Coronavirus latest updates: Visa, e-visa of stranded foreigners extended till Apr 30

NEW DELHI: India’s count of coronavirus cases crossed 9,000 on Sunday while the death toll went past 300 on a day when 763 fresh cases and as many as 39 deaths were reported from states. Maharashtra contributed heavily to both figures even as five people succumbed to the disease in Delhi. Maharashtra reported 221 fresh cases and 22 deaths, both second-highest single-day figures for the state.

Here is a look at the latest news on the outbreak of coronavirus from India and around the world —
Visa, e-visa of stranded foreigners extended till Apr 30
The government on Monday extended on gratis basis the regular visa and e-visa of foreign nationals who are stranded in India due to COVID-19 till April 30, the Home Ministry said.

“Regular visa, e-visa or stay stipulation, of such foreign nationals who have been stranded in India because of spread of COVID-19 in many parts of the world, and due to consequent travel restrictions imposed by Indian authorities and whose visas have expired or would be expiring during February 1 (Midnight) to April 30 (Midnight), would be extended till April 30 (Midnight) on GRATIS basis, after making online application by the foreigner,” a home ministry statement said.

746 coronavirus cases in Delhi are from Nizamuddin Markaz area, says Satyendar Jain
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Monday informed that 746 out of the 1,154 coronavirus cases in the national capital are from Markaz area in Nizamuddin, which emerged as a COVID-19 hotspot after hundreds of people who attended Tablighi Jamaat event last month tested positive for the virus.

PM Narendra Modi to address the nation at 10 am on Tuesday
On Tuesday, the 21-day, nation-wide lockdown announced by the Central government comes to end. It is expected that the lockdown will be extended for two more weeks.

Last week, PM Modi held a video conference with all the chief ministers and discussed the plan to tackle to ongoing crisis. During the meeting, several chief ministers had suggested that the lockdown should be extended.

Two surrendered Naxals join COVID-19 war
Two Naxals who surrendered in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district have extended a helping hand in the fight against coronavirus by preparing masks for police personnel and local people. Madkam Lakkha (31) and Reena Vekko (30), who worked with Naxals in the forests of south Bastar, surrendered before police in the last couple of years after realising that “violence brings nothing except pain”. They have now joined the war against the coronavirus pandemic as they have realised that “helping people gives ultimate happiness”. Over last 10 days, Lakkha and Vekko, along with a policeman, have stitched around 1,000 masks.

Union ministers, senior bureaucrats back at work, reports IANS
Almost all Central Ministers, Joint Secretaries and above rank officials resumed their work in their ministries concerned from Monday after a 19-day break due to the Covid-19 lockdown to put together plans for post-shutdown period to kick-start the economy. Most of the ministers and officials have been following the government’s work-from-home protocols issued in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Besides the ministers, all officers of the joint-secretary level and above have been asked to be present in the ministries along with one-third of the essential staff from Monday, sources said.

RBI to use any means necessary to revive growth
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), headed by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das, was originally scheduled for March 31, April 1 and 3, 2020, but was advanced in view of the coronavirus pandemic. After the three-day meeting which ended on March 27, the RBI reduced the key policy rate by 75 basis points. As per the minutes of the MPC meet, released by the RBI, Das said the global macroeconomic situation has abruptly worsened in the last fortnight or so. All-out efforts are needed to mitigate the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the RBI will use any instrument necessary to revive growth and preserve financial stability, according to the minutes of the meeting.

19 more people, 3 new areas infected in Mumbai’s Dharavi
Dharavi reported 19 more Covid-19 cases on Sunday with the novel coronavirus spreading into new slum pockets, where congested living spaces pose a containment challenge. The latest cases took the total number to 47 in Dharavi, a part of the city with far more slums than formal housing structures. So far five deaths have been reported from the area. Officials said that seven of the cases came from three different localities where no positive cases had been found before.

Karnataka hospital celebrates recovery of 4 corona patients
Karnataka’s Chikkaballapura government hospital staff celebrated the recovery of four Covid-19 patients with bouquets and applause, medical education minister K Sudhakar said on Monday. The medical education minister shared a video showing a woman, followed by three mask-wearing men walking in a single line to receive their discharge farewell in the hospital. All four of them were presented a sapling and another unidentifiable package as they walked out. During the farewell, many hospital workers stood on either side to celebrate their recovery by clapping their hands.

Allow 16 sectors to resume ops: Industry dept to MHA
The department of promotion of industry and internal trade has sought opening up 16 manufacturing segments – from food and beverages to auto, steel and cement to plastics, paints and exports – where production has halted due to the lockdown, while suggesting a protocol that industries could follow once factories are back in operation. Government sources, however, cautioned that DPIIT had merely made a suggestion and there was no decision to end the lockdown.

Govt to expand Covid-19 testing to ‘cold spots’ with no cases yet
The districts that will be taken up for sampling are being identified and a combination of pool and rapid testing will be adopted to check for the presence of Covid-19. The move, besides providing additional clinical data of the disease, is also intended to respond to criticism that India is not testing enough and positive cases might be under-reported.

With Aarogya Setu app, India has shown the way, says World Bank
Citing the example of the app, a World Bank report released on Sunday said innovative solutions could greatly help educate and track contagion across the populations at large. Global tech majors Apple and Google said on Saturday that they were building a software into smartphones that would help in contact tracing and inform users whether they were in touch with Covid-19 infected persons.

Maharashtra may hand out anti-malaria drug as preventive medicine
The Maharashtra government is considering giving hydroxychloroquine sulphate (HCQS) tablets as a “preventive medicine” to slum residents at highest risk of the infection. A high-ranking state government official said suspected patients kept in quarantine centres in Dharavi were likely to be the first to receive HCQS-an antimalarial drug.

China’s new coronavirus cases rise to near 6-week high
A total of 108 new coronavirus cases were reported on Sunday, up from 99 a day earlier and marking the highest number of cases since 143 cases were reported on March 5. The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China now stands at 82,160, while the death toll rose by two to 3,341.

Germany’s coronavirus cases rise by 2,537, deaths by 126
Germany’s number of confirmed coronavirus infections has risen by 2,537 to 123,016, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday. That was lower than a 2,821 increase reported on Sunday, and marked the third decline after four days of increases.

‘Trump asked why not allow coronavirus to wash over US’ as toll passes 21,000
US President Donald Trump reportedly considered allowing the coronavirus pandemic to “wash over” America last month even as the death toll from Covid-19 infections in the US neared 21000 on Sunday, the highest among all countries but significantly less than what was feared. Infections across the country continued to rise beyond half a million, and for the first time in American history, all 50 states were declared disaster zones eligible for federal help despite the overall sense that the worst may be over in terms of deaths — if mitigation measures hold.

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