Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: NPR to be deferred amid COVID-19 lockdown, say reports; positive cases rise to 536 in India

FP Staff

Narendra Modi on Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: The National Population Register (NPR), the first phase of the Census 2021, won't be held as scheduled in April because of the 21-day nationwide complete lockdown announced by Narendra Modi as a measure to curb the coronavirus.

News18 reported that "due to the prevailing situation, the NPR and Census exercises have been deferred till further orders".

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said, "I would like to assure the 23 crore people of Uttar Pradesh that we have enough stock of essential items like vegetables, milk, medicines etc. For the safety of you and your family don't step out of your houses and maintain social distance.

"From tomorrow, vegetables, milk, fruits, medicines and other essential commodities will be delivered to your door steps for which we have identified more than 10,000 vehicles. I appeal to you to not go to market to buy essential items."

Narendra Modi urged against panic buying soon after announcing the nationwide complete lockdown as a measure to fight the spread of coronavirus in the country.

The Ministry of Home Affairs issued guidelines on the 21-day lockdown ordered to curb the spread of the coronavirus on Tuesday. Listing the establishments that will mandatorily remain closed during the lockdown, the ministry also listed the exemptions including grocery and ration shops, petrol pumps, banks, ATMs, etc.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will issue guidelines of "effective measures and exceptions" to essential services during the 21-day nationwide lockdown. There will shortly be an MHA 24/7 hotline to assist states during this period, ANI reported.

Modi announced a 15,000 crore package for COVID-19, to acquire medical equipment and protective gear, and also increase training of medical and paramedical staff, testing facilities, PPEs, ICUs, and ventilators.

"I have appealed to state governments to make the public healthcare the highest priority right now. I am also sure that private companies will also join in the efforts to curb the infection," he said.

Narendra Modi quoted WHO statistics to emphasise the need of the complete nationwide lockdown in a bid to spread coronavirus. He said that from taking 60+ days to spread to one lakh people, the coronavirus has now started spreading faster and faster.

He also said that multiple countries around the world are suffering from the coronavirus, despite having world-class health care systems.

Modi announced a complete nationwide lockdown in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country, starting from midnight on 24 March for 21 days.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to speak about the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in India at 8 pm today.

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday said that he was "deeply anguished" over reports of discrimination against doctors treating coronavirus patients.

"I'm DEEPLY ANGUISHED to see reports pouring in from Delhi, Noida, Warangal, Chennai etc that DOCTORS and PARAMEDICS are being ostracised in residential complexes & societies. Landlords are threatening to evict them fearing #COVID2019 infection. Pls don't panic!" he said.

Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe's office on Friday said that after discussions with the International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, an agreement to defer the Olympics scheduled for this year in Tokyo by a year.

"After his telephone talks with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, PM Shinzo Abe spoke to the press and explained that the two have agreed that the Tokyo Olympic Games would not be cancelled, & the games will be held by the summer of 2021," the statement said.€‹

The resident doctors of the AIIMS institute, in a letter to Home Minister Amit Shah, alleged that people are questioning them over their activities because they are in touch with COVID-19 patients and those suspected of having the infection. The Resident Doctors' Association on Friday said that they "have been forced to vacate rented houses".

They also requested appropriate action against those forcing eviction.

The Indian Council of Medical Research on Tuesday said that at least 118 government laboratories have been included in ICMR network of coronavirus testing. "The network has the capacity to test 12,000 samples a day. Additionally, 22 private laboratory chains, with about 15,500 collection centres, have been registered with ICMR till today," the statement said.

A 47-year-old woman with no recent history of foreign travel tests positive for COVID-19 in Noida, PTI quoted officials as saying on Tuesday.

The last date for filing March, April and May 2020 GST returns is being extended to 30 June 2020, said Nirmala Sitharaman during the media conference on Tuesday. She added that different staggering dates will be applicable, but all will be the end of June. The interest rate for filing a delayed return has also been brought down.

As the media briefing came to an end, Nirmala Sitharama reiterated that an economic package will be announced 'sooner', rather than later. She also said, 'We are closely monitoring the situation. SEBI has come up with guidelines and stated its position on the recent volatility. We are monitoring the stock market.'

Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday, while briefing the media about the government's plan for relief plan announced that debit cardholders who withdraw cash from any bank ATM can do it free of charge, from any other bank's ATM, for the next three months. She also stated that there shall not be any minimum balance requirement fee.

Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday announced that the threshold of default extended to Rs 1 core from existing Rs 1 lakh, in order to prevent insolvency proceedings against MSMEs.

The finance ministry announced that for newly incorporated companies, there is a requirement to file a declaration on commencement within six months, which the government is giving an additional six months to file their returns.

The government on Tuesday said that the mandatory requirement of holding board meetings is being relaxed by a period of 60 days, has been relaxed for the next two quarters.

In a major relief to imports/exporters, the government on Tuesday said that customs clearance now an essential service, till 30 June 2020 and it will be working 24/7.

The last date for filing March, April and May 2020 GST returns is being extended to 30 June 2020, said Nirmala Sitharaman during the media conference on Tuesday. She added that different staggering dates will be applicable, but all will be the end of June. The interest rate for filing a delayed return has also been brought down.

The finance minister announced on Tuesday that the Aadhaar-PAN linking date has been extended to 30 June 2020 from what was 31 March 2020.  Nirmala Sitharam also said that the Interest rate on delayed deposit of TDS reduced. She said, "No extra 10 percent interest will be charged between now and 30 June."

The last date for income tax returns for the financial year 2018-19 is extended to June 30, announced Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday. She said that she will be making announcements on income tax, customs, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC)-related matters, bank-related compliances, fisheries, among other things. She added that for the delayed payments, interest rate has been reduced from 12 percent to 9 percent.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she would address the media at 2 pm today amid preparations of preparing an economic package that is likely to help the country through the coronavirus lockdown. She said in a tweet that the package would be announced soon on priority and that she would give the media presser through video conference. Her speech will be specifically be focused on statutory and regulatory compliance matters.

Ahead of Narendra Modi's address, the whole of Odisha will be under lockdown from Tuesday midnight because of the coronavirus threat, a top state government official said. Fourteen of the state's 30 districts are already under a lockdown. The Madhya Pradesh government has also imposed curfew in Bhopal and Jabalpur cities, where coronavirus cases have been found, right after Shivraj Singh Chouhan took oath as chief minister.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she would address the media at 2 pm today amid preparations of preparing an economic package that is likely to help the country through the coronavirus lockdown.

India has reported its tenth death on Tuesday after a 64-year-old man who was admitted to Kasturba hospital on 23 March, died within a few hours of admission. He had returned from the UAE and had travelled to Ahmedabad on 15 March, returned to Mumbai on 20 March.

American lawyer Larry Klayman has filed a USD 20 trillion lawsuit against China for the creation and the release of the novel coronavirus that has infected more than 334,000 people globally.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at 8 pm regarding the vital aspects relating to the COVID-19 menace. Meanwhile, the 26 March Rajya Sabha election to 55 seats, scheduled to be held on 26 March, has been deferred.

Two new positive cases of coronavirus are recorded in Gujarat, total cases mount to 33, stated the Gujarat Principal Secretary (Health) Jayanti Ravi. Meanwhile, a 54-year-old domestic passenger was arrested at the airport here for allegedly refusing to follow instructions given by doctors for the prevention of the spread of novel coronavirus, police said on Tuesday.

The number of states and Union Territories (UTs) which have imposed a lockdown has increased to 32 from 30 last night. The number of districts under lockdown has increased to 560 from 548. The number of coronavirus cases in Maharashtra has reached 101 on Tuesday. Four more patients were tested positive in Pune and one was tested positive in Satara.

Nearly 500 coronavirus cases have been reported in India so far, according to Health Ministry data on Tuesday. According to the data updated Tuesday morning, the total number of COVID-19 cases stood at 492. Benchmark indices erased most of its early gains but trading higher with Nifty above 7700. The Sensex is up 369.34 points or 1.42 percent at 26350.58, and the Nifty up 108.40 points or 1.42 percent at 7718.65.

Benchmark indices opened in positive territory on 24 March with Sensex added more than 1000 points. At 09:17 hrs IST, the Sensex is up 1,212.60 points or 4.67 percent at 27193.84, and the Nifty up 353.85 points or 4.65 percent at 7964.10. Manipur has reported the first case of COVID-19 in Northeast India, say reports. Northeast Now reports that a 23-year-old from Imphal (west) has been identified as the first confirmed case in the state.

The Tihar Prison authorities said they are planning to release around 3,000 prisoners to ease congestion in jails over the coronavirus threat. However, it will not include hardened or dangerous criminals. While in the UK, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has enforced the strictest curbs on movement of people for at least three weeks to try and control the spread of COVID-19 in the country, where the death toll has reached 335.

Security was tightened at the protest site in Shaheen Bagh, on Tuesday, after a prohibitory order under section 144 CrPC has been promulgated in Delhi, with the police clearing out the protest site. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that the pandemic of disease caused by the coronavirus is accelerating, with more than 300,000 cases now recorded and infections reported from nearly every country worldwide.

The number of deaths in India due to the novel coronavirus rose to nine on Monday with 468 testing positive as the Centre announced a lockdown in 22 states and Union Territories across the country and the Indian Council of Medical Research recommended the use of an anti-malarial drug in cases of high risk.

The health ministry, in its daily press briefing on Monday, said Chandigarh, Delhi, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Ladakh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Tripura, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra,  and Andhra Pradesh are under complete lockdown.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked captains of industry to ensure that the production of essential items is not impacted in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and there is no hoarding and black marketing. "The impact on the economy will be felt for some time to come," said Modi as he exhorted India Inc to adopt a humanitarian approach and not to cut down on the workforce in spite of the COVID-19 negative impact on their businesses.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that companies' expenditure to fight the coronavirus pandemic will be considered valid under corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. The coronavirus outbreak will be treated as a disaster, the Finance Minister said on Twitter.

The Delhi Police on Monday moved to seal all border pickets in the national capital and said curfew passes will be issued to people associated with essential services as "execution" of the prohibitory orders in the city was "not up to the mark today".

Media persons, however, will not need the passes and their ID cards will suffice, they said.

Details like the format of the application for the passes and from when they will be required, etc are likely to be shared on Tuesday, the police said.

On Sunday, police imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in Delhi till 31 March in view of the coronavirus outbreak, banning protests, and other gatherings.

Section 144 of the CrPC bans the assembly of four or more people in one place.

The Nagaland government will promulgate prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC in Dimapur district from Tuesday to make people stay indoors during the ongoing lockdown declared in the state to contain the coronavirus outbreak, an official said.

The order, issued by Dimapur police commissioner Rothihu Tetseo on Monday, will come into force from 6 am on 24 March, the official said.

Dimapur, a commercial hub of the state, witnessed an "unprecedented" movement of vehicles during the lockdown which began from Sunday midnight, he said.

Police seized a number of taxis for plying on roads, the official said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has enforced the strictest curbs on movement of people for at least three weeks to try and control the spread of COVID-19 in the country, where the death toll has reached 335.

In a televised address to the nation on Monday evening, he said while no prime minister wants to make such demands on the population, the situation was such that he was forced to clamp down on people's movement and the crackdown on any gatherings of more than two people.

With his central message calling on people to restrict their movements outside their homes only for the very basic essentials, Johnson said, "From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction you must stay at home."

In the US, President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to prevent hoarding of vital medical supplies and personal protective equipment as the country for the first time registered over 130 deaths in a day due to coronavirus.

Till Monday, more than 43,700 confirmed cases of coronavirus were reported in the United States. Of these, over 10,000 were added in one day, according to Worldometer, a website that compiles COVID-19 cases. With 139 deaths, the number of fatalities crossed 550 by Monday night.

Signing the executive order, Trump said his government would take action against hoarding and excessive pricing of vital medical and personal protective equipment as well as supplies such as hand sanitisers and face masks.

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