News

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said, social organisations have a big role to play in countering superstitions, wrong beliefs and misinformation.

  • 92 fresh confirmed cases of novel coronavirus or COVID- 19 have been reported in the past 24 hours in the country. With this the total number of cases has now gone up to 1071 including 29 deaths.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a video conference with Heads of all Indian Embassies and High Commissions today to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said that prepaid sims of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, BSNL will not be discontinued till 20th April.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that the social organizations have three distinct specialties: a humane approach, massive reach and connect with people and a service mindset.

  • Union Government is ensuring that cargo flight operations for medical supplies reach various parts of the country.

  • Home Ministry has asked all states and Union territories to allow transportation of all goods, without distinction of essential and non-essential, during the 21-day lockdown period.

  • Centre has asked state governments and Union Territory administrations to effectively seal state and district borders to stop movement of migrant workers.

  • Union Health Ministry has confirmed that total number of confirmed cases of Corona virus climbed to 1,071 in the country.

  • Government has constituted 11 different Empowered groups to suggest measures to ramp up healthcare, put the economy back on track and reduce the misery of people as quickly as possible post 21-day lockdown imposed to contain the Coronavirus pandemic.

  • The Cargo Air Flights will be used exclusively for transporting medical equipment and emergency goods besides other essential items to the North Eastern States in the wake of lockdown.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that social distancing is the most effective way of fighting against COVID-19 and by complying with the lockdown, people are protecting themselves.

  • According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor was hospitalised in Tokyo on March 20 after developing a fever and being diagnosed with severe pneumonia. Shimura tested positive for COVID-19 on March 23.

    The condition of Shimura, best known for Japanese variety show "Shimura Ken no Bakatono-sama", was said not to be critical.

    A household name in Japan since the 1970s, Shimura was the first prominent entertainment world figure in Japan to test positive for the virus.

    The actor was set to star in his first feature film "God of Cinema", directed by Yoji Yamada.

    The film, which marks the 100th year anniversary of studio Shochiku, has been put on hold indefinitely.

    Shimura grew up in the west Tokyo neighbourhood of Higashimurayama and he started his career in showbiz when he joined the Japanese rock band and comedy group The Drifters, famous for opening for The Beatles during their early tours of Japan.

    He shot to fame with the group's prime time comedy show "Hachijidayo Zeninshugo!" ("It's 8 o'clock, assemble everyone!"), where he developed his signature brand of slapstick caricature, wacky bits and deadpan delivery.

    American comedian Jerry Lewis was an initial influence on him, Shimura wrote in a late-career memoir.

    On hit variety shows of the 1980s, he would go on to become a bigger name recognised for satirical characters like "Baka Tonosama" (foolish lord) and "Henna Ojisan" (weirdo uncle).
     

  • While Bharat Electronics Limited is going to manufacture ventilators, all drug companies have assured the government that there will not be any shortage of drugs during this crisis and even auto manufacturers are working to develop and produce ventilators. Medical personnel are being trained and are fully prepared for any emergencies.

    Personal protection equipment (PPE) kits are used by medical personnel working in isolation areas and intensive care units to protect them from acquiring infections. They were not being manufactured in the country. With the prospect of huge requirement of PPEs arising in the near future, the Government of India made proactive efforts to promote their manufacturing in the country.

    Ministry of Textiles and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have been working together in this endeavour. Domestic manufacturers rose to the occasion and so far 11 manufacturers have cleared quality tests. 'Orders for 21 lakh PPE coveralls have been placed on them. Currently they are supplying 6-7,000 coveralls per day and this is expected to go up to 15,000 per day within the next week. One more manufacturer has qualified today and an order of 5 lakh coveralls has been placed with him.

    As of now, 3.34 lakh PPEs are available in various hospitals across the country. About 60,000 PPE kits have already been procured and supplied by Government of India.

    Indian Red cross society has arranged 10,000 PPEs from China which have also been received and are being distributed. Another 3 lakh donated PPE coveralls are to arrive by 4th April. An order for 3 lakh PPEs has been placed with ordinance factories. 

    Foreign sources of PPE kits are also faced with a huge increase in worldwide demand. They are being approached through the Ministry of External Affairs. A Singapore based online platform has been identified which can supply 10 lakh PPE kits and an order has been placed through Ministry of External Affairs to procure them. 

    Another supplier based in Korea, who has tie ups with production companies in Vietnam and Turkey has been identified with daily production capacity of over 1 lakh PPE kits. Orders are being placed on this company through MEA for supplying 20 lakh PPE kits.

    N95 masks are being manufactured by two domestic producers. They are able to supply 50,000 masks per day at the moment but are ramping up capacities to make 1 lakh masks per day within the next week. DRDO is also collaborating with local manufacturers to produce about 20,000 N99 masks per day. This supply is also expected to become available in a week’s time.

    Hospitals in the country have 11.95 lakh N95 masks in stock as of now. Additional 5 lakh masks were distributed in the past two days and 1.40 lakh masks are being distributed today. 10 lakh masks would be part of the PPE kits being sourced from Singapore.

    Ventilators are required for Covid-19 patients, as they tend to develop acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS). Less than 20 covid-19 patients are on ventilator support at this moment. As against this, over 14,000 ventilators have been identified in various hospitals across the country for treatment of covid-19 patients.

    A domestic manufacturers Agva Healthcare in Noida has been able to develop suitable ventilators and order of 10,000 ventilators has been placed on him.Supplies are expected to commence by the 2nd week of April.

    In addition, an order for 30,000 ventilators has been placed on Bharat Electronics Limited which is going to collaborate with domestic manufacturers in this endeavor. Indian Auto manufacturers are also preparing to manufacture ventilators.

    In the meantime, orders have been placed on international companies like Hamilton, Mindray and Draeger to supply ventilators. Ministry of External Affairs is also approaching suppliers in China for sourcing 10,000 ventilators from them.
     

  • The Games were postponed last week - the first such delay in the 124-year history of the modern Olympics. The move was a huge blow for Japan, which invested $13 billion in the run-up to the event and raised $3 billion from domestic sponsors.

    Yoshiro Mori, the head of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, confirmed the new dates after he made the decision with the International Olympic Committee. Mori said the Paralympic Games would run from Aug. 24-Sep. 5.

    “The Tokyo Olympics Games and the successful delivery of these Games will be how we overcome all the problems that the world is facing and that the Olympics could be a symbol for this,” Mori said. “These Games are going to have great historical significance.”

    The IOC and Japanese government succumbed to intense pressure from athletes and sporting bodies around the world last Tuesday by agreeing to push back the Games because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The pandemic had already led to many sporting events around the world being delayed or canceled. After weeks of insisting the Olympics would go ahead, organizers bowed to what many said was the inevitable and delayed what is the world’s premier sporting gathering.

    Sporting bodies including the World Athletics association, the International Triathlon Union, and FINA, the international swimming federation, all followed up with statements of support for the delay.

  • This Sunday, mythological shows 'Ramayan' and 'Mahabharat' started airing on Doordarshan and DD Bharati.

    In a statement, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry said Doordarshan will be retelecasting five shows -- 'Chanakya', 'Upanishad Ganga', 'Shaktimaan', 'Shriman Shrimati' and 'Krishna Kali'.

    'Chanakya', a 47-episode series directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi, will be telecast daily in the afternoon time bands of DD Bharati from first week of April.

    'Upanishad Ganga', a 52-episode series produced by Chinmaya Mission Trust and directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi, is also scheduled for an afternoon slots on DD Bharati first week of April.

    'Shaktimaan', the famous serial featuring Mukesh Khanna will be aired for an hour daily on DD National network at 1 PM.

    'Shriman Shrimati', a rib-tickling comedy produced by Markand Adhikari, is scheduled for a comeback on DD National from April in the 2 PM slot.

    'Krishna Kali', an 18-episode series, will be aired at 8.30 PM on DD National.

    Apart from 'Ramayan' and 'Mahabharat', other shows that began airing from Sunday are detective series 'Byomkesh Bakshi', 'Circus' featuring Shah Rukh Khan, 'Hum Hain Na' and 'Tu Tota Main Maina'.

    On Monday, the ministry issued an advisory to all the DTH and Cable operators to show all the DD Channels as well as Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Channels as per the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act.

    Non-carriage of these channels is liable for action under various sections of the act, it said.
     

  • Prime Minister Modi said this was an unavoidable step taken to fight the pandemic. He pointed that the closure of the globalized system has had an extensive and far-reaching impact upon the international transport system, financial markets and the global economy.

    Prime Minister complimented Heads of Missions for their efforts to evacuate Indians stranded abroad in some of the epicentres of the crisis. He also urged the participants in the video call to take steps to ensure their own health and safety, and that of their teams and families. 

    Prime Minister Modi asked them to attend to Indians who remain in various foreign countries, given the uncertainty of continuing international travel restrictions. He also asked them to stay and identify best practices, innovations, scientific breakthroughs and sources to procure medical equipment in the countries where they are posted. 

    Since this crisis also impacts upon the economy, the Prime Minister advised Heads of Mission to also focus on ensuring that commerce in essential supplies, logistics chains, remittances and so on are unaffected.

    He asked them to continue to pay close attention to the evolving international political and economic situation.

    In response, ten Heads of Mission in Beijing, Washington DC, Tehran, Rome, Berlin, Kathmandu, Abu Dhabi, Kabul, Male, and Seoul offered their perspectives to the Prime Minister.

    The Heads of Missions outlined their efforts to help Indians stranded abroad, in particular, students and workers. They also reported efforts to identify medicines, medical devices, technology, research and other measures which might help India in the fight against COVID-19.
     

  • The home quarantine centre at Sarusajai Athletics Centre has a capacity to hold 1000 people where government will take care of each person brought here. This centre will have 1,000 beds and separate toilets.  
    Space for another centre that can hold another 1,000 people in this location is also being done and if required the government plans to  set up a third one at Nehru Stadium with a capacity for 1,000 people. 
    There are also many people here who have been advised to be on home quarantine but have not been able to get even a hotel. 

    The government wants to bring all these people to this centre and state government will take care of them. 

    The state health department has been leaving no stone unturned to augment its strength so that it can deal with the pandemic although no person has been affected in the state so far. 

    The health department would train up 700 final year MBBS and 2,000 nursing students to be engaged as a frontline fighter against the disease. 

    The Assam government has already converted the district hospital at Sonapur on the outskirt of the city and Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital in Guwahati (barring a few departments) to dedicated Covid-19 treatment centres. 

    It has also closed the eye hospital at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital to convert it into an exclusive Covid19 treatment centre. 

    Besides, the government had asked the deputy commissioners to identify the college and university hostels which can be converted into Covid-19 treatment centres of quarantine facilities if required.

  • Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Mohammad Imran told the official news agency BSS on Monday that a total of 162 Bangladeshis in India have expressed their willingness to return to the country so far. The Bangladesh High Commission in India is exploring the possibility of hiring a chartered flight to bring back its citizens to Dhaka. Hundreds of Bangladeshi citizens remained stuck at various hospitals and medical facilities where they had gone to seek treatment.

    Bangladesh Bank (BB) has also taken steps to facilitate its citizens stranded abroad. It has instructed banks and Authorised Dealers to release foreign exchange within permissible limits on their international cards to help them deal with the disruption caused by Corona outbreak.

    In the meanwhile, some foreign missions in Bangladesh are arranging special flights to send back their citizens. 269 American citizens left for US on Monday by a special chartered flight from Dhaka. The US embassy had earlier clarified on Sunday that it is not forcing anyone to return to US. The decision to return is a personal choice.

    Bangladesh reported one more new case of Corona virus infection on Monday taking the total number of infected persons to 49. Five persons have succumbed to the Corona infection so far.

     

  • LPG being an essential commodity has been exempted from the lock-down, and personnel are required to attend duty during this crisis period to maintain uninterrupted LPG cylinder supplies across the country to all customers.

    Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan has welcomed the initiative of the oil companies. 

    In a Tweet, he said, “Welcome the humanitarian decision taken by Indian Oil, BPCL and HPCL. This gesture of goodwill is a recognition of the services rendered by our personnel in these trying times. Well-being of our workers is of paramount importance, this compassionate move will strengthen the safety nets of our workforce aiding India’s fight against corona.”
     

  • He appealed to them to spread awareness about the COVID-19 outbreak.  PM Modi added that people were seen gathered in places and flouting social distancing norms in the name of belief. He said, it is necessary to highlight the importance of maintaining social distancing during this time.

    Prime Minister said, the entire nation is displaying immense resilience, grit and patience in facing the challenge of the virus outbreak.

    The representatives of the social welfare organizations praised the leadership of the Prime Minister in navigating a complicated situation with dexterity. They lauded the pro-active measures of the government which have been effective in controlling the spread of the virus. They pledged support to the PM-CARES fund. 

    They said, their workforce will be dedicated completely to the cause of serving the nation in this time of crisis.  

    They also talked about their work to meet the COVID-19 challenge through awareness campaigns through digital means, distribution of essentials, food packets, sanitizers, medicines and provision of medical help to those in need.

    Prime Minister reiterated the importance of spreading awareness, helping the poor and needy through arranging for basic necessities, provision of medical facilities and dedicating the volunteers to the cause of serving those impacted by COVID-19. 

  • The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 942, while 99 people were either cured or discharged and one had migrated, the ministry stated.

    In its updated data at 10.30 am, it said two fresh deaths were reported from Maharashtra.

    Thus, Maharashtra has reported the maximum number of eight COVID-19 deaths so far, followed by Gujarat (5), Karnataka (3), Madhya Pradesh (2), Delhi (2) and Jammu and Kashmir (2).
    Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, West Bengal, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have reported a death each.

    The total number of 1,071 cases includes 49 foreigners.

    The highest number of confirmed cases of the pandemic has been reported from Kerala (194) so far, followed by Maharashtra at 193.

    The number of cases has gone up to 80 in Karnataka, while Uttar Pradesh has reported 75 cases.

    The number of cases has risen to 69 in Telangana, 58 in Gujarat and 57 in Rajasthan.

    Delhi has reported 53 cases, while in Tamil Nadu, the number of positive cases is 50.

    Punjab has reported 38 cases, while 33 COVID-19 cases have been detected each in Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.

    There are 31 cases of the contagion in Jammu and Kashmir, followed by Andhra Pradesh (19), West Bengal (19) and Ladakh (13).

    Bihar has 11 cases, while nine cases have been reported from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Chandigarh has eight cases, while Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand have reported seven cases each.

    Goa has reported five coronavirus cases, while Himachal Pradesh and Odisha have reported three cases each. Puducherry, Mizoram and Manipur have reported a case each, the Health Ministry said.
     

  • Grey seals need ice - which helps them keep a distance from predators like wolves or foxes - in order to breed pups during the winter.

    Without it, they have been forced onto islets they would not normally inhabit, causing overcrowding, disrupting the breeding season and reducing the survival rate of newborns.

    "There were some islands that were white, all covered with seal pups ... We haven't seen such a picture before," researcher Mart Jussi, who has studied seals for the last 30 years, said. He said some of the larger islands were so over-populated that he estimated the mortality rate among seal pups there would be at least 50 percent. That high rate was in part because pups lose their mothers more easily and so don't get enough food. Around 3,000 seal pups are born each year on the Baltic Sea coast. "Most of the pups are going to die right now," Jussi added.

    This spring the problem is compounded by the coronavirus, which is keeping researchers away from the seals, as Estonia has halted travel between the mainland and its islands.

    Agnese Balandina, a specialist working with Latvia's nature conservation agency, said the coronavirus outbreak combined with the warm weather had driven Latvians to the country's beaches, increasing the likelihood of contact between people and seals.

    The agency has set up warning signs on Latvian beaches asking people to keep a distance of at least 50 metres (164 feet), but some people ignored the advice and ventured closer to take photographs of seal pups on their phones at Jurmala near Riga.

    Balandina, who with a colleague caught an injured seal pup at Jurmala, said the agency had received 200 calls about lone seal pups on Latvia's beaches over the previous weekend.

    Unless the pups are injured or in danger the agency prefers not to intervene - and even those that are rescued and sent for rehabilitation in Riga's zoo or in other facilities around the country may not survive.

    Meteorological agencies in both Estonia and Latvia said on their websites at the beginning of March that the winter of 2019-2020 was much warmer than usual.

    The Estonian Weather Service said the average air temperature over winter was 2.5 degrees Celsius (36.5 Fahrenheit) rather than the historical average of -3.3 Celsius (26.5 Fahrenheit) - the warmest since 1961.

    Latvia's Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre said it was the warmest winter since records began in 1924.

  • Luckily for restaurants in Mexico, people still need to eat, and mobile application connecting businesses, delivery personnel and clients might just help them weather the economic storm.

    The chefs at Los Parados taqueria in Mexico City were still busily flipping tortillas and carving tacos al pastor on Thursday but many orders were being packed and handed to delivery drivers to take to clients observing the social distancing measures now common around the world to fight the highly infectious coronavirus.

    "Uber has been helping us out a lot in the two weeks since we've had with the emergency," says Los Parados manager Guadalupe Gonzalez.

    According to Uber Eats, some 60% of its affiliates are small and medium businesses like Los Parados.

    Uber Eats has also responded to the growing demand of people practicing social distancing by adding a tool to allow users to request that orders be left at entrances to homes or buildings without any face-to-face interaction.

  • Cities including Brussels, Paris, Madrid, Milan and Frankfurt showed a reduction in average levels of noxious nitrogen dioxide over March 5-25, compared with the same period last year, according to the Sentinel-5 satellite images.

    That coincides with lockdowns in many European countries which have curbed road transport – the largest source of nitrogen oxides - and slowed output at gas-emitting factories.

    The new images, released by the European Space Agency (ESA) and analyzed by the non-profit European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), show the changing density of nitrogen dioxide, which can cause respiratory problems and cancer, like heat maps.

    Daily weather events can influence atmospheric pollution, so the satellite pictures took a 20-day average and excluded readings where cloud cover reduced the quality of the data.

    Data from the European Environment Agency (EEA) showed a similar trend over March 16-22. In Madrid, average nitrogen dioxide levels decreased by 56% week-on-week after the Spanish government banned non-essential travel on March 14.

  • Those who performed from their homes for the “IHeart Living Room Concert for America” also included Mariah Carey, Camila Cabello, Alicia Keys, Shawn Mendes and Sam Smith.

    The one-hour show, broadcast on Fox television without commercials, was the biggest joint effort in the pandemic to lift spirits, raise money for those in the frontlines, and remind Americans to wash their hands and keep their distance.

    “There’s doctors, nurses and scientists on the frontlines. They’re living proof that most superheroes don’t wear capes,” said John, who hosted the show from his kitchen.

    “We hope this bit of entertainment can feed and fuel your souls.”

    All the performances and appearances by celebrities ranging from comedian Ellen DeGeneres to R&B artist Lizzo and country singer Tim McGraw were filmed on phones, home cameras or online platforms.

    The songs were interspersed with short personal stories from nurses, doctors, truckers, grocery staff, and other essential workers as millions of Americans entered a third week subjected to orders to stay home.

    Dr Elvis Francois, a surgeon from Rochester, Minnesota, stole hearts on social media with an emotional rendition of “Imagine” performed in medical scrubs.

    “Did this doctor just out sing every artist that’s performed?” one viewer, Ender Wiggins, asked on Twitter.

    The concert, also broadcast on iHeart radio stations nationwide, urged listeners to donate to charities Feeding America, and First Responders Children’s Foundation.

    The amount raised was not immediately known, but more than $1 million was donated in the first 10 minutes, courtesy of $500,000 from household goods giant Procter & Gamble and a matching sum from Fox Television.

    “My heart goes out to people who have lost loved ones and also those who are losing their jobs,” said Lady Gaga, clad in pink sweatpants and a hoodie.

  • Union Government, on Monday, clarified that there is no plan to extend the 21 days' lockdown which came intro force on 25th of this month.

    In a tweet, Press Information Bureau said, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba has denied media reports claiming that the government will extend the lockdown.
     
    It said, there are rumours and media reports claiming that the government will extend the lock down when it expires. The Cabinet Secretary rejected these reports and stated that these are baseless.

  • They include community health workers, who may have to be in direct contact and care of COVID-19 patients and who may be at risk of being impacted by this. 

    The scheme will also include accidental loss of life on account of contracting COVID-19. The Health Ministry has said, the insurance provided under this scheme will be over and above any other insurance cover being availed by the beneficiary.

    It said, on account of the unprecedented situation, private hospital staff, retired, volunteer, local urban bodies, contract, daily wage,  ad-hoc and outsourced staff requisitioned by States and  Central hospitals, autonomous hospitals of Central, States, AIIMS and hospitals of Central Ministries can also be drafted for  COVID-19 related responsibilities.

    These cases will also be covered subject to numbers indicated by the Health Ministry.

  • Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will transfer 611 crore rupees in the accounts of 27.15 lakh MNREGA labourers on Monday. The amount will be transferred electronically to help the labourers in the situation of Lock down due to Corona Virus. State Government has said that there are no signs of community spread of the virus in state.

    Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed private enterprises and organisations to must give one month salary to their employees without any deduction. Additional Chief Secretary, Home Awanish Awasthi said that no landlord would charge one month's rent from any worker or labourer. On receiving any such complaint, the police will take strict action against the landlord who took the rent.
     
    State Government reiterated that nodal officers in 16 states of the country are helping the people of Uttar Pradesh in their respective areas and appealed everyone to remain wherever they are and follow the lock down. Meanwhile, Gautam Buddh Nagar administration took over the JP sports city to convert it into the shelter home for the labourers. 
     

  • This will go a long way in reassuring the people of the region that even at this hour of trial, they are receiving as much attention as any other part of the country.

    It has been intimated that the contact details and road map for the Cargo operation will be provided soon. The Directors of the airports of the region have been asked to inform about their requirements through Twitter.
     
    Dr Jitendra Singh noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always placed the welfare of the North Eastern Region highest on the priority.

    It was primarily because of his personal outreach that Northeast has undergone a revolutionary transformation over the last six years.

    And, the decision to operate Cargo flights for North-East is only a reiteration of the fact that the concern for Northeast is close to PM Modi’s heart even at this crucial time.

  • Three Indians are also among the new positive cases include a 35-year-old female with a long-term pass, a 34-year-old male holding Singapore work pass.Both of them have a travel history to India.
     
    A 34-year-old Indian holding Singapore work pass was infected locally. The Ministry of Health said that of these new cases, 24 are imported and have a travel history to Europe, North America, Middle East, ASEAN and other parts of Asia.
     
    Of the 423 confirmed COVID-19 cases who are in hospitals, 19 are in critical condition. The others are stable or improving. In total, 212 people in Singapore have fully recovered from the deadly disease.

  • In a conference call with these boxers, the President of the Boxing Federation of India, Ajay Singh took stock of their preparations amid a national lockdown till April 14 to fight the pandemic. 

    He told the boxers that this is a challenging time for all of us and is all the more a reason for us to take care of ourselves stay fit. He asked them to continue with the exercises as directed by the coaches and try to maintain weights as much as possible.

    Elaborating further on the 45-minute discussion, BFI's Executive Director R K Sacheti told that the areas of concern are diet control and mental health.

    He said India boxing's High Performance Director Santiago Nieva, who is now in Patiala after completing a 14-day self-isolation period in Delhi, will be conducting classes for men.

    The classes for women will be conducted by their high performance director Rafaelle Bergamasco.

     India booked an unprecedented nine Olympic slots at the Asian qualifiers in Jordan earlier this month.

  • The lender's external benchmark lending rate is linked to the RBI's repo rate, which was reduced by 75 basis points, to 4.40 percent, on March 27.
     
    It has also cut benchmark marginal cost of funds based lending rate by 25 basis points across tenors from one year to one month, and by 15 basis points for overnight tenor.

    The one-year marginal cost of funds is now 7.95 percent per annum. 

  • As a part of the Government’s preparedness to fight the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has decided to make available all National Skill Training Institutes (NSTIs) and their hostels across the country for conversion into quarantine/isolation facilities. The decision was taken by the Ministry to align its efforts with the Centre in preparedness for the pandemic that has led to a nationwide lockdown for 3 weeks to encourage social distancing among people.
     
    MSDE has also provided the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare a list of around one lakh personnel who have been trained in healthcare skills through various programmes under the Skill India Mission. Trained in various job roles, these candidates will boost the efforts to contain the spread, and treatment and care of infected people in the new quarantine/ isolation/ hospital facilities being set up.
     
    In addition, a list of 2000 health care trainers and more than 500 health care assessors has also been shared with health ministry. Further, the personnel of the Ministry have also decided to contribute at least minimum one day salary to the PM CARES fund, to aid the Government’s efforts to fight the corona virus pandemic.
     
    Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has said that the addition of NSTIs will help district and state administrations in treating those infected by the virus by providing an alternative for hospitals and health centres. He said, they have requested all Regional Directors of NSTIs to fully cooperate with State Government authorities to help them meet the requirement .
     
    Dr. Pandey said, state Governments can also use the premises of ITIs. Run by the Directorate General of Training, NSTIs are premier institutes that provides training in specialised skills across its spread of training centers and hostels in the country. The nearly one lakh candidates who will aid in emergency and isolation work in the battle against COVID-19 have been trained in various job roles.

  • Since doctors did not know exactly when Sophie Trudeau became virus-free, the Prime Minister said he would observe another 14 full days of confinement.

    Trudeau has been in self-isolation since his wife tested positive for the coronavirus on March 12 following a trip to London.
     
    Trudeau also announced new financial measures to help vulnerable Canadians, particularly children and the aged.

    As of Sunday, 6,243 Canadians had tested positive for the coronavirus, and 64 have died.

  • The decision was taken by the High Power Coordination Committee for the prevention and control of novel Coronavirus in Kathmandu on Monday.

    The government has also decided to allow Nepalis stuck at border points on their way back home on the basis of their identity cards. However, they have to compulsorily undergo a 14-day quarantine at the nearest quarantine facility.

    Meanwhile, Nepal has received medical supplies from China to tackle possible COVID-19 outbreak. Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi handed over the supplies to Nepal’s Minister for Health and Population Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal in Kathmandu.

    According to Health officials, 917 people have been tested for COVID 19 in the Himalayan nation, out of whom five tested positive. Four patients are currently in isolation while one has recovered. 

  • Over six lakh 67 thousand declared cases have been registered in 183 countries and territories since the epidemic first emerged in China in December. Of these cases, at least one lakh 34 thousand are now considered recovered.

    Italy, which recorded its first Coronavirus death in February, has declared ten thousand fatalities so far. Spain has more fatalities than 6500 as well as 78,747 infections.

    China, excluding Hong Kong and Macau has declared 3,295 deaths and 81,394 cases, with 74,971 recoveries.

    The other worst-hit countries are Iran with 2,640 deaths and 38,309 cases, and France with 2,314 deaths and 37,575 cases.

    The United States has the highest number of infected people with 124,686 diagnosed cases, 2,191 deaths and 2,612 recoveries.

    Europe has listed over three lakh 63 thousand cases and 22,259 deaths while, Asia recorded more than one lakh four thousand cases and 3,761 deaths. The West Asia has registered nearly 46 thousand cases and 2,718 deaths. In the US and Canada together 2,250 deaths have been recorded. 

  • Centre has asked state governments and Union Territory administrations to effectively seal state and district borders to stop movement of migrant workers. It has ordered to ensure adequate arrangement of temporary shelters and provisions of food and other facilities for poor and needy people stranded due to lockdown announced in view of COVID -19 outbreak.
     
    In its fresh directive, the Home Ministry said, the migrant people, who have moved out to reach their home states, must be kept in the nearest shelters by the concerned states and quarantined after proper screening for a minimum period of 14 days. The Ministry has also directed the employers including industry, shops and commercial establishments to make payment of wages of their workers on the due date without any deduction.
     
    The landlords of workers have also been ordered not to demand rent for a period of one month. It has been warned that action will be taken if any landlord forces labourers and students to vacate their premises. Yesterday, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla held meeting with state chief secretaries and DGPs through video conferencing.
     
    In the meeting, it was noted that, by and large, there has been effective implementation of the lockdown guidelines across all States and UTs and essential supplies have also been maintained. Terming the movement of a large number of migrant workers to reach their home towns as a violation of the lockdown, the Home Ministry asserted that District Magistrate, Superintendent of Police and DCP will be personally liable for implementation of the direction of the Centre  and lockdown measures.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is continuing his interactions with various stakeholders in India’s fight against COVID-19. PM  interacts with over 200 people on a daily basis to get a first-hand feedback on India’s fight against Coronavirus.

    Prime Minister also telephonically reaches out to various doctors, nurses, health workers, and sanitation staff from various corners of the country in order to encourage them and to pay gratitude to their yeomen service to the nation and society.

    PM Modi interacts with people from various walks of life through video conferencing in an effort to control the spread of the Corona virus.

    Prime Minister also telephonically reaches to some of those who are affected with Corona Virus and to some of those who have recovered from its affects in order to keep an update on their progress.

    PM had been holding meetings on a daily basis wherein he is updated regularly by the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office.

    Prime Minister is also being updated by the Group of Ministers (GoM) set up under the chairmanship of the Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan on the steps being taken by the Government.

  • In an official directive to the states, the centre has asked states to enforce lockdown strictly.

    The Cabinet Secretary and the Ministry of Home Affairs are in constant touch with state Chief Secretaries and DGPs.

    Video conferences were held by the Cabinet Secretary and Home Secretary with Chief Secretaries and DGPs.

    By and large, there has been effective implementation of guidelines across all states and Union Territories. Essential supplies have also been maintained.

    The situation is being monitored round the clock and necessary measures are being taken as required.

    However, there has been movement of migrant workers in some parts of the country, directions were issued that district and state borders should be effectively sealed.

    States directed to ensure there is no movement of people across cities or highways. Only movement of goods should be allowed.

    DMs and SPs should be made personally responsible for implementation of these directions which have been issued under the DM Act.

    Adequate arrangements for food and shelter for poor and needy including migrant labourers be made at the place of their work, centre has issued orders to use SDR Funds for this purpose.

    States have also been directed to ensure timely payments of wages to labourers at their place of work.

  • The six member strategic task force will deal exclusively with the issues related to the lockdown.

    The eleven empowered groups and the strategic task force have been set up in order to deal with coronavirus spread and its aftermath.

    These groups have been set up under the Disaster Management Act. The groups have been empowered to formulate plans and to take all necessary steps for their time bound implementation.

    The Department of Expenditure has issued special instructions to enable expeditious decision making in procurement matters.

    Each group has senior representatives from PMO and Cabinet Secretariat to ensure seamless coordination.

    Of these 11 empowered groups, 9 are headed by secretary level officers, one by Member, NITI Aayog and one by CEO, NITI Aayog.

    In case of any need of guidance, these groups may seek guidance from Union Cabinet Secretary.

  • The Ministry in a statement said these officers have failed to ensure public health and safety during the lockdown restrictions to combat COVID-19.

    Additional Chief Secretary (Transport) Renu Sharma and Principal Secretary (Finance) Rajiv Verma were suspended were suspended with immediate effect due to serious lapse in their duties to enforce the lockdown in the capital.

    Additional Chief Secretary (Home and Land Buildings) Satya Gopal has been issued a show-cause notice. The Sub Divisional Magistrate (Seelampur) has also been issued a show-cause notice.

  • The decision was taken by the High Power Coordination Committee for the prevention and control of novel Coronavirus in Kathmandu today. The government has also decided to allow Nepalis stuck at border points on their way back home on the basis of their identity cards. However, they have to compulsorily undergo a 14-day quarantine at the nearest quarantine facility.

    Meanwhile, Nepal has received medical supplies from China to tackle possible COVID-19 outbreak. Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi handed over the supplies to Nepal’s Minister for Health and Population Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal in Kathmandu this evening. According to Health officials 917 persons have been tested for coronavirus in the Himalayan nation, out of whom five tested positive. Four patients are currently in isolation while one has recovered.

     

     

  • Myanmar has also stopped issuing visa to foreign nationals till April 30 in a bid to control the spread of Corona virus spread in the country. This was announced on Sunday in a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar.

    The visa exemptions granted to the foreign nationals on bilateral arrangements such as ASEAN has also been suspended. However, persons holding diplomatic or official visa, UN diplomats and crews of ships and aircraft have been exempted from the order. The number of confirmed Corona cases in Myanmar remains 8 till Saturday.

    On Friday, a UN staffer was tested positive for Corona virus in Myanmar. She had travelled to Myanmar from Switzerland on March 18 and was undergoing home quarantine. Earlier, Myanmar’s military had announced that it will postpone the annual military parade in view of the spread of Corona virus.

    The first case of Corona virus infection in Myanmar was confirmed on March 24. Many of the city councils in Myanmar have imposed restrictions on social gathering. Naypyitaw Council has banned all social and religious gatherings in the city. It has warned people that people violating the law will be punished with imprisonment and fine.

    The popular destination of Ngapali Beach in Rakhine State has also been closed for the tourists, though marine and fishing related activities will continue. The Yangon Municipal Committee has ordered the restaurants to stop all in-dining activity and only operate take-away service in view of the Corona virus.

  • Born on February 12 at Belgium's Pairi Daiza, a zoo well-known in Belgium for its pandas, the unnamed male calf is the second child to his mother Nema and his father Emilio, following the birth of Kibo in 2013.

    Hippo enthusiasts will have to wait to take a peek at the baby as Belgium is currently undergoing a lockdown expected to last at least eight weeks, as the country seeks to contain the spread of coronavirus.

    According to Pairi Daiza, there are currently between 115,000 and 130,000 hippos living in the wild in Africa.

    Considered a 'vulnerable species' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), hippopotamuses can be found in the wild from Mali to South Africa but became extinct in a number of countries such as Algeria, Egypt and Eritrea.

    According to the IUCN, the main threat against the species are the destruction of its habitat, hunting, armed conflicts, water management and droughts.

  • “In light of the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic worldwide, strong decisions are required to ensure the safety and health of (fashion) houses, their employees and everyone working in our industry,” the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode said in a statement.

    The events were due to take place in late June and early July. The federation said it was working on possible alternatives.

  • SpaceX will get a portion of a $7 billion NASA contract to use its biggest rocket, Falcon Heavy, to send a new “Dragon XL” spacecraft to the Lunar Gateway, an outpost NASA plans to build that will orbit the moon sometime within the next decade.

    The Dragon XL spacecraft, the latest variant in Musk’s lineup of so-called Dragon cargo and astronaut capsules, will carry research supplies that will help future astronauts on the surface of the moon collect lunar samples, a NASA announcement said. 

    The Dragon variant, which would be docked at the orbital station for six to 12 months per mission, is “optimized to carry more than 5 metric tons of cargo to Gateway in lunar orbit,” SpaceX said in a tweet. 

    The financial value of the award was not given. But it signals a key development in the U.S. space agency’s Artemis program to return to the moon - unveiled by Vice President Mike Pence a year ago this week — and deals a win for Musk’s space company as it works to launch its debut manned mission to space this summer.

  • “Prince Abdulaziz assured me of LPG supplies in the coming days to support our domestic requirement,” Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan posted on his Twitter account. The Minister said,

     

     

    On Friday, two Indian refiners declared force majeure on crude purchases from the Middle East after fuel demand plummeted due to a nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus and the companies’ tanks are full.

     

  • According to sources, given the ongoing pandemic and need for preparation time, the most likely plan would be for the Games to begin on July 23, 2021.

    The move comes after Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike on Friday raised the idea of moving the event to a less hot and humid time of year.

    The Tokyo 2020 team led by Yoshiro Mori is currently discussing possible dates with the International Olympic Committee, IOC.

    The Olympics were scheduled to open on July 24 this year with the Paralympics on August 25, but Japan announced last week, it had secured agreement from the IOC to postpone the Games.

  • The government on March 4 had notified the amalgamation schemes for 10 state owned banks into four as part of its consolidation plan to create bigger size stronger banks in the public sector. 
     

    As per the scheme, Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India will be merged into Punjab National Bank; Syndicate Bank into Canara Bank; Allahabad Bank into Indian Bank; and Andhra and Corporation banks into Union Bank of India. 

     

    Under this, the branches of Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India will operate as branches of Punjab National Bank from April 1, and branches of Syndicate Bank as that of Canara Bank. 
     

     

    It informed that Allahabad Bank branches will operate as those of Indian Bank while the branches of Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank will function as the branches of Union Bank of India from the beginning of next fiscal year 2020-21. 
     

     

    Customers, including depositors of merging banks will be treated as customers of the banks in which these banks have been merged with effect from April 1, 2020.

  • The government said it decided to allow the ship to pass on humanitarian ground but stressed that no passenger nor member of crew can disembark on Panamanian soil.

    The Zaandam cruise ship has been stranded at sea since March 14 after several South American ports refused to let it dock due to dozens of people aboard shown flu-like symptoms.

    On Friday the ship's Dutch owner Holland America said four passengers had died and two more had tested positive for COVID-19.

    On Saturday, Panama's maritime authority said healthy passengers were being evacuated from the Zaandam to another cruise, the Rotterdam.

    More than 130 people, both passengers and crew, have been taken ill on the Zaandam, which had more than 1,800 people on board. 

    The Zaandam is heading to Fort Lauderdale in Florida but must pass through the Panama Canal to reach it.

  • Seven more patients were tested positive during past 24 hours while one person died of COVID complication Saturday evening.

    President office said the curfew in six districts including Colombo and Jaffna districts will continue without relaxation.

    The curfew in all other districts will be lifted at 6:00 a.m. on Monday and will be re-imposed at 2:00 p.m.

    Travel between the districts for purposes other than essential services is completely prohibited.

    Meanwhile, two villages in Kalutara and Kandy district have been named as completely isolated areas and no one is allowed to enter or leave them.

    This followed several suspected cases in these villages. Meanwhile, the country has extended the closure of international airports for passenger arrivals by one week till 7th of next month.

    However, departures flights and inbound aircraft with cargo will be allowed.

    Government has urged public to strictly follow curfew laws as it has been brought in force to ensure the well-being of the people of this country in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.

  • PM Modi started off by apologizing to all those who are facing difficulty because of  the countrywide lockdown imposed in the fight against coronavirus outbreak in India.

    PM said, ‘’ those who are thinking that they are helping others via following lockdown, it is better they don’t misinterpret their action as a help to anyone, as this lockdown is for the protection of your own self’’

    PM urged people to protect themselves and their families by keeping patience and following the imposed lockdown.

    PM mentioned about those who are still not taking the situation with seriousness. PM Modi cautioned such people of the dangerous consequences they can face if they do not follow the nationwide quarantine.  PM said ‘’ I know that no one wants to overstep law, break rules wilfully. But there are some who are doing so. To them, I will say that if they don’t comply with lockdown, it will be difficult to save ourselves from the scourge of coronavirus.’’

     Giving the example of the countries that did not take the novel outbreak of coronavirus seriously, PM said, “The world over, many people nursed this delusion, all of them are regretting now.’’

    The Prime minister lauded the efforts of people engaged in the fight against coronavirus from outside their homes, he said, ‘’There are many soldiers who are fighting coronavirus, not in the confines of their homes but outside their homes. These are our front line soldiers-especially our brothers and sisters on duty as nurses, doctors & paramedical staff.’’

    PM Modi interacted with few people who have defeated the virus by following strict quarantine and have been substantial in the fight against Corona, over the phone. PM said, ‘’Boosting their zeal, in turn raising my own enthusiasm too. I have learned a lot from them.’’

    PM Modi also engaged in various conversations with the doctors who are leading from the front in the fight against the global menace of coronavirus.

    Year 2020 is celebrated as ‘International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.’ PM Modi saluted their selfless service to humankind.

    PM Modi also expressed his gratitude for all those who are involved in the E-commerce companies and the banking sector that remains open, said, ‘’ as you watch TV during lockdown, someone’s working hard to ensure that these services continue uninterrupted.’’

    PM mentioned the benefits of social distancing saying it is the most effective way of fighting against coronavirus, but we have to understand that social distancing does not mean ending social interaction.

    The Prime Minister also talked about how people are getting involved in different activities during the current situation of lockdown like music and fitness.

    In the end, PM talked about the steps being taken by Indians to stop the spread of corona. PM Modi expressed his hope and said, ‘’ we will meet in MKB again next month. By then we should have overcome this crisis.”

  • In order to know the capability with which we are dealing with this pandemic at medical level, PM also talked to the doctors treating the patients of coronavirus, said, ‘’Their daily activity is synchronous with that of their patients.’’

    PM also said, ‘’Today when I witness the sacrifice, perseverance & dedication on part of doctors, I am reminded of the touching words of Acharya Charak while referring to doctors. And it is so visible in Doctor’s lives today.’’

    ‘’In order to ensure that India fights, does not have to face such a situation, we have to keep trying ceaselessly,’’ PM asked a doctor about some general queries related to coronavirus like, ‘When to call a doctor?’, ‘When to go for a test?’

  • Other details are not immediately available, including how many and what type of projectiles were launched as of now.

    It marked the fourth round of such launches this month even as the world struggles with the Coronavirus pandemic.

    A little over a week ago, the nuclear-armed North Korea fired what were believed to be two short-range ballistic missiles.

  • As per John Hopkins University tally this is fewer than the 10,023 in Italy, Spain's 5,812, China's 3,299 or the 2,317 in France.

    As on late Saturday, Johns Hopkins recorded 1,21,000 US cases. This included a 23 per cent jump of 21,309 in one day which is also a record.

    New York, which is the epicentre of the US outbreak, recorded over 50,000 cases which is about half of the country's total count.

    US President Donald Trump on Saturday said he is considering to impose a quarantine on New York in a bid to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. However, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters he did not think such a move could be legally enforceable.

    Meanwhile, globally the death toll has surged past 30,000 of which over 20,000 deaths took place in Europe with Italy (889) and Spain (832) each reporting more than 800 dead in one day.

    More than 6.40 lakh cases of the novel Coronavirus have been officially recorded around the world since the outbreak began late last year. Russia which has reported relatively low levels of the virus, said it would close its borders on Sunday.

  • In a series of tweets, she said that it is encouraging to know that they are doing their best, even during the lockdown.

     

    FM said, they are certain that they will ensure customer service without disruption and will also adhere to social distancing.
     

    The Finance Minister acknowledged the role of public sector banks and encouraged them to keep up their efforts in providing uninterrupted banking services across the country.

     

    FM Sitharaman made one-to-one calls with CMDs of all public sector banks and requested them to ensure uninterrupted banking services.
     

    The Finance Minister also called the representatives of private sector banks to ensure that uninterrupted banking services are provided across the country while maintaining social distancing norms

  • Union Home Secretary has again written to States requesting them to immediately set up Relief Camps for migrant workers and pilgrims returning to their domicile states.

    States have also been advised to give wide publicity about the location of the relief camps and the facilities being made available, the measures under the Pradhan Mantri Gharib Kalyan Yojana and other steps taken by the State Government Administration.

    States have also  been asked  to set up Relief Camps along the Highways including setting up of tented accommodation. The shelters are to be organized, keeping in view social distancing and other precautionary measures. 

    Adequate Medical check up drives will be held in the shelters to identify and separate cases requiring quarantine or hospitalization. The Ministry has also authorised all states to use the State Disaster Response Fund for providing such facilities. 

  • BCCI President  also Sourav Ganguly said COVID-19 is first and foremost public health emergency and the BCCI has a firm resolve that the nation gets all possible help to cope with the testing times.

     

    In a tweet, BCCI said,

     

    BCCI's affiliated units have also contributed in this donation.

  • The decision has been taken with a view to address problems being faced by the farming community. This will also ensure uninterrupted harvesting of crops. 

     

    Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has been constantly monitoring issues related to the farmers ever since the lockdown was enforced. He was apprised of the difficulties the farmers could face in the harvesting of their crops and transporting foodgrains to the mandis. The decision will also allow unhindered harvesting of crops.
     

    Under the 2nd Addendum issued by the Union Home Ministry the categories that have been exempted from the lockdown include agencies engaged in procurement of agriculture products such as MSP operations;  Mandis operated by the Agriculture Produce Market Committee or as notified by the State Government, Farming operations by farmers and farm workers in the field and custom hiring centres related to farm machinery. 
     

    Manufacturing and packaging units of fertilisers, pesticides and seed and Intra and Inter-State movement of harvesting and sowing related machines like combined harvester and other agriculture and horticulture implements have also been exempted from the lockdown.

  • It was the 63rd episode of the monthly radio programme. In a tweet, Prime Minister said the episode will be focused on the situation prevailing due to COVID-19.

     

    In the programme, PM addressed the issue of global COVID-19 outbreak. PM applauded India's efforts in combating the spread of corona. PM also talked with those who are working from the front in the fight against the virus.
     

    The programme was broadcast on the entire network of Doordarshan and AIR.
     

    It was also streamed live on the YouTube channels DD News, AIR, PMO and Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

     

    This was the first time after national lockdown, when PM Modi interacted with the people through 'Mann Ki Baat' programme.'

     

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for donations to the newly instituted PM-CARES Fund, which he said, has been formed on popular demand to help fight the novel coronavirus.

     In a series of tweets, PM Modi said, “People from all walks of life expressed their desire to donate to India’s war against COVID-19. Respecting that spirit, the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund has been constituted. This will go a long way in creating a healthier India”

    He also said the fund will cater to “similar distressing situations if they occur in the times ahead”.

    PM also said, ‘’The PM-CARES Fund accepts micro-donations too. It will strengthen disaster management capacities and encourage research on protecting citizens. Let us leave no stone unturned to make India healthier and more prosperous for our future generations.’’

    Followed by PM’s appeal to the citizens of the nation to contribute in fight against coronavirus, people from all walks of life have come forward to contribute to the fund and show their solidarity in the fight angst COVID-19. Legislators, business tycoons, actors, everyone has responded to PM Modi’s appeal.

     

    PM Modi has said that every single contribution in the PM- CARES Fund matters and there is nothing big or little. Reacting to the enthusiastic response of the people, PM said that it shows our collective resolve to defeat COVID-19. In response to a student's contribution, PM Modi said, the future of the nation is ensuring the nation’s future.

    The account number for the PM CARES fund is 2121PM20202 with IFSC code SBIN0000691. The SWIFT code is SBININBB104 and the UPI id is pmcares@sbi. People can also donate to the fund on pmindia.gov.in using UPI, Net Banking, RTGS, NEFT and debit and credit cards.