Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to interact with chief ministers of all states on Saturday via video to decide whether the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of COVID-19 should be extended beyond April 14.
The video conference comes amid indications that the Centre may extend the lockdown across the country beyond April 14 after several states favoured an extension. The Punjab government on Friday announced it would extend the coronavirus lockdown till April 30, becoming the second state after Odisha to do so.
According to a Health Ministry update on Friday morning, the death toll due to COVID-19 has risen to 199 in India. The total number of coronavirus positive cases has climbed to 6,412. Maharashtra remains the worst affected state, with 1,364 cases, followed by Tamil Nadu (834), Delhi (720), Rajasthan (463), and Telangana (442).
Across the world, the number of cases has topped 1.6 million, with over 97,000 deaths. The US is the worst affected country with over 4.65 lakh cases, followed by Spain (1.53 lakh cases), Italy(1.43 lakh cases), France (1.18 lakh cases) and Germany (1.18 lakh cases). Italy has reported 18,279 deaths, followed by the US (16,684) and Spain (15,447).
The Indian government has announced a Rs 15,000 crore India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package.
Addressing floor leaders of various parties on Wednesday, PM Modi had made it clear that the lockdown could not be lifted in one go on April 14, asserting that the priority of his government was to “save each and every life”. According to an official statement, he said states, district administrations and experts have suggested extension of the lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.
This is the second time the prime minister will interact with the chief ministers via video after the lockdown was imposed. During his April 2 interaction with chief ministers, Modi had pitched for a “staggered” exit from the lockdown. Before the lockdown was announced on March 24, he interacted with chief ministers on March 20 to discuss means to check the spread of coronavirus.
Here's a roundup of YourStory's coverage today of how India and the world are dealing with coronavirus.
The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) has developed a trunk-shaped device fitted with ultraviolet germicidal irradiation technology, which they recommend be placed at doorsteps and all items brought from outside including grocery and currency notes be put in it to sanitise them and aid the fight against COVID-19.
Employers will have to show donations made by employees from their salary to PM-CARES Fund in Form 16 TDS certificates, the Income Tax department has said. Donations made to the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) Fund are eligible for 100 percent deduction u/s 80G of I-T Act.
Ansys, a global engineering simulation company, entered into an agreement with an IIT-Kanpur-led consortium to assist in the development of low-cost ventilators to fight the COVID-19 outbreak in India. Under the supervision of the consortium, NOCCA Robotics Private Limited, an IIT-K incubated startup is developing low-cost invasive ventilators called Nocca V110.
Grocery delivery platform Milkbasket has launched a helpline for senior citizens to assist them with deliveries in cities like Gurugram, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. The service, which will be available in Noida, Gurgaon, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, will assist senior citizens with phone ordering for at-home delivery of groceries and other daily essentials.
Ecommerce major Amazon is extending its global $25 million relief fund to associates part of its delivery programmes in India to provide support amid the coronavirus pandemic. Amazon has extended the Amazon Relief Fund to associates part of its Delivery Service Partner Programme, Amazon Flex programme, and trucking partners providing middle-mile logistics support.
ICICI Lombard, Go Digit General Insurance, and Flipkart have teamed up to offer health policies related to COVID-19. The covers include easy claim, hospitalisation cover, room or intensive care unit (ICU) rent, ambulance assistance and teleconsultation. There will be digital claim process and no requirement of medical tests at the time of purchasing a policy.
Community kitchens set up in Kerala to cater to the weaker sections, with the aim of ensuring no one goes hungry during COVID-19 lockdown, have ramped up their operations and are distributing 2.5 lakh to 2.8 lakh food packets every day, the state government said.
ICICI Bank will deploy two mobile ATM vans in Noida and other districts of Uttar Pradesh from next week to bring key banking services to the doorsteps of people amid the coronavirus outbreak. These vans will be stationed from 10 am to 7 pm at areas quarantined by the authorities.
Devanshi Shah, Founder and CEO of PetKonnect, informs us that pets are easing our anxieties during the COVID-19 pandemic. She tells us how we can look after them and give them the necessary care they need during these trying times.
With 600 digital information and service centres in rural India, the Digital Empowerment Foundation is launching an emergency initiative to provide essential services for hard-hit communities. Information services are provided in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Bangla, Odiya, Kannada, Urdu, Marathi, and English.
Dr Satish Jeevannavar and Dr Radhakrishna Jamagadni, the 1994-99 MBBS batchmates of Karnataka University, have developed a pre-screening tool and Triage tool for COVID-19 testing, as part of their Bengaluru-based healthtech startup AI Highway's product offerings.
At a time when social distancing and remote working has become the norm due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has also brought startups, investors, governments, and corporates together and collaborate. From cab aggregators working with delivery partners to hotel aggregators working with hospitals, COVID-19 has brought together the startup ecosystem like never before.
Developed by SocialCops’ employees, Locale.ai is a Bengaluru-based startup that is building an operational analytics product using geospatial data. It was built with to help companies with operational or moving assets on the ground, monitor performance, increase utilisation rate, reduce cost-per-delivery and increase conversions in a data-driven way.
In conversation with YourStory’s Shradha Sharma, Abhiraj Singh Bhal, Co-founder of Gurugram-based Urban Company (formerly Urban Clap) said that the home services startup has seen a fall from 50,000 orders per day to almost zero in this current situation. The startup employees 30,000 service professionals.
Namma Auto, a Bengaluru-based consortium of partners, has helped over 30,000 autorickshaws become more eco-friendly, with cleaner technologies and sustainable practices. In a conversation with SocialStory, Manju Menon, the Project Head at Namma Auto, expresses her views on the plight of the auto drivers, and what it as an organisation plans to do to better the situation.
(With inputs from PTI)
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)