NEW DELHI: Neighbourhood and standalone shops, including those selling garments, mobile phones, hardware and stationery items have been allowed to open but those located in market places, malls and Covid-19 hotspot and containment zones, will continue to remain shut till May 3. Meanwhile, the death toll due to Covid-19 rose to 779 and the number of cases climbed to 24,942 in the country, registering an increase of 56 deaths and 1,490 cases since Friday evening, according to the Union health ministry.
Here are the top developments: 1 India The MHA said that in rural areas, all shops, except those in single and multi-brand shopping malls, are allowed to open. Restaurants, hair salons and barber shops will not be allowed to open as these render services and do not fall under the shop category. The average doubling rate of Covid-19 cases in the country is 9.1 days as of now and from Friday 8 am to Saturday 8 am, India recorded a six-per cent growth in new cases, which is the lowest daily growth rate recorded since the country crossed 100 cases, the government said on Saturday. States and Union territories have been asked to put on hold the use of Covid-19 rapid antibody test kits till their accuracy is rechecked by the Indian Council of Medical Research, official sources said. Distribution of free pulses to 20 crore PDS households across the country will speed up in the first week of May as the massive operation of transportation and milling of 5.88 lakh tonne of pulses for the same is underway, the government said. The Railways plans to roll out hands-free washbasins at all its stations, field units and hospitals to protect its employees and passengers from coronavirus infection. To simplify the process of issuing e-passes for essential goods and service providers during lockdown, eGov foundation has launched Covid e-Pass system which is expected to reduce the operational burden of government officials. Pravasi Legal Cell, an NGO, filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Central government to take appropriate steps to bring back the mortal remains of Indian citizens who died of non-Covid-19 ailments abroad. 2 States Delhi: Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said there are 92 coronavirus hotspots in the national capital but the entire city is not a hotspot. Delhi has so far witnessed 2,514 coronavirus cases. Uttar Pradesh: As many as 157 new cases of Covid-19 infection were reported in Uttar Pradesh, taking the total in the state to 1,778. Bihar: Five more people tested positive for Covid-19 in Bihar, taking the total number of cases in the state to 228. Karnataka: Covid-19 infections reached the 500 mark in Karnataka, as 26 new cases have been confirmed positive, including a journalist. Punjab: 10 new Covid-19 positive cases have been reported in Punjab, taking the total number of cases in the state to 308. J&K: Forty new Covid-19 cases were detected in Jammu and Kashmir, taking the total number to 494. Kerala: Seven new cases of coronavirus were reported from Kerala taking the total number of infected persons in the state to 457. Chhattisgarh: Two Covid-19 patients were discharged in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur city, following recovery. With 32 persons recovering from the deadly infection, the state has five active cases as of now. Puduchery: One more person tested positive for Covid-19 in Puducherry, pushing the tally to four. Meghalaya: One Covid-19 patient has died in Meghalaya while 11 others are afflicted with the disease so far. Andhra Pradesh: Coronavirus cases crossed the 1000-mark in Andhra Pradesh reaching 1,016 as 61 more tested positive in the last 24 hours. Jharkhand: Four people tested positive for coronavirus in Jharkhand, taking the total number of cases in the state to 63. Rajasthan: Two new cases of coronavirus were reported in Rajasthan, taking the total tally of those infected in the State to 2,061. Ladakh: The Union territory has only four active cases and the condition of these Covid-19 patients is now stable. Tamil Nadu: One death and 66 new coronavirus positive cases were reported in Tamil Nadu, taking the total number of cases in the state to 1821. West Bengal: The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state are 423. Himachal Pradesh: The state has so far reported 40 cases of Covid-19, out of which 15 are active. Chandigarh: One new coronavirus positive case has been reported in Chandigarh today, pushing the total number of cases in the Union territory to 28. Madhya Pradesh: Till now, 1945 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in Madhya Pradesh and 99 people have lost their lives. 3 World The new coronavirus has claimed at least 197,303 lives since its outbreak in China. More than 2,821,030 cases were registered in 193 countries and territories. Gyms, hair salons and tattoo parlors had a green light to reopen on Friday in the state of Georgia as the United States surpassed the grim milestone of 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus has killed more than 120,00 people in Europe. With 120,140 deaths and 1,344,172 cases, Europe is the continent hardest hit by the pandemic. The WHO warned that there is no evidence that people who test positive for the new coronavirus are immunised and protected against reinfection. Iranian health officials raised fears of a “fresh outbreak” of coronavirus cases, as another 76 fatalities were declared, raising the country’s official death toll to 5,650. Spain’s daily virus toll rose slightly on Saturday with 378 people dying, a day after the country registered its lowest number of fatalities in four weeks. The figure hiked the overall number of deaths in Spain to 22,902. China has approved its third coronavirus vaccine for the second phase of clinical trials as it reported 12 new Covid-19 cases, taking the total number of infections in the country to 82,816. Singapore reported 618 new cases of novel coronavirus, taking the total number of infections to 12,693 with 12 deaths in the country. Nearly 4,000 Sri Lankan Navy personnel and their families have been quarantined after 30 Navy personnel tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. The country has 420 cases of confirmed infection, so far. The Nepal government has restricted the operation of international and domestic flights until May 15 as a precautionary measure against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The country has 49 coronavirus cases, so far.