Coronavirus Outbreak LIVE Updates: Rajasthan reports 64 new cases as states case count climbs to 1,799; six SRPF jawans test positive in Maharashtra

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    Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: 64 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Rajasthan, as of 9 am on Wednesday. The total cases in the state now at 1799, including 274 recovered, 97 discharged and 26 deaths, said Rajasthan Health Department.

    West Bengal writes a letter to MHA, assures cooperation to central teams visiting the state to assess lockdown situation. The letter also noted that the Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT)  had arrived without any prior consultation with the state government and, therefore, ‘there was neither such opportunity to provide any logistic support as envisaged in the order dated 19 April 2020 nor the team asked for any help.’

    Total confirmed COVID-19 cases in India have risen to 19,984, according to the latest update from the Union Health Ministry. This number includes cases involving foreign nationals, patients who have recovered and the toll. The toll in India due to the novel virus has risen to 640.

    President Donald Trump has said that he will halt issuing of new Green Cards or legal permanent residency for the next 60 days as part of his executive order to temporarily suspend immigration into the US. However, the move will not have any impact on those entering the country on a temporary basis, Trump said.

    While coronavirus cases in India inched towards 19,000 on Tuesday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) told state governments to stop using the China-made rapid antibody test kits for two days after Rajasthan flagged “inaccurate results”.

    The Union health ministry, in its daily press briefing, said that the toll from COVID-19 in India rose to 603 on Tuesday, while the number of cases rose to 18,985. Of them, 15,122 are active cases while 3,260 patients have recovered, the ministry added.

    Officials also said that the recovery rate has improved to 17.5 percent in the country and a record number of 705 patients were cured and discharged on Monday itself. Overall, more than 3,300 persons have been cured and discharged so far.

    The ICMR said that a total of 4,49,810 samples for COVID-19 infection had been tested till Tuesday, of which 35,852 were done on Monday.

    As many as 29,776 samples have been tested in 201 labs under the ICMR network, and 6,076 at 86 private laboratories.

     Coronavirus Outbreak LIVE Updates: Rajasthan reports 64 new cases as states case count climbs to 1,799; six SRPF jawans test positive in Maharashtra

    Representational image. AP

    ICMR tells states not to use rapid antibody tests for two days

    The Rajasthan government has stopped using the rapid testing kits procured from China after they delivered inaccurate results, PTI reported. The state government had received 30,000 kits through ICMR for free, while 10,000 kits were purchased at a cost of Rs 540 plus tax per kit.

    The rapid testing kits, through which blood samples are tested, are aimed at speeding up screening and detection of suspected coronavirus patients as they take less time to show results in comparison to the swab-based tests carried out in pathology labs.

    On Tuesday, Rajasthan’s health minister Raghu Sharma said the kits gave only 5.4 percent accurate results against the expectation of 90 percent accuracy and therefore the kits “were of no benefit”. He said the ICMR has been informed about the issue.

    Taking note of the Rajasthan government’s feedback, ICMR’s Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar told journalists that states have been advised not to use these rapid test kits for two days and a fresh advisory will be issued after field validation by its team.

    If any problems are detected, the companies will be asked for replacement, he added.

    Maharashtra govt revokes lockdown exemptions in Mumbai, Pune

    The Maharashtra government on Tuesday revoked lockdown relaxations and exemptions in Mumbai and Pune because “people are not behaving responsibly”, the CMO was quoted as saying.

    “The rest of the parts of the state to continue to have partial exemptions,” the statement added.

    Reportedly, the permission given to e-commerce companies to transport electronic goods, as well as to open sweets shops and confectioneries has been rolled back.

    E-commerce companies will only be allowed to transport food, essential items, medicines and medical devices.

    Additionally, the construction industry won’t be allowed to work in the cities and adjoining areas and IT companies have also been asked to make the staff work from home.

    There will also be no delivery of newspapers in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and the Pune Municipal Region (PMR), said reports quoting the CMO statement.

    In Maharashtra, coronavirus cases rose by 552 on Tuesday, taking the total statewide total cases to 5,218. With 19 new deaths, the toll from the virus rose to 251, the state government said.

    Meanwhile, Mumbai, which is one of the worst-affected cities across the country, reported 355 new COVID-19 patients on Tuesday, taking the total number of cases to 3,445 in the city. Out of 12 deaths in the city in 24 hours, eight had co-morbidities and four had age-related factors, the MCGM said.

    The MCGM also said that 12 new cases were reported in Mumbai’s densely-populated Dharavi area on Tuesday. The tally of cases in the area rose to 179, including a total of 12 deaths.

    Centre, West Bengal govt standoff over IMCTs’ visit to state

    While West Bengal reported three more deaths on Tuesday, a political standoff emerged between the state and the Centre after the Ministry of Home Affairs said the state government was not cooperating with the central teams visiting there to assess the COVID-19 situation.

    The state’s ruling party Trinamool Congress said the visit of central teams to West Bengal was like “adventure tourism” and asked why such delegations were not sent to states with much higher numbers of infections and hotspots.

    Later on Tuesday, one of the two teams sent to the state visited certain areas of Kolkata, escorted by the Border Security Force (BSF) and state police personnel.

    At a daily press briefing on the COVID-19 situation, Home Ministry joint secretary Punya Salila Srivastava said the Centre has sent teams under Disaster Management Act to four states — Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.

    While Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan are extending full support, the government in West Bengal is not doing so, she said.

    Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha responded to the allegations, saying that the state government is cooperating with the inter-ministerial central teams visiting the state to assess COVID-19 situation, but made it clear they cannot roam around with them leaving all work to fight the pandemic.

    “We are helping them. There’s no question of not doing that. But our stand is that we all are busy in fighting coronavirus… they cannot get information sitting in cars or at the guest house.

    “We will share all information they want, taking time out of our busy schedule, but we will not be able to roam around with the central team shutting all our work,” Sinha told reporters at the state secretariat.

    115 families in President’s Estate in Delhi quarantined

    While new cases were also reported from various states including Odisha and Kerala — where the infection spread has been relatively slower — as many as 115 families residing at the President’s Estate in Delhi have been put under self-isolation as a preventive measure after a sanitation worker’s relative tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.

    A Rashtrapati Bhavan communique, however, clarified that till date no employee of the President’s Secretariat has tested positive and the Secretariat along with the local administration is taking all the preventive measures under the government guidelines.

    A COVID-19 positive patient from central Delhi, who was neither an employee of the President’s Secretariat nor a resident of the President’s Estate, had died on 13 April and after contact tracing it was found that a family member of an employee of the President’s Secretariat had been in contact with the deceased, the statement said.

    The employee and his family members are residents of the President’s Estate.

    Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said that there are currently 1,603 active cases of COVID-19 in the National Capital, while 47 people have died from the disese so far.

    Kejriwal also announced a special testing facility for mediapersons from Wednesday, after Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra reported positive test results for several journalists and other staff members of media organisations.

    COVID-19 cases rise to 1,337 in Uttar Pradesh, almost touch 1,000 in Telangana

    At least 137 new coronavirus cases were reported in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, taking the tally of cases in the state to 1,337. The toll stands at 21 in the state.

    Meanwhile, Gujarat saw a rise of 127 cases in 24 hours, resulting in the toll rising to 2,066, which includes 131 recoveries and 90 deaths so far.

    The Tamil Nadu government said that 76 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the state on Tuesday, taking total number of positive cases in the state to 1,596. One death was also reported, and the toll rose to 18 in the state.

    Fifty-six new COVID-19 cases were reported in Telangana on Tuesday, taking the total number of cases in the state to 928. This includes 711 active cases, 194 who were cured/discharged and 23 deaths, according to the latest update provided by the state health department.

    Singapore extends partial lockdown, some countries move to reopen amid health warnings

    Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday extended the “circuit breaker” period until 1 June to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus and assured full care for foreign workers, including Indian nationals.

    In a televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Lee said the government was committed to do its “utmost” to keep it this deadly virus at bay.

    “We will extend the circuit breaker for four more weeks, ie, until 1 June,” said Lee while giving an update on the COVID-19 and the rising number of cases among foreign workers living in dormitories.

    Singapore reported 1,111 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, a majority of them foreign workers living in dormitories. A total of 9,125 people have been infected in the country.

    Noting that businesses and workers would be hurt by the extension, the Singapore prime minister said, “But I hope you understand that this short-term pain is to stamp out the virus, protect the health and safety of our loved ones, and allow us to revive our economy.”

    “The government will continue to help our businesses and workers cope during the extended circuit breaker period. We will provide the same level of support to our workers and businesses as we are doing now,” he said.

    Meanwhile, Spain will begin allowing children out of their homes for brief periods next Monday, AP reported, adding that Denmark announced plans to reopen Tivoli Gardens, the Copenhagen amusement park that inspired Walt Disney. And Australia said doctors can resume non-urgent surgery next week.

    Countries across Europe and beyond — joined in the US by a cascade of states — moved to gradually reopen amid warnings that acting too quickly could enable the virus to come back with a vengeance.

    Meanwhile, UN leaders called for efforts to ensure that all people have access to testing, medical supplies, drugs and future vaccines, especially in developing countries.

    Globally, the coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 1.7 lakh people, including over 42,000 in the US. Nearly 25 lakh infections have been reported worldwide so far, even as there are fears that the actual tally could be much more as tests are so far limited to serious or symptomatic cases in most countries.

    In a press briefing, the World Health Organisation also warned against any rush to ease coronavirus restrictions, saying any such move could result in a resurgence of the disease.

    The WHO said governments across the world need to remain vigilant to stop the deadly virus spread and lifting of lockdowns and other social distancing measures must be done gradually.

    With inputs from agencies

    Updated Date: Apr 22, 2020 10:13:07 IST

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