- COVID Times: The total number of COVID-19 cases in India stand at 22,906, with the death toll now at 716. A presentation made by C.K. Misra, chairman of one of the 11 empowered groups of officers that the government had formed to deal with various aspects of the coronavirus, said that recovery rates of positive cases had improved to 19.89 per cent, with 4,257 people being discharged after receiving treatment. The recovery rate last week was 9.99 per cent last week. The growth of COVID-19 cases has been more or less linear, not exponential. Post imposition of lockdown, the number of new positive cases has increased by 16 times and testing has increased by 24 times.
- Today, Oxford University began human trials of potential COVID-19 vaccines. Germany, too, has given approval for testing of a vaccine developed by pharma majors Biontech and Pfizer, on human volunteers. If all goes well, the production of the Oxford trial vaccine could start as early as September.
- The WHO has warned that most countries were still in the early stages of tackling the coronavirus pandemic and that the infection was here to stay for a long time to come. Further, there were “worrying upward trends” in early epidemics in parts of Africa, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe,
No DA: The Finance Ministry has issued an order freezing the Dearness Allowance (DA) to Central government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to Central government pensioners at current rates till July 2021. The undersigned is directed to say that in view of the crisis arising out of COVID-19, it has been decided that the additional installments of Dearness Allowance payable to Central government employees and Dearness Relief to Central government pensioners, due from January 1, 2020, shall not be paid.
No immigration: U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the country during the coronavirus pandemic, the order is in place for 60 days effective from April 23, after which it will be reviewed. The order will not have any impact on the processing of temporary visas for skilled employees, including Indians who apply to work in the U.S. on H1-B visas.
CWC to government: The Congress Working Committee in its meeting (held virtually) on Thursday demanded that the remaining period of lockdown be used to prepare and publish a detailed ‘exit strategy’ and a comprehensive ‘road map’ for the future. The states must be empowered to devise solutions to the challenges due to COVID-19.