COVID Times: India had its sharpest peak in daily COVID-19 cases, with 3,900 recent infections reported in the past 24 hours. The total number of cases is now 47,990, while the number of deaths is 1,632. The increase in the number of cases comes just a day after closing restrictions have been reduced in various parts of the country.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said India has so far avoided community transmission and hoped that behavioral changes caused by the infection, including hand, airway and environmental hygiene, could become the new standard for a healthy society. Meanwhile, after two consecutive days of zero new cases, three people tested positive for COVID-19 in
Kerala today, chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said 37 people were under treatment at various state hospitals. Indian railways said that as of May 1, so far, they have operated 67 special Shramik trains, carrying around 67,000 stranded migrants.
There are 21 trains scheduled for Tuesday, mainly from Bangalore, Surat, Sabarmati, Jalandhar, Kota, Ernakulam. On average, these trains each carry 1,000 passengers. Plans to bring stranded Indians abroad continue, Air India will operate 64 flights between May 7 and May 13 for the repatriation of citizens.
Indians from West Asia and Southeast Asia are expected to benefit the most from the first phase of the exercise, as 80% of the planned flights will be sent to these regions. Many of these flights will go to Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
In addition to Air India, the government is also considering wiring to private operators in later phases.As regards the air fare that passengers need to pay, a flight from London to Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and New Delhi will cost Rs. 50,000 (per passenger). Flights from Chicago, San Francisco, Newyork and Washington will cost nearly Rs. 1,00,00; a flight from Dubai will cost Rs. 13,000, and one from Abu Dhabi Rs. 15,000.
Flights from Singapore and Malaysia will cost Rs. 20,000. Passengers will also have to pay for their quarantine facilities, but a final decision on this will be taken by the State governments. India has also dispatched four Naval ships to the Maldives and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as part of the first phase of evacuation to bring back Indians stranded in those regions.
Amphibious vessels INS Jalashwa and INS Magar are headed to the Maldives, while INS Shardul and INS Airavat have set out for the UAE. INS Jalashwa will reach the Maldives on May 8 and INS Magar is scheduled to reach on May 10, a defence source said. An official source said that 700-1,000 people would be brought back on May 8, which is about a quarter of those needing to return from the Maldives. Dates for the major entrance exams for medical and engineering courses have been announced.
- The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical and dental courses will be held on July 26, while the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)-Main for admission to engineering courses will begin on July 18 and continue from July 20 to 23, Before these admission examinations can be held, however, the Class XII Board examinations need to be completed and the dates for the pending CBSE Class X and XII Board exams would be announced most likely in the next couple of days as said by HRD minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank.
- Today, INC released a video of Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee in conversation with former Congress president Rahul Gandhi. A previous conversation had taken place with former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan. Banerjee urged the Indian government to spend more, saying that a stimulus package to increase spending and increase demand was the need of the hour to meet the challenge posed by the pandemic. “This is what the United States, Japan and Europe are doing. We really have not decided on a sufficiently large stimulus plan. We are still talking about 1% of GDP. The United States has chosen 10% of GDP, said Banerjee.
- Three Kashmiri photojournalists, Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand, won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for the photography of feature films. Associated Press (AP) photographers received the award “for their vivid pictures of life” in Jammu and Kashmir.