Category Archives: Coronavirus

Malls to Remain Shut, Shoots Allowed: BMC Issues New Guidelines for Reopening Mumbai

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday issued a set of guidelines to ease coronavirus-induced restriction in Mumbai city in a phased manner. In its ‘Break the Chain’ initiative, the civic body announced reopening of certain regular activities based on the Covid-19 case positivity rate in a particular area to kick-start the economy.

RESTRICTIONS

There shall be five levels of restrictions for different class/categories of activities. These levels of restrictions shall be applied based on two parameters: case positivity rate and percentage of oxygen beds occupancy. Every Disaster Management Authority shall enforce these levels of restrictions over administrative units falling under its jurisdiction.

  • The timings for shops/establishments dealing with essential will be regular in level 1 and 2, but till 4pm on all days for level 3 and 4. While till 4pm on weekdays and weekends closed except for medical.
  • The timings for shops/establishments dealing with non-essential items will be regular in level 1 and 2, but till 4pm on all days for level 3 and closed for level 4 and 5.
  • Timings for malls/theatres will be regular for level 1; 50 per cent capacity for level 2; and closed for levels 3, 4, and 5.
  • Opening timings for restaurants will be regular in level 1; 50 per cent capacity for dining in for level 2; 50 per cent capacity for dining in till 4pm only on weekdays and afterwards only parcel, takeaways and deliveries in level 3; only parcel/takeaway and home delivery in level 4; and only home delivery, no visiting in level 5.
  • Public places/open grounds/walk/cycles will be regular for levels 1 and 2; 5am-9am on everyday for level 3; 5am-9am on weekdays and closed on weekends in level 4; and close in level 5.
  • Shooting will be regular for levels 1 and 2; bubble and no movement outside after 5pm for level 3; bubble and no crowd scenes/no movement outside after 5pm on weekdays and no movement outside throughout on weekends for level 4; and closed for level 5.
  • Gatherings such as social, cultural, entertainment will be regular in level 1; 50 per cent capacity in level 2; 50 per cent capacity and till 4pm on weekdays in level 3; and closed in levels 4 and 5.
  • Marriages to be regular in level 1; 50 per cent capacity in hall with maximum of 100 people in level 2; 50 people in level 3; 25 people in level 4; and one family in level 5.
  • For performing funerals, it will be regular in levels 1 and 2; while 20 people each in levels 3, 4 and 5.
  • Gyms/salons/beauty centres/spas wellness centres will be regular with timings in level 1; 50 per cent capacity with only appointment in level 2; till 4pm with 50 per cent capacity and appointment with no AC in level 3; till 4pm with 50 per cent capacity and appointment with no AC in and only vaccinated customers in level 4; and closed in level 5.
  •  Public transport like bus to be regular in level 1; 100 per cent without standing in levels 2 and 3; 50 per cent without standing in levels 4 and 5.

Himachal likely to consider imposing curfew in 4 districts, 5-day office for govt employees

Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur on Saturday announced to enforce five days office and sixth days work from home for all the state government employees till December 15 to break the coronavirus chain.

Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur on Saturday announced to enforce five days office and sixth days work from home for all the state government employees till December 15 to break the coronavirus chain. Moreover, the chief minister also said that the state government would also consider imposing a curfew from 9 pm to 6 am in the four districts – Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, and Kangra.

This decision by the Jai Ram Thakur government comes amid rising cases of COVID-19 in the state. He had earlier told that the administration is taking all the precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus. The decision was taken by CM Thakur during a review meeting over COVID-19 with the district officials.

Earlier, the state government had announced to close all the schools, colleges, and other educational institutions in the state till December 31.

At Himachal weddings, mask norm given a miss

Palampur November 29

With marriage functions proving to be one of the biggest spreaders of Covid cases in Himachal Pradesh, the Palampur, Baijnath and Jaisinghpur administrations have begun conducting checks at these events.

The authorities are visiting marriage functions to check if the cap of 50 on the guest count is being adhered to and the attendees are wearing masks and sticking to social distancing norms.

“In most cases, we found that people were not wearing masks at weddings,” said Pawan Sharma, SDM, Jaisinghpur, who inspected four wedding functions. Officials in Baijnath and Palampur are also conducting similar checks. Their teams visited Makkar, Harsi, Kachayal, Jagya and Lambagaon villages in the last two days. “Families have to obtain prior permission for the weddings. Though they’re briefed about the norms, we are carrying out the checks to doubly ensure the rules are being followed,” said Sharma.

The SDM said the cap on the number of invitees was being followed at most gatherings but the ‘mandatory mask’ directive was hardly being obeyed. The violators had been let off with a mere warning but in future, penalties would be slapped on them, he warned.

Coronavirus Update: India tally crosses 900,000 mark; 540 deaths in one day

Coronavirus latest news: Total number of cases in India has now crossed the 900,000 mark. Maharashtra has 260,924 cases, Delhi 113,740, and Tamil Nadu 142,000. 

Coronavirus India Update:

India has recorded over 28,000 new cases in a day to take its total number of Covid-19 cases to 907,645. This is the third consecutive day when India has recorded over 28,000 new cases. The country’s death toll stands at 23,727. Maharashtra has seen a spike of 6,497 cases in the past 24 hours, while Delhi has added 1,246 cases to its tally.

Coronavirus World Update:
As many as 13,236,252 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 around the world so far. While more than 7,691,451 have recovered, 575,540 have died, according to Worldometer. 
Country-wise, the United States remains the most affected. It has recorded over 65,000 cases in a day and now has 3,479,483 coronavirus cases and 138,247 deaths. Brazil has 1,887,959 cases, and 72,921 deaths, while India is the third-worst-hit with 907,645 cases and 23,727 deaths.

World’s first Covid-19 vaccine? Russia successfully completes clinical trials

After over six months of novel coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 12 million people and killed over 500,000 all over the world, the clinical trials of the purportedly world’s first coronavirus vaccine have been successfully completed.

The clinical trials of the world’s first coronavirus vaccine on volunteers at Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University has been successfully completed, Vadim Tarasov, the director of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Biotechnology, according to Russian news agency Sputnik, adding that the first group of volunteers would be discharged on 15 July and the second on 20 July.

The university began clinical trials of the vaccine produced by Russia’s Gamalei Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology on June 18.

“Sechenov University has successfully completed tests on volunteers of the world’s first vaccine against coronavirus,” Tarasov said.

According to Alexander Lukashev, the director of the Institute of Medical Parasitology, Tropical and Vector-Borne Diseases at Sechenov University, the objective of this stage of the study was to show the vaccine’s safety for human health, which was successfully done.

“The safety of the vaccine is confirmed. It corresponds to the safety of those vaccines that are currently on the market,” Lukashev told Sputnik.

The further vaccine development plan is already being determined by the developer’s strategy, including the complexity of the epidemiological situation with the virus and the possibility of scaling up production, Lukashev added.

“Sechenov University in a pandemic situation acted not only as an educational institution but also as a scientific and technological research center that is able to participate in the creation of such important and complex products as drugs … We worked with this vaccine, starting with preclinical studies and protocol development, and clinical trials are currently underway,” Tarasov noted.

While over 7 million virus-infected people have recovered so far, scientists and other healthcare systems worldwide are trying to upgrade production and development of a potential Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

Gilead Sciences, Oxford University’s researchers and American biotech company Moderna are at the forefront of developing a Covid-19 vaccine. However, Gilead Sciences Inc said earlier that an analysis showed its antiviral remdesivir helped reduce the risk of death in severely ill COVID-19 patients, but cautioned that rigorous clinical trials were needed to confirm the benefit.

Moreover, BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate is expected to be ready to seek regulatory approval by the end of 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing the German biotech firm’s chief executive officer. The experimental vaccine, which showed promise against the fast-spreading respiratory illness in early stage human testing, is expected to move into a large trial involving 30,000 healthy participants later this month, pending regulatory nod.

Reference: LiveMint

Coronavirus update: COVID-19 cases in India cross 2.76 lakh; nearly 10,000 new cases in last 24 hours

India’s COVID-19 count surged past the grim milestone of 2.75-lakh cases today, according to the data released by ministry of health and family welfare. The states continued to register nearly 10,000 cases even on Tuesday. Maharashtra reported the highest number of fresh infections at 2,259 in last 24 hours. Tamil Nadu saw its biggest jump in COVID-19 count on Tuesday. Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu were the two states to confirm nearly 45% of total coronavirus cases in India. Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh also witnessed huge jump in coronavirus cases on Tuesday.

 

The number of deaths from coronavirus pandemic zoomed to 7,745. At least 274 people succumbed to death in last 24 hours. Maharashtra registered the highest number of fatalities in India. The death toll in Gujarat topped 1,300 on Tuesday.

The total number of active coroanvirus cases in India increased to 133,632. Nearly 48% of total coronavirus cases — nearly 1.35 lakh people — have recovered from the disease.

Maharashtra became the first state in India to report over 90,000 cases. Mumbai alone accounted for over 50,000 COVID-19 patients. The death toll in the state rose to 3,289.

Delhi was the third state to confirm 30,000 coronavirus cases after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. At least 1,366 people tested positive for the virus in last 24 hours.

Tamil Nadu saw an explosion of fresh coronavirus cases on Tuesday. Over 1,600 people tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, bringing tally to 34,914.

A top World Health Organization (WHO) official on Tuesday clarified her remarks that transmission of the new coronavirus from asymptomatic carriers was “very rare”, citing a “misunderstanding”.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, had said that on the basis of studies carried out in several countries, transmission of the virus by an asymptomatic person seemed “very rare”.

Here is state-wise status of coronavirus cases in India

Andaman and Nicobar Islands – 33

Andhra Pradesh – 5,070

Arunchal Pradesh – 57

Assam – 2,937

Bihar – 5,459

Chandigarh – 323

Chhattisgarh – 1,240

Dadar Nagar Haveli – 22

Delhi – 31,309

Goa – 359

Gujarat – 21,014

Haryana – 5,209

Himachal Pradesh – 445

Jammu and Kashmir – 4,346

Jharkhand – 1,411

Karnataka – 5,921

Kerala – 2,096

Ladakh – 108

Madhya Pradesh – 9,849

Maharashtra – 90,787

Manipur – 304

Meghalaya – 43

Mizoram – 88

Nagaland – 127

Odisha – 3,140

Puducherry – 127

Punjab – 2,719

Rajasthan – 11,245

Sikkim – 13

Tamil Nadu – 34,914

Telangana – 3,920

Tripura – 864

Uttarakhand – 1,537

Uttar Pradesh – 11,335

West Bengal – 8,985

Globally coronavirus infected over 72 lakh people. The deadly virus took lives of more than 4.11 lakh people across the world. The United States was the worst affected by coronavirus pandemic. It registered nearly 20 lakh coronavirus cases since the outbreak. The causalities from coronavirus pandemic surged to 1.11 lakh in the US.

Air India Delhi-Moscow Flight Returns As Pilot Has COVID, Probe Ordered

Coronavirus: The Air India Delhi-Moscow plane returned midway after the pilot was found infected with coronavirus.

The aviation regulator DGCA will order a probe into a “lapse” after an empty Air India plane flying from Delhi to Moscow returned midway when the pilot was found infected with coronavirus.

The state-run carrier’s ground team realised the pilot was a COVID-19 patient only after the Airbus A320NEO had taken off.

Sources in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation or DGCA said “prima facie, this appears to be a lapse” as the pilot was not supposed to be on the plane if he was found positive.

Air India conducts at least 200 coronavirus tests a day in Delhi alone for all its crew ahead of all flights that they operate. The results of these tests are centrally processed by the airline.

The Air India plane took off from Delhi after 7 am today and returned to the national capital at 12:30 pm, sources said.

The crew has been quarantined. Another plane will be sent to Moscow to bring back Indians, officials said.

Pilots are tested for coronavirus before they are allowed to fly.

So far 45,000 Indians have been flown home from abroad under the centre’s “Vande Bharat Mission” that was launched on May 7 to repatriate stranded Indians amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. It said one lakh more will be flown home till June 13.

Reference: NDTV

Newborn twins become Gujarat’s youngest Coronavirus Patients

A woman from Molipur village in the district, who had tested positive for the virus, gave birth to twins at the Vadnagar Civil Hospital on May 16, said Manoj Daxini, district development officer.

Twin brother and sister, born six days ago in Gujarat’s Mehsana district, have tested positive for coronavirus, becoming the state’s youngest patients for the viral infection, an official said on Friday.

A woman from Molipur village in the district, who had tested positive for the virus, gave birth to twins at the Vadnagar Civil Hospital on May 16, said Manoj Daxini, district development officer.

“This is the first case in Gujarat where newborn infants, that too twins, have tested positive for coronavirus.

While the male infant tested positive on May 18, the baby girl’s reports came on Friday,” he said.

Both infants were in a stable condition, he said.

“The woman hails from Molipur village, where several COVID-19 cases were detected after three persons who had returned from Mumbai tested positive,” Daxini said.

At least 93 coronavirus cases have been detected in Mehsana district so far.

Uttar Pradesh Lockdown 4.0: Vegetable markets, sweet shops, Delhi-NCR borders opened

CM Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has issued fresh guidelines for UP Lockdown 4.0, with some relaxations. The permissions are largely in line with the Union Home Ministry’s guidelines, announced on Sunday which extended nationwide covid-19 lockdown till 31st May.

 

Here’s a list of what’s allowed in Uttar Pradesh and what’s not:

What’s allowed in Uttar Pradesh

  • Restaurants and mithai (sweets) shops can open but can only offer home delivery services.
  • Markets in non-containment zones will also start opening up from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The state government has allowed reopening of the vegetable markets (Sabzi Mandi) with proper precautions for three hours from 4am to 7am. Retails vegetables can be sold between 6am to 9pm. Initially bazaars will be opened on alternate days.
  • Nursing homes and private clinics will be permitted to resume operations and provide Medicare after following the due protocol and training to staff.
  • Factories in the rural areas have been permitted to resume operations following the guidelines.
  • Prohibitory orders will be in place in the state during the night and no vehicles, except on essential services, will be allowed between 7pm and 7am.
  • Private vehicles have also been allowed with certain restrictions. Three passengers including the driver can travel on a four-wheeler, pillion ride on two-wheelers has been allowed only in case of a woman and three including the driver on a three-wheeler had been allowed.
  • Street vendors and hawkers have also been permitted to function in the state.
  • Banquet halls have been permitted to open but not more than 20 people can attend a wedding.
  • Stadiums allowed to reopen as suggested by the Centre but without spectators.
  • Printing presses, dry cleaners, industrial activities outside containment zones and sweet shops have also been permitted in the new guidelines.

 

What’s not allowed in Uttar Pradesh

  • Inter-state travel has not been allowed by the Uttar Pradesh government yet, either for buses or private vehicles.
  • School, colleges and all other educational institutions will remain closed during lockdown 4.0.
  • Religious gatherings have been prohibited in the fresh guidelines.
  • Air services, except emergency/air ambulance, will not be allowed to function during the lockdown period in the state.
  • Metro services to remain suspended during the fourth phase of the lockdown.
  • Cinema halls, malls and gyms can’t open during lockdown 4.0.

Delhi Metro rides in Lockdown 4.0: No beeps, no frisking at security check

With indications coming that the Delhi Metro will start in lockdown 4.0 beginning from Monday, the CISF is already equipped with providing security cover to the public transport facility premises, but this time with a new set of measures that include “no beep at DFMD, no frisking” method.

 

It will be the first time in the Delhi Metro when passengers will not have to go through physical frisking by the security personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) — whose over 12,500 personnel, including women, currently guard the Metro in round-the-clock eight-hour shifts. The CISF has been guarding the Delhi Metro since April 15, 2007.

The new method will be followed among other mandatory norms by all CISF personnel deputed near X-Ray baggage scanner machine gates from where passengers get entry inside stations.

As physical frisking will not be there, it does not mean that security is being compromised. This is to maintain social distancing between the CISF personnel and the passengers only to contain the spread of novel COVID-19 disease which till Sunday has affected 116 personnel of the paramilitary force

As a total of 29 CISF personnel deputed in the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) have been found COVID-19 positive till Sunday, “no physical frisking” move of the force is only to maintain distancing from passengers. It will protect both passengers as well as the on duty CISF personnel.

Explaining “No beep at DFMD (Door Frame Metal Detector), no frisking” move, a senior CISF official, requesting anonymity, told IANS that “it does not mean that security will be compromised”.

“If beep sound comes when a passenger crosses through the DFMD door, he or she will be stopped and they will be asked to take out the metal carried by them. If the DFMD door does not make a beep sound, the passenger will be allowed to proceed without frisking which used to be done earlier,” the official said.

The official, however, maintained there will be more changes in the norms soon after the new guidelines of lockdown 4.0 are announced.

Stopped since March 22, Delhi Metro’s 248 stations are guarded by the CISF and the force is also responsible for provide security to the passengers on the 345 km network in what is the safest mode of transport which used to ferry around 32 lakh people per day before the lockdown.

Among the other precautions checked by the CISF would be the Aarogya Setu app in the mobile phone of every passenger, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

The crowds at the Metro stations will also be checked by the CISF personnel and people will not be allowed to enter if there are enough people already inside the station.

If needed, the entry gates will be closed, the official said.

The official added that thermal screening of all passengers will be done and those having flu-like symptoms will be barred from entering.

A dedicated CISF team will intermittently check the seating arrangements to ensure that passengers sit on alternate seats. The force will also allow only limited people to stand inside the trains, the official said.

Hand sanitisers will be arranged at the entry and exit points of each station to avoid virus spread and the guards on direct contact duty will be wearing face masks and hand gloves.

Quick Reaction Teams of the CISF will be provided Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) kits so as to maintain security as well as provide help to passengers in need.

Though a decision has not been taken by the Centre on when Metro services will resume as the third phase of the nationwide lockdown ends on Sunday, the CISF is prepared with detailed norms when Metro rides will be given the nod.

 

Delhi Lockdown 4.0 guidelines: Here are all your questions answered

Nearly two months after a sweeping lockdown brought Delhi to a grinding halt, the city is set to reopen, with the local administration lifting curbs on markets, public transport, offices and construction activities.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced that his government will implement the latest guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on easing restrictions, which have remained in force in the city of two crore since March 22.

What will open?

All shops in markets and shopping complexes have been allowed to open. In case of shops selling non-essential items, the odd-even policy will be followed, meaning that on a given day, half the shops in your neighbourhood market will function. However, there will be no such restrictions on shops selling essential items, such as kirana stores. This effectively means that all kinds of shops, including private liquor outlets, can now lift shutters. Government and private offices can also open with full staff strength. However, Kejriwal urged private business owners to encourage work from home for their employees.

Can I book a cab or an auto?

Yes. Kejriwal said the Delhi government has allowed cab aggregators and autos to restart services. This means your Ola and Uber booking apps will soon come back to life. However, not more than two passengers will be allowed in the cabs and autos.

Autos and taxis not attached with cab aggregators can also start plying, so can e-rickshaws and cycle rickshaws — with maximum one passenger each. People can also take out their private cars, with maximum two passengers. Pillion riding will not be allowed on two-wheelers.

What about buses and the Metro?

While buses will start operating with a maximum of 20 passengers, Metro services will remain suspended, at least till May 31, when the current phase of the lockdown ends. All public transport facilities will have to be disinfected extensively at regular intervals, Kejriwal said.

Will restaurants open?

Yes, but only to provide home delivery or takeaway. Dining facility will remain suspended. Bars and pubs will also remain shut.

Can I finally go for a haircut?

No. Barber shops, spas and salons will have to remain closed, Kejriwal said.

What else remains shut?

Shopping malls in the city will remain closed. Schools, colleges, other educational institutes, cinema halls, auditoriums, places of worship, swimming pools cannot open either.

Stadiums and sports complexes will be allowed to reopen, but will remain out of bounds for spectators.

Social, political, religious gatherings won’t be allowed either. However, marriages and funerals can be held with maximum 50 and 20 guests respectively.

In containment zones, all kinds of activities will remain suspended.

Non-essential activities will not be allowed during the 7 pm to 7 am period, which means markets will have to down shutters by evening.

What about commuting between Delhi and Noida, Gurgaon?

Kejriwal said that as of now, only those attached with essential services, such as doctors, nurses, will be allowed to cross inter-state borders. A decision on regular commuting will be taken after talks with UP and Haryana, he said.

 

Indian labour laws in light of COVID-19| BVP New Law College, Pune

The crisis of COVID-19 has opened scope for a number of discussions on labourers and laws associated with them. The global pandemic has forced many factories to shut down, leaving labourers in the country with no jobs.

Thousands of migrant workers have been returning from metropolises to their home states. While this might bring some sort of labour shortage in industrialist states such as Karnataka, Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, etc., states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, etc. might find it difficult to feed all those workers who have returned to their home states.

From legislature to executive to judiciary, all three governing components of the constitution are currently working on a framework that could bring labour stability in the country. In a recent development, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh suspended most of the labour laws for three years in order to fetch more investments to the states. While the government is doing its bit,let’s understand what labour laws in India look like.

Indian Labour Law in the Constitution The Constitution of India places labour as a subject in the concurrent list, which comes under both the union and state governments. India’s labour law is considered highly restrictive for companies, since it sought to give higher order of protection to workers. Labour rights are mentioned in articles 14-16, 19(1)(c), 23-24, 38, and 41-43A of the Constitution. Pune-based Bharati Vidyapeeth New Law College’s lecturer of constitutional studies states, “Article 16 specifically talks about the right of equality of opportunity for employment, while 19(1)(c) gives them the right to form associations or unions.”

In addition to various other laws, the 2008 Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act adds coverage of life and disability benefits, old age protection, health and maternity benefits for unorganised workers. Whether the abolition of labour laws in various states will hold its nerve and stay in practice or not is a matter of time. However, what can be told with certainty is that India’s labour laws are strictly in favour of workers.