New Delhi: As the nationwide coronavirus cases neared 5,000-mark on Tuesday, the Central government is mulling to extend the 21-day lockdown beyond April 14. In this regard, Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier had meeting with chief ministers of all states through video conferencing and had asked for their suggestions about the lockdown extension. Also Read - Coronavirus in Gujarat: 14-month-old Toddler Dies of COVID-19 in Jamnagar
In response to PM Modi’s call, a number of states on Tuesday came up with suggestions to extend the lockdown, even some states said that it is not yet time to withdraw it. On Tuesday, several states announced plans to ramp up their testing infrastructure and put in place strong ‘cluster containment’ plans in areas identified as hotspots of the outbreak. Also Read - New York Leads Coronavirus Death Toll With 731 Fatalties in 24 Hours
1) The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday evening stated that 4,789 confirmed cases and 124 deaths have been reported so far in the country. The health Ministry stated that more than 400 have so far been cured and discharged, while nearly 1.1 lakh tests have been conducted in the country. Officials of the ministry said that the lockdown and social distancing measures have helped contain the pandemic in a big way in India. Also Read - ICMR Issues Guidelines For Establishing Sample Collection Sites For Coronavirus Tests
2) Government sources on Tuesday said many state governments and experts are requesting the Centre to extend the lockdown and the central government is thinking in that direction. Some states, however, indicated that the lockdown conditions could be relaxed for some segments.
3) On the other hand, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said some relaxation on work front for unorganised sector workers was on anvil. However, she clarified that all must practice social distancing. West Bengal has identified seven COVID-19 hotspots in the state.
4) Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said his government will extend the lockdown if the need arises, while his counterpart in Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot, said the state cannot withdraw the lockdown immediately and it has to be done in a phased manner. A Karnataka government minister said it’s too early to take a call now on lifting the nation-wide lockdown but appeared favouring an extension by at least two weeks.
5) Talking about economy, the rating agency ICRA on Tuesday gave a GDP forecast of just 2 per cent for the current fiscal and said the Indian economy is estimated to have contracted by 4.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of FY20 ended March 31.
6) On job front, the industry body Retailers Association of India warned that around 80,000 jobs were expected to be cut by various retailers due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
7) The International Labour Organisation (ILO), meanwhile, said that the COVID-19 crisis has the potential to push around 40 crore informal sector workers in India deeper into poverty, with the lockdown and other containment measures affecting jobs and earnings.
8) In another development, US President Donald Trump said he would be surprised if New Delhi did not relent to the request as it has good relations with Washington and warned India of retaliation if it did not export the anti-malarial drug despite his personal request.
9) Addressing a press conference, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a five-point action plan of five Ts — testing, tracing, treatment, team-work and tracking — and monitoring to contain the virus spread. He also said one lakh random rapid COVID-19 tests will be conducted in the city’s hotspot areas.
10) A Group of Ministers on COVID19 on Tuesday recommended extension of closure of all educational institutions and restricting all religious activities having public participation till May 15 irrespective of whether the government extends the 21-day lockdown or not.
11) The Central government on Tuesday said medical professionals losing lives due to coronavirus or while treating such patients will be covered under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package Insurance scheme. Under the scheme, 22.12 lakh public health care providers and community health workers will get an insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh.
12) As per late-night updates, an ordinance to amend a law to reduce the salaries of Members of Parliament by 30 per cent for one year “to meet the exigencies arising out of COVID-19 pandemic” was promulgated on Tuesday. The Salary, Allowances And Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 will come into force immediately.
13) The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has asked social media platforms like Tiktok, Helo and Facebook to remove rogue messages spreading misinformation and weakening government’s effort to fight against the coronavirus.
14) On the other hand, the Assam government on Tuesday announced a 30-per cent cut in the salaries for the chief minister, ministers and MLAs for one year and said the fund accrued will be used for the treatment of COVID-19 patients and management of the outbreak.
15) Odisha on Tuesday reported its first COVID-19 fatality with the death of a 72-year-old man in Bhubaneswar. The state also reported a fresh coronavirus case during the day, taking the total count of those infected to 42.