New Delhi, May 17, 2020: The COVID-19 count in India crossed the 90,000-mark on Sunday while the death toll stood at 2,872 even as the country stepped into the fourth phase of lockdown.
With an increase of 4,987 COVID-19 cases being reported in the last 24 hours, the total count has reached 90,927 now, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The total number of active cases in the country stands at 53,946, while 2,872 deaths have been recorded due to the infection so far, and one patient has migrated. 120 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.
Meanwhile, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that public expenditure on health will be increased and a dedicated hospital block for treatment of infectious diseases will be set up in each district across the nation.
"All districts will have an Infectious Disease Hospital Block, public health labs will be set up in every block (not just in district), to bridge inadequacy of lab network in rural areas. The Prime Minister has said that we need to be ready and self-reliant in the face of challenges posed by any pandemic such as COVID-19. Hence, there is a big emphasis on setting up hospitals and labs, with both public and private funding," FM Sitharaman said while announcing the last tranche of the economic package announced by the government.
"The public expenditure on health will be increased. Investment at grass-root level will be ramped up for health and wellness centres, both in rural and urban areas," she added.
The announcements came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package for the country to become 'self-reliant' and deal with COVID-19 crisis.
Meanwhile, corporate debts related to COVID-19 pandemic will be excluded from default category under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) for a period of up to one year, the Finance Minister said on Sunday.
At the same time, the minimum threshold to initiate insolvency proceedings has been raised from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1 crore.
To enable these, Sitharaman said the government will need to amend Section 7, 9 and 10 of the IBC through an ordinance.
Besides, a special insolvency framework will be enacted to insulate micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from being taken to court under the IBC.
With 30,706 confirmed cases, Maharashtra remains the worst-affected by the COVID-19 infection in the country. It is followed by Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, with 10,988 and 10,585 cases, respectively.
Delhi government on Sunday issued an order directing senior officials to ensure that the migrant labourers in the national capital do not face any problem during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
The order issued by the government stated: "All officials are directed to ensure that no migrant worker faces any trouble during the lockdown. Trains will be arranged for all of the migrant workers."
"It should be ensured that the migrant workers do not resort to walking on the road and on railway tracks. In case they are found in such condition, they should appropriately be counselled, taken to nearby shelters and provided with food, water, etc, till such time they are facilitated to board the 'Shramik' special trains or buses to their native places," the order stated.
It further reads, "There should be proper cooperation with the railways in the running of more number of 'Shramik' special trains so that travel of stranded migrant workers is facilitated at a faster rate. All 'Shramik' special trains should be received without any hindrance and facilitate faster movement of stranded migrant workers to their places."
Here is a look at some other COVID-19 related updates:
1. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on Sunday asked Ministries/Departments of the Government of India, State Governments and State Authorities to continue the lockdown measures up to May 31 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
2. Five more Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel have been tested positive for coronavirus in the last 24 hours, informed CISF in a press statement on Sunday.
3. An Air India Express repatriation flight with 183 stranded Indians on board departed from Muscat in Oman to Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.
4. Ten more COVID-19 cases were reported in the Border Security Force (BSF) in the last 24 hours, said officials on Sunday.
5. A truck was caught by the police here today which was in the process of transporting 33 migrant passengers from Maharashtra to Uttarakhand without any permission during the lockdown period.
6. South Western Railway is scheduled to run 12 Shramik Special trains on Sunday from Karnataka to other states ferrying migrant labourers and others stranded here due to lockdown.
7. With an increase of 66 new cases in the past 24 hours, the number of total positive COVID-19 police personnel in Maharashtra reached 1,206 on Sunday.
8. Air India on Sunday issued a clarification regarding news on the resumption of domestic flights by the national carrier, saying that the flight bookings will resume after "receipt of directions" from the government.
9. With the spike of 54 new positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Karnataka on Sunday, the total number of positive cases has risen to 1,146, said the state Health Department.
10. India on Sunday gifted a consignment of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and antibody test kits to Nepal which will enable their health professionals to conduct COVID-19 tests on at least 30,000 people in the country.