Based on a combination of numbers reported by the central Health Ministry, and updates from the States, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country on March 24 exceeds 560.
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Here are the latest updates:
10.30 am | Delhi
Delhi death not due to COVID-19, says Health Minister
The Delhi death reported on Tuesday night has tested negative for COVID-19, said the Union Health Minister in a release issued on Wednesday morning.
The death toll due to COVID-19 in India is now nine.
10.20 am | India
Flipkart suspends operations
Walmart-owned Flipkart on Wednesday said it was suspending its operations temporarily as India entered into a 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Consequent to the order issued on March 24 by the Ministry of Home Affairs announcing a 21-day lockdown across India to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus causing Covid-19, we are temporarily suspending our services,” Flipkart said in a blogpost.
The blog further said “we will be back to serve you as soon as possible.”
10.10 am | Madhya Pradesh
Four persons in Indore and one in Ujjain test positive for COVID-19, taking the count in Madhya Pradesh to 14.
9.55 am | New Delhi
The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked private security agencies to not lay off security guards as malls, shops and other establishments are shut.
“This is the time for the private security industry to adopt a humane approach and protect its staff and members from lay-offs,” it said in an order.
9.30 am | Delhi
Despite repeated appeals from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to the public on the perils of gathering in a crowd during the COVID-19 pandemic, food markets in West Delhi saw robusts crowds on day 1 of the 21-day national lockdown.
9.20 am | New Delhi
No shortage of essential items, reiterates Centre
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday release a GO reiterating that there will be no shortage of essential items during the 21-day lockdown. It asked the States to publicise that food, medicine, civil supplies and essential items will be available, amid possibilities of “rumour mongering” that there is a shortage.
8.30 am | New Delhi
Govt gives power to zonal DCs to take strict action against landlords evicting doctors
The government on Wednesday gave power to zonal Deputy Commissioners to take “strict penal action” against landlords who have been forcing doctors and paramedical staff, engaged in fighting COVID-19, to vacate their rented premises.
According to a government notification, such behaviour “not only strikes at the root of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic but also tantamount to obstruction of duty of essential services”.
4.30 am | Jodhpur
277 Indians returned from Iran by Mahan air
All 277 passengers who returned from Iran and tested COVID-19 negative were sent to be quarantined at Jodhpur’s army quarantine facility.
They flew early morning by two special Air India flights at 3.30 a.m. and 4.30 a.m. from Delhi to Jodhpur in the last domestic flights before lock down.
The first flight was commanded by Capt M.S. Zaheer and Co-pilot Tulunga and Second flight commanded by Capt. Radheyshyam Arora and Co-pilot G. Singh.
3.30 am | New Delhi
Govt bans export of anti-malarial drug hydroxycloroquine
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the government on Wednesday banned export of anti-malarial drug hydroxycloroquine, with immediate effect to ensure sufficient availability of the medicine in the domestic market.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Balram Bhargava had on Monday recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine for treating healthcare workers handling suspected or confirmed coronavirus cases and also the asymptomatic household contacts of the lab-confirmed cases.
2.00 am | Chennai
TN records first death of COVID-19 patient
Tamil Nadu recorded its first death of a patient, who had tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The 54-year-old man, who tested positive on March 23 and was undergoing treatment at Government Rajaji Hospital, Madurai, died. At 2:02 a.m. on Wednesday, Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar tweeted, “Despite our best efforts, the COVID-19 positive patient in Madurai Rajaji Hospital passed away a few minutes back. He had medical history of prolonged illness with steroid dependent Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseas, uncontrolled diabetes with hypertension.”
Railways exploring manufacture of medical items
The Indian Railways is exploring the possibility of manufacturing select essential medical items such as hospital beds, medical trolleys and sanitizers at its various production units. In a communique to general managers at its production units, the Railway Board on Tuesday asked them to “assess the feasibility to manufacture these items in large quantities [as may be required] at short notice. Items identified thus may be communicated to the Board along with its likely production rate.”
Data | How prepared are India’s States in health infrastructure to tackle COVID-19
The chart plots the number of COVID-19 sample testing centres against the average number of people served by one testing centre across States. While Maharashtra has the highest number of testing centres and relatively better coverage, the State is still under-equipped to detect cases as one testing centre is available for 1.02 crore people.
(With inputs from PTI)