Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: Maharashtra, with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, has decided to extend the lockdown till 31 May, reports PTI. The state has registered 30,706 cases and 1,135 deaths. After Punjab, Mizoram and Telangana, Maharashtra has become the latest state to extend restrictions.
The finance minister slammed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his meeting with migrants in the National Capital on Saturday and asked ‘why to politicise the issue’. ‘She said, ‘I want to tell the Opposition party that on the issue of migrants we all must work together.’
Speaking of public enterprise policy, the finance minister said, ‘All sectors will be opened to private sectors also. Public sectors will continue to play an important role in defined areas. ‘
In view of the unprecedented situation, the Centre has decided to accede to the request of states and increase the borrowing limits of states from 3% to 5% for 2020-21 only. ‘This will give states extra resources of Rs 4.28 lakh crore,’ she said.
Now, Indian public companies can list their securities directly in foreign jurisdictions, announced Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. ‘Private companies which list Non-Convertible Debentures on stock exchanges will not be regarded as listed companies, she said
“Debts related to COVID-19 shall be excluded from defaults under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board,” says Nirmala Sitharman. “No fresh insolvency proceeding will be initiated up to one year.”
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says the first of seven steps is allocating an additional Rs 40,000 crore for the MGNREGA scheme. Sitharaman said it would address returning migrants’ need for work.
Nirmala Sitharam said that she would be announcing seven steps in the final tranche of the stimulus package. ‘Today I have 7 such steps to tell you, the order is: MGNREGS, Health (rural and urban) and Education related, businesses and COVID-19, decriminalization of Companies Act, Ease of Doing Business, Public Sector Enterprises- related steps and state governments and related resources,’ she said.
Need to now build an Aatma Nirbhar Bharat’, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday, while addressing a press conference on the final tranche of the economic package, revisits Narendra Modi’s speech on Tuesday.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to address a press conference at 11 am today to speak on the roadmap laid out to move towards an ‘Aatmanirbhar’ India. Sitharaman on Saturday said that the Central government will introduce competition, transparency and private sector participation in the coal sector and infrastructure development of Rs 50,000 crore.
India reported the highest ever spike of 4,987 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, a woman, who travelled to Goa in Delhi-Thiruvananthapuram Rajdhani train on Saturday, has tested positive for coronavirus, taking the new infections in the state to 10.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will address a press conference at 11 am today to talk on the roadmap laid out to move towards an ‘Aatmanirbhar’ India. Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases stood at 90,927 on Sunday.
India crossed the 85,000 mark in number of COVID-19 cases on Saturday, becoming the 11th worst-affected country in the world. The Union Health Ministry reported a rise of 3,970 infections and 103 deaths due to the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours since Friday 8 am.
The total number of cases has climbed to 85,940 while number of deaths due to COVID-19 has risen to 2,752, the ministry said.
With 53,035 active cases, India is the eighth largest in terms of active cases after the US, Russia, Brazil, France, Italy, Spain and Peru. More than 30,000 patients have recovered so far, data showed.
However, a PTI tally of figures announced by states and Union territories, as of 9.15 pm put the total number of confirmed cases in the country at 90,326, deaths at 2,790 and recoveries at over 33,500.
Globally, more than 45.6 lakh people are reported to have been infected by the novel coronavirus while 3,06,221 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
COVID-19 cases from states
In India, Maharashtra remained the worst affected state with its COVID-19 tally crossing the 30,000-mark on Saturday with 1,606 new cases and 67 more fatalities taking its death toll to 1,135.
Gujarat, the second worst-affected state, crossed the 10,000-mark on Saturday with 1,057 new patients being found positive for coronavirus including 709 “super spreaders” in Ahmedabad.
Gujarat now has 10,989 cases with 625 deaths, while Tamil Nadu’s overall tally has risen to 10,585.
The major worry, however, is a new phase of coronavirus infections in states like Kerala and Goa, which had become virtually free of new infections, have begun reporting new cases while the numbers have started rising rapidly in places like Odisha, Bihar and Assam too in the last few days.
Most of the new cases across states are being linked to the influx of people from other states or other countries in special trains, flights and buses.
In Odisha, 65 people tested positive during the day, taking its total to 737, and officials said most of these cases are among people who had returned from other states.
Ganjam in south Odisha now accounts for the highest number of cases in the state at 277 and most of these people have returned from Gujarat and other states.
In Kerala, 11 people tested positive for COVID-19, including four from Thrissur district, three from Kozhikode and two each from Palakkad and Malappuram. All of them had come from outside the state — seven from abroad and two each from Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
Nearly 57,000 people are under observation in the state at present, out of which about 3,000 came to the state through airports, nearly 800 from sea ports, over 1,000 through train and over 50,320 via road.
In Tripura also, 11 people, including seven BSF jawans, tested positive on Saturday.
Bihar recorded 46 new cases, including in Patna which now has 105 cases. The number of cases in Bihar has risen sharply since the beginning of the month, mainly because of migrants returning to their native places in large numbers by special trains in addition to other modes of transport.
According to the state health department, 427 of returnees since 4 May have tested positive for COVID-9. Most of them had come from Delhi, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Five cities account for over 50% COVID-19 cases
The high concentration of COVID-19 in urban clusters is another major cause of worry with five cities — Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Pune — as of Saturday accounting for over 50 percent of total infections with close to 46,000 cases. These five also account for over half of the nationwide death toll of close to nearly 2,800 so far.
On Saturday, Delhi reported 438 new cases, taking its tally to 9,333, while its death toll rose to 129.
Delhi is the third worst hit among the major urban centres after Mumbai and Ahmedabad, which reported 884 and 973 new cases, respectively. The COVID-19 case count in Ahmedabad has now risen to 8,144, while its toll has grown to 493.
Mumbai’s tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 18,396, while its death toll due to the pandemic is now 696 with 41 new deaths.
Chennai also saw its tally rising to 6,261. Among other major urban centres, Pune, Surat and Indore have also been reporting large numbers of cases.
35 migrants killed in road accidents
At least 35 migrant workers were killed and many more were injured in road accidents during the day in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh while trying to return to their native places.
Most of them had hitched rides in trucks while a couple was in an autorickshaw for a journey running into hundreds of kilometers.
Lakhs of migrant workers in different parts of the country had begun walking back to their native places after being rendered jobless, and many of them homeless too, due to the nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 March.
While special trains are being run now by the government and some states have also arranged for buses to take them back to their homes, not all places are said to be connected by these trains and large numbers of people remain on roads.
FM announces fourth tranche of measures; Opposition slams it
The government in the meantime unveiled a slew of structural reforms in eight sectors — coal, minerals, defence production, civil aviation sector, power distribution companies in Union Territories, space sector and atomic energy sector — in the fourth tranche of the Rs 20-lakh-crore economic stimulus package with an aim to boost growth and create jobs.
Some of the measures, announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday, included opening of space sector for private players, commercial mining of coal, raising FDI limit in defence sector through automatic route from 49 percent to 74 percent, privatisation of power discoms in the Union Territories, offering more airports on a PPP model as well as boosting private sector investment in social infrastructure projects through revamped viability gap funding scheme of Rs 8,100 crore.
Modi said the measures announced by Sitharaman will create many business opportunities and contribute to the country’s economic transformation.
Leading industry body Assocham said these measures would give “new wings to India” and demonopolise core sectors.
Left parties, however, accused the government of using the COVID-19 pandemic to “impose the agenda of the rich” and privatise public assets.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said cash assistance should be given to the poor and vulnerable sections who are in dire need of money due to the lockdown.
The third phase of the nationwide lockdown is scheduled to end on Sunday and there are expectations that the fourth phase beginning Monday may give significant relaxations for various economic activities even as a complete exit is unlikely given the continuous rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Several states have already said they want the lockdown restrictions to continue further. However, on Saturday Punjab become the first to extend it till 31 May but without curfew restrictions.
Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala supported restarting of domestic flights as well as opening of schools and universities, as he stressed on resumption of normal life while dealing with COVID-19.
His state reported 33 new cases, including 14 in Gurgaon on the outskirts of the national capital.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: May 17, 2020 13:52:35 IST