New Delhi: The confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country, as per latest updates, crossed 140 with a new case being reported from West Bengal. A man, who had recently returned from England, on Tuesday night tested positive for coronavirus in West Bengal, making it the first case in the state. Also Read - Coronavirus: Kolkata Person With Travel History to England Tests Positive, Marks First Case in West Bengal
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday said that the domestic air travel has come down by 20-30 per cent and the aviation sector is suffering losses due to it. Also Read - On Call With Saudi Prince, PM Modi Discusses Coordinated Efforts to Address Coronavirus
While responding to a debate in Lok Sabha, Puri said national carrier Air India, which was suffering a loss of Rs 26 crore every day, has been further hit due to the outbreak. Also Read - Sri Lanka Suspends All Incoming International Flights Amid Coronavirus Fears
Here are top developments on the virus that has almost brought life to standstill across the country.
1) To address the global challenge of coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday held a telephonic conversation with Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Bin Salman, and emphasised the need for coordinated efforts to address the infection.
2) Soon after news reports surfaced that nearly 300 Indian nationals, including students, are stranded at the Kuala Lumpur airport following cancellation of flights, Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday night said that the Central government has arranged flights for the stranded nationals to fly back to India. Taking to Twitter, the EAM said appreciated the citizens for coping with the difficult situation at Kuala Lumpur airport. He also urged them to understand the precautions.
3) As the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus went up to 41 in the state, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday clarified that the public transport in the state will remain open and there will be no closure of government offices. “We are working on allowing functioning of government offices with 50 per cent strength,” Uddhav Thackeray said.
4) The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday issued a fresh advisory to all the airlines and said that all aircraft must be deep-cleaned and disinfected at least once in 24 hours. The DGCA further stated that all aircraft must have at least one universal precaution kit to protect crew who will handle suspected coronavirus cases. “All aircraft must be equipped with hand sanitisers placed in common areas like lavatories and galleys,” the DGCA said.
5) To stop the spread of the virus, the Indian Railways has cancelled 85 trains. It has also issued a set of guidelines to zonal railways for its catering staff stating no employee having fever, cough, runny nose or difficulty in breathing should be deployed in the business of food handling on Indian Railways. As per updates, central railways cancelled 23 trains, south central railways cancelled 29 trains, western railways cancelled 10 trains, south eastern railways cancelled 9 trains, east coast and northern railways cancelled 5 trains each, and north western railways cancelled 4 trains.
6) Going out of the way, Delhi Police on Tuesday appealed to the people to remain indoors as far as possible and asked them not to come outside for leisure activities in view of coronavirus. Prior to this, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said religious, social, cultural and political gatherings comprising more than 50 people will not be allowed in the national capital till March 31.
7) On the other hand, Kendriya Vidyalayas in the national capital have decided to announce their annual examination results through email and WhatsApp this year. Issuing a statement, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) officials said any discussion or queries about their ward’s performance can be pursued with teachers on phone.
8) As the number of coronavirus cases started increasing in the country, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board on Tuesday night asked pilgrims to put off their visit to the famous cave temple. The appeal was made by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SMVDSB Ramesh Kumar after reviewing all aspects related to the yatra and the safety of pilgrims.
9) Call it superstition or unbelief, West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh on Tuesday night said there is no harm in drinking cow urine and he has no qualms in admitting he consumes it. Notably, a cow urine-consumption programme was organised in north Kolkata on Monday out of the belief that it will protect people from coronavirus. “There is no harm in consumption of urine. For ages, people in our country has consumed urine, all of them have been fit and fine. I have no qualm in accepting that I consume cow urine and will again do so. I am not an opportunist,” he said.
10) The Madras High Court has issued a notification restricting entry into the court premises in view of the coronavirus outbreak. All non-essential services like canteen and even Bar associations have been asked to remain closed during the lockdown period.
11) As part of the preventive measure, the Punjab government ordered closure of all zoos in the state till March 31 in view of the coronavirus outbreak. “There is a large zoo at Chhatbir near Chandigarh. Besides, there are four other small zoos at Patiala, Ludhiana, Bathinda and Neelon near Samrala in Punjab. Moreover, the wildlife authorities are also taking necessary precautions regarding bio-safety parameters at zoos.
12) Giving relaxation to its employees, budget carrier GoAir on Tuesday announced suspending international operations. It also offered leave without pay programme for its staff on a rotational basis. As per updates, the airline was also planning a 20 per cent pay cut for employees in a staggered manner.