India’s coronavirus death toll rises to 16, positive cases to 694

India’s coronavirus death toll rises to 16, positive cases to 694

NEW DELHI: The number of coronavirus cases climbed to 694 in India on Thursday and the death toll rose to 16, with one fatality reported each from Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, according to the HealthMinistry. The unprecedented impact of the outbreak has overwhelmed authorities around the globe with India and the world continuing efforts to contain the pandemic.
Here are the latest developments from India and the world:
694 confirmed COVID-19 cases in India
Eighty-eight fresh COVID-19 cases were reported in the country on Thursday, the highest in a single day and the death toll rose to 16, according to the Union health ministry. With this, the total number of coronavirus cases surged to 694 in India.
DGCA extends ban on international passenger flights till Apr 14
All international commercial passenger flights will remain suspended till April 14, aviation regulator DGCA announced on Thursday.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on March 19 had announced that no international commercial passenger flight operations will take place in India from 1.30 am on March 23 to 5.30 am on March 29.
Centre permits doorstep delivery of medicines
The Central government on Thursday allowed doorstep delivery of medicines to people during the 21-day nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus.
These medicines that will be provided at the doorsteps fall under the Schedule H category which means such drugs cannot be purchased without the prescription of a qualified doctor.
Govt unveils Rs 1.7 lakh cr stimulus
The government has announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore stimulus that included free foodgrain and cooking gas to poor for three months, and cash doles to women and poor senior citizens as it looked to ease the economic impact of the nationwide lockdown.
While over 80 crore poor ration card holders will each get 5 kg of wheat or rice and one kg of preferred pulses free of cost every month for the next three months, 20.4 crore women having Jan Dhan bank accounts would get one-time cash help of Rs 1,500 spread over three months.
Jobless daily wage labourers walk back home to villages
With Covid-19 lockdown robbing daily wagers and labourers of their income, thousands across India are walking long distances, over 100 kilometres in many cases, and often on empty stomachs to reach their native villages and towns. In Agra, closure of tourism and footwear industry which employs scores of daily wagers has left many in dire straits. With no money and no work, those working in bordering states are desperate to make it home. Mohammad Kasim and five others managed to reach Aligarh from Palwal (Haryana) after 28 hours of being on the road, walking and hitchhiking on trucks.
Two vaccines enter human trials; total 35 firms in race
There are currently two vaccines that have entered human trials — one in the US and one in China — and they could be a year to a year-and-a-half away from deployment. Treatments are also being investigated — some new drugs and others that have been repurposed, including the antimalarials chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. Worldover around 35 pharmaceutical companies and institutes are racing against time to create such a vaccine. At least four such companies, have already started testing in animals. This unprecedented speed to create a vaccine stems from the early Chinese efforts to sequence the genetic material of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The Chinese medical authorities wasted no time in sharing that sequence with research groups as early as January.