- At present India’s Covid-19 case tally stands at 22,212, the number of deaths stands at 682. An official from the Ministry of Civil Aviation tested positive for the coronavirus. The employee was present in office on April 15 and tested positive on April 21, all colleagues who came in contact with the official were asked to go into self-isolation as a precautionary measure.
- The Union Cabinet approved the promulgation of an ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, making violence against medical staff a cognizable and non-bailable offence. It also provides for compensation in cases of injury to healthcare personnel or damage to their property. There have been several instances of medical teams being attacked as they went about collecting samples of suspected COVID-19 patients. For instance, in Tamil Nadu, a doctor who died of COVID-19 infection was denied burial and his colleagues were attacked. The ordinance proposes that in cases of attacks on healthcare workers, the investigation will be completed within 30 days and the final decision arrived at within one year. The punishment for such attacks will be three months to five years and the fine Rs. 50,000 to Rs.2 lakh. In severe cases, where there are grievous injuries, the punishment will be six months to seven years, and the fine Rs.1 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh.
- The Union Cabinet also approved a Rs.15,000-crore investment package for the COVID-19 emergency response and health system preparedness for the short and medium term. The funds will be used in three phases, with Rs.7,774 crore being for immediate use, and the rest over a period one to four years.
- An inter-ministerial central team (IMCT) arrived in Mumbai for a two-day visit to assess the State’s preparedness to fight the coronavirus outbreak, the team had recommended an increase in the capacity of quarantine facilities in Mumbai from 1,200 beds to 2,000 in light of the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the city.
- India on Wednesday sent 23 tonnes of essential medicines to Nepal to help it fight the coronavirus, which has infected 45 people in the country.
- Pregnant women residing in clusters/containment areas or in large migration gatherings/evacuee centres in hotspot districts and likely to deliver in five days should be tested for COVID-19 even if asymptomatic, according to new guidelines released by the ICMR. The ICMR has noted that asymptomatic pregnant women should be tested in the health facilities where they were expected to deliver and all arrangements should be made to collect and transfer samples to testing facilities.
Jio Facebook Deal: Facebook has announced it has bought a 9.99% stake in Reliance-owned Jio Platforms for $5.7 billion, or Rs.43,574 crore, as the social media giant looks to expand its footprint in the Indian market. Facebook chairperson Mark Zuckerberg said the investment deal will help people and businesses in India create new opportunities amid the countrywide lockdown to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.
- Video streaming giant Netflix has added 15.8 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2020, which is a growth of 22 per cent (year-over-year), registering quarterly revenue of $5.77 billion. Netflix now has over 182 million subscribers worldwide.