QBullet: COVID-19 Cases Spike to 1,397; NREGS Wages Go Up

1. Total Count Spikes to 1,397 as Maha, MP and Assam Report Fresh Cases

Medics wearing protective suits are seen inside an isolation ward, set up in view of coronavirus pandemic, at Government General Hospital in Vijayawada, Sunday, March 15, 2020

The number of coronavirus infections in India rose to 1,397 on Tuesday, 31 March casualties mounted to 35 while Assam became the latest state to come under the grip of the pandemic.

Much of Tuesday’s figures were boosted by Maharashtra where 82 new cases surfaced with Mumbai accounting for 59 of them, the state health department said. The total number of infections in Mumbai stood at 151.

Maharashtra now has 302 positive cases, followed by Kerala at 241. Tamil Nadu which reported 50 new cases, now has 124 cases, said Beela Rajesh, Tamil Nadu Health Secretary.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

2. States Race to Trace Contacts of Tablighi Meeting

People wearing masks leave for hospital in a bus from Nizamuddin area, after several people showed symptoms of coronavirus following taking part in a religious gathering a few days ago, during the nationwide lockdown, in New Delhi, Monday, 30 March.

State governments across India scrambled on Tuesday, 30 March to identify at least 3,200 people who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in New Delhi that has emerged to be the biggest COVID-19 hotspot in the country.

At least 11 state governments and Union territories put hundreds of people under quarantine and tested them for the dreaded infection. While results were awaited in many states, officials confirmed that congregation members had tested positive in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu, and the UT of Jammu & Kashmir.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Nizamuddin Meet: Over 1,500 From Telangana & Andhra Being Traced

3. NREGS Wages Go Up, Thanks to Inflation

Image used for representational only.

Thanks to inflation, the Centre on Tuesday, 31 March, managed to stub the controversy of zero increase in employment wages under the flagship rural job guarantee programme, a source of raging row for last few years.

As new rates come into force from Wednesday, the national average wage stands at Rs 202 per day, which is Rs 20 higher than 2019-20. None of the states has registered zero increase while the lowest hike is Rs 13 and the highest Rs 34.

The welcome change from past years, ironically, has been possible because of a spike in retail inflation for agriculture labourers – Consumer Price Index (Agriculture Labour) – on which MGNREGA wages are indexed for annual revision.

(Source: The Times of India)

4. Jharkhand Reports First COVID-19 Case, Malaysian National Tests Positive

This is the first COVID-19 positive case in the state.

Jharkhand recorded its first confirmed COVID-19 case Tuesday, 31 March after a Malaysian national, who was part of Delhi‘s Tablighi Jamaat event, tested positive at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS).

Officials said the 22-year-old woman had boarded a train for Ranchi after attending the event at Markaz in Nizamuddin in mid-March.

Principal Health Secretary Nitin Kulkarni said: “The woman is part of a group of 17 foreign nationals who have been put into isolation. Seven Indians have also been sent into isolation.”

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: 1st COVID-19 Case in Jharkhand, Malaysian National Tests Positive

5. ICMR Plays Down Signs of Community Transmission

Image used for representation only.

he Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has come under scrutiny over the past few days for its continued insistence that there is no community transmission of COVID-19 in India, and delays in approving testing kits, parameters for which have been set at absurdly high levels, according to many experts.

On Tuesday, Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar, head, division of epidemiology and communicable diseases, ICMR, defended the organisation’s stand on both. He maintained that there is no community transmission and that at the stage of the disease India is, it cannot afford to compromise on the parameters of the testing kits.

Gangakhedkar explained that a recent Union health ministry document on transporting of positive patients mentioning “limited community transmission” was actually referring to localised transmissions that have erupted in certain pockets of the country that are still manageable.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

6. Source Unknown for At Least 10 COVID-19 Patients in Gujarat

Image uses for representation only.

Even as Gujarat reported the sixth death due to novel coronavirus on Monday – recording the highest case fatality rate in the country of 8 percent – health officials in the state are yet to find out how the infection was contracted in at least half of them.

The local administrations also have confirmed that the source of infection for at least 10 persons who have tested positive remains unknown.

The six persons who died due to the infection also had co-morbid conditions including the 46-year old woman in Ahmedabad from the Astodia, who had lung fibrosis with limited lung functionality, and the 47-year-old man from Gomtipur area, who had diabetes.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: COVID-19 Death Toll in Gujarat at 6: 45-Year-Old Woman Passes Away

7. Centre Defines New Domicile Rule for J&K

Image used for representation only.

A person residing in Jammu and Kashmir for at least fifteen years will now be eligible to be a domicile of the Union territory, according to the new rule issued by the Centre Tuesday, 31 March.

In the latest gazette notification, Section 3A of the J&K Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order 2020, under the J&K civil services (decentralisation and recruitment) Act, has been introduced to define domicile as that “who has resided for a period of fifteen years in the UT of J&K or has studied for a period of seven years and appeared in class 10th/12th examination in an educational institution located in the UT of J&K.”

Before 5 August, 35A of the Constitution (now abrogated) empowered J&K assembly to define a J&K resident, who alone were eligible to apply for jobs or own immovable property.

(Source: The Indian Express)

8. US Death Toll Climbs Past 3,500, Surpasses China’s Tally

A body wrapped in plastic that was unloaded from a refrigerated truck is handled by medical workers wearing personal protective equipment due to COVID-19 concerns at Brooklyn Hospital Center in Brooklyn borough of New York.

The number of deaths related to coronavirus in the US has passed 3,000, according to date from Johns Hopkins University. The US has the highest number of cases in the world, at over 160,000 – just under double the cases in China, where the outbreak began.

At least 777,286 people around the world are known to have been infected by coronavirus since the outbreak began. While 164,435 have recovered, over 37,000 people have died.

Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House, said more than 1 million Americans had been tested for the coronavirus, which he called a milestone.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: US COVID-19 Death Toll Exceeds Official China Tally: Johns Hopkins

9. New Test Kits Likely in 2 Months: ICMR

Image used for representation only.

India is likely to start manufacturing new serological diagnostic testing kits within the next two months as many advances have been made after the virus was isolated by research agencies, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Tuesday, 31 March.

ICMR’s chief epidemiologist and communicable disease expert Dr R R Gangakhedkar said once the virus has been isolated, it helps in taking research forward for developing diagnostic kits, medicines and vaccines and India is working in that direction.

“We are hopeful that at least a serological diagnostic testing will be made in India in next one to two months,” Dr Gangakhedkar said.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Karnataka to Purchase 1 Lakh COVID-19 Test Kits

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