Coronavirus India Updates: Total Covid-19 Cases Cross 1-Lakh Mark; More Than 3,100 Dead
Coronavirus infections in India crossed the 1-lakh mark, with fresh cases per day still hovering around 5,000.
India added 4,970 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, taking the total tally to 1,01,139 in Asia’s third-largest economy, according to the health ministry’s update as of 8 a.m. on May 18. This includes 3,163 deaths and 39,174 patients who have recovered.
With cases on the rise, the government has announced a third extension of the lockdown till May 31, albeit with easing of some restrictions. India announced the world’s most stringent stay-at-home restrictions on March 25, with Modi extending it first until May 3 and then again till May 17.
U.S. deaths from Covid-19 surpassed 90,000, while confirmed cases topped 1.5 million. President Xi Jinping said China will make any coronavirus vaccine universally available once it’s developed. An experimental vaccine from Moderna Inc. displayed early signs it can create an immune-system response to fend off the virus. Brazil became the world’s fastest-growing infection hotspot.
Total cases across the world topped 4.8 million with more than 3,18,000 dead.
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Uttar Pradesh Government Asks Priyanka Gandhi To Provide Migrant Buses To Ghaziabad, Noida
The Uttar Pradesh government Tuesday asked Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to provide buses for carrying migrants to the district magistrates of Ghaziabad and Noida, as the war of words between the Congress and the state's ruling dispensation over the issue seemed to be subsiding.
The development comes hours after the Congress derided the UP government' demand that the party handover the 1,000 proposed buses to the state administration in Lucknow by 10 am Tuesday.
In a letter written to Vadra's private secretary Sandeep Singh, UP's Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said, "As per your letter dated May 19, you have expressed your inability to provide buses in Lucknow, and want to provide them in Ghaziabad and Noida."
"Please provide 500 buses to the District Magistrate, Ghaziabad, by 12.00 noon. The DM Ghaziabad has been informed about this. The district administration will receive all the buses and utilise them," he said.
The buses should be provided at Kaushambi and Sahibabad bus stands, he said in the letter.
He also said, "500 buses should be provided to the District Magistrate of Gautam Buddh Nagar at the ground near the Expo Mart."
Directions have been issued to the district magistrates to utilise the buses immediately after checking the permit, fitness, insurance, driving licences of the drivers and details of the conductors, Awasthi said.
Reacting to the development, UP Congress Convenor (Media) Lalan Kumar told PTI, "It is a victory for the migrant labourers who are stuck at UP's border. We feel happy that they will now be reunited with their families."
Spitting At Workplace Punishable With Fine: Government
Spitting at workplace will be punishable with fine, the Personnel Ministry has said, citing the national directives for Covid-19 management.
In an order issued to all central government departments, it has asked their heads to ensure strict compliance of this and other directives in this regard. This order is likely to bring about changes in and around government and private work places, where one can easily spot stains of 'pan' and 'gutka' spitted at some of the corners of walls or areas not frequented by many employees/public.
"Spitting in public and work places shall be punishable with fine, as may be prescribed in accordance with its laws, rules and regulations by the state/union territory local authority," said the national directives issued by the Home Ministry and shared by the Personnel Ministry with all central government departments.
It said wearing 'face cover' is compulsory in all public and work places.
Coronavirus May Have Silently Existed In China As Early As Last October
Although the Covid-19 pandemic is known to have originated from Wuhan, China in December 2019, researchers tracking the origin of the virus, say that the novel coronavirus may have existed in a latent phase in the city since last October.
According to the study on the evolution of the virus, published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine, infections may have followed a silent course during this early phase, spreading among the city's population in a random way without showing epidemic signs.
"An unidentified animal or animal parts contaminated by a virus initially originating from bats was brought into contact with humans in October November 2019, starting a latent infection," the scientists wrote in the study.
The researchers, including Jordi Serra-Cobo and Marc Lopez, from the University of Barcelona in Spain have described the combination of biological and social factors which may have led to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, the first epicentre of the pandemic.
One of the factors, they believe, is the co-occurrence of three major celebrations in China over a short time for which the demand of food and natural products was exceptionally high.
Generally, the scientists said, three conditions are necessary for an infectious disease to spread -- the infectiousness of a pathogen in humans, contact between humans and the pathogen reservoir, and last, its ability to spread through a social circuit.
Some Airlines Start Bookings For June Travel, PTI Reports
Some airlines have started bookings for flights from June onwards, sources said amid commercial flight services remaining suspended till May 31 due to the coronavirus lockdown.
A SpiceJet spokesperson, however, said its international bookings are closed till June 15.
Commercial flights have been suspended since March 25 when the country-wide lockdown began to curb the spread of coronavirus. "Domestic airlines have opened bookings for their flights from June onwards," one of the sources said on Monday.
Sources at IndiGo and Vistara said they were taking bookings for domestic flights.
When contacted, a SpiceJet spokesperson, in a statement, said," Our international bookings are closed till June 15." There was no official comments from IndiGo, Vistara and GoAir on commencement of bookings.
On Monday, Air Passengers Association of India National President Sudhakara Reddy had flagged about some airlines' commencing bookings.
"We understand 6E (IndiGo), SpiceJet, GoAir hv started taking bookings for international flights, imagining that flights will operate from 1st June. Pl don't fall for it. Ur money will become a credit shell, instead keep it safe at home," he claimed in a tweet.
Soon after the nationwide lockdown was extended till May 31, aviation regulator DGCA on Sunday said all scheduled commercial passenger flights have been suspended till May 31 midnight.