News

  • Health Ministry has said that the recovery rate of patients from COVID-19 infection has now gone up to 41.61 per cent which was 7.1 per cent in March this year.

  • Union Minister and Senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar today hit out at the Congress saying when the country is fighting to contain the COVID-19, the Congress is playing politics on it.

  • In Kerala, the State Education Board examinations started from today, which was earlier postponed due to COVID-19. The first session of Vocational Higher Secondary exams was held today morning.

  • The second plus phase of Vande Bharat Mission to bring home Indian nationals stranded abroad will start today. Around 140 flights from Gulf countries have been added in this phase of the mission.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adnom Ghebreyesus yesterday said that it has temporarily suspended the clinical trial of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) on COVID-19 patients.

  • In Andhra Pradesh, domestic flight services resumed this morning almost after a gap of two months from the two airports of the state. The first flight by a private operator from Bengaluru landed at Gannavaram airport in Vijayawada early today with 79 passengers.

  • Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said that India utilised the lockdown period to ramp up its health-care infrastructure. He said the lockdown also helped to keep its COVID-19 mortality rate relatively low.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a telephonic conversation with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan yesterday and conveyed greetings on Eid-ul-Fitr to the Government and people of the UAE.

  • Centre today reviewed the progress of relief and restoration work in the areas of West Bengal affected by cyclone Amphan.

  • Union Government’s effective intervention has ensured availability of N-95 masks at reduced prices.

  • The Central Board of Secondary Education, CBSE has now decided to conduct the pending Class 10th and Class 12th Board exams at nearly 15,000 examination centres across the country.

  • The Procurement of wheat by government agencies surpassed last year’s figures of 341.31 lakh tonnes to touch 341.56 lakh tonnes yesterday surmounting all impediments created due to the spread of COVID-19 virus and the countrywide lockdown.

  • Out of them, 88 are migrant workers returning from Kuwait  and were under quarantine while rest eight are navy personnel.

    The new cases has raised the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 1,278 cases. The number of active coronavirus cases who are under medical care stands at 556 while the 712 have recovered with 10 deaths reported so far.

    Sri Lanka has not seen any community case of COVID for over a month but around 600 personnel from a navy camp have tested positive during the period.

    Over last three days. Around 180 people, returning from Kuwait and other Middle East countries have tested positive.

    The curfew has been relaxed all over the country from today and curfew will be in place only between 10 PM and 4 AM.

  • The Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) aims to enhance fish production to 220 lakh metric tons by 2024-25 from 137.58 lakh metric tons in 2018-19 at an average annual growth rate of about 9%.

    The Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Shri Giriraj Singh, today said the ambitious scheme will result in doubling export earnings to Rs.1,00,000 crore and generate about 55 lakhs direct and indirect employment opportunities in fisheries sector over a period of next five years.

    Dedicating the PMMSY to fishers, fish farmers, fish workers, fish vendors and other stakeholders associated with the fisheries sector, Shri Giriraj Singh said that insurance coverage for fishing vessels is being introduced for the first time.

    Addressing a press conference on the “PMMSY - A scheme to bring about Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of fisheries sector in India”, approved by the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 20th May, 2020, Shri Giriraj Singh said that the scheme envisages an estimated investment of Rs. 20,050 crores comprising Central share of Rs. 9,407 crore, State share of Rs 4,880 crore and Beneficiaries contribution of Rs. 5,763 crore. He added that the PMMSY will be implemented over a period of 5 years from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25 in all States/Union Territories.

    Giriraj Singh said that under the PMMSY thrust will be given towards enhancement of fish production and productivity, quality, sustainability, technology infusion, post-harvest infrastructure, modernisation and strengthening of value chain, standards and traceability in fisheries sector from ‘catch to consumer’, establishing a robust fisheries management framework, fishers’ welfare, enhancement of fisheries export competitiveness.

     He further mentioned that PMMSY will create a conducive environment for private sector participation, development of entrepreneurship, business models, promotion of ease of doing business, innovations and innovative project activities including start-ups, incubators etc. in fisheries sector.

    The Minister further mentioned that PMMSY being a fisher centric umbrella scheme, fishers, fish farmers, fish workers and fish vendors are the key stakeholders in the developmental activities envisaged and enhancement of their socio-economic status is one the core objectives of this scheme.

    The Fisheries Minister said that about 42% of the total estimated investment of the PMMSY is earmarked for creation and upgradation of fisheries infrastructure facilities.

    Focus areas include Fishing Harbours and Landing Centers, Post-harvest and Cold Chain Infrastructure, Fish Markets and Marketing Infrastructure, Integrated Modern Coastal Fishing Villages and Development of Deep-sea Fishing.

    Besides creating critical fisheries infrastructure by attracting private investments in fisheries sector, the scheme plans to reduce post-harvest losses from the present high of 25% to about 10% by modernizing and strengthening value chain. Under the Swath Sagar plan, activities envisaged with a view to modernize the fisheries sector include promotion of Bio-toilets, Insurance coverage for fishing vessels, Fisheries Management Plans, E-Trading/Marketing, Fishers and resources survey and creation of National IT-based databases.

    Underlining the need to enhance domestic fish consumption with corresponding health benefits, the Minister said that the Government will register “Sagar Mitra” and encourage formation of Fish Farmers Producer Organizations (FFPOs) to help achieve the PMMSY goals. Youth will be engaged in fisheries extension by creation of 3477 Sagar Mitras in coastal fisher villages. Large number of Fisheries Extension Services Centers will be set up in private space to create job opportunities to young professionals.

    The scheme will also focus on several new activities and areas such as Traceability, Certification and Accreditation, Aquaculture in saline/alkaline areas, Genetic improvement programmes and Nucleus Breeding Centres, Fisheries and Aquaculture start-ups, promotional activities for fish consumption, branding, GI in fish, Integrated Aqua parks, Integrated coastal fishing villages development, State-of-art wholesale fish markets, Aquatic Referral Laboratories, Aquaculture Extension Services, Biofloc, support for new/upgradation of fishing boats, disease diagnostic and quality testing labs, Organic Aquaculture Promotion and Certification and Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) devices.

    Giriraj Singh said that the PMMSY provides thrust for infusing new and emerging technologies like Re-circulatory Aquaculture Systems, Biofloc, Aquaponics, Cage Cultivation etc. to enhance production and productivity, productive utilization of wastelands and water for Aquaculture. He added that some activities like Mariculture, Seaweed cultivation and Ornamental Fisheries having potential to generate huge employment especially for rural women will be promoted.

    Stressing on attaining self-sufficiency in availability of quality seed at affordable price, Shri Giriraj Singh said that the scheme will result in increasing aquaculture average productivity to 5 tons per hectare from the current national average of 3 tons per hectare. This will be achieved through promotion of high value species, establishing a national network of Brood Banks for all commercially important species, Genetic improvement and establishing Nucleus Breeding Centers for self-reliance in Shrimp Brood stock, accreditation of Brood banks, Hatcheries, Farms and also addressing diseases, antibiotics and residues issues, aquatic health management. These steps are likely to ensure quality, higher productivity, improve export competitiveness and fetch higher prices to fishers and farmers.

    Constituting about 7.73% of the global fish production and export earnings of Rs.46,589 Crores (2018-19), India today has attained the status of the second largest aquaculture and 4th largest fish exporting nation in the world. Shri Giriraj Singh that the country has high potentiality to attain the 1st highest fishing producing and exporting nation in the world in the coming years, and his Ministry is committed to take the fisheries sector to newer heights.

    The Minister said that the Fisheries sector has shown an impressive growth in terms of fish production and export earnings during the past five years.

    The sector recorded an Average Annual Growth Rate of 10.88% during 2014-15 to 2018-19, 7.53% average annual growth in fish production and 9.71% average annual growth in export earnings, with 18% share in agricultural exports. He further added that the Gross Value Added (GVA) of Fisheries sector in the national economy during 2018-19 stood at Rs 2,12,915 crores which constituted 1.24% of the total National GVA and 7.28% share of Agricultural GVA.

    Foreseeing the huge scope for development of fisheries, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in December, 2014, had called for “a revolution” in the Fisheries sector and named it as “Blue Revolution”.

    The Union Government has taken several initiatives to harness the potential of the Fisheries sector in a sustainable and responsible manner towards ushering the Blue Revolution in Fisheries as envisioned by the Prime Minister.

    Some of the major reforms and steps taken by the Union Government include (i) Creation of a separate Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying in the Union Government, (ii) Setting up a new and dedicated Department of Fisheries with independent administrative structure, (iii) Implementation of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries during the period 2015-16 to 2019-20 with a central outlay of Rs. 3,000 crore, (iv) Creation of Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF) during 2018-19 with a fund size of Rs. 7,522.48 crore, and (v) Launching of PMMSY with an investment of Rs. 20,050 crore, the scheme with highest ever investment for fisheries sector.

    The Ministers of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Shri Sanjiv Kumar Baliyan and Shri Pratap Chandra Sarangi, and Secretary, Department of Fisheries, Dr. Rajeev Ranjan, were present during the press conference. On the occasion, the dignitaries released a booklet on the PMMSY.
     

  • He also thanked the Minister for his day-to-day support and for facilitating central assistance during the entire period of pandemic.

    Dr Jitendra Singh formally conveyed to the Lieutenant Governor, the Government’s appreciation for the consistent diligence and effort with which the Union Territory administration had dealt with the COVID pandemic and also succeeded in containing it.

    He noted that it was Ladakh which had caused initial alarm for the entire country when suddenly a number of cases reported Corona positive from among the returnees, who were coming back from Iran pilgrimage, but it goes to the credit of the administration and the civil society that Ladakh is among the first to gradually come out from the Corona assault.

     Dr Jitendra Singh thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his clear instructions to give priority to peripheral areas of Ladakh and North East, as a result of which Air Cargo supplies started reaching there even before the lockdown.

    As of today, the store of ration, vegetables and fruit in Ladakh is in much bigger quantity than it would have normally been otherwise in this part of the year, he added.

    The Minister also had a word of praise for the two young Deputy Commissioners of Leh and Kargil and the two SSPs of these two districts respectively who were in touch on day-to-day basis and coordinated for different issues from time to time, which helped in facilitating supply of medical equipment and later the movement of people returning from different parts of the country.

    Mathur apprised Dr Jitendra Singh of the current situation and said that now an effort is being made to revive the development activity. He also discussed some of the projects related to power generation and construction work which had got delayed due to the pandemic and said that very soon these would be revived.

    Among the various projects in the pipeline, Dr Jitendra Singh also mentioned the project for processing of “Leh Berry” for which the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has prepared a plan.
     

  • The two Defence Ministers had discussions on their respective responses against the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Rajnath Singh informed Ms Linda Reynolds on India’s contribution to international efforts against COVID-19 and discussed areas of mutual cooperation in the global fight against the pandemic.

    They also agreed that India-Australia Strategic Partnership provides a good basis for both countries to work together alongwith other countries in this regard to deal with the post COVID-19 related challenges.    

    Both ministers also conveyed their commitment to take forward the initiatives of bilateral defence and security cooperation under the framework of the India-Australia Strategic Partnership.                   
     

  • This is the highest number of Corona virus cases reported in a single day so far. According to the Ministry of Health and Population the total number of COVID-19 cases have reached to 772 in the Himalayan nation.

    On a positive side 43 persons cured and discharged from various hospitals of the country today. There are now 613 active cases, while 155 people have been recovered.

    Four persons have died of COVID-19 so far. All seven provinces of Nepal are affected by the corona virus. Province 2 and Province 5 are the most affected by the COVID-19. Province 5 reported maximum 331 positive cases and Province 2 confirmed 268 cases till date.

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced yesterday that the emergency will be lifted in the remaining five prefectures including Tokyo.

    He warned that state of emergency can be re-imposed if the infection starts spreading rapidly again.

    Abe said expert commission, established by the Japanese government at the beginning of the outbreak, will present by mid-June guidelines for clubs, bars and karaoke spots, where several COVID-19 clusters have originated.

    Japanese government had declared the state of emergency for Tokyo and six neighbouring prefectures in early April and later expanded it to cover the entire country.
     

  • More than 40 lakhs passengers have reached their destinations by these trains. Rail Minister Piyush Goyal has expressed happiness that the railways successfully operated more than three thousand Shramik Special trains and took migrant workers from different parts of the country to their home state.

    In a tweet, the Railways Minister appealed to all the states to cooperate with the Railways and help their labour brothers.

    80 per cent of these Shramik trains are destined for various destinations in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

    Railways had started running Shramik Special trains from 1st May, to move migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places due to lock down.

    The top five States and Union Territories from where maximum trains originated are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

    These trains were terminated in various States across the country. Uttar Pradesh received the highest number of one thousand 245 trains, followed by Bihar 846 trains and Jharkhand 123 trains.

    During the journey, passengers are given free meals and water. In addition to Shramik specials Railways is running 15 pairs of special AC trains connecting New Delhi and has decided to start 200 more trains from 1st June. 
     

  • It will be the 65th episode of the monthly radio programme.

    PM Modi has invited people to share their ideas.

    People can dial 1800-11-7800 to record their messages and can write on the NaMo App Open Forum or on MyGov.

    One can also give a missed call on 1922 and follow the link received in SMS to directly give the suggestions.

    People can share their ideas on topics till 25th of May.
     

  • REC Foundation, the CSR arm of REC Limited, has partnered with TajSATS (a joint venture of IHCL and SATS Ltd) to distribute specially-made nutritious meal packets for medical staff in Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi.

    Every day, 300 food packets are being delivered as a gesture of gratitude to the frontline healthcare warriors of New Delhi. Over 18,000 meals will be delivered in New Delhi through this initiative.

    At the same time, REC in collaboration with various district authorities, NGOs and electricity distribution companies (DISCOMS) is already providing cooked meals and ration to the needy across the nation.

    This initiative was started when the country went under a nation-wide lockdown and will continue for the duration of the coronavirus lockdown. As of 24 May 2020, the corporation has distributed more than 4.58 lacs Kilograms of food grains, 1.26 lac meal packets, 9600 litres of sanitizers, 3400 PPE kits and 83000 masks.

    REC Limited (formerly Rural Electrification Corporation Limited) is a Navratna NBFC focusing on Power Sector Financing and Development across India.

    Established in 1969, REC Limited has completed over fifty years in the area of its operations. It provides financial assistance across the power-sector value chain.

    Apart from this, REC is also the nodal agency for Govt. of India flagship schemes in the Power sector like Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), Saubhagya, etc.
     

  • Border Roads Organisation (BRO) achieved this major milestone by digging up a 440 m long Tunnel below the busy Chamba town on Rishikesh-Dharasu road Highway (NH 94).

    The breakthrough was completed amidst threat of COVID-19 and nationwide lockdown. The construction of tunnel was a challenging task in terms of weak soil strata, continuous water seepage, heavy built up area on top thereby chances of sinking of houses, land acquisition issues, restrictions during COVID lockdown etc.
    Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said, this Rishikesh-Dharasu-Gangotri road in Uttarakhand has a very significant role from socio economic and religious point of view.

    He said, opening of this tunnel will ease out congestion though the Chamba town and reduce the distance by one kilometer and journey through the town will take only ten minutes as compared to thirty minutes earlier.

    Gadkari lauded BRO for working in some of the very difficult terrain and ensuring implementation of critical projects. He said that he has been informed about completion of the project by October 2020, ie, three months ahead of the schedule.

    Director General of Border Roads Organisation, Lt Gen Harpal Singh said, BRO started the work on North Portal of this tunnel in Jan 2019 but work on South Portal could be started only after Oct 2019 due to stiff resistance from locals on account of safety concerns and compensation issues. To compensate for the loss in time, day and night working shifts along with use of modern technology facilitated the breakthrough.

    BRO is a key stake holder in prestigious Chardham project and breakthrough of this tunnel has been achieved by Team Shivalik. Latest Austrian technology has been used in its construction. The tunnel will be through for traffic by October this year, almost three months before its scheduled date of completion.
    Under prestigious Chardham Project costing around Rs 12,000 Crore with approximate length of 889 Km, BRO is constructing 250 Km of National Highways leading to holy shrine Gangotri and Badrinath. Majority of the works are progressing ahead of schedule and BRO is slated to complete four projects by October this year.
    BRO has been entrusted 251 Km of stretches  costing Rs 3000 Cr approx consisting of 17 Projects on road Rishikesh – Dharasu (NH-94) from Km 28 onwards of 99 Km length, Dharasu- Gangotri Highway (NH-108) of 110 Km length and Joshimath to Mana ( NH-58) of 42 Km length. Out of these, 10 Projects consisting of 151 Km road length have been sanctioned which are worth Rs 1702 Cr and works are under progress as under:-

    (i)       Rishikesh – Dharasu( NH-94) , 99 Km length (Five  projects).

    (ii)     Dharasu- Gangotri Highway (NH-108), 22 Km length (Two  projects). Five projects of BESZ are yet to be sanctioned.

    (iii)   Joshimath to Mana (NH-58) 32 Km (Three Projects). Two projects are yet to be sanctioned

     

    BRO is slated to complete four Projects aggregating a length of 53 Km out of 10 ongoing projects ahead of their scheduled, date of completion as under:-

    Dharasu- Gangotri Highway (NH-108) KM 110-123 by June 2020.
    Rishikesh- DharasuHighway (NH-94) Km28-59 by July 2020.
    Rishikesh- Dharasu Highway (NH-94) Km 59-65 including Chamba Tunnel by October 2020.
    Chinialisaur bye pass on Rishikesh- Dharasu Highway (NH-94) by October 2020.
     

    A Tunnel of 440 mtr length to decongest busy Chamba town is being constructed out of these 10 projects. This is a Horse shoe type tunnel with 10 mtr carriage way width and 5.5 mtr vertical clearance. The sanctioned cost of this tunnel is 107.07 Crore. The awarded cost is Rs 86 Crore, including 43 Crore for Tunnel and 43 Crore for 4.2 Km approach roads to tunnel.
     

  • The study can help in understanding and treatment of concussion from head injuries as well as stretch-induced nerve injuries.Axons are long tubular extensions of nerve cells that transmit electrical signals across long distances and can be up to a meter long in the case of humans.

    At such lengths, they are subjected to large stretch deformations during limb or other bodily movements.

    Axons in the brain too undergo significant deformations, even during normal activities like jumping (the human brain is as soft and wobbly as edible jelly).

    Probing into what special strategies axons adopt to protect themselves from damage during such stretch deformations, the scientists zeroed in on the molecule spectrin, a cytoskeletal protein.In their research published in journal eLife, with Dr. Sushil Dubey as the lead author, Prof. Pramod Pullarkatand his team from RRI showed that neuronal cells may have evolved a clever strategy using an etched optical fiber attached to a piezo drive as a force-sensing cantilever to stretch live axons and to measure the resultant tension. Piezo drives attached to optical fiber is used to stretch on axons where optical fiber acts as a force-sensing cantilever.

    The resulting tension measured along the axon comes from the axonal cytoskeleton (consisting of biopolymers), of which spectrin is a part.The RRI team took clues from a recent discovery, which showed that axons have a periodic scaffold consisting of longitudinally arranged long spectrin protein molecules. The function of this skeleton was a puzzle.

    The experiments by the RRI team on axons that are biochemically or genetically modified to disrupt specific cytoskeletal components revealed that the spectrin scaffold has a prominent mechanical role.Earlier single-molecule experiments had shown that spectrin molecules contain several folded regions which can unfold when the protein is stretched and refold when released, thus acting as molecular bellows.

    By comparing detailed tension measurements on axons with a mathematical model that describes such a mechanism, the RRI team showed that this process helps axons to buffer tension and dissipate excess elastic energy. Unlike a linear spring, where the tension increases proportionally with stretch, axonal tension exhibits a plateau-like region where tension is only weakly dependent on stretch, due to the unfolding process.

    This suggests that spectrins can act as axonal ‘shock absorbers’ to protect axons from stretch-induced damage.The brain undergoes significant shear deformations (up to 5% of strain) even under normal activities such as jumping. In contact sports, brain concussion occurs and is a leading cause of injuries. This study will have significant implications to our understanding of concussion that result from head impacts as well as stretch-induced nerve injuries.
     

  • Approaches used so far to achieve the controllability over hotspots distribution, which involves the synthesis of complex morphologies, limits their potential to be used for large area substrates.
    In order to overcome this, the INST group developed a hybrid Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy(SERS) platform of Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) nanostructure decorated with gold nanoparticles, where direct laser writing is used to engineer the artificial edges on the surface of MoS2. 

    This created localized hotspots with remarkable precision and control. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is a technique for molecular detection and characterization that relies on the enhanced Raman scattering of molecules that are adsorbed on SERS-active surfaces, such as nanostructured gold or silver.

    In the research by Dr. Kiran Shankar Hazraand his group which has been accepted for publication in the journal ACS Nano,a focused laser beam of meager power of a conventional Raman spectrometer was used to do nanostructuring on 2D flakes of desired feature size and geometry just by playing with the laser power and exposure time. 
    Using this technique, they achieved the minimum feature size of   ̴300nm, which is close to the diffraction limit of the laser used (i.e., 532nm laser line).

    In SERS sensing, producing SERS substrate of controllable hotspots distribution with desired geometry and location is the main challenging task.

    Several efforts have been made by researchers to attain the controllability over hotspots distribution via employing various synthesis procedures, hotspots engineering, defect engineering, and so on. However, the random distribution of hotspots and precision over geometrical nanostructure has limited the progress in the field of SERS sensing.

    The hybrid SERS platform developed by the INST group offers controlled formation of localized hotspots for ultrasensitive and reproducible detection of analytes. Low power-focused laser irradiation technique was employed to create artificial edges on atomically thin 2D MoS2 sheet, which enables the superior deposition of AuNPs along the artificial edges, and enhances the local electromagnetic field leading to formation of hotspots.

    The innovative route to attain the accuracy and control over localized hotspots formation at desired position and geometry, which is advantageous over randomly distributed hotspots in conventional SERS substrates.

    The team is now exploring various applications of 2D material nanostructures in the field of catalysis, sensing, and optoelectronics devices.

    This research in SERS sensing will open a new avenue for the development of commercialized SERS substrate with a localized detection capability of analytes.

    The AuNPs decorated, and laser-etched 2Dsheets based SERS hybrid platform will also shed new light in the SERS sensing of biological and chemical molecules.

    The artificial edges of the 2D layers can be functionalized with an antibody with adequate coating and linkers for the SERS detection of various biomarkers.
     

  • Under this system, hotels are given a rating, from One Star to Three Star, Four and Five Star with or without alcohol, Five Star Deluxe, Heritage (Basic), Heritage (Classic), Heritage (Grand), Legacy Vintage (Basic), Legacy Vintage (Classic), Legacy Vintage (Grand) and Apartment Hotels, Home stays, Guest house etc.

    The classification/ certification is valid for period of five years.Considering the current situation when the hospitality industry is going through a very difficult time in the wake of Covid 19 Pandemic and lockdown that has severely impacted the accommodation sector, it has been decided that validity of approval or certifications of hotels and other accommodation units whose project approvals/reapprovals and classification/reclassification have expired/are likely to expire during the period (24.03.2020 to 29.6.2020) are deemed to be extended till 30.06.2020.Similarly, the Ministry has a scheme of approving Travel Agents, Tour Operators, Adventure Tour Operators, Domestic Tour Operators and Tourist Transport Operators etc. the idea being to encourage quality, standard and service in these categories so as to promote Tourism in India.

    Due to postponement of inspection work and application scrutiny during the lockdown period from March 2020 onward in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Tourism has decided to allow six months’ relaxation or extension to all categories of Tour Operators (Inbound, Domestic, Adventure) Travel Agents and Tourist Transport Operators for their approval with the Ministry of Tourism subject to the following conditions: -

    (i) The previous approval expired or the current approval expires during the period of 20th March, 2020 (i.e. the date of issuance of order by the Ministry for discontinuation of inspection work by India Tourism offices) till continuation of lockdown, and
    (ii) They applied for renewal before expiry of their current/previous approval.
     

  • The first flight by a private operator from Bengaluru landed at Gannavaram airport in Vijayawada early today with 79 passengers.

    As per the Airport Director Madhusudhan Rao, the aircraft also returned to Bengaluru with 68 passengers onboard. Another flight from another private operator from Bengaluru also landed with 48 passengers and departed with 50 passengers onboard.

    Similarly, Visakhapatnam airport is scheduled to handle flights today from Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Delhi.

    As per the State Government officials, the passengers who land from Delhi will have to quarantine themselves for a week and they will have to be in home quarantine for one more week. All the passengers in both the airports are being handled as per the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry’s guidelines.

    The Civil Aviation Ministry has allowed domestic chartered flights and private jets to resume their operations.

    The Ministry has issued an order in this regard yesterday. After a two month gap, the country resumed its domestic passenger flights from Monday.

    The Ministry said that non-scheduled and private operator of fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and micro-light aircraft can resume their domestic flights from 25th of May onward.

    As per the  guidelines issued in this regard, the Ministry said, if a passenger had manually booked his or her ticket for a chartered helicopter flight, the boarding pass will be issued at the helipad or heliport with minimum contact and after following all sanitization protocol.

    It said, passengers should report at the airport, heliport or helipad at least 45 minutes before the departure time. Vulnerable persons, such as very elderly, pregnant ladies, passengers with health issues are advised to avoid air travel. However, this will not apply to air ambulance services.

    Price cap on tickets, issued by the aviation regulator DGCA last week for scheduled domestic passenger flights, will not be applicable on chartered flights.

    It said, the charges of air travel on chartered flights to be as per mutually agreed terms between operators and the travellers.

    The Ministry said, a self-declarationl Aarogya Sefu App status would also be obtained that the passenger is free of COVID-19 symptoms.

    However, in case of Medical Ambulance Flights, medical certificate on the condition of the patient, that has necessitated air travel, should be carried for the passenger.
     

  • Around 140 flights from Gulf countries have been added in this phase of the mission.

    These flights are expected to fly back more than 23,000 Indians stranded abroad. More destinations may be added in due course in coordination with the State governments. This phase will continue till 8th of June. Maximum number of flights are scheduled from the UAE. A list of 57 flights have been declared as of now from Dubai and another 26 flights from Abu Dhabi.

    Eight flights will be operated from the UAE today which will bring back more than 1,300 passengers. 14 flights from Saudi Arabia, 15 from Oman, 10 from Qatar, 12 from Kuwait and five from Bahrain are scheduled in this phase.

    A majority of the flights from the Gulf are for Kerala. Other destinations include Jaipur, Gaya, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Srinagar, Goa, Chennai, Madurai, Lucknow, Karnataka, Delhi, Amritsar, Hyderabad, Coimbatore and Bengaluru.

    Those with compelling reasons will be given priority in sending back.  Distressed workers, stranded tourists, pregnant women, stranded students, elderly and cases of medical emergency are being given preference.

    Vande Bharat Mission is one of the largest and most complex evacuation exercises by the government to bring home Indian Nationals stranded abroad.
     

  • During the last twenty four hours, two thousand 769 people have recovered and six thousand 535 fresh cases of COVID-19 have been reported taking the total number of cases to one lakh 45 thousand 380.

    Health Ministry said, 146 deaths have been registered in last 24 hours taking the nationwide toll to four thousand 167. 
     

  • The first session of Vocational Higher Secondary exams was held today morning. The 10th std exams just began in afternoon session today. Over nine lakhs students of class 10th, plus one and plus two will be attending the State Board exams scheduled from today till 31st of May.

    Extensive arrangements including thermal screening of students, disinfection of premises, strict social distancing, compulsory mask and  sanitizer's  usages are being done at all centres.

    Nearly 5,000 exam centres are there across Kerala, Lakshadweep and Gulf region.

    Arrangements were made  to ensure that all students attend the exams through  special transport facilities  and the police clearing the way for students to reach on time.

    Authorities informed that those who missed the exams could write the SAY (Save A Year )exam , which will be conducted later.

    Meanwhile, as part of Vande Bharat Mission, nine flights will carry stranded passengers to Kerala today of which eight is from Gulf region and one from Israel.

    Flight from Abu dhabi, Dubai and Bahrain will arrive in Kozhikode today by late evening. Two flights are scheduled to arrive in Kochi, one  form Dubai and another Tel Aviv which will be reaching in a shortwhile.

    Two flights are also scheduled to reach  in Thiruvananthapuram and Kannur from Dubai and Abu dhabi today. Over 1,000 Indian nationals will be reaching Kerala today under the mission.
     

  • Earlier, in the last week, the Lancet Medical Journal published an observational study on HCQ and chloroquine and its effect on COVID-19 patients, who were hospitalized. The authors of the study reported that among patients receiving the drug, when used alone or with a macrolide, they estimated a higher mortality rate.

    WHO had initiated the Solidarity Trial, to evaluate the safety and efficacy of four drugs and drug combinations against COVID-19, which include HCQ.

    The Executive Group of the Solidarity Trial, representing 10 of the participating countries, met earlier this week and has agreed to review a comprehensive analysis and critical appraisal of all evidence available globally.   The review will consider data collected so far in the Solidarity Trial and in particular robust randomized available data, to adequately evaluate the potential benefits and harms from this drug.

    Mr Tedros, further said that the other arms of the trial are continuing and this concern relates to the use of Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in COVID-19. He reiterated that these drugs are accepted as generally safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria.

    According to the WHO, over 400 hospitals in 35 countries are actively recruiting patients and nearly 3,500 patients have been enrolled from 17 countries under the Solidarity Trial.
     

  • The winners, who will each receive a $75,000 grant, were announced as Karen Sherman for dance, Sky Hopinka for film/ video, Christian Scott for music, Phil Soltanoff in theater and Firelei Baez in visual arts.

    The awards, first given out in 1994 and administered by California Institute of the Arts, are chosen by a panel of experts and given to risk-taking artists in their mid-careers, according to the foundation.

    Alpert, 85, is best known as leader of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, which released a string of top-selling albums and singles in the 1960s. Alpert also co-founded A&M Records.

  • The 37-year-old street artist who goes by the name ‘Mue Bon’, which translates as restless hands, says his murals also serve as a reminder that efforts against the virus are not over and everyone has a role.

    “I want to play my part in reminding people about the situation and recording the history that we helped each other by staying home to stop the spread of the virus,” he told Reuters.

    Mue Bon hopes his artwork, which usually contains a social message, will reach people who otherwise might not have access to galleries or other places to see art.

    “There is a huge gap between art and the ordinary people,” he said, taking a break from spray-painting a wall.

        “I put the artwork on the streets, at places where people sitting in cars will see it while driving past.”
    While not a household name in Thailand, Mue Bon has had international success and his work has been displayed in Japan, the United States, Germany, and, most recently, in the Palestinian Territories.

        Thailand has recorded just over 3,000 cases of the novel coronavirus and 56 deaths though the rate of infection has been slowing.
     

  • A butterfly flutters out of the mouth of a body laid to rest.

    Welcome to “Ciudad Corona” (Corona Town), a collection of murals by Cuban artist Yulier Rodriguez in the backyard of a friend’s home in southern Havana.

    Rodriguez is one of several urban artists who have taken to Cuba’s walls to express anguish but also hope regarding the coronavirus pandemic - some in public spaces, others, like his, in private for fear of running into trouble with Communist authorities.

    Cuba has reported 1,947 coronavirus cases and 82 deaths so far. Official data shows the Caribbean island registered fewer than 20 new cases per day over the last week compared to the 50 to 60 that were occurring daily in mid-April.

    “I felt compelled to express the energy of the moment, the way this illness drags along everyone in its path, be they rich or poor, military or civil,” Rodriguez told Reuters.

    Graffiti started gaining traction in Cuba in the mid-2010s due partly to the increasing influence of international culture as the country slowly opened, allowing greater internet access and the opportunity to travel.

    For some artists, Cuba’s many abandoned or dilapidated buildings made for the perfect canvas. The flipside is that public spaces are tightly controlled, so artists have to be careful with either their message or their identity.

    In a more upbeat mural in central Havana, “Courage” is emblazoned in capital letters above a multi-storey black-and-white mural of a child wearing a face mask on a dilapidated building.
    “In Cuba, you need to live with courage all the time,” the author “Mr Myl” said, declining to disclose his real name and covering his face with a floppy hat and face mask.

    In Cojimar, a fishing village east of Havana that inspired Ernest Hemingway’s novel, “The Old Man and the Sea,” a group of youngsters have painted colorful murals on ruins by the sea. One depicting a child holding a rainbow-colored pinwheel against a flowery background is dedicated to healthcare workers fighting the virus.

    Hip hop musician Sekou Sarrias, who led the project, said the aim was not only to express gratitude but also to provide joy to those living among these ruins.
     

  • The winner - who received her lottery ticket as a gift - will acquire the Spanish master’s 1921 oil-on-canvas still life “Nature morte”, a small abstract representing a table, newspapers and a glass of absinth.

    The raffle raised 5.1 million euros, of which 900,000 euros will go to Monaco billionaire collector David Nahmad who provided the painting. The rest will be used by charity CARE for clean-water projects in schools and villages in Cameroon, Madagascar and Morocco. Nahmad also gave 100,000 euros to CARE.

    “Picasso would have loved an operation like this because he was someone with a lot of interest in humanitarian and social causes,” Peri Cochin, organiser of the sale, told Reuters at the Paris offices of art auction house Christie’s.
    She said that more than 51,000 tickets costing 100 euros had been sold in the raffle, which had been delayed by the COVID-19 crisis.

    “This coronavirus crisis has made it clear how important it is to wash your hands, and that can only be done with clear water,” Cochin said.

    At the first edition of this raffle in 2013, a 25-year-old American won a Picasso drawing titled “The Man in the Opera Hat”. It raised 4.8 million euros for an association working to preserve the ancient city of Tyre, in modern-day Lebanon.
    After a six year gap between the first two Picasso raffles, the organisers hope to run an annual edition of the event, to the benefit of a different organisation each year.

    The highest price ever fetched by a Picasso artwork was reached in May 2015, when Christie’s sold his 1955 “Les femmes d’Alger” for $179.4 million.
     

  • Naman Tyagi, Founder & CEO of Weddopedia & Fashiopedia is a 24-year-old World Record Holder, Entrepreneur, Social Activist, Author and an Engineer who is in many news for spreading social awareness to millions of peoples threw is social media. Naman belongs to a traditional Brahman family. His parents - Mr. Pavan Kumar Tyagi & Mrs. Babita Tyagi works as a government teacher and his siblings Neha Tyagi.

    During lockdown when everyone was donating some amount to PM fund or NGOs and was putting that transition slip as their Whatsapp and Facebook status, at that time Naman understands the importance of spreading awareness and knowledge to make people understand what this COVID and social distancing are.

    As there is no medical treatment yet only proper knowledge will save a life. 
    At that time Naman decided to spend his little contribution to aware peoples.

    Soon this campaign reaches millions of peoples and is recognized by some organizations and converts into a world record. 

    Because of the lockdown extension, the poor workers were locked in their working cities with no money left, they lost their jobs their day to day earnings. All the public transport services were discontinued the only option left with them is to walk on foot for long distances to reach their village home. This is a tough time for all but these poor workers are in an enormous problem. 
     
    Naman understands their pain & decides to devote his remaining savings and start helping poor migrant laborers who don’t have money food clothes even don’t have slippers with them.

    Naman helps them by providing them some resources and food so that they will at least reach their home.
     
    Naman didn’t take any funds from NGOs or from any organization he is using his skills and funds want to help the government for spreading awareness.
    Naman as an activist helps the people in solving and coping with the problems in their everyday lives. He has worked in several areas uplifting & bringing forward some of the social issues that society needs to be aware of.

    For all his efforts & achievements, he is receiving great support from lakhs of people all over India, as a result of which he is now connected to more than 30 lakhs people on all his website & social accounts and the number is increasing every day.

    For this, he is a World Record Holder and received 10 plus State & National awards & certificates including ‘Karamveer Chakra’ from ‘United Nations’ in association with ‘IIT Delhi’.
     
    According to him ‘A small change can bring a large difference’.
     

  • Earlier, in the last week, the Lancet Medical Journal published an observational study on HCQ and chloroquine and its effect on COVID-19 patients, who were hospitalized. The authors of the study reported that among patients receiving the drug, when used alone or with a macrolide, they estimated a higher mortality rate.

    WHO had initiated the Solidarity Trial, to evaluate the safety and efficacy of four drugs and drug combinations against COVID-19, which include HCQ.

    The Executive Group of the Solidarity Trial, representing 10 of the participating countries, met earlier this week and has agreed to review a comprehensive analysis and critical appraisal of all evidence available globally.   The review will consider data collected so far in the Solidarity Trial and in particular robust randomized available data, to adequately evaluate the potential benefits and harms from this drug.

     Tedros, further said that the other arms of the trial are continuing and this concern relates to the use of Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in COVID-19. He reiterated that these drugs are accepted as generally safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria.

    According to the WHO, over 400 hospitals in 35 countries are actively recruiting patients and nearly 3,500 patients have been enrolled from 17 countries under the Solidarity Trial.

  • NSE Nifty 50 index rises at 1.2% at 9,148.8

  • Over 400 RSS workers engage in providing food and water at Moradabad station

  • J&K: Udhampur girl helps villagers by selling vegetables amid lockdown

     

  • Tamil Nadu: Manufacture of face masks for divyangs in Tirupur

     

  • More than 40 lakhs passengers have reached their destinations by these trains. Rail Minister Piyush Goyal has expressed happiness that the railways successfully operated more than three thousand Shramik Special trains and took migrant workers from different parts of the country to their home state. In a tweet, Goyal appealed to all the states to cooperate with the Railways and help their labour brothers. Our correspondent reports that 80 per cent of these Shramik trains are destined for various destinations in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

    Railways had started running Shramik Special trains from 1st May, to move migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places due to lock down. The top five States and Union Territories from where maximum trains originated are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

    These trains were terminated in various States across the country. Uttar Pradesh received the highest number of one thousand 245 trains, followed by Bihar 846 trains and Jharkhand 123 trains. During the journey, passengers are given free meals and water. In addition to Shramik specials Railways is running 15 pairs of special AC trains connecting New Delhi and has decided to start 200 more trains from 1st June. 

  • In a tweet, he informed that 39,231 passengers boarded the flights on the first day of operation. One-third of the total domestic commercial flights in the country flew on Monday after almost 61 days of suspension of their operations as a measure to control spread of infection of COVID-19.

    Andhra Pradesh is set to resume flight operations from today, while that of West Bengal from Thursday.

  • The National Crisis Management Committee, NCMC under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba met again for the fourth time. Gauba advised that complete power connectivity, telecom service and drinking water supplies need to be restored on priority basis. 

    He said, Central agencies are ready to provide any further assistance that may be required by the state. Adequate stocks of food grains have also been kept ready for supply based on the demand from the state.
     
    As announced by Prime Minister after his aerial survey and review of relief efforts with the West Bengal Government, a sum of one thousand crore rupees has already been released to the State Government. The Cabinet Secretary said, Ministry of Home Affairs will be sending a Central team soon to assess the damages. 

    Meanwhile, Army has been deployed in Kolkata, to help in carry out road clearances alongwith teams of NDRF and SDRF.
     
    Chief Secretary of West Bengal thanked the Centre for the support provided for relief and restoration. Restoration of Power and Telecommunication infrastructure was stated to be a priority in the Cyclone affected areas of the state. 

    While Telecom connectivity has been restored in most areas, damages to the local Power distribution network has affected the restoration of complete supply in some areas. Union Minister of Power R. K. Singh, reviewed the progress of restoration of power systems post-Amphan cyclone in West Bengal and Odisha via video-conferencing today. 

    Speaking on the occasion, Singh said that the disruption caused by the Cyclone to the power systems was extensive, but the restoration work has been carried out swiftly. He said that the Inter-State Transmission System was restored within few hours and Central Power PSUs also provided human resources to carry out power restoration of local power supply in the cyclone affected areas. 

    Singh expressed confidence that the restoration will be completed in Odisha by Monday evening itself. He said, the restoration work is in progress in parts of Kolkata and some other districts of West Bengal.
     
    The Power Minister directed his Ministry's officials that apart from the manpower and assistance already made available, they should mobilize additional manpower through NTPC and POWERGRID and make them available to Power Department of West Bengal to assist them in restoration work. They will remain in touch with West Bengal Government to provide required help.
     
    Secretary, Ministry of Power, Additional Chief Secretary, Power of West Bengal, Principal Secretary, Power of Odisha along with Chairman-cum-Managing Directors of various Power Distribution Companies among those took part in the review meeting.

  • The move came as 22 out of 42 tested positive today and 49 out of 52 tested positive yesterday are returnees from Kuwait. Similar trend has been seen in returnees from other middle east countries including UAE where a majority of Sri Lankan expats are employed.  

    Director-General of Health Services Dr Anil Jasinghe said that the Government will review the frequency of bringing Sri Lankans back from overseas. He said that with the latest developments, it is likely that there will be a gap between flights bringing down Sri Lankans so that the authorities have time to deal with the returnees more closely.

    A total of 477 patients are currently under medical care while the number of recoveries in the country stands at 695 out of total 1182 cases. Ten persons have died of the virus with the latest death reported to be a returnee female from Kuwait who was undergoing quarantine.

    There are over one million Sri Lankan nationals employed abroad and several have become unemployed due to COVID crisis.

  • He had tuberculosis and other respiratory ailments and was undergoing treatment at National Medical College in Birgunj. Meanwhile, 79 more persons tested positive today taking total number to 682.

    On a positive side 25 persons cured and discharged from various hospitals of the country today. There are now 566 active cases, while 112 people have been recovered. Four persons have died of COVID-19 so far.

    Currently 46029 people are under quarantine and 566 persons kept in isolation across the country. All seven provinces of the Himalayan nation are affected by the corona virus. Province 2 and Province 5 are the most affected by the Corona virus. Province 5 reported maximum 292 positive cases and Province 2 confirmed 235 cases till date

  • The products under reference have no relevance to the procurement being made by the Central Government.

    HLL Lifecare Limited (HLL), the procuring agency of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, is procuring PPE coveralls from manufacturers/suppliers only after getting their coveralls tested and approved by one of the eight labs nominated by the Ministry of Textiles (MoT) for testing the same.

    It is only after their products qualify in the test prescribed by the technical committee (JMG) of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, that they are procured. 

    Further, HLL is also undertaking random sampling of the supplies being made, for which a testing protocol has been devised. In case of any failure, the company is being disqualified for any supplies.

    All the States/UTs have been asked to ensure procurement which is being carried out at their level after following the prescribed testing for PPEs from MoT nominated labs. In addition, manufacturers who have got their products qualified from these labs are also being on-boarded on Government e-Marketplace (GeM).

    The manufacturers who have got PPEs qualified have been advised by the MoT to on-board on to the GeM so that the procurement by States can be carried out accordingly. For the private sector also, the dynamic information of manufacturers whose products have qualified the tests is available on MoT website.

    India has significantly ramped up its domestic production capacity of PPEs and N95 masks, and the requirements of the States/UTs are being sufficiently met. Today, the country is producing more than 3 lakh PPEs and N95 masks per day. States/UTs as well as Central Institutions have been provided with around 111.08 lakh N-95 masks and around 74.48 lakh Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

    Additionally, guidelines for rational use of rational use of PPEs have been issued by MoHFW and can be seen at https://mohfw.gov.in.

  • Minimum temperature in the city is expected to be 28 degrees Celsius and maximum 45 degree Celsius.

    Mumbai will witness a partly cloudy sky. The minimum temperature in the city will be 27 degrees Celsius while maximum temperature will remain around 37 degrees Celsius.

    In the south, Chennai will see a partly cloudy sky. The temperature will hover between 30 and 40 degrees Celsius.

    Kolkata may also witness partly cloudy sky. The minimum temperature in the metropolis will be 29 degrees Celsius while maximum will be around  35 degrees. 

    In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the minimum temperature will be 26 degrees Celsius in Jammu while maximum will be around 43 degrees Celsius. The city will observe mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards evening or night.

    In Srinagar, the minimum temperature will be 12 degrees Celsius while maximum will be around 27 degrees. The city will observe partly cloudy sky.

    In Gilgit, the temperature will hover between 17 and 33 degrees Celsius with generally cloudy sky.

    In Muzzafarabad, there will be a mainly clear sky. The minimum temperatures may be 20 degrees Celsius while maximum temperatures will be around 28 degrees Celsius. 

  • Active cases: 77,103

    Cured/Discharged: 57,720

    Migrated: 1

    Deaths: 4,021

  • President, Vice President and Prime Minister have greeted people on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.

    In his message, President Ram Nath Kovind said, the festival is an expression of love, peace, brotherhood, and harmony. He said, on this occasion, people reaffirm the belief in sharing with and caring for the most vulnerable sections of society. The President called upon people to carry the spirit of giving more vigorously at a time when people are faced with an unprecedented crisis created by COVID-19 virus.

    He also called upon people to resolve to adhere to social distancing norms and all other precautions to stay safe and overcome the challenge soon. Mr Kovind hoped that this Id-ul-Fitr will usher in universal values of mercy, charity and hope in the world.

    In his message, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said, the festival fortifies the spirit of compassion, charity and generosity in the society and it is an occasion for families and communities to come together. He said, however, this year as India and the world continue to fight the relentless battle against the spread of COVID-19, people are celebrating almost all traditional festivals at home.

    VP Naidu said, people have to be content with a subdued celebration and adhere to the safety norms of social distancing and personal hygiene. He hoped that people will celebrate the festival by keeping alive the spirit of joy, compassion and mutual respect that underlies the pious occasion. The Vice President hoped that the noble ideals associated with Eid-ul-Fitr will usher in health, peace, prosperity and harmony in the lives of people.

    In his message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hoped this special occasion furthers the spirit of compassion, brotherhood and harmony. Mr Modi wished for everyone to be healthy and prosperous. 

    Meanwhile, Shahi Imam of Delhi Jama Masjid Sayyed Ahmad Bukhari has appealed to people not to come to mosques to offer prayers and offer namaz at home in view of the pandemic. The Shahi Imam has urged people to take precautions and maintain social distancing while celebrating the auspicious festival.

    He said that people should refrain from shaking hands and hugging each other. Several other Ulemas from all the sects  have already appealed to the muslims to offer prayers at home only.

  • Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the flight operations from Vijaywada and Vizag airports in Andhra Pradesh will begin on May 26, while those in West Bengal will recommence from Thursday on a limited scale.

    In Chennai, there will be a maximum of 25 arrivals but there is no limit on number of departures. For other airports in Tamil Nadu, flights will operate as in other parts of country, he tweeted.

    The minister also said that there will be limited flight operations from Mumbai in Maharashtra.

    Flight operations had been been shut in the country two months ago owing to the nationwide lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

    According to standard operating procedure issued by Airport Authority of India, passengers should reach airport two hours before the scheduled time of departure and only passengers who have departure in next four hours will be allowed to enter the terminal building.
     
    Passengers will have to wear protective gear such as gloves and masks while entering the airport. All passengers, except children below 14 years, must be registered on the Aarogya Setu app and it will be verified at the entry gate of the terminal building.

    Passengers shall compulsorily walk through screening zone for thermal screening before entering the terminal building.

    Airport operators have been asked to make arrangements for sanitization of a passenger's baggage before entry into the terminal building. Only one check-in and one hand baggage is allowed and the use of trolley is restricted. Elderly, pregnant ladies and kids have been advised to avoid air travel for now. 

  • This has  raised the total number of positive cases reported in the country to 1,117. However, 674 of them have recovered while 434 are under active treatment.

    Nine people have died of the virus so far. Sri Lanka has not seen any positive case among general population for almost a month now.

    A majority of the cases occurred amongst navy personnel from a navy base while last few days have seen several returnee workers from middle east tested positive.

    Government has started easing curfew conditions and it will be relaxed all over the country from Tuesday after Eid holidays.

  • She said that till the time vaccine is not developed, people will have to learn to live with the Corona virus and economic activities will have to be resumed for the sake of life and livelihood of people.

    Extending Eid greetings to people, Sheikh Hasina urged them to remain in their homes while they celebrate Eid on Monday.

    Recalling various measures taken by the government to alleviate economic hardship caused by the Corona crisis, she assured that the government will continue with relief measures till the Corona pandemic is over in the country.

    Bangladesh has been observing 'General Holidays' since March 26 which has been extended till May 30. Over this period of time government has slowly relaxed some restrictions by allowing Ready Made Garment Factories to open followed by limited opening of shops and malls in the country.

    In the meanwhile, Bangladesh on Sunday reported the highest single day deaths due to Corona virus. According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), 28 people succumbed to Corona infection in the country while 1532 new cases were reported  over the last 24 hours since Saturday.

    With this the death toll due to Corona in the country has gone up to 480 and number of infected people reached 33,160. During the same period 415 people have recovered, taking the number of recovered people to 6901. A total of 8908 samples were tested across the country in the last 24 hours.
     

  • Seventeen persons discharged from the hospitals. There are now 513 persons having coronavirus in Nepal, while 87 people have been recovered.

    Three persons have lost their lives due to COVID-19 so far. At present 39804 people are under quarantine and 513 persons kept in isolation across the country.

    Out of 77 districts of the Himalayan nation 42 are affected by the corona virus. Banke district in Province 5 has reported maximum 142 positive cases.

  • Netanyahu is required to appear for the session in Jerusalem District Court, a week after he was sworn in to a record fifth term as head of a unity government, ending more than a year of political deadlock in the wake of three inconclusive elections.

    He was indicted in November on bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges in three cases involving gifts from millionaire friends and for allegedly seeking regulatory favours for media tycoons in return for favourable coverage.

    Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party, has cast his prosecution as a leftist witch-hunt meant to oust a popular right-wing leader.

    As prime minister, Netanyahu is under no legal obligation to resign and he has said his court battle will not affect his ability to do his job.

    A three-judge panel will hear his case. On Wednesday, it turned down his request to stay away from the opening session.

    In asking to be excused, Netanyahu called the event a formality and argued that bringing his contingent of bodyguards would waste public funds and make it hard to comply with social distancing rules.

    Some critics said Netanyahu was trying to avoid the optics of a prime minister sitting in the defendant’s dock.

    Turning down his request, the court said it was important for justice to be seen to be done.

    Six years ago, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was found guilty of bribe-taking and served 16 months in jail. His trial took place after his 2006-2009 term in office.

  • Sino-U.S. ties have nosedived since the outbreak of the new coronavirus, with the administrations of President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping repeatedly trading barbs over issues related to the pandemic, especially U.S. accusations of cover-ups and lack of transparency.

    The two top economies have also clashed over Hong Kong, human rights, trade and U.S. support for Chinese-claimed Taiwan.

    State Councillor Wang, speaking at his annual news conference on the sidelines of China’s parliament, expressed his deep sympathies to the United States for the pandemic, where the death toll is expected to surpass 100,000 in the coming days, the highest number of any country.

    “Regretfully, in addition to the raging coronavirus, a political virus is also spreading in the United States. This political virus is using every opportunity to attack and smear China,” said Wang, who is also China’s foreign minister.

    “Some politicians have ignored the most basic facts and concocted too many lies about China and plotted too many conspiracies,” he added.

    “I want to say here: Don’t waste precious time any longer, and don’t ignore lives,” Wang said.

    “What China and the United States need to do the most is to first learn from each other and share their experience in fighting against the epidemic, and help each country fight it.”

    China and the United States also need to start coordinating macro policies for their respective economies as well as the world economy, he added.

  • Eid is being celebrated across the Middle East under lock down conditions. Normally performed at mosques and Mussalas, but this year due to the current exceptional circumstances created by the spread of COVID-19, Eid Al Fitr prayers are being performed at home, without Khutba, or sermon in most of the countries in the Middle East.

    This is the first time that Eid is being performed without the traditional namaz in the mosques and special greetings and festivities associated with it. Traditional Eid shopping, night bazaars were all missing this time. Eid Al Fitr prayers are being performed at home to ensure safety, as mosques will remain closed due to the precautionary measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

    During the entire month of Holy Ramadan, mosques across UAE and Saudi remained closed. The faithful were asked to offer prayers at home Muezzins however, chanted the Eid Takbeers through loudspeakers from dawn till the Eid prayer time. 

  • Home quarantine may be permitted for 14 days only for exceptional and compelling reasons such as cases of human distress, pregnancy, death in family, serious illness and parents accompanied by children below 10 years. Use of Aarogya Setu app shall be mandatory in such cases.
     
    A list of Dos and Don'ts shall be provided along with ticket to the travelers by the agencies concerned. All passengers shall be advised to download Arogya Setu app on their mobile devices. At the time of boarding the flight or ship, only asymptomatic travelers will be allowed to board after thermal screening. Passengers arriving through the land borders will also have to undergo the same protocol and only those who are asymptomatic will be enabled to cross the border into India.
     
    Self-declaration form shall be filled in duplicate by the person in the flight or ship and a copy given to Health and Immigration officials at the airport, seaport or landport. The form will also be made available on Aarogya Setu app. Suitable precautionary measures such as environmental sanitation and disinfection shall be ensured at the airports and within the flights. During boarding and at the airports, all possible measures to ensure social distancing must be ensured.
     
    While on board, required precautions such as wearing of masks, environmental hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and hand hygiene are to be observed by airline or ship staff, crew and all passengers. On arrival, thermal screening would be carried for all passengers. The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to medical facility.
     
    The remaining passengers shall be taken to suitable institutional quarantine facilities, to be arranged by the States and UTs. These passengers shall be kept under institutional quarantine for a minimum period of 7 days. They shall be tested as per ICMR protocol and if they test positive, they shall be assessed clinically. If they are assessed as mild cases, they will be allowed home isolation or isolated in the Covid Care Centres as appropriate.
     
    Those having moderate or severe symptoms will be admitted to dedicated COVID Health facilities and managed accordingly. If found negative, they shall be advised to further isolate themselves at home and self-monitor their health for 7 days. In case, any symptoms develop they shall inform the district surveillance officer or the state national call center number - 1075.

  • As of Sunday morning, the total number of cases stood at 5,309,698, while the death toll increased to 342,078, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

    The US has the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 1,622,605 and 97,087, respectively. In terms of cases, Brazil accounted for the second highest number of infections at 347,398.

    This was followed by Russia (335,882), the UK (258,504), Spain (235,290), Italy (229,327), France (182,036), Germany (179,986), Turkey (155,686), Iran (133,521), India (131,423) and Peru (115,754), the CSSE figures showed.

    Meanwhile, the UK came in second after the US with 36,757 COVID-19 deaths, the highest fatalities in Europe. The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are Italy (32,735), Spain (28,678), France (28,218), and Brazil (22,013).

  • 14 flights in the last week took back approximately 2500 Indians from Dubai. In the first phase nearly 2000 Indians were repatriated from Dubai. 1045 people were sent back from Abu Dhabi to various places in India. Muscat sent back 1970 passengers on 11 flights to India. More flights are expected in the second leg of the second phase of the Vande Bharat Mission.

    Under the Vande Bharat Mission, around 23 thousand Indians have been repatriated through flights operated by Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express between 7th to 21st of this month. The Mission would be able to bring a total of 50 thousand Indians, who have been stranded abroad, home by the end of this month.

    The ongoing second phase of the Vande Bharat Mission to evacuate stranded Indians from abroad will continue till 13th of June and the extended phase will cover 47 countries. In this phase, places like Istanbul, Ho Chi Minh city, and Lagos have been included and flights to the US and Europe have increased.

    India is looking at making Frankfurt a hub for the mission. There will be a third phase of evacuation after 13th of June and private airlines may be involved in it. Passengers have to pay money to book a seat on any repatriation flight being operated under the Vande Bharat Mission. In the first phase, the government evacuated around 15 thousand people from 12 countries. 

  • Commercial passenger flights at Delhi airport will initially operate from Terminal 3.

    Delhi airport's operator DIAL said it has taken several measures including installation of automatic hand sanitizers at various places, putting floor markers, allocation of entry gates and check-in islands for departing passengers.

    These steps have been taken to enforce social distancing norms and minimize human contact at the airport. 

  • Rejecting reports about the detention of a joint patrol party detained by the Chinese forces in Ladakh, the Indian Army on Sunday said that these were "inaccurate".

    Indian Army Spokesperson issued a statement saying, ''There has been no detention of Indian soldiers at the borders. We categorically deny this. It only hurts national interests when media outlets publish unsubstantiated news.''

    It was claimed that an Indian patrol party comprising Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel were detained by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) last week after skirmishes in Ladakh near the Line of Actual Control. Reports claimed that the Indian patrol party was briefly detained and their firearms snatched by the Chinese and they were only released after talks between both sides at the local level.

    Chinese forces were alleged to have intruded the Indian territory and were also carrying out aggressive patrols with motorboats in the Pangong lake. On this, the Indian Army sources maintained that the reports on detention are inaccurate.

    The Indian Army has clarified that they will not allow any kind of Chinese transgression in India territory and would patrol in those areas. The PLA has been clashing with Indian forces on patrol after entering the Indian side.

    On Friday, General Manoj Mukund Naravane visited Leh, the headquarters of 14 Corps in Ladakh, and reviewed deployment of forces along the Line of Actual Control with China. 

    He held a meeting with Northern Command chief Lieutenant General Y K Joshi and 14 Corps Commander Lieutenant General Harinder Singh and other officers to know the ground situation on the forward locations along the Line of Actual Control. Late in the day, he returned to Delhi.

     

  • This was stated by Indian high commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay, a day after PM Modi had telephonic conversation with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

    Baglay said leadership of both countries attach great importance to economic and commercial cooperation as friends always come to each other for help in crisis situation. He said they are working with trade authorities and business persons for preparing a mechanism through electronic trade facilities.

    The high commissioner said the long term focus is to revive linkages of transport, trade and economic activities between the two neighbours. He said Indian government is aware of Sri Lankan government emphasis and India is keen to partner for infrastructure development.

    Earlier, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had sought the intervention of PM Modi to revive some of the key projects as Sri Lanka strives to restore the economy in wake of COVID crisis. He called upon  Indian side to expedite construction of the East Terminal of the Colombo Port as early as possible as it will be a significant boost to its economic landscape.

    Rajapaksa said he is trying to promote value added industrial and agricultural activities and will be happy to encourage Indian investors to start such investments, including Indian companies already in Sri Lanka to increase domestic value addition.