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News Highlights
PM Modi reviews COVID-19 situation; appreciates efforts of Centre            DCGI approves Itolizumab for restricted emergency use on COVID-19 patients            HRD Ministry formulates detailed SoP for conducting University examinations            Venkaiah Naidu calls for adoption of environment friendly architecture and designs, to address future health threats            India's 2018 Tiger census sets new Guinness World Record for being largest camera trap wildlife survey           

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Midday News

1400 HRS


  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks to Chief Ministers; Seeks their views on future strategy in fight against COVId -19.

  • COVID recovery rate improves to 42.88 per cent, Over 71 thousand patients cured so far.

  • A total of 494 domestic flights operated on day three of resumption of Air Lines services in the country.

  • Railways appeals to people with comorbidities, pregnant women, children below 10 years and persons above 65 year of age to avoid travel by trains.

  • Over 2 lakh metric tonnes of food grains lifted by the states for May and June.

  • Twenty districts of Rajasthan affected by locust attacks; State administration engage in control activities.


Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to all chief Ministers yesterday regarding the COVID-19 situation in states and union territories. He invited their suggestions on the future strategy to deal with the pandemic and the lockdown which is scheduled to end on 31st May.


Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba held a meeting yesterday with Municipal Commissioners and District Magistrates of 13 COVID-19 hit cities to take a review of the situation. The meeting bears significance as these 13 cities are considered to be the worst novel Coronavirus affected locations and constitute about 70 per cent of the positive cases in the country. The cities are Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Thane, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Indore, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Chengalpattu and Thiruvallur. The Chief Secretaries of all the concerned States and Union Territories attended the meeting. A report :

"The measures taken by the officials and the staff of the municipal corporations for the management of COVID-19 cases were reviewed during the meeting. The central government has already issued guidelines on management of COVID-19 in urban settlements. Highlights of this strategy include work on high risk factors, indices such as confirmation rate, fatality rate, doubling rate and tests per million people. Centre has stressed that containment zones are to be geographically defined based on factors like mapping of cases and contacts and their geographical dispersion. This would enable in demarcating a well defined perimeter and enforcing the strict protocol of lockdown. The cities are advised that the area should be appropriately defined by the district administration and local urban body with technical inputs from local level. DIWAKAR/Suparna Saikia, AIR News."


Civil Aviaiton Minister Hardeep Singh Puri today said, a total of 494 domestic flights carried 38,078 passengers yesterday. All scheduled passenger flights were suspended in the country from 25th of March to 24th of May due to the Corona virus-induced lockdown.   Domestic air services resumed on Monday but international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in the country.


Ministry of Railways has made an appeal that persons with comorbidities, pregnant women, children below 10 years and persons above 65 year of age should avoid travel by trains except when it is essential. The appeal was made in view of the few unfortunate cases of deaths related to the pre-existing medical conditions while travelling, have happened.

The Ministry said that Indian Railways has been running Shramik Special Trains on a daily basis throughout the country to ensure that migrants can travel back to their homes. It has been observed that some people who are availing this service have pre-existing medical conditions which aggravates the risk they face during the COVID-19 pandemic. It said, Indian Railways is working 24X7 to ensure that rail services are provided to all the citizens of the country needing to travel. It said, in case of any distress or emergency, passengers  can reach out to the Railways Helpline number - 139 and 138.


The Indian  Railways has decided to increase the advance reservation period from the existing 30 days to 120 days for all 30 Special Rajdhani type trains operating since 12th of May. It will also be applicable  on all 200 Special Mail Express which will start operations from the 1st of next month. These changes will be implemented with effect from 8 AM of the train booking date of 31st of  this month onwards. It said, booking of parcel and luggage will also be permitted in all these 230 trains. The Ministry said, the other terms and conditions, such as current booking and tatkal quota allocation of seats to roadside stations, will be the same as in regular time tabled trains.


Indian Railways has distributed more than 85 lakh free meals and about 1.25 crore free water bottles to migrants travelling in Shramik Special Trains since 1st of May this year. Ministry of Railways said, subsequent to the Home Ministry order regarding movement of migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places, the Indian Railways has been operating Shramik Special trains from 1st of this month. The Ministry said, till date 3,736 Shramik Special trains have been operationalized from various states while about 67 are in the pipeline. So far around 50 lakh migrants have been transported through Shramik Special Trains in 27 days.

In addition to Shramik specials, Railways are running 15 pairs of special trains connecting New Delhi and plans to start 200 more time tabled trains on 1st June.


Government Sources today clarified that there has been no recent contact between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United States President Donald Trump.

The clarification came after Mr Trump said that he spoke to Mr Modi over India's ongoing border row with China. Mr Trump has also offered to mediate between India and China to resolve the border dispute.

The Sources said, the last conversation between the two leaders was on 4th of April this year on the subject of Hydroxychloroquine.

Yesterday, Ministry of External Affairs had also made it clear that New Delhi is directly in touch with Beijing through established mechanisms and diplomatic contacts.


Health and Family Welfare Ministry said that a total 71 thousand 106 people affected with corona virus have been cured and the recovery rate reached to 42.88 per cent in the country.

During the last twenty four hours, 3 thousand 414 people have recovered and 7 thousand 466 fresh cases of Covid-19 have been reported taking the total number of cases to 1 lakh 65 thousand 799. This is the highest spike in fresh cases since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in India. The Health Ministry said, 175 deaths have been registered in last 24 hours taking the nationwide toll to 4 thousand 706. 


The Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR said that a total one lakh 21 thousand 702 samples of Corona virus were tested in the last 24 hours. With this, the figure of total number of tests reached to 34 lakh 83 thousand 838 in the country.

Meanwhile, ICMR is continuously scaling up its testing facilities for COVID-19 by giving approval to government and private laboratories. As of now, total 641 laboratories across India have been given approval to conduct the test for COVID-19 including 446 government laboratories and 195 private laboratory chains.


Twenty six Bangladeshis were killed in the Libyan town Mizda, 180 kilometres south of the capital Tripoli on Wednesday in a case of hostage killing by a gang of human traffickers. Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr. A K Abdul Momen said that Bangladesh’s Ambassador to Libya confirmed that 26 people were shot dead while 11 others with injuries were being treated in a hospital.

Dr. Momen said that 38 Bangladeshis were taken hostage by the human traffickers out of which one could escape unhurt who conveyed the news to the Bangladeshi Embassy in Tripoli. The survivor told the Embassy officials that the human trafficking gang was torturing them for money. He informed that the captive Bangladeshis killed one of the hostage-takers after which the killings took place.

Reuters reported that a total of 30 migrant hostages were killed in the attack which included four Africans also.

The war ravaged Libya is a major hub for illegal immigrants heading to Europe crossing the Mediterranean.


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

Dr. Prashun Chatterjee, Senior Physician from AIIMS will participate in the discussion.

Listeners can ask questions to the expert on Toll Free Telephone No:1800-115767 (Repeat 1800-115767). One can also ask questions on telephone 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 9.30 P.M. 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.


In Assam, a 236-bed superspeciality COVID-19 treatment unit has become functional at Guwahati Medical College and Hospital. Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Minister of State Piyush Hazarika inaugurated the unit today. This will work as the superspeciality block at the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital which is equipped with 14 Ultra-violet Germicidal Irradiation, UGVI system. It will help in improving indoor air quality and bacteria management.  Our Correspondent reports that 800 active cases are reported in the state so far.


The stranded migrant labourers of Jharkhand are being aerially evacuated today through two private airlines flights from Leh in Ladakh. This has been done following the Supreme Court guidelines and setting an example through one of the most dedicated efforts put by the Central and State Government. With the efforts of the officials of Border Roads Organization, Divisional Commissioner of Union Territory of Ladakh and Nodal officers of Jharkhand, this proved to be a milestone in minimizing the plight being faced by migrant labourers stuck at far off places of the country due to lockdown. The first of its kind special service flight for the migrants is being flown fully by the efforts of the government officials. A report --

"60 migrant labourers stuck in far off places and living in extreme conditions of Batalik-Kargil in Leh Ladakh are being airlifted for their home safely through Indigo and SpiceJet flights today to Jharkhand. The state government has coordinated with officials of Border Road Organisation (BRO) and the administration of the Union Territory to help these labourers fly back to their homes. Presently, The migrants have boarded the flight from Leh to New Delhi. They will be then ferried through chartered plane to Dwarka. State government is mulling to bring back its denizens through ways and means after the central government gave a nod to start the flight services. The government has a database of 448 labourers stuck in Andaman and Nicobar islands and 893 migrants in Northeastern states of Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Sikkim. Efforts are put in by the state government for establishing coordination with the respective states to bring the migrants back safely. Chief Minister Hemant Soren has also tweeted thanking for the able support provided by the government to airlift the labourers to Jharkhand. Shilpi for AIR News from Ranchi".


The Karnataka Government has requested the Civil Aviation Ministry to reduce the number of flights emanating from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to Karnataka. The request to reduce air traffic to the state is made following the high number of COVID-19 cases prevalent there. The Law Minister J C Madhuswamy had said yesterday that the request is made with the sacred intention that there may not be adequate quarantine facilities if there is high turn-out in a short span of time. He said, similar restriction is imposed for people coming by road from these five states.

In another development, the State Election Commission has postponed elections to 5,800 Gram Panchayats due to exceptional circumstances because of the pandemic. The tenure of these Gram Panchayats will end between June and August.


The Centre has made allocation of eight lakh metric tonnes foodgrains to 37 States and Union Territories for the months of May and June. According to FCI, against this allocation, so far over two lakh metric tonnes of food grains have been lifted by the states. The Minister directed the FCI to coordinate with the States to  expedite the lifting of food grains. Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and  Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan chaired the review meeting yesterday with the Food Corporation of India’s Zonal Executive Directors and Regional General Managers on the distribution and procurement of food grains, through video conference.

The Minister said, Under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, the Centre has made allocation of over 120 lakh metric tonnes food grains to the States for the months of April, May and June 2020. During the meeting, FCI informed that against this  allocation, around 96 lakh metric tonnes food grains have been lifted by the States and UTs. He said, West Bengal Government has requested 11 thousand 800 metric tonnes rice stock in view of the Amphan cyclone  but no requirement of food grains has been intimated by the Odisha Government till date.

Mr Paswan while reviewing the allocation of food grains under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package for stranded migrants, said that Mr Paswan said that FCI should coordinate with the these State Governments and appraise the latest status of food grains.

Mr Paswan also lauded the role of FCI during the lockdown and said food grain movement has been at an all-time high. FCI has undertaken record loading, unloading and transportation of food grains during the lockdown period. He said, on the other hand, procurement also continued without disruptions and the wheat procurement by government agencies this year surpassed the last year’s figures.


Number of Corona virus cases is increasing day-by-day in many districts of Maharashtra after many citizens started returning to their respective home towns. With nine positive reports this morning, total number of Corona virus affected patients has reached to 112 in Ahmednagar. Six new patients found in Sindhudurg, taking the toll to 30 and five more patients confirmed in Nanded, taking the patients number to 143. 

A total of 698 Corona virus patients were discharged in Maharashtra during yesterday, taking the number of recovered persons in the state to 18,616. State has reported 2,598 new Corona virus patients, taking the tally of cases in the state to 59,546. With 85 COVID-19 patients dying, 38 of them in Mumbai, the death toll due to the pandemic rose to 1,982. No. of active cases of COVID-19 reached to 38,939.

In order to facilitate stranded citizens, a  Shramik Special train is scheduled to leave for West Bengal from Nanded this afternoon by 4 p.m.

Meantime, Sate Government's efforts are on to provide relief to all the citizens in the state. A mobile application has been developed in Raigadh district of Maharashtra to provide food grains to the citizen who do not have ration cards. After observing the usefulness of this mobile application, State Government has given instructions to use it in other districts of the state too. More from our Mumbai Correspondent --

"Easy-forms is a mobile application, which is making life easier for citizens in Raigad district of Maharashtra, who do not have ration cards. Such needy citizens are being identified through this app with their basic information. Ration distribution shops are providing food grains to all such beneficiaries. Over thousand citizens have benefited from this app so far. State Government has already approved this app and instructed other districts to use the same. At present, 18 districts in the state are using this app to provide relief to all such citizen who do not have ration cards. Madhuri Pange AIR News, Mumbai"


Under Vande Bharat Mission, 11 flights are arriving today in Kerala of which 10 flights are from Middle east.

"Flights from Dubai , Muscat and Armenia  arescheduled to arrive in Kochi today .Two flights carrying expatriates will be arriving in Kannur from Dubai and Doha . The capital city , Thiruvananthapuram , will be receiving passengers from Dubai and Abu dhabi. 4 flights will be arriving today in Kozhikode from Dubai , Abu dhabi , Jiddah and Kuwait. Over 1500 stranded Indian nationals will be reaching Kerala today under the mission. Meanwhile Kerala reported another Covid 19 death today morning, taking the Covid death toll  in the State to 8. the deceased is a65-year-old ,who had returned  from Dubai on May 11 th and was  in  critical condition at the Government Medical College ,Kottayam. Authorities informed that all Covid protocols will be followed in the burial .Presently 526 active Covid cases are there in the State. Mayusha for AIR News from Thiruvananthapuram"


In Gujarat, dry ginger therapy is being used to prevent Corona virus infection while the whole world is looking for ways to fight COVID-19. The renowned Ayurvedacharya and the propagator of Lok Ayurved concept Dr. Hitesh Jani is popularizing the use of this simple home remedy to prevent the spread of the virus. Talking to AIR, Dr Jani said therapy has shown better results in the containment as well as non-containment zones.  A report --

"The Lok Ayurved teams conducted primary field trials at quarantine Madhapar village of Kutch and then 10 selected streets of Jungleshwar Hot spot area of Rajkot. After seeing successful preventive results in these areas, it is distributed to CISF personnel posted at all major airports in the state including Ahemedabad, Rajkot, Vadodara as well as at Kandla Shipping Port Reliance Refinery in Jamnagar. Mr Jani said we have to sniff pinch of dry ginger through both nostrils minimum once a day and take 1gm from mouth two times a day after meals and swallow it. He said this cleans the mucus which is the carrier of the virus for taking it inside the respiratory system in the nose and Oral Cavity. It also gives us complete internal cleansing as well as Immunity. Dry ginger powder is one of the most accessible preventive therapies that can be followed easily at home.APARNA KHUNT//AIR NEWS//AHMEDABAD"


Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today said that all those migrant workers and labourers who are returning from other parts of country are strength of state and we are now using this strength for making a new Uttar Pradesh. He was speaking on the occasion of signing of Memorandum of Understanding with Industries organizations for employment of 11.5 lakh workers and labourers. Yogi Adityanath said that in Uttar Pradesh 94 per cent of industrial units paid wages to their workers during lockdown irrespective of the fact that they were functional or not. More from our correspondent --

" Chief Minister said that there is no time limit for the return of workers and whoever wants to come back, we will make arrangement for his safe, dignified and free of cost return. State government has already written letter to other states to provide the list of those migrants who still.want to come back. Chief Minister said that with the help of skill mapping we are working to provide employment to every worker with the motto of Har Hath Ho kam, Har Ghar Mein Rojgar Rojgar means work to every hand and Employment to every house. Today MSME department of state signed MOUs with Industries and Business Chambers for providing 11.5 lakhs skilled and semi skilled manpower. Under this agreement Indian Industries Association has asked for 5 lakh workers while National real estate Development Council asked for 2.5 lakh, laghu udyog bharti  and CII has asked for 2 lakh workers each. A special software is being prepared for the generation of employment according to the skill of migrant workers and the need of industrial units.SUSHIL CHANDRA TIWARI, AIR NEWS, LUCKNOW".


A massive traffic jam was seen on the road connecting Delhi and Gurugram today morning, a day after the Haryana Government decided to seal the routes towards the national capital. A top State Government Official said, due to concerns over the rising cases of the Corona virus disease (COVID-19), Delhi-Gurugram border has been sealed.


In Rajasthan, as many as 20 districts are affected by locust attacks.  Our correspondent reports that about 90 thousand hectares area has been affected due to locust attacks so far.

"Themovement of the locust is not confined to Rajasthan this time. It has reachedin some districts of the neighbouring states Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradeshtoo. Capital Jaipur has also witnessed a locust attack after a long time. Thelocusts have so far affected about 90 thousand hectares area. AgricultureCommissioner Dr. Om Prakash told AIR that locust warning organization and localadministration are engaged in locust control activities. And these activitieshave been carried out in about 70 thousand hectare area so far. The use of droneshas also been started for this work first time. The Food and AgricultureOrganization of the United Nations has said that the impact of locust attackthis time may be just double than last year -Jitendra Dwivedi, AIR News,Jaipur."


President Ram Nath Kovind has expressed grief on the demise of Rajya Sabha Member and former Union Minister MP Veerendra Kumar.

Mr Kovind said, a staunch socialist, M.P. Veerendra Kumar enriched the field of journalism and literature by leading the influential Malayalam newspaper, Mathrubhumi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also expressed grief on the passing away of Rajya Sabha Member M.P. Veerendra Kumar. In a tweet, Mr Modi said, M.P. Veerendra Kumar distinguished himself as an effective Legislator and Parliamentarian and he believed in giving voice to the poor and underprivileged.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar today said, the demise of M P Veerendra Kumar, the Managing Director of the leading Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi was a big loss to the political and journalistic fraternity.

Mr Javadekar said, Veerendrakumar was an erudite politician, socialist, writer and  journalist. The Minister said, as a Union Labour Minister Veerendrakumar stood for welfare of the workers and as Matrubhumi CMD, he ensured it becomes voice of the people. 


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

Talking to AIR News, Senior Physician from Safdarjung Hospital New Delhi, Dr. M.K. Sen said, these are testing times. He said, the basic rules should be followed even during the Lockdown four:


The News Services Division of All India Radio in its live phone-in programme SAMVAAD today will bring you a Special programme on  Railways where listeners can ask questions to the experts related to passenger trains on Toll Free Telephone No: 1800-115767. You can also ask questions on telephone number: 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 7.10 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 listen to us on the NEWSONAIR app.


The Vande Bharat Mission is in full swing and phase two of the Mission is underway till the 13th of June. Government has planned to bring back over one lakh stranded Indians from 60 countries by the end of Phase II.  Preparations for the third phase likely to commence after mid-june is also underway. External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Anurag Srivastava has informed that 45,216 Indians have returned to the country till last evening. These include 8,069 migrant workers, 7,656 students and 5,107 professionals. About 5000 Indians have returned through land border immigration checkpoints from Nepal and Bangladesh.


Now, let us take a look at today's weather report. 

"People in people woke up to a pleasant morning today as last night's showers gave respite from soaring temperatures from the ongoing heat wave. The national capital is expected to face to have thunderstorms with squalls today. Minimum temperature was recorded at 23 degrees Celsius and maximum is expected to be around 38 degrees Celsius. Moving to West, Mumbai may witness partly cloudy sky today. Minimum temperature here was 28 degrees Celsius while maximum temperature will be around 35 degrees Celsius. In the south, Chennai will also see a partly cloudy sky. The temperature will hover between 29 and 39 degrees Celsius.  In the east, Kolkata may witness generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. Minimum temperature in the metropolis witnessed 25 degrees Celsius while maximum will be around 30 degrees. Meanwhile, under the influence of a Western Disturbance, there is possibility of rain and thunderstorm at isolated places and very likely over Western Himalaya Region and adjoining plains till tomorrow. In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, minimum temperature was 26 degrees Celsius in Jammu. Maximum  temperature here will be around 40 degrees Celsius. The city will observe partly cloudy sky and there is a possibility of rain, thunderstorm or duststorm as well. In Srinagar, the minimum temperature was 13 degrees Celsius while maximum is expected to be around 26 degrees. The city will observe partly cloudy sky with possibility of rain, thunderstorm or duststorm. In Gilgit, the minimum temperature was recorded at 13 degrees while maximum temperature is likely to be 33 degrees Celsius with mainly clear sky which is likely to turn partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. In Muzzafarabad, the sky is expected to be partly cloudy with possibility of rain, thunderstorm or duststorm. Minimum temperature was at 19 degrees Celsius while the maximum temperature will be around 37 degrees Celsius. Tripti Srivastaa, News Desk."


Goa may see the arrival of Monsoon season in the first week of June. With a pollution free atmosphere, their is a formation of a low pressure area over the Southeast and adjoining East Central Arabian Sea during 31st of May to 4th of June.


Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar urged people to honour the efforts of COVID warriors and take all the precautions during the lockdown.



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