics in the capital to produce such items with ethanol as the base up to June 30, authorities said on Wednesday.
Health Minister Satyendar Jain, in a tweet, shared a copy of a circular with regard to the decision taken by the Drug Control Department of the Kejriwal government, and also said, “No separate license is required for the same.”
4.00 pm | London
Britain’s Prince Charles tests positive
Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has tested positive for COVID-19, reported ITV.
“The Prince of Wales has tested positive for Coronavirus,” Clarence House said in a statement. “He has been displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual.” The statement added that the Duchess of Cornwall has also been tested but does not have the virus. The Prince and his wife, Camilla, are self-isolating at home in Scotland.
“It is not possible to ascertain from whom the Prince caught the virus owing to the high number of engagements he carried out in his public role during recent weeks,” the statement said.
3.50 pm | New Delhi
Centre postpones Census, NPR exercise
The first phase of the Census 2021 and updation of NPR, which was to begin on various dates decided by the State/UT governments beginning from April 1, 2020 and various related field activities, are postponed until further orders, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a press statement.
3.40 pm | Mumbai
Police in Mumbai, Delhi reach out to e-commerce platforms
Amidst increasing confusion over the terms and conditions of the nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Mumbai Police on Wednesday started reaching out to e-commerce platforms to ensure that essential commodities were delivered to citizens without any hitches.
Meanwhile, the Delhi police have created a WhatsApp group with all e-commerce companies to resolve issues related to mobility at the earliest. Curfew passes will be issued to vehicles involved in delivery of essential items.
3.40 pm | New Delhi
ECI allows use of indelible ink to mark those under home quarantine
The Election Commission of India allowed the use of indelible ink to mark those ordered to quarantine at home and told the Health Ministry not to mark any finger on the left hand and to standardise the mark.
3.30 pm | Jammu & Kashmir
J&K administration orders closure of government offices
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has ordered the closure of all government offices, excluding those providing essential services, till April 14 in the Union Territory.
3.30 pm | New Delhi
It’s not true that delivery has stopped everywhere, says Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, in reply to a question about grocery delivery services suspending operations, at the Cabinet briefing.
3.20 pm | Gujarat
Gujarat to provide free grocery essentials to 60 lakh ration card holders
The Gujarat government will provide food items like wheat, rice, pulses and sugar free of cost to around 60 lakh ration card holding families through fair price shops starting April 1, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said on Wednesday.
3.00 pm | New Delhi
Will give the States all the ration for 3 months in advance: Javadekar
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, while addressing a Cabinet briefing, says: “All essential goods shops will remain open. But we need to follow social distancing like a shopkeeper did in Anand in Gujarat or in Puducherry.”
He holds up photos of people standing in circles drawn in chalk outside grocery shops.
Mr. Javadekar says: “The question of what will happen to the poor is raised. But we should not forget that the Central government gives 80 crore people ration. It’s the world’s largest food security scheme,” adding, “We will give the states all the ration for 3 months in advance.”
The Union Minister said the government provides wheat for Rs. 2 when it costs the Food Corporation of India Rs.27, and rice for Rs.3 when it costs Rs.37.
All States have been told to start helplines and the Union Home Ministry will announce its own helpline number today, says Mr. Javadekar.
People don’t need to rush and buy in bulk. Shops will stay open for 21 days, he says.
“The government is keeping an eye on the situation. If they were working here, they must have been living somewhere. They should stay where they are,” he says when asked about migrant workers who are staying at bus shelters or train stations.
3.00 pm | New Delhi
No new case in Delhi since Sunday, say officials
No new case of COVID-19 in Delhi has been reported in the past 60 hours, according to Delhi government officials.
The last positive case in the city was detected on Sunday, when the total number of cases increased to 30 from 27.
The total number of cases has remained at 30 since then.
2.50 pm | Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu reports five new cases
Five news cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Tamil Nadu as four Indonesian nationals and their travel guide from Chennai tested positive at the Salem Medical College. They had been under quarantine since March 22.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said all students between Class 1 and 9 will be declared to have passed their annual examinations for this academic year. All the Class 12 students, who could not appear in their public exam on March 24 would be able to appear for the paper another day, the date for which will be declared later.
2.45 pm | Chennai
Migrant workers stranded as trains stop plying
Migrant workers living in Chennai were stranded at the MGR Central Railway Station, after trains stopped plying on March 23. They have been lodged at a community hall in Chinthadripet in Chennai since then.
The Chennai Corporation along with its network of volunteers is supplying food to these workers.
2.20 pm | Madhya Pradesh
Second positive case in Bhopal
The father of the first patient in Bhopal has tested positive for COVID-19, said Bhopal Collector Tarun Kumar Pithode. With this, two cases have been detected in the city so far.
2.00 pm | Karnataka
Udupi reports first COVID-19 case
A 34-year-old man has tested positive for COVID-19 here. This is the first case in Udupi district.
A press release issued by the District Health and Family Welfare Officer here on Wednesday said that the man had come from Dubai to Udupi district on March 18. Since he showed symptoms of COVID-19, he was admitted to the District Government Hospital here on March 23. His throat swab was sent for test and the preliminary report stated that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
1.45 pm | New Delhi
PM Modi chairs Cabinet meeting sans the oval table
The large oval table was gone and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers sat in chairs kept at a distance from each other as they practised “social distancing” to combat COVID-19 during a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Pictures showed that the ministers had small side tables next to their chairs to allow them to keep their documents.
1.30 pm | Karnataka
COVID-19 patient dies in Karnataka
A 75-year-old woman from Gauribidanur in Chikkaballapur district, who had tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from Mecca, died in the wee hours of Wednesday at the State-run Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital in Bengaluru.
Health and Family Welfare Minister B. Sriramulu confirmed this in a tweet. “The positive patient had several co-morbidities including diabetes and cardiac issues. She has also suffered a hip fracture and was undergoing treatment for the same. The cause of her death will be known only after all her other reports are out,” Mr Sriramulu tweeted.
The first COVID-19-related death in Karnataka was reported from Kalaburagi. A 76-year-old man, also with a travel history Mecca, had died on March 12. He was the country’s first victim of COVID-19.
1.25 pm | Rajasthan
Rajasthan reports 4 new cases
Four new COVID-19 positive cases have been reported in Rajasthan, of which three are from Bhilwara and one from Jodhpur. The total number of cases in Rajasthan is now 36.
Among the Bhilwara cases, two of the infected are hospital staff. The other one was infected by a doctor who was tested positive a few days ago. The Jodhpur patient is a train co-traveller of two who had tested positive for COVID-19 earlier.
1.20 pm | USA
U.S. Senate, White House agree on $2 trillion Coronavirus rescue plan
The White House and Senate leaders of both parties announced agreement early Wednesday on unprecedented emergency legislation to rush sweeping aid to businesses, workers and a health care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The urgently needed pandemic response measure is the largest economic rescue measure in history and is intended as a weeks- or months-long patch for an economy spiraling into recession and a nation facing a potentially ghastly toll.
1.10 pm | Mizoram
Mizoram man who returned from Netherlands is second positive case in Northeast
A 50-year-old man from Mizoram who returned from the Netherlands on March 16 has tested positive for COVID-19, State’s Health Minister R. Lalthangliana said on Wednesday.
His is the second case in the Northeast.
The first was that of a 23-year-old biomedicine student who had returned to her hometown Imphal, Manipur’s capital, from the U.K. on March 21.
1.05 pm | Kerala
Kerala enforces total prohibition
The Kerala government on March 25 enforced total prohibition in the State to prevent people from queuing up in front of State-run liquor outlets during the COVID-19 outbreak.
However, it is weighing a proposal to allow the Kerala State Beverages Corporation or shuttered bars to sell liquor online or as takeaway.
Currently, it is illegal for bars to allow customers to take away alcohol. Hence, the government will have to tweak the liquor rules to approve the proposed transaction.
1 pm | Gujarat
Total cases in Gujarat jump to 38
The total number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in Gujarat touched 38 on Wednesday after five new cases were reported in the past 24 hours. This includes three cases of local transmission.
Gujarat’s Principal Secretary (Health) said during the morning briefing thata total of 20,688 people are under quarantine in the State. Of this, 430 people are under government quarantine facility, 38 at private facilities, and 20,220 are under home quarantine across Gujarat.
The district-wise break-up of the cases are as follows: Ahmedabad – 14; Surat – 7; Rajkot – 3; Vadodara – 7; Gandhinagar – 6; Kutch – 1
12.50 pm | Maharashtra
We will celebrate Gudi Padwa once we defeat this virus: Uddhav Thackeray
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, in a press conference in Mumbai, urged the citizens to stay indoors.
“I am not here to say anything negative today. I know what you have been through last night,” he said, adding that we don’t know where the “enemy” is.
“May be this lockdown is bringing families together… it’s something we lost over the years,” he said.
He said that the government is in talks with the corporates with regard to the plight of daily wage labourers, and urged that payments to employees not be stopped.
Please go alone if you are going to get vegetables, medicines, he told the citizens.
“Today is Gudi Padwa (Maharashtrian ). Ideally it should have been festive mood. We are going to celebrate it, but only after defeating this virus,” said Mr. Thackeray.
12.40 pm | Kerala
Kerala to provide free ration to all
The Kerala government on Wednesday decided to give free provisions to all ration card holders in the State.
Below poverty line cardholders will get an additional 35 kg of rice free next month.
Other sections of cardholders, including above the poverty line and those holding non-priority cards would get up to 15 kg of rice free.
The government would also give free provision kits to those under home quarantine, irrespective of their income status.
12.30 pm | Chennai
Police register cases against three for jumping home quarantine
The police have registered cases against three more person who left their homes despite being on home quarantine. On Tuesday, in the first such case, Kodambakkam police had registered a case against a 45-year-old civil engineer for leaving his home, violating home quarantine.
The police have registered cases under sections of 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), section 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), section 271 (disobedience to quarantine rule) and Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act and Sec 51(b) of the Disaster Management Act.
12.20 pm | Maharashtra
Five more cases detected in western Maharashtra
Maharashtra’s ‘sugar heartland’ witnessed a surge in COVID-19 cases after five members of a family in Sangli district in the western part of the State tested positive, said authorities on Wednesday. The State’s tally of positive cases rose to 112.
While details are awaited, it is believed that the members of this family from Sangli’s Islampur tehsil either themselves had a history of travel to West Asia or were close contacts of previously diagnosed cases.
12.10 pm | Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu sanctions ₹2,187 crore towards cash support, essential commodities
The Tamil Nadu government has sanctioned funds to the tune of ₹2,187.8 crore, towards implementing the announcement made by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami in the State Legislative Assembly that cash support of ₹1,000 and essential commodities would be distributed to each of the eligible ration card holders across the State, as part of measures to mitigate the effect of the shut down on account of COVID-19.
According to a government order issued few hours after the CM’s announcement in the House on Tuesday, ₹2,014.69 crore has been earmarked towards distributing cash assistance and ₹173.1 crore has been allocated for supplying essential commodities through Public Distribution System (PDS) shops.
12 pm | Delhi
No need of panic-buying: Arvind Kejriwal
Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday assured Delhiites that the availability of essential items will be ensured.
“Given the situation we are in, there was no other way except a lockdown. We also want minimal inconvenience to the public, and will ensure the availability of essential items,” said Mr. Baijal.
“Milk, vegetables, edibles, products of daily use, and medicines are essential items, and we will ensure their availability. The Centre, LG and I are all working together. I want to assure you that there is no need to engage in panic-buying. All your needs will be met, I assure you, said Mr. Kejriwal.
He added that the government is making arrangements to issue passes, and that by Wednesday evening, arrangements will be in place to issue e-passes for those engaged in the supply of essential items. This will include vegetable vendors, said the Delhi CM.
11.50 am | Nagaland
Village councils restricting entry of people in Nagaland
Sreets in the Nagaland were empty on Wednesday on the first day of nationwide lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Police personnel along with ‘Dobashis’ have been deployed in strategic locations in the districts to restrict movement of people, except those who are outdoors for purchasing essential commodities and medicines.
In the state capital, volunteers of Angami Youth Organisation were also manning important points to prevent people from stepping outide their homes.
Many village councils have issued strict orders restricting the entry of people into the villages, and restraining the locals from leaving the area, without the permission of the authorities concerned.
11.40 am | Manipur
No newspapers in Manipur, new year celebrations lacklustre
The people in Manipur woke up on Wednesday morning to find that there were no newspapers, particularly when people need information following the report that a 23-year-old girl was the first person to have contracted COVID-19 in the Northeast region.
This despite the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, in a March 23 official letter, instructing all Chief Secretaries to ensure the operational continuity of electronic and print media in the face of the pandemic.
11.30 am | Kerala
The lockdown will pay off, says Alappuzha survivor
He had his first tryst with a lockdown in the Chinese city of Wuhan, ground zero of the COVID-19 outbreak.
After receiving a text message in the early hours of January 23, he, along with his friends, scrambled to reach the Wuhan Tianhe international airport to catch a flight back home. With the lockdown already in place, the airport was closed by the time they reached there.
But the group was lucky enough to get into the last train heading to Kunming, some 1,800 km away. From there, they all boarded a flight first to Kolkata and landed in Kochi on January 24.
After reaching his house in Alappuzha, the 23-year-old medical student went straight into strict self-quarantine. The rest are known facts. He was tested positive for COVID-19 on February 2, the second such case in the country. But, in two weeks, the medical student became the first person in India to be cured of the disease.
11.25 am | Bihar
Bihar reports fourth COVID-19 case
A 39-year-old man from Patna who recently returned from Gujarat has been tested positive for COVID-19 in Bihar.
He has been admitted to the isolation ward of government-owned Nalanda Medical College and Hospital in Patna, said nodal officer for COVID-19 in Bihar, Dr. Ragini Mishra.
Practising social distancing…
11.10 am | Jodhpur
277 people evacuated from coronavirus-hit Iran reach Army facility in Jodhpur
A batch of 277 people evacuated from the coronavirus-hit Iran arrived at the Jodhpur airport in Rajasthan on Wednesday early morning, a defence spokesperson said.
He said preliminary screening of the evacuees, mostly pilgrims, was conducted at the airport upon arrival and thereafter they were taken to the Army Wellness Facility set up at the Jodhpur Military Station.
11 am | Kerala
Life at an apartment complex in the time of lockdown
With 1,268 apartments split into 15 blocks and spread over 26 acres, the DLF New Town Heights at Kakkanad is easily one of the biggest apartment complexes not just in Kochi but in the entire State.
The challenge of managing a prolonged lockdown, therefore, is big with the residents’ welfare association giving top priority to waste management.
“Many residents have gone to their hometowns while there are a large number of retirees who are staying back. We have drawn up extensive plans to make their stay smooth and comfortable without having to venture out for anything,” said S. Anish, secretary of the association.
10.30 am | Delhi
Delhi death not due to COVID-19, says Health Minister
The Delhi death reported on Tuesday night has tested negative for COVID-19, said the Union Health Minister in a release issued on Wednesday morning.
The death toll due to COVID-19 in India is now nine.
10.20 am | India
Flipkart suspends operations
Walmart-owned Flipkart on Wednesday said it was suspending its operations temporarily as India entered into a 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Consequent to the order issued on March 24 by the Ministry of Home Affairs announcing a 21-day lockdown across India to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus causing Covid-19, we are temporarily suspending our services,” Flipkart said in a blogpost.
The blog further said “we will be back to serve you as soon as possible.”
10.10 am | Madhya Pradesh
Five in Indore test positive, MP cases rise to 14
Five persons admitted in different hospitals of Indore have tested positive for coronavirus taking the number of COVID-19 cases in Madhya Pradesh to 14, health officials said on March 25.
None of the patients in Indore have history of travel to abroad.
9.55 am | New Delhi
The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked private security agencies to not lay off security guards as malls, shops and other establishments are shut.
“This is the time for the private security industry to adopt a humane approach and protect its staff and members from lay-offs,” it said in an order.
9.30 am | Delhi
Despite repeated appeals from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to the public on the perils of gathering in a crowd during the COVID-19 pandemic, food markets in West Delhi saw robusts crowds on day 1 of the 21-day national lockdown.
9.20 am | New Delhi
No shortage of essential items, reiterates Centre
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday release a GO reiterating that there will be no shortage of essential items during the 21-day lockdown. It asked the States to publicise that food, medicine, civil supplies and essential items will be available, amid possibilities of “rumour mongering” that there is a shortage.
8.30 am | New Delhi
Govt gives power to zonal DCs to take strict action against landlords evicting doctors
The government on Wednesday gave power to zonal Deputy Commissioners to take “strict penal action” against landlords who have been forcing doctors and paramedical staff, engaged in fighting COVID-19, to vacate their rented premises.
According to a government notification, such behaviour “not only strikes at the root of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic but also tantamount to obstruction of duty of essential services”.
4.30 am | Jodhpur
277 Indians returned from Iran by Mahan air
All 277 passengers who returned from Iran and tested COVID-19 negative were sent to be quarantined at Jodhpur’s army quarantine facility.
They flew early morning by two special Air India flights at 3.30 a.m. and 4.30 a.m. from Delhi to Jodhpur in the last domestic flights before lock down.
The first flight was commanded by Capt M.S. Zaheer and Co-pilot Tulunga and Second flight commanded by Capt. Radheyshyam Arora and Co-pilot G. Singh.
3.30 am | New Delhi
Govt bans export of anti-malarial drug hydroxycloroquine
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the government on Wednesday banned export of anti-malarial drug hydroxycloroquine, with immediate effect to ensure sufficient availability of the medicine in the domestic market.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Balram Bhargava had on Monday recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine for treating healthcare workers handling suspected or confirmed coronavirus cases and also the asymptomatic household contacts of the lab-confirmed cases.
2.00 am | Chennai
TN records first death of COVID-19 patient
Tamil Nadu recorded its first death of a patient, who had tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The 54-year-old man, who tested positive on March 23 and was undergoing treatment at Government Rajaji Hospital, Madurai, died. At 2:02 a.m. on Wednesday, Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar tweeted, “Despite our best efforts, the COVID-19 positive patient in Madurai Rajaji Hospital passed away a few minutes back. He had medical history of prolonged illness with steroid dependent Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseas, uncontrolled diabetes with hypertension.”
Railways exploring manufacture of medical items
The Indian Railways is exploring the possibility of manufacturing select essential medical items such as hospital beds, medical trolleys and sanitizers at its various production units. In a communique to general managers at its production units, the Railway Board on Tuesday asked them to “assess the feasibility to manufacture these items in large quantities [as may be required] at short notice. Items identified thus may be communicated to the Board along with its likely production rate.”
Data | How prepared are India’s States in health infrastructure to tackle COVID-19
The chart plots the number of COVID-19 sample testing centres against the average number of people served by one testing centre across States. While Maharashtra has the highest number of testing centres and relatively better coverage, the State is still under-equipped to detect cases as one testing centre is available for 1.02 crore people.
(With inputs from PTI)
Army sets up helplines across J&K, Ladakh
As part of its effort to generate awareness among the people about coronavirus, Army’s Northern Command on March 24 established several telephone helplines across the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, a defence spokesman said.
While Srinagar residents can reach out for help on 0194-2467326, the residents of other districts can seek assistance through helplines at Baramulla (0195-2238826), Kupwara (0195-5252996), Shalateng (0194-2496618), Awantipura (0193-3247087), Nagrota (0191 254 7896), Akhnoor (0192 425 4244), Rajouri (0196 226 2477), Batote (0199 824 4361), Palma (0196 226 1503), Reasi (0199 124 5319) and Narian (0196 023 0026).
The helpline numbers for the UT of Ladakh are Leh (01982- 259011), Karu (01982- 249078), Kumbathang (01935- 278113) and Partapur(01980- 221013), he said.