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News Highlights
HM Amit Shah speaks to all Chief Ministers; Seeks their views on future strategy in fight against Covid 19            COVID recovery rate improves to 42.88 %, Over 71 thousand patients cured so far            449 domestic flights operated on day-3 of resumption of Air Lines services: Civil Aviaiton Minister HS Puri            Railways Ministry appeals persons in COVID-19 risk category to avoid travel by trains            Over 2 lakh metric tonnes of food grains lifted by states for May & June: FCI           

Text Bulletins Details


News at Nine

2100 HRS
08.04.2020

THE HEADLINES
:-

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with leaders of various political parties; Says COVID-19 outbreak is a social emergency.

  • Prime Minister asserts that saving each and every life is the priority of his government.

  • Several states and experts ask Centre for  extension of lockdown period; Prime Minister to interact with all Chief Ministers on Saturday.

  • Focus in COVID-19 management to be on building hospitals, surveillance and contact tracing. 

  • Supreme Court directs Centre to facilitate free testing of COVID-19 in government and private labs.

  • Government decides to issue all pending income tax refunds upto 5 lakh rupees immediately; Also to release GST and Custom refunds. 

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Describing the ongoing situation arising out of the COVID-19 outbreak as akin to a social emergency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asserted that the priority of his government is to save each and every life. Mr. Modi said, the country has been forced to take tough decisions, and it must continue to remain vigilant. Interacting with leaders of political parties in Parliament, through video conferencing, the Prime Minister said several state governments, district administrations and experts have asked for extension of the phase of lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. He noted that in these changing circumstances, the country should simultaneously try to bring about a change in its work culture and working style. The Prime Minister said, the country is facing serious economic challenges as a result of COVID-19, and the government is committed to overcome it.


Saying that the entire world is currently facing the grave challenge of COVID-19, Mr. Modi added that the present situation is an epoch changing event in mankind's history and India must evolve to counter its impact. He praised the efforts of state governments working together with the Centre in this fight against the pandemic. Mr Modi said the country has witnessed constructive and positive politics through the coming together of all sections of polity to present a united front in this battle. The Prime Minister also praised the sense of belonging, discipline, dedication and commitment with which each and every citizen is contributing in this endeavour, be it in following social distancing, Janta Curfew or the Lockdown.


Mr. Modi emphasized the impact of the emerging situation, as witnessed in the resource constraints. He said, India has been among the few nations to control the pace of spread of the virus till now. He also cautioned that the situation keeps changing continuously and one needs to maintain vigil at all times. Our correspondent reports that leaders of different political parties provided feedback, suggested policy measures and  discussed the way forward.


"The leaders appreciated the Prime Minister for timely measures taken by him. They said the entire country is standing united behind him during the crisis. Boosting the health and morale of the healthcare workers, ramping up testing facilities, the need to assist smaller states and UTs and tackling the challenges of hunger and malnutrition were discussed. They also spoke about economic and other policy measures to boost the country’s capability in this battle against the pandemic. Suggestions were also given by the leaders on extending the Lockdown and on a phased exit after Lockdown ends. Souvagya Kar, AIR News, Delhi."


Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, DMK leader T R Balu, Sharad Pawar from NCP, Rajeev Ranjan Singh of JD(U), Lok Janshakti Party’s Chirag Paswan, Prof Ram Gopal Yadav of Samajwadi Party, BSP's Satish Chandra Mishra  were among those who participated in the interaction.


Prime Minister Modi will interact with chief ministers of all states on Saturday on the Covid-19 situation. Earlier, the Prime minister had two interactions with the chief ministers over the issue.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged people to download Aarogya Setu mobile App saying it is an important step in the fight against COVID-19. Mr. Modi said, by leveraging technology, the APP provides important information. He said, as more and more people use it, it's effectiveness will increase. The mobile app is to bring the people of the country together in a resolute fight against COVID-19. It enables people to assess for themselves the risk of their catching the Coronavirus infection. Our correspondent reports, the app calculates this based on their interaction with others, using cutting edge Bluetooth technology, algorithms and artificial intelligence.

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In an apparent reference to reports that some people are campaigning to honor him by standing for five minutes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at first glance, it seems a mischievious attempt to drag him into a dispute. He said, if people behind this reported campaign really have so much love and want to honor him, then they should take the responsibility of a poor family at least as long as the corona virus pandemic exists. The Prime Minister said, there can be no greater honor for him than this. The Prime Minister's tweets came after a poster surfaced in the social media asking for a standing ovation for him from citizens this Sunday.

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The total number of COVID -19 cases in the country rose to 5,274 today registering an increase of 485 cases in the last 24 hours. So far, 411 people have recovered and been discharged from hospitals while 149 have lost their lives in the country due to COVID-19. Briefing reporters in New Delhi today, Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry, Lav Aggarwal said, as the number of COVID-19 cases are rising in the country, the government's response and preparedness are intensifying accordingly.


He said, dedicated healthcare centres and hospitals are being set up for critical cases. Mr. Aggrawal said, the Centre has told states to continue its focus on building hospitals and on surveillance and contact tracing. 


"फील लेवल पर ओरिएंटेशन एंड ट्रेनिंग एक बहुत इन्पोडेंट कम्पोनेंट है। जबकि हम कोविड-19 को पूरे देशव्यापी लेवल पर मॉनिटर करना चाहते हैं। तो उसकी के हत मिनिस्ट्री ऑफ ह्यूमन रिसॉर्स ऑफ डवलेपमेंट ने कोविड-19 मैनेजमेंट के लिए एक ट्रेनिंग मॉडल लॉंच किया है, जिसका नाम है इंटीग्रेटिड गवरमेंट ऑनलाइन ट्रेनिंग पोर्टल। जिसमें कि फ्रंटलाईन वर्कर्स की कैपेसिटी बिल्डिंग के बारे में उनको रिक्वार्ड इश्यू प्रोवाईड की जायेगी। इस प्लेटफार्म के द्वारा डाक्टर्स, नर्सेस, पेरामेडिस टेक्निशियन्, केयरमेन और साथ ही राज् के जितने अधिकारीगण हैं, सिविल डिफेंस आफिसियल् हैं, नेशनल कैडिट कोड्स के जो हमारे वॉलियन्टर्स हैं, नेशनल सर्विस स्कीम के वॉलियन्टर्स, रेड क्रॉस सोसायटी और जितने भी वॉलियन्टर्स हैं उनको भी रिक्वार्ड डिसोसिस प्रोवाइड की जायेगी।

 

Stating that COVID-19 is an infectious disease, he  sought the support of the public in following the social distancing measures and lockdown. Mr. Aggarwal also said, the country has sufficient stock of hydroxychloroquine.


Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry, Punya Salila Srivastava said, cash benefits of one thousand to six thousand rupees have been announced by the Centre for registered construction workers. Under this, three thousand crore rupees have been given to two crore registered construction workers till now. She said, state governments have increased the enforcement of lockdown in hotspots through more intense police monitoring and spreading awareness with the help of community leaders.


Head Scientist in the Indian Council of Medical Research, Dr Raman  Gangakhedkar said, over one lakh 21 thousand tests for COVID-19 have been done so far.


"आज तक हमने एक लाख 33 हजार 271 टेस् किये हैं। उनमें अगर कल का अगर आप देखें तो  13,345 टेस् हुए हैं, जिसमें प्राईवेट लेब में 2,267 टेस् हुए हैं और अभी इस वक् 139 लेब् आईसीएमआर नेटवर्क में एक्टिव हो गई हैं और 65 प्राईवेट लेब् को हमने परमिट किया है।"

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The Supreme Court today directed that COVID-19 tests in approved government labs or private laboratories should be conducted free of cost and the Centre should immediately issue directions in this regard. The top court said the private hospitals including laboratories have an important role to play in containing the scale of the pandemic by extending philanthropic services in the hour of national crisis.


A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Ravindra Bhat, which heard the matter via video conferencing, said that tests relating to COVID-19 or novel coronavirus must be carried out in the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories accredited Labs or any agencies approved by WHO or ICMR. The bench said, it is issuing the interim directions to the respondents that the tests relating to COVID-19 whether in approved Government Laboratories or approved private Laboratories shall be free of cost. The bench also said, the respondents - the Centre and other authorities - shall issue necessary direction in this regard immediately.


The top court said that even before the COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by WHO on March 11, it had spread in several countries and as of now, more than 200 countries are suffering from this pandemic.


The top court issued directions on a PIL filed by an advocate seeking a direction to the Centre and authorities to provide free of cost testing facility for COVID-19 to all citizens in the country.


The bench in its order said no person be deprived to undergo the COVID-19 test due to non-payment of capped amount of 4,500 rupees. It noted the Centre's submission that government laboratories are conducting the COVID-19 tests free of cost.

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Pharmacists of Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendra are delivering essential services and medicines at the doorstep of patients and the elderly under Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Correspondent reports that this initiative is supporting the practice of social distancing.


"During the lockdown period,  all Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendras are playing a key role in ensuring availability of essential medicines and delivering them at the doorstep of patients. Pharmacists of these Kendras are extending essential services by making available quality generic medicines at affordable prices to the common people of the country. More than six thousand 300 Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendra are functioning covering 726 districts of the country. Citizens can also use 'Jan Aushadhi Sugam" app to locate their nearest Kendras and availability of medicines with their  price. The app can be downloaded from Google Play and I Phone store. Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana is also generating awareness through informational posts on its social media platforms, to help people protect themselves from Coronavirus. With Dipendra, Anand Kumar, AIR News, Delhi."

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The Home Ministry has directed States to ensure availability of essential goods at fair prices for the public at large. In a letter to chief secretaries, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has asked the States to deal strictly with offences of hoarding, black marketing, profiteering and speculative trading. He asked them to ensure proper supply of food items, medicines and medical equipment by invoking provisions of Essential Commodities Act , 1955. Mr. Bhalla emphasised that measures including fixing of stock limits, capping of prices, enhancing production, inspection of accounts of dealers and other such actions will be undertaken by the states at the earliest and at regular intervals to ensure production and supply of essential commodities. He said those not complying may be dealt with severely as offences under the Essential Commodities Act are considered as criminal offences and may result in imprisonment for seven years.

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The Centre has taken a number of initiatives to ensure availability of medical supplies amid the lockdown. Indian Railways has geared up its efforts to produce Personal Protective Equipment, PPEs on a mission mode.  Railway workshops are being geared up to produce one thousand PPE overall every day for railway Doctors and paramedics. The production facilities will be ramped up in the future. Railways is also considering to supply 50 per cent of PPE material to other medical professionals of the country. The PPE overall produced by Jagadhari workshop was recently cleared by the Defence Research and Development Organization’s lab. Approved design and material will now be used for making protective overall by 17 railway workshops situated in different zones. The PPE overall will offer much needed protection to Railways' Doctors and paramedics working as front line warriors for treating corona patients.

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Tribal Affairs minister Arjun Munda has written a letter to the chief ministers of 15 States to advise the State Nodal Agencies for undertaking procurement of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) at Minimum Support Price (MSP) in right earnest. These States include Uttar Pradesh; Gujarat; Madhya Pradesh; Karnataka; Maharashtra; Assam; Andhra Pradesh; Kerala; Manipur; Nagaland; West Bengal; Rajasthan; Odisha; Chhatisgarh; and Jharkhand.


Mr Munda said that the current situation brought about due to the outbreak of Covid-19 has posed an unprecedented challenge across the country. He said, this being the peak season for collection and harvest of  MFP and Non Timber Forest Produce in many regions makes it imperative to initiate certain proactive measures to ensure the wellbeing of the tribal communities and their economy by providing them safety and ensuring their livelihoods.

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The Government has termed the reports which claim that hotels and restaurants will remain closed till 15th October 2020 due to  COVID-19 outbreak as fake. In a tweet, the Press Information Bureau said, the order running in social media in this regard is fake and has not been issued by the Tourism Ministry.

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Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions,Dr Jitendra Singh today handed over a consignment of 2200 Essential Kits for distribution to needy families in Delhi in the wake of COVID-19. Each such Kit consisting of nine items is meant to assist one needy family for some time. The items include 3 Kg rice and wheat flour, 1 kg pulses, 1 litre cooking oil, 500 gram Chiwda, one kg salt, one bathing and detergent soap and three packets of biscuits. Kendriya Bhandar, which functions under the Department of Personnel and Training  has taken the unique initiative of providing "Essentials Kits" to needy families.

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Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal today appealed to all religious leaders, resident welfare associations and parents to advise young people to observe the Shab-e-Barat occasion solemnly and not to step out together in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a message, the Lieutenant Governor said, Delhi is under lockdown, amidst the coronavirus outbreak, therefore, people are requested not to step out of their houses and to pray for their family's security. He said, everyone should desist from any behaviour that compromises with the safety guidelines for battling corona virus.

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In Madhya Pradesh, the state government today invoked the Essential Services Management Act (ESMA) with immediate effect to tackle the novel coronavirus spread.


In a tweet, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan informed that in a bid to manage the COVID-19 outbreak in a better way and in the interest of the citizens, the government has implemented the ESMA, with immediate effect in the state.

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In Jammu and Kashmir, the Labour Department is working tirelessly to mitigate the sufferings of the stranded labourers in the Union Territory due to COVID lockdown.


To seek any assistance, the Labour Department has notified the helpline numbers and the labourers can contact the concerned officers.


In Jammu Division, the stranded labourers can contact Raman Sharma on 7006382985, Pawan Kumar on 9419805327, Roshan Lal on 9419211429 and Shivalik Sharma on 7889663050.


In Kashmir Division, they can contact Showkat Shafi on 8899546373, Ansar Ahmad on 7006286174 and Mushtaq Ahmad Beigh on 9697977487 for any assistance. To know about more efforts of the department, let's listen to our Srinagar Correspondent:


"To ensure welfare of workers and migrants stuck in Jammu and Kashmir due to COVID lockdown, Labour Commissioner, J&K, Abdul Rashid has said that several initiatives are being taken by the administration to ensure good mental health of migrant labourers for which several counselling sessions are being organised. He said that the counsellors have visited 142 camps and shelter homes across J&K where they have provided counselling to 5761 floating population of migrant labourers stuck in different parts of J&K. Labour Commissioner said that 1,43,866 Board and Other Construction Workers have been handed our 1000 rupees each amounting to 14.36 crore rupees. He said that the department is leaving no stone unturned in reaching out to these workers who constitute the poor sections of the society. This is Sunil Koul for AIR News from Srinagar."

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Maharashtra’s Health Minister Rajesh Tope has informed that the total number of COVID 19 patients in the state has increased to 1135. Speaking to reporters in Mumbai today, Mr. Tope said, 117 patients have recovered from the disease and have been discharged. Reiterating that there is no community transmission at present, the minister said, the course of the spread has not been as steep as seen in European countries. With the number of deaths being 66, the state has also recorded the worst death ratio of almost 6 percent amongst all Indian states.


With Dharavi recording its tenth positive case today, the minister said there has still been no decision to seal the area. He, however said that lockdown in the area will be strictly imposed to ensure that the disease is kept under check.


When asked about the use of rapid testing kits, Mr. Tope said, the results of these kits are not 100 percent satisfactory but still will be used if approved by the Centre.


"In his video message Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has urged citizens to wear face masks while venturing out to buy essentials. He clarified that the mask need not be a surgical or N-95 one but even a protective cloth would suffice. He also informed that the state government has started to designate separate hospitals for people suffering from COVID-19. The first one will serve patients with mild symptoms, the second with severe symptoms and the third will be reserved for critical patient who are also suffering from comorbidities. Stating that Wuhan returning to normalcy after a period of almost three months should serve as an example, Mr. Thackeray said citizens must strictly follow lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, the state government has announced that Personal Protective Equipment kits and N-95 masks made by private firms can only be sold in markets after they are certified by the state-run Haffkine Biopharmaceuticals Corporation. NISHA RANEY, AIR NEWS, MUMBAI."

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In Uttar Pradesh, the famous music festival held at the Sankat Mochan Temple in Varanasi every year, will be digitally accessible this time due to the lockdown to contain novel coronavirus.


"The 97th sankat mochan sangeet samaroh of the famous Sankat Mochan temple of Varanasi is going to be unique this time. The performance during the annual 6 day long musical function will be on digital platforms this time and the Maestro’s like Pandit Jasraj, Ajay Pohankar, Ustad Rahid Khan and many others are happily ready to perform. Mahant of the temple prof.


The lockdown may have prohibited the gathering but technology has paved the way for music lovers and devotees to get the chance of listening live to the galaxy of artists. For AIR News This is Sushil Chandra Tiwari."

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In Rajasthan, the number of corona infected persons has gone up to 363 after 20 new corona positive cases were reported today in the state. The highest 12 fresh cases have been reported in Jaipur, six in Bikaner and one case reported in Banswara and Jodhpur each. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot held a meeting with ministers and officials today through video conferencing and took several important decisions regarding the procurement of Rabi crops.


"It has been decided to start the procurement of commodities from April 15 in a phased manner under minimum support price mechanism and open procurement system. Procurement will begin at Eight Hundred locations including Agricultural Mandis in a phased manner. The Chief Minister has given instructions to ensure compliance of protocol related to social distancing at procurement centers. Meanwhile, the state government has allowed medical and foodstuff factories to start work without any permission. Fertilizer, pesticide and seed packing factories will also need not to take any permission from any department to work. Jitendra Dwivedi, AIR News, Jaipur."

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In our series 'Expert Speak' on All India Radio, we bring you the views of the leading medical experts on COVID-19.


Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS said that people should engage themselves in various activities in their homes to keep them mentally and physically fit during the lock down.


"घर के अन्दर एक एरिया बना लें जहां पर आप वॉक कर सकते हो। दूसरा इम्पोटेंट इश्यू इज मेंटल हेल्थ। इसमें यह बहुत जरूरी है कि हम लोग इसे सोशलाइज करें जो परिवार के लोग हैं उनके साथ इकट्ठे बैठके बात करें, कुछ इंडोर गेम् खेल सकते हो, कार्डस हैं तो कार्ड खेल सकते हो, इकट्ठे बैठकर कोई टीवी पर मूवी देख सकते हो। इस टाइप की कई एक्टिविटी कर सकते हो जिसे आप सोशलाई भी कर लें। ज्यादा हुआ तो अपने दोस्तों के साथ फोन पर बात भी कर सकते हैं। चैट कर सकते हो जिससे आप अपने आपको बिजी भी रखो, मेंटली स्ट्रांग रखो।"


Dr Raman Gangakhedkar, Head Scientist, ICMR said, in most of the COVID -19 cases, the infections are self limiting and only a few patients are required to be admitted in hospitals. Talking to AIR News, he said, the elder people suffering from diseases like diabetes are more prone to catch the infection.

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The Government has decided to issue all the pending income-tax refunds up to five lakh rupees immediately. This will benefit around 14 lakh taxpayers. It has also been decided to release all pending GST and Custom refunds which will provide benefit to around one lakh business entities, including MSME. The total refund granted will be approximately eigtheen thousand crore rupees. The decision has been taken  in view  of the COVID-19 situation and with a view to provide immediate relief to business entities and individuals.

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Celebrities continue to support social distancing and lockdown measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have Actor Sanjay Mishra sharing his view.


Senior cricketer Harbhajan Singh also appealed to people to remain at home and stay safe.

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The News Services Division of All India Radio in its bilingual live phone-in programme tonight will bring you a Special Discussion Programme on COVID-19.


Dr Mohan Rao, Distinguished Scientist, CSIR will participate in the discussion.


Listeners can ask questions to the experts on Toll Free Telephone No:1800-115767 (Repeat 1800-115767). You can also ask questions ontelephone number: 011: 2331-4444 (Repeat 011: 2331-4444) and post queries on our Twitter handle @airnews s by #tag Askair.


This can be heard tonight on FM Gold Channel and additional frequencies from 9.10 PM onwards. This programme will also be available on our website NEWS ON AIR DOT COM and on our YouTube Channel NEWSONAIROFFICIAL. You can also follow us on the NEWSONAIR app for s.

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More than 750,000 coronavirus cases have been recorded across Europe, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources. That accounts for more than half of the cases identified worldwide so far, although the official figures probably reflect a fraction of the actual number. With at least 750,276 cases and 58,627 recorded, Europe remains the continent hit hardest by the pandemic.

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