India registered a spike of over 3,900 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of cases in the country above 80,000. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh continue to account for the bulk of the numbers.
Gujarat’s Ahmedabad continues to register a mortality rate of almost 6.7%, way above the national average of less than 4%. Ahmedabad’s figures of the virus cases and deaths are even sharper than Mumbai in proportion to the population of both cities.
The Hindu has brought out a multi-language e-book on essential COVID-19 information, in addition to covering the developments related to the coronavirus pandemic as it unfolded. Here is a collection of our daily cartoons on COVID-19.
Here are answers from experts on your queries about the virus, a list of State Helpline numbers, a State-wise tracker for COVID-19 cases, deaths and testing, and a map of confirmed cases in India.
Here are the latest updates:
4.10 pm | India
Third tranche of economic package will focus on farmers, allied industries: Nirmala Sitharaman
The third tranche of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan economic stimulus package in response to COVID-19 will focus on agriculture, fisheries, dairy, animal husbandry, some aspects of food processing and allied activities, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a press conference.
Of the 11 measures to be announced today, eight will focus on strengthening infrastructure, building better logistics, ramping up storage capacities and other such measures, while three will focus on governance and administrative reforms, she said.
During the lockdown, the government has procured Rs. 74,300 crore worth of agricultural commodities from farmers. PM KISAN fund transfer worth Rs. 18,700 crore has taken place during this period, while Rs. 6,400 crore has been paid on crop insurance claims, Ms. Sitharaman added.
“Milk demand fell 20-25% during lockdown. 560 lakh litres per day were procured by cooperatives against daily sale of 360 lakh litres per day. In total an extra 111 crore litres were purchased, ensuring payment of Rs. 4,100 crore to dairy farmers,” she informed.
The government will set up Rs. 1 lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund for post-harvest farm-gate infrastructure. Financing will be provided to primary agriculture coopertive societies, farmer producer organisations, agriculture entrepreneurs and start-ups, Ms. Sitharaman announced.
The Finance Minister announced Rs. 10,000 crore scheme for formalisation of 2 lakh micro-food enterprises. “They will get technical support to reach FSSAI health and safety standards, build brands and do marketing. This will help achieve PM’s goal of ‘Vocal for Local with Global Outreach’,” she said.
“Rs. 20,000 crore is to be spent to launch Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, already announced in the Budget, to support fish-workers and build additional logistics capacity for the fishing industry. This is likely to provide employment for over 11 lakh people.
“Through all schemes, we are focused on empowering people with skills, rather than simply giving entitlement.
“Rs. 15,000 crore is to be spent for Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund. We hope private players will also invest in dairy infrastructure. We aim to support private investment in cattle feed industry as well.
“Rs. 4,000 crore is to be spent on promotion of herbal cultivation over a 10 lakh hectare area over the next two years. In an 800 hectare area corridor on both banks of the River Ganga, medicinal and herbal plants can be grown, which are in demand globally. This will be coordinated by a National Medicinal Plants Board.
“Rs. 500 crore is to be spent on beekeeping initiatives, to benefit 2 lakh beekeepers in rural areas. These infrastructure development and capacity building projects will focus on not just beekeepers and honey production, but also wax production.
“The current Operation Greens schemes for logistics, cold storage and transport of tomato, onion and potato crops have been extended to all fruits and vegetables. Supply chain disruptions during the lockdown saw farmers making distress sales of perishable produce as they were unable to sell their produce in the mandis.
“Essential Commodities Act to be amended to deregulate food items such as cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potato. No stock limits to be imposed on these items except in exceptional circumstances like national calamities or famines where there is a surge in prices. No stock limits on food processors or value chain participants.
“Essential Commodities Act was enacted in 1955 in an era of food scarcity. Now, there is often an abundance of crops, but we still don’t allow farmers to export and benefit. Due to flip-flops in market, both farmers and consumers have suffered at different times.
“A central law is being proposed to bring in reforms to allow farmers to sell agricultural produce outside of the current licensees at APMCs. Why should only farmers be restricted to selling only to certain licensees? We want to give the farmer the choice to sell to whomever he likes, at an attractive price, with no inter-state barriers.
“The government will bring in facilitative legal framework to allow farmers to engage with processors, aggregators, large retailers and exporters in a fair and transparent manner, which will help with risk mitigation for farmers by providing an assured price at the time of sowing and also let private investors provide inputs and technical knowhow to farmers,” she added.
– Priscilla Jebaraj
4.00 pm | India
Over 1,000 Indians stuck in Nepal handed over to India
Over 1,000 Indians stranded in Bankey and Bardiya districts of Nepal because of the lockdown were handed over to Indian authorities at Rupaideeh on the Indo-Nepal border here, a senior official said on Friday.
As many as 723 Nepalese, who were in different shelter homes for quarantine on this side of the border, were also handed over to Nepalese authorities, Bahraich District Magistrate Shambhu Kumar said.
The exchange of Indian and Nepalese citizens took place on Thursday night in the presence of SP Vipin Mishra and senior officers of the Sashatra Seema Bal along with Nepalese officials, the DM said.
3.50 pm | Tamil Nadu
Colleges will be reopened only after Tamil Nadu is COVID-19 free, says Minister
Colleges will be reopened only after the State was completely rid of COVID-19 cases, said Minister for Higher Education K.P. Anbalagan in Dharmapuri on Friday.
3.45 pm | India
Zomato to lay off 13% workforce
Online food-delivery platform Zomato on Friday said it will reduce its workforce by 13%, while also implementing a temporary pay cut of up to 50% for remaining employees as nationwide lockdown to prevent spread of COVID-19 severely affected its business.
In an email to employees, Zomato Founder & CEO Deepinder Goyal said that the workers affected by the layoffs will continue to get half of their salaries, in addition to health insurance and outplacement support, for the next six months or till they find another job, whichever is earlier.
3.40 pm | India
SC to cancel summer vacations, to work till June 19 as of now
The Supreme Court on Friday decided to cancel its nearly two-month-long summer vacations and work till June 19 for now.
Further plans on whether to continue functioning or go for a short break to facilitate the judges – who are drawn from across the country – go to their native places would be taken after June 19.
3.30 pm | Chhattisgarh
Bhupesh Baghel asks Centre to return CSR donations made by Chhattisgarh industrialists to PM CARES
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has asked the Centre to return CSR donations made by industrialists from his State to the PM CARES fund, saying the money could be used for welfare of the state.
In a recent interview to PTI, he also said that the country has a right to know about the donations in the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) fund.
3.20 pm | Himachal Pradesh
Fresh case of COVID-19 in Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh reported a fresh case of COVID-19 on Friday, taking the total number of virus cases in the state to 76, officials said.
The patient had recently returned to Una from Mohali in Punjab and was kept under home quarantine.
The man tested positive after random sampling and will be shifted to a COVID hospital, the officials said.
With the new case, the tally in the State rose to 76. Three people have lost their lives due to the disease.
3.15 pm | Delhi
There were 425 new COVID 19 cases in the capital today, taking the cumulative cases to 8895.
473 people have recovered, taking the cumulative to 3518.
There were no deaths reported but the cumulative death toll was revised to 123.
There are currently 5254 active cases in the city, according to the Delhi Government Health Bulletin.
– Jaideep Deo Bhanj
3.00 pm | Delhi
Delhi govt to release Tablighi Jamaat members with no COVID-19 symptoms from quarantine, HC told
The Delhi High Court was informed on Friday that the AAP government has decided to release the members of Tablighi Jamaat, who have completed mandatory quarantine and show no COVID-19 symptoms.
The submission was made at the outset of the hearing on a petition seeking release of nearly 3300 Tablighi Jamaat members, who have been put under various quarantine centers for nearly 40 days and not released despite negative reports of COVID-19.
2.45 pm | India
Harsh Vardhan appeals to all States, UTs to ban sale of tobacco products, spitting in public
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has appealed to all States and Union Territories to ban sale of tobacco products and spitting in public places in line with the orders of the Rajasthan and Jharkhand governments to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In a letter to all State Health Ministers, Mr. Vardhan said smokeless tobacco users have a tendency to spit in public places or otherwise and therefore, increase health risks especially those of spreading contagious diseases like COVID-19, tuberculosis, swine flu, encephalitis and others.
2.40 pm | Manipur
Community quarantine centre sealed in Manipur after man tests positive for COVID-19
A community quarantine centre in Manipur’s Imphal East district was sealed after a man who was lodged in the facility tested positive for COVID-19, an official said on Friday.
Imphal East Deputy Commissioner Rangitabali Waikhom said the Jamia Galina Aziz Girls School which was a designated quarantine centre was declared a “containment zone” and the building “completely sealed” as per the Manipur Epidemic Diseases COVID-19 Regulations 2020.
A 31-year-old man who had been quarantined in the centre since May 13 tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.
2.30 pm | West Bengal
Bengal awaits flights, govt keen to welcome people stranded in other nations: Home secretary
The West Bengal government on Friday said it had long ago communicated to the Union government the arrangements made by the State to welcome back its people stranded in other countries.
The development comes a day after the State and the Centre locked horns over Bengal not being allotted any repatriation flight.
“GOWB keen to welcome back our people stranded in different countries and has long back communicated its agreement as well as quarantine arrangements details etc to GoI for special international inbound journeys. Letters attached. Bengal awaits flights,” the State home department said in a tweet.
2.20 pm | Tamil Nadu
Workers from Tamil Nadu reach home after 50 days of lockdown in Mumbai
The workers said their savings had drained due to the lockdown, and they had been finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet.
2.15 pm | Tamil Nadu
SC stays Madras HC order asking TN govt to close liquor shops in State
The Supreme Court Friday stayed the Madras High Court order which had asked the Tamil Nadu government to close State-run liquor vends on the ground that there was violation of guidelines meant to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the stay on the high court order by the apex court the State-owned liquor shops may reopen in the State.
2.00 pm | New Delhi
932 ‘Shramik Special’ trains operated so far, over 11 lakh migrants ferried home
The Indian Railways has operated 932 Shramik Special trains since May 1, ferrying home 11 lakh migrant workers who were stranded in various parts of the country due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.
On Friday, railways operated 145 such trains.
1.40 pm | India
Soldier tests positive at Army Headquarters
One soldier posted in the Army Headquarters has tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday following which part of the Headquarters has been closed for disinfection, Army sources said.
“Affected area of Sena Bhawan has been closed for sanitation and disinfection. Contact tracing, quarantine and other actions as per protocol are in progress,” sources said.
– Dinakar Peri
1.30 pm | India
Can’t stop or monitor movement of migrant workers on roads, says SC
The Supreme Court said it is impossible for Courts to monitor or stop the movement of migrant workers across the country and it is for the government to take necessary action in this regard. The Centre told the top court that migrant workers across the country were being provided transportation by the government to their destinations but they have to wait for their turn rather than start walking on foot.
A Bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao refused to entertain an application seeking a direction to the Centre to ask all District Magistrates to identify stranded migrant workers and provide shelter, food to them before ensuring their free transportation to native places in view of the recent incident at Aurangabad in which 16 workers were mowed down by a goods train.
1.25 pm | Tamil Nadu
84 patients discharged from Cuddalore Government Hospital
As many as 84 COVID-19 patients, who have recovered after treatment, were discharged from the Cuddalore Government General Hospital on Friday.
The patients were given a warm send-off by a team of officials led by Collector V. Anbuselvan, doctors and nurses at the Cuddalore GH.
1.20 pm | Haryana
Buses back on select routes in Haryana
The Haryana Roadways on Friday resumed bus services on select routes within the State, the first time since the lockdown was announced in March.
The buses, which are not allowed to carry more than 30 passengers to maintain social distancing, are plying since morning on select routes, officials said.
Initially, the buses will ply on 29 routes from ten depots of Ambala, Bhiwani, Hisar, Kaithal, Karnal, Narnaul, Panchkula, Rewari, Rohtak and Sirsa and run on select point-to-point routes.
There are 23 depots of the Roadways, which has a fleet of over 4,000 buses.
Online booking and wearing masks have been made a must for passengers boarding the Haryana Roadways buses.
1.15 pm | Delhi
HC seeks Delhi govt stand on pleas challenging levy of 70% ‘special corona fee’ on liquor
The Delhi High Court on Friday sought the response of the AAP government on several pleas challenging the levy of 70 per cent “special corona fee” on the MRP of all liquor brands in the national capital.
A Bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued a notice to the Delhi government and sought its response, by May 29, to the petitions which seek setting aside of the May 4 notification imposing the levy.
1.00 pm | Andhra Pradesh
Cases in A.P. climb to 2,307, including 150 migrant returnees
In A.P., 102 new cases were confirmed in the last 24 hours. The number includes 57 persons who contracted the virus locally and through Koyambedu market in Tamil Nadu and 45 are migrant workers (34 from Maharashtra and 11 from Rajasthan) who returned to the State recently.
The total number of positive cases as on Friday is 2,307 including 150 cases of migrant returnees.
The number of persons from A.P. who are discharged is 1,252 and the death toll stands at 48. As many as 60 patients recovered in the past day. The Health Department’s bulletin has been showing the migrant cases out of the State tally for the last two days.
– V. Raghavendra
12.45 pm | Karnataka
Positive cases cross 1000 mark in Karnataka
With 45 new cases reported on Friday morning, the number of positive cases crossed 1,000 mark to touch 1,032.
This includes 35 Covid-19 deaths, one non-Covid-19 death and 476 discharges.
– Afshan Yasmeen
12.30 pm | Bihar
Six more COVID-19 positive cases from Khagaria and Siwan districts take the total number of cases in the State to 1005.
– Amarnath Tewary
New York Governor says state’s 5 regions can begin phased reopening after May 15
Five regions in New York State can begin a phased reopening when the shutdown orders end on Friday, allowing construction, manufacturing and curbside retail businesses to start operations after remaining closed for nearly two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo has said.
New York State, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, has 343,051 confirmed virus cases. The ‘New York Pause’ is in effect till May 15 under which all non-essential workers are required to work from home and all people in New York to wear masks or face coverings in public, including when taking public or private transportation or riding in for-hire vehicles.
12.15 pm | India
World Bank approves $1 billion to support India’s fight against COVID-19
The World Bank on Friday approved $1 billion ‘Accelerating India’s COVID-19 Social Protection Response Program’ to support the country’s efforts for providing social assistance to the poor and vulnerable households, severely impacted by the pandemic.
12.10 pm | India
SAI formulates SOP for centres but training to resume only after MHA clearance
Elimination of low-ventilation change rooms, disinfection of training equipment after every use, a bar on sparring for now, and usage of gyms in shifts — these are some of the measures to tackle the COVID-19 threat that the Sports Authority of India is proposing if training of athletes resumes later this month.
12.00 pm | Bangladesh
First COVID-19 case detected in Rohingya camps in Bangladesh
Authorities have reported the first coronavirus case in the crowded camps for Rohingya refugees in southern Bangladesh, where more than 1 million refugees are sheltered.
The person from the Rohingya community and a local person who lives in the Cox’s Bazar district who also tested positive have been isolated, Mahbub Alam Talukder, the country’s refugee commissioner, said on May 14.
11.50 am | Rajasthan
Fifty-five new COVID-19 positive cases have been detected in Rajasthan today, taking the State’s tally to 4,589. As of now, Rajasthan has 1,818 positive cases, according to the Medical & Health Department.
– Mohammed Iqbal
11.40 am | U.S.
U.S. permits doctors on H-1B work visa to practice telemedicine
The US has relaxed regulations to allow doctors on the H-1B work visa to practice telemedicine and help local hospitals to meet the surging demand for healthcare professionals due to the coronavirus pandemic in America, the worst hit country by the COVID-19 outbreak.
11.30 am | India
Post-lockdown flights: Cabin crew attire to have face shield, gown and mask
Cabin crew members of Indian airlines will have personal protective equipment (PPE) like face shields, gowns and masks as part of their attire on commercial passenger flights when they resume operations, industry sources said.
10 am | Odisha
48 new cases in Odisha
Odisha registered 48 new COVID-19 positive cases on Friday, taking the State’s total to 672, according to the State Health Department.
More details awaited.
9.40 am | South Korea
S.Korean coronavirus test maker Osang ready to ship 100 mln kits to U.S.
Osang Healthcare Co, the first South Korean maker of coronavirus test kits to win preliminary approval from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, is ready to ship kits that can test 100 million people in the United States, an executive said on Friday.
Fast-track approval, followed by a massive testing campaign and intensive contact tracing, is credited with helping South Korea slow the disease and avoid strict lockdowns, while the United States has been criticised for a slow response.
9.20 am | India
Over 3,900 new cases in India in the past 24 hours: Health Ministry
India has registered 3,967 new COVID-19 positive cases and 100 deaths in the past 24 hours, according to an update from the Union Health Ministry on Friday.
With this, the total number of cases in the country is now 81,970, according to Union Ministry data. Of this, 51,401 are active cases. As many as 2,649 people have succumbed to the infection while 27,919 people have been cured.
9 am | Kerala
First special train from Delhi to Kerala arrives in Thiruvananthapuram
The New Delhi-Thiruvananthapuram Central COVID-19 AC Special Train carrying over 600 passengers reached the Kerala capital on Friday morning, a first after the passenger train services were stopped due the national lockdown on March 25,
Of the 1,087 passengers bound to Kerala, 216 had alighted at Kozhikode railway station on Thursday night and 269 in Ernakulam Junction at 1.20 a.m. on Friday. The remaining 602 passengers bound for Kottayam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kollam, and Thiruvananthapuram districts alighted when the 02432 special train reached Thiruvananthapuram Central in the morning.