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Coronavirus Live Updates: Essentials, medicines to be available 24X7 in Delhi, Maharashtra

BusinessToday.In     March 26, 2020

Coronavirus in India Live Updates: Coronavirus cases in India have touched 649, including 13 deaths. While India is undergoing 21-day lockdown till April 14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with leaders of the G-20 countries will soon hold a crucial virtual meeting to discuss efforts that are being taken to contain the deadly virus. The government today announced Rs 1.7 lakh crore worth package for poor people, health workers, employees and poor women to mitigate the crisis that have emerged due the pandemic outbreak. Globally, the virus has killed over 21,000 people, with over 4.8 lakh people already being affected.

Check all the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak on BuisnessToday.In live blog

7.00 pm: Coroonavirus impact: International flights banned till April 14

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has closed all international commercial passenger flights till 6:30pm (GMT) on April 14. This ban will not apply to approved international all-cargo operations and flights.

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6.52 pm: Coronavirus impact: CMIE predicts biggest contraction for India Inc in 20 years

India Inc is currently facing a deep contraction and it is broad-based across sectors and industries, according to a latest report Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). The Mumbai-based think tank warned that the coronavirus outbreak could make it even bigger, longer and broad-based.

6.50 pm: Coronavirus impact: Finance Ministry urges RBI to pause EMI, loan repayments

Finance Ministry has asked the Reserve Bank of India to consider emergency measures to help borrowers cope with economic pressure triggered by the COVID 19 outbreak. Department of Financial Services Secretary Debashish Panda reportedly wrote a letter to the RBI on Tuesday suggesting a moratorium of a few months on the payment of equated monthly installments (EMIs), interest and loan repayments and a relaxation in the classification of bad loans.

6.41 pm: Coronavirus in delhi: Essential shops allowed run 24X7

Delhi government has allowed establishments that sell essential items or are part of a supply chain for such items to function 24X7, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal informed. No additional permits or licences will be required for this, he added.

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6.30 pm: Coronavirus in Maharashtra: Groceries, medical stores to remain open all day

All stores of essential commodities, groceries and medicine have been allowed to stay open round the clock in Maharashtra. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray issued orders allowing such stores to be open 24 hours. These shops, however, have to adhere to social distancing, sanitisation and cleanliness norms.

6.09 pm: Coronavirus relief fund: Insurance for health workers great relief, says Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan appreciated the insurance package declared by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today for health workers working in the country which includes more than 10 lakh Asha workers. This is good news and it gives security to all the health workers, the Health Minister told ANI.

5.55 pm: Coronavirus in India: 13 active cases in J&K

Jammu and Kashmir government informed that 13 people have been tested positive for COVID-19 till now in the state. 5,482 people who came in contact with possibly infected or positive cases have been put under surveillance, government said.

5.42 pm: WATCH: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee directs officials, street vendors to practice social distancing

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5.25 pm: The govrenment announcement today of a financial assistance package, is the first step in the right direction, tweeted Rahul Gandhi.

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5.13 pm: Yogi Adityanath praises coronavirus relief fund

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has appreciated the economic package released by Centre today to mitigate economic impact of coronavirus lockdown. The step taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of a Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan package is a step which should be welcomed by all, the UP Chief Minister told ANI.

4.31 pm: "Community transmission of COVID-19 will start if the community and we don't work collectively and follow guidelines. But it would never happen in India if we follow social distancing and treatment properly," says Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry.

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4.30 PM: While the numbers of COVID19 cases are increasing, the rate at which they are increasing appears to be relatively stabilising. However, this is only the initial trend: Lav Aggarwal

4.24 PM: Govt is taking steps to ensure that production, supply or distribution of essential goods and services do not get affected during #CoronavirusLockdown. States are working to provide food and shelter to migrant workers: Punya Salila Srivastava, Joint Secretary, MHA.

4.24 PM: 42 fresh cases in 24 hours

42 fresh coronavirus cases and four deaths related to COVID19 have been reported in the last 24 hours. Total number of cases stands at 649. On our request, work has started in around 17 states for COVID-19 dedicated hospitals: Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry

4.15 PM: Government of India allows doorstep delivery of medicines/drugs to people in view of the COVID19 pandemic. Notification to be published soon.

4.10 PM: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to 18 Chief Ministers in connection with the people from West Bengal that are stuck in various parts of the country, amid the lockdown. In the letter, she has appealed to the CMs to provide basic amenities to them.

4.07 PM: Delhi Metro: We have received a few queries regarding the tenure of the closure of the Metro services. It is hereby informed that, in light of the lockdown issued by the government, Metro services will remain closed till 14 April 2020.

4.05 PM: Mahindra, Maruti to make ventilators

Pawan Goenka, the managing director of the company's automotive division on Thursday tweeted that the company has embarked on a two pronged strategy to produce ventilators at its factories.  "At one end, we along with two large PSUs are working with an existing manufacturer of high spec ventilators to help them to simplify design and scale up capacity. Our engineering team is right now with them working on it," his tweet read.

Also read: Coronavirus: Here's how Mahindra, Maruti will produce ventilators at plants

3.48 PM: Liquor factories to produce sanitisers in Rajasthan

Nine liquor factories in seven districts of Rajasthan will be used to produce sanitisers. Four private companies and 5 production units of state-owned Gnaganagar Sugar Mills have been directed by the government to start manufacturing sanitisers and licences to do the same has been issued to them.

3.45 PM: Follow lockdown protocols: Dr Harsh Vardhan

We need to ensure and ascertain that the lockdown protocols are effectively followed to prevent spread of the disease: Dr Harsh Vardhan

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3.43 PM: Coronavirus cases in J&K

As the number of persons infected with coronavirus has gone up to three, in an effort to contain the spread of infection in Srinagar, the District Magistrate has ordered the closure of all places of worship: Government of Jammu and Kashmir.

3.29 PM: 73-year-old man who tested positive for coronavirus dies due to co-morbidity in Bhilwara in Rajasthan: Officials

3.26 PM: Coronavirus cases in Maharashtra

A 42-year-old man in Nagpur tests positive for Coronavirus. The tally in state rises to 125.

3.25 PM: Exchanges cut trading hours for commodity trading

Leading stock exchanges BSE and NSE on Thursday cut down trading hours for commodities derivative segment till 5 pm, instead of current practice of allowing it up till mid-night, in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. The trading will begin at 9 am and close at 5 pm and the new timings will be effective from March 30 till April 14, the exchanges said. In separate statements, commodity exchanges -- MCX and ICEX -- announced about the reduced trading hours. Commodity markets trade between 10 am to 11.50 pm, while equity markets close at 3.30 pm. - PTI

3.21 PM: SMG to extend plant shutdown

Suzuki Motor Gujarat Pvt Limited (SMG) will be extending their plant shutdown till 14th April 2020 in wake of the coronavirus outbreak in India. SMG manufactures cars on a contract basis for Maruti Suzuki.

3.18 PM: Coronavirus cases in Haryana

The total number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state now stands at 18. These include two cases in Faridabad; 10 in Gurugram; one in Palwal; three ub Panipat; one in Panchkula; and one in Sonepat.

3:01 PM: Uttarakhand helpline number

Uttarakhand government has announced a helpline number to assist COVID-19 affected. People who are stranded in other states can get in touch with the Uttarakhand government through 0135 2722100 on landline or 9997954800 on WhatsApp.

2.57 PM: Israel evacuates Israelis from India

The Israel government evacuated 317 Israelis from India amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Israeli government will evacuate 200 more of its citizens from India tomorrow.

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2.51 PM: Moody's said Delhi and Benglauru airports may be downgraded

Ratings agency Moody's has said that Delhi and Bengaluru airports may be downgraded as a result of coronavirus. Amid the lockdown, air traffic would reduce drastically. DIAL and GMR that operate the airports repay loans from aeronautical and non-aeronatuical avenues that are linked to airport traffic.

2.41 PM: Indian Army draws up a multi-point plan to tackle coronavirus

Indian Army is identifying lands to set up quarantine facilities. It is also extending its hospital network for civil use. It is also planning to train army personnel on coronavirus.

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2.36 PM: Coronavirus cases in Rajasthan

Two more people test positive in the state, a 45-year-old man in Jaipur and a 35-year-old man from Jhunjhunu. Both have a foreign travel history. Contact tracing underway. The total number of cases in the state rises to 40.

2.31 PM: Coronavirus cases in Telangana

Three more persons have been tested positive for #coronavirus, taking the total number of cases to 43 in Telangana. One person has been cured/discharged: State Health Department.

2.09 PM: Workers to be allowed to draw non-refundable advance of 75 pc from credit in PF a/c or 3 months salary, whichever is lower: FM

2.08 PM: Amid travel restrictions due to the 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, a 26-year-old daily wager walks more than 135 km without food from Nagpur to reach his home in Chandrapur.

2.00 PM: Under cash transfers (largely based on DBT), 8 specific announcements have been made for:

  • Farmers
  • MREGA
  • Poor widows
  • Pensioners/divyang
  • Jan Dhan Yojana (women who have accounts)
  • Ujjwala scheme
  • Self-help groups (women dealing with national rural livelihood missions)
  • Organised sector workers, construction workers and district mineral fund.

1.59 PM: Govt to pay EPF contribution for three months

The government will pay EPF contribution for both employer & employee (12% each) for the next three months. This is for all establishments that have upto 100 employees & 90% of whom are such employees earning less than Rs 15,000/month. This will benefit 80 lakh employees and incentivise 4 lakh establishments. Provident fund scheme regulations will be amended because of COVID to allow non-refundable advance of 75% of the amt standing to the credit of a members of 3 months of wages, whichever is lower.

1.58 PM: Over 20 crore women Jan Dhan Account holders to get Rs 500 per month for next three months to help them run their households: FM

1.56 PM: Ujjwala beneficiaries to get free cooking gas (LPG) cylinders in next three months; this will benefit 8.3 crore BPL families: FM

1.54 PM: Collateral-free loan doubled to Rs 20 lakh to 63 lakh women self-help groups; to impact 7 crore households: FM

1.53 PM: Wage increase to Rs 202

Wage increase from 182 rupees to 202 rupees, under MGNREGA, resulting in an additional income of 2000 rupees, benefitting 5 crore families.

1.52 PM: Rs 1,000 to be given to senior citizens: FM

One-time amount of Rs 1,000 to be given to senior citizens, widows and Divyang people, in two installments over the next three months. Expected to benefit 3 crore people.

1.49 PM: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced Rs 100 crore relief package for the poor in wake of Coronavirus.

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1.40 PM: Direct Cash Transfer to farmers

Over 8.69 crore farmers to be immediately benefited through Direct Cash Transfers. Instalment of Rs 2000 in the first week of April will be transferred: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

1.39 PM: Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Ann Yojna (for next 3 months)

Over 80 crore poor people covered(2/3rd of India's population), in addition to already allotted 5 kg of rice/wheat per person,an additional 5kg will be free. Additional 1kg pulse (acc. to regional preference) will be given, announces the FM.

1.34 PM: Per person 5 kg rice or 5 kg wheat for free for three months; 1-kg pulse per household also announced.

1.33 PM: Rs 50 lakh insurance per health care worker

There will be Rs 50 lakh insurance per health care worker as a medical insurance cover for them for three months. Hopefully, we would be able to contain the virus in this period: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

1.29 PM: FM announces Rs 1.7 lakh crore package

Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman: A package is ready for the poor who need immediate help like migrant workers and urban and rural poor. No one will go hungry. The package is worth Rs 1.7 lakh crore.

1.27 PM: Watch live coverage on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's press conference.

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1.18 PM: The special COVID-19 economic task force, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week, was working on an economic package for the sectors most affected by the coronavirus outbreak, including informal sectors.

1.15 PM: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will address a press conference in New Delhi shortly.

1.10 PM: Locals in Chennai distribute food and fruits to the needy, amid lockdown due to coronavirus.

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12.55 PM: Won't shut clinics: Kejriwal

The Delhi CM says unfortunately, a Mohalla clinic doctor is tested positive, but Delhi govt won't shut clinics as this would cause lot of inconvenience to people. "Mohalla clinic will remain open. We will ensure safety of all Doctors and their tests will be done regularly," says Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

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12.49 PM: Essential supplies stores to be allowed to operate 24*7 in Delhi

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12.44 PM: Madhya Pradesh COVID-19 tally reaches 20

Madhya Pradesh rose to 20 with five more patients in Indore hospitals testing coronavirus positive, health officials said on Thursday. The tally includes a Ujjain-based woman, who died on Wednesday in Indore, the officials said. Among the five new cases in Indore, two are women, a government medical college spokesman said.

12.41 PM: Warm, humid weather linked to slower COVID-19 transmission: MIT

A warm and humid weather is linked to slower spread of the novel coronavirus, according to a study which suggests that Asian countries experiencing monsoon may experience lesser transmission of the virus. The scientists, including Qasim Bukhari from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, assessed data on the number of COVID-19 infections in different parts of the world and compared it with two parameters of weather from all the regions -- temperature and humidity. The findings, described in SSRN repository, show that 90 per cent of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, transmissions until March 22, 2020, have occurred in regions with temperature between 3 and 17 degrees Celsius. - PTI

12.35 PM: Nirmala Sitharmaan to address media today

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will hold a press conference at 1 pm on Thursday. The Finance Minister is expected to announce a much-anticipated relief package for the coronavirus-hit economy. 

12.30 PM: Mohalla clinic doctor in Delhi tests positive

According to news agency ANI, the Shahdara Sub-Divisional Magistrate has ordered that all those who visited the mohalla clinic in Mohanpuri area of Maujpur between March 12 and March 18 must practice home quarantine for the next 15 days. The magistrate also asked these people to immediately contact the control room if they start to display any symptoms of the coronavirus.

12.22 PM: 800 quarantined in Delhi's Maujpur area

Around 800 people have been quarantined in Delhi's densely populated Maujpur area after a Mohalla Clinic doctor was tested positive for the deadly coronavirus. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain told NDTV these people had been kept in isolation for 14 days.

Along with the doctor, who had a travel history to Saudi Arabia, his wife and a teenager daughter also tested positive

12.14 PM: Karnataka issues warning to landlords

Karnataka government has warned strict penal action against landlords or house-owners under provisions of law for forcing doctors, paramedical staff and healthcare professionals to vacate their rented residences citing COVID-19 spread through them as the reason. Stating that lot of complaints have been received in this regard, an order issued by Additional Chief Secretary Health and Family Welfare department Jawaid Akhtar said such behaviour amounted to obstructing public servantin discharging their duties.

12.13 PM: 48 people quarantined in Kashmir

Forty-eight people, who had come in contact with the first coronavirus fatality in Kashmir, are in quarantine and authorities are in touch with the states visited by the man to track those who may have been infected by him, an official said on Thursday. The 65-year-old man, hailing from Hyderpora area of the city here, died on Thursday morning -- becoming the first fatality in Jammu and Kashmir due to coronavirus.

12.09 PM: Defer all EMIs for 6 months: Sonia Gandhi

"Centre might consider deferring all EMIs for 6 months; interest charged by banks for this period may consequently be waived. All loan installment deductions from salaries of government employees may also be deferred for six months," says Congress Interim Chief Sonia Gandhi, in her letter, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

11.59 AM: Here's the list of government laboratories approved by ICMR to test covid-19.

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11.52 AM: Sonia Gandhi writes to PM Modi

Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, suggesting measures that can be taken during the lockdown.

11.35 AM: Coronavirus cases in Gujarat

Till now, 43 positive cases of coronavirus have been detected in Gujarat, including 3 deaths. These include a 85-year-old woman who had a travel history to Saudi Arabia and had comorbid conditions and a 70-year-old man from Bhavnagar who also had comorbid conditions due to coronavirus: State Health Department.

11.34 AM: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh chairs a review meeting with the Chief of Defence Staff and Chiefs of Army and Navy on the Ministry's preparedness for tackling COVID-19.

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11.30 AM: Indian students currently in Pakistan should observe precautions against COVID-19 and stay safe. They may contact High Commission at 03028514549: High Commission of India, Islamabad.

11.20 AM: DPIIT sets up a control room

DPIIT sets up a control room to monitor the status of transportation and delivery of goods, manufacturing, and delivery of essential commodities. "In the event of any manufacturing, transporter, distributor, wholesaler or e-commerce companies facing ground level difficulties in transportation and distribution of goods or mobilization of resources, the same may be informed to the Department at the following telephone number/ email:- 91 11 23062487 and controlroom-dpiit@gov.in," he added.

11.11 AM: Coronavirus cases in Delhi

Positive cases in Delhi have risen to 36. "A mohalla clinic doctor and 4 others have tested positive after they came in contact with an infected woman who returned from Saudi Arabia. The doctor's wife and daughter are also among those who tested positive," said Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain.

11.08 AM: Daily wage workers leave for their native places

Daily wage workers walk near Delhi-Ghazipur border for their homes in different districts of Uttar Pradesh. A woman says, "We have no money left as we don't get any work here. What shall we eat? If we would not leave the city, we would die of hunger".

10.50 SM: Death toll rises to 13 in India; cases soars to 649

According to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, total number of COVID-19 positive cases have climbed to 649 in India. Outof 649 cases, 593 are active cases and 42 have been cured or discharged. Toll rises to 13, as of March 26.

10.45AM: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain informed that a total of 800 people who came in contact with the mohalla clinic doctor,  have been quarantined for 14 days

10.36 AM: Health Ministry Update

Total number of COVID-19 positive cases rise to 649 in India (including 593 active cases, 42 cured/discharged people and 13 deaths): Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

10.35 AM: Coronavirus cases in Maharashtra

Another coronavirus death reported in Maharashtra. Two new positive cases of coronavirus have been reported in Mumbai and Thane. Till now, the total number of positive cases in the state is 124. The total number of coronavirus deaths in India now stands at 15.

10.30 AM: Kashmir reports first COVID-19 death

Kashmir sees first death as 65-year-old COVID-19 patient passes away in Srinagar.

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10.15 AM: New cases in UP

A 21-year-old woman (whose parents tested positive), a 32-year-old man with travel history to Dubai, a 33 year-old woman and a 39 year-old man have been tested positive for Coronavirus: Dr Sudhir Singh, Incharge, Isolation Ward, King George's Medical University.

10.00 AM: Coronavirus cases in Telangana

Two fresh cases of COVID-19, including a three-year-old boy, have been reported in Telangana, taking the total number of people infected with the virus in the state to 41, according to a government bulletin on Wednesday. The other case is a 43-year-old woman from Hyderabad city who is "the family/primary contact of a previous positive case", it said. The woman "does not have any history of international travel. She is presently admitted and stable. She is a contact of another patient in Telangana," the bulletin said.

9.50 AM: Ensuring an uninterrupted power supply, says Railways minister Piyush Goyal

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9.44 AM: Extensive testing, isolating cases and contact tracing must: Chetan Bhagat

A lockdown only buys time, while other steps are must to prevent spread post lockdown, says author Chetan Bhagat. "Are their numbers/addresses/methods on how daily wage labor is getting their payments from states? Or is it automatic. Please do share the process. Will help spread and encourage others to," asks Bhagat.

9.43 PM: US Senate passes $2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus bill

US Senate overwhelmingly backs $2 trillion bill aimed at helping unemployed workers and industries hurt by the coronavirus epidemic, as well as providing billions of dollars to buy urgently needed medical equipment. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 96-0, sending it to the House of Representatives. - Reuters

9.42 AM: Private hospitals to start treating patients from today

Private hospitals will start treatment of COVID-19 patients from today. The government has roped in private hospital to contain the deadly virus outbreak in India.

9.41 AM: Watch a British woman taking self-isolation "very seriously"

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9.40 AM: PM Modi dials Putin

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a telephone conversation today with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two leaders discussed the global situation in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. The two leaders agreed on further consultation and cooperation in adequately addressing all challenges faced by this major global crisis, including those pertaining to health, medicine, scientific research, humanitarian matters and impact on global economy. They stressed the significance of international cooperation for unitedly fighting COVID-19, including within the framework of G20.

9.35 AM: Attack the coronavirus together: WHO

"To slow the spread of #COVID19, many countries introduced "lockdown" measures. But on their own, these measures will not extinguish epidemics. We call on all countries to use this time to attack the #coronavirus. You've created a 2nd window of opportunity," says Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation.

9.32 AM: Bihar Covid19 lockdown status on March 25

  • Fine imposed: Rs 15,87,800
  • FIR registered: 41
  • Seizure of vehicles: 531
  • Arrest: 9

9.30 AM: Where does India's health infrastructure stands? Checkout this infographic

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9.25 AM: Delhi mohalla clinic doctor tests positive

A mohalla clinic doctor in Delhi's Mohanpuri area in Maujpur has tested positive for coronavirus. The administration has issued a notice, asking all who visited the mohalla clinic between March 12 and 18 to self-quarantine for 15 days.

9.20 AM: The Resident Doctors' Association of Punjab writes to Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh; says no mask, sanitisers, gloves available, let alone PPE kits for those working in emergency.

9.15 AM: Current tally in India (as on March 25, 06:45 PM)

  • Total cases: 563
  • Foreigners: 43
  • Discharged/cured: 43
  • Deaths: 10

9.05 AM: Nobody will starve in Kerala: Pinarayi Vijayan

Nobody will starve in Kerala, says state Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. "No family will starve. Every panchayat will have a community kitchen. People might be reluctant to contact individuals for food. So there will be a service phone number. If anyone calls that number, food will be delivered," he maintains.

9.00 AM: Coronavirus cases in India

The total number of COVID-19 cases in India stands at 606, including 553 active cases, 42 cured/discharged people and 10 deaths, according to the Ministry Health and Family Affairs data (as on March 25, 06:45 PM).

8.45 AM: Coronavirus cases in United Kingdom

The number of coronavirus deaths in the United Kingdom has risen to 463 as on Mar 25, the British government said. The total number of positive cases in the country right now is 9,529.

8.41 AM: Covid-19 cases in Thailand and South Korea

Thailand recorded 107 new cases on Wednesday, bringing its total to 934, while South Korea's tally rose to 9,137 with 100 new infections. 

8.40 AM: Coronavirus death toll in United States

Nationwide, more than 53,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus that is particularly perilous to the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions, with at least 730 deaths. World Health Organisation officials have said the United States could become the global epicenter of the pandemic, which first emerged late last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan. - Reuters

8.30 AM: Italy coronavirus death toll reaches 7,503

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has grown by 683 to 7,503, the Civil Protection Agency said on Wednesday, a decline in the daily tally of fatalities following a spike the day before. On Tuesday 743 people died. That followed 602 deaths on Monday, 650 on Sunday and a record of 793 on Saturday - the highest daily figure since the contagion came to light on Feb. 21. The total number of confirmed cases in Italy rose to 74,386 from a previous 69,176, the Civil Protection Agency said. - Reuters

8.15 AM: Spain's coronavirus death toll overtakes China's

Spain struggled to cope on Wednesday with a mounting coronavirus crisis as its death toll exceeded China's with another 738 lives lost in a single day, and a third senior government minister was diagnosed with the virus. With 3,434 fatalities, Spain now has the second-highest number of deaths globally after Italy's 6,820. Nursing homes across the country have been overwhelmed and a skating rink in Madrid has been turned into a makeshift morgue. - Reuters

8.00 AM: No new local coronavirus case in China

Mainland China reported a second consecutive day of no new local coronavirus infections as the epicentre of the epidemic Hubei province opened its borders, but imported cases rose as Beijing ramped up controls to prevent a resurgence of infections. A total of 67 new cases were reported as of end-Wednesday, up from 47 a day earlier, all of which were imported, China's National Health Commission said in a statement on Thursday. The total number of cases now stands at 81,285. The commission reported a total of 3,287 deaths at the end of Wednesday, up six from the previous day. - Reuters


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