The number of corona viruses cases in India had reached 44,060, with a death toll of 1,437, while phase 3 of the Lockdown begins today. The Indian government is making a concrete plan to bring stranded Indians abroad. This will be done gradually from May 7. Indian citizens stranded abroad will travel by air and by navalhips. The embassies and high commissions of India are preparing a list of Indian citizens in distress. While seats on unforeseen commercial flights will be available for a fee, those who cannot pay will likely pay for the navalships. While the first phase of the repatriation will cover the countries of West Asia, the second phase should cover the United States, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Iran. The government has already received more than 1.5 lakh requests from Indians stranded in the Arab region. The medical examination of passengers will be carried out before boarding and only asymptomatic passengers will be able to travel. In fact, India is one of the few countries have refused to recover citizens who tested positive. Health protocols must be followed by all passengers. These include signing up for the ArogyaSetu app upon return and quarantining for 14 days, after which they will be tested for Covid-19. The ministry has asked states to organize testing, quarantine and subsequent movement of returning Indians.
- Social distancing norms were flouted as standalone liquor shops opened across India after some 40 days of being shut. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Delhi were among the states to open liquor stores today. Serpentine queues were seen outside the stores, with people packed into small spaces.
- The Inter Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) stationed in Kolkata has sent its final observations to the State government, highlighting the “extremely high mortality rate” from COVID-19. It said the West Bengal government should be “transparent and consistent” in reporting figures pertaining to the pandemic. Referring to the information shared by the State government on April 30, which “put the mortality at 105”, the committee noted the following: “For a total reported number of 744 + 72 = 816 COVID patients, the mortality rate of 12.8 % is highest in the country. This extremely high mortality rate is a clear indication of low testing and weak surveillance and tracking.”
- Silicon Valley private equity firm Silver Lake has agreed to invest $ 750 million in Reliance Jio. The deal values Jio at $ 65 billion, a 12.5% premium on Facebook’s valuation a few weeks ago. Silver Lake is a technology-focused investor with more than $ 40 billion in assets under management. In April, the company invested in activities related to travel and hotels. It bought minority stakes in Expedia and Airbnb, and the two deals totaled up to $ 2 billion in investment.
- The Jharkhand government will not implement any of the relaxations granted by the Centre from Monday, and has decided to extend the “total” lockdown in the State for two more weeks, till May 17.
- US President Donald Trump has predicted that his country will have a vaccine for the coronavirus by the end of the year, His prediction, however, contradicts the projections laid out by his administration’s public health experts. Trump also said that 100,000 people could lose their lives in the U.S., and refuted claims that his administration had not acted fast enough.