Irrfan Khan passed away in Mumbai today after being admitted in hospital yesterday for a colon infection. The iconic actor was 53 years old. Apart from his numerous path-breaking roles in Bollywood, he was also arguably India’s best known export to Hollywood, starring in films such as Slumdog Millionaire, The Life of Pi, and most memorably in Deepa Mehta’s Namesake (2007), the film that brought him the global spotlight.
- Covid Numbers and developments: The number of coronavirus cases from India has shot up to 32,091 at the time of publishing this newsletter, while the death toll stands at 1,037. Globally, there are over 31,04,000 infections reported, while more than 2,17,000 people have lost their lives to COVID-19.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued guidelines today allowing the inter-state movement of stranded tourists, pilgrims, students, migrant workers and others. The MHA said state governments should make arrangements and buses will be used, and after reaching their destination, such persons are to stay in home quarantine, unless assessment by local authorities required institutional quarantine.
- Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has said curfew would continue in the State for another two weeks even after May 3. A limited lifting of the lockdown restrictions will start from tomorrow, April 30, in the non-red zones, Singh said. Curfew will be relaxed for four hours during the day, from 7am to 11am.
- The first experiment with plasma therapy for treating a COVID-19 patient, carried out at the Lilavati Hospital, has been successful in Maharashtra.
- The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) said the pending examinations for Class 10 and 12 would be held after assessing the situation at the end of the lockdown. The Board’s assertion follows reports that Class 10 exams may be cancelled. Several States had suggested cancellation of these exams and use of internal assessments instead to allot grades.
- In a bid to track people who are leaving their homes and are on the streets for no reason during the lockdown, Chennai police have started using a mobile application called Eye Tracker. Since the lockdown began in March, the police set up 150 vehicle check points across the city. The police personnel on duty check the vehicles, and those involved in providing essential services are allowed to go. In the last one month alone, more than 34,000 cases were filed against persons violating the prohibitory orders and more than 20,000 vehicles were seized.
- All Central government officials have been directed to immediately download the Aarogya Setu App on their mobile phones. The officials received an office memorandum from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) directing them to review their status on the app before starting for office, and commute only when it shows their status as ‘safe’ or ‘low risk’.
- The White House has unfollowed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind on Twitter. Just three weeks ago, on April 10, Modi had became the only world leader to be followed by @whitehouse, the official Twitter handle of the Trump administration.