Coronavirus India news summary: cases and deaths - 26 April

Coronavirus live India: latest Covid-19 news - Sunday 26 April

India coronavirus update at 03:30 IST on Monday 27 April (00:00 CEST on Monday 26 April)

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University, 2,964,543 cases have been detected worldwide, with 206,055 deaths and 862,859 people now recovered.

In India, there have been 27,890 cases, with 882 deaths. 6,523 people have recovered from the virus.

To stay up to date with all the latest coronavirus developments in India, please head over to our live blog for Monday 27 April. 

Delhi cases rise

The number of coronavirus cases in Delhi rose by 293 on Sunday, according to the Indian Express. 

Chennai lockdown

Five cities in the Tamil Nadu province of India have been placed under "intense lockdown" protocols, the Hindustan Times reports. 

Can you get Covid-19 from food and food packaging?

Although extreme caution is recommended when it comes to hygiene, there is a low risk of coronavirus infection from food or its packaging.

Full story:

Decision reversed in Gujarat

In PM Modi's home state of Gujarat, government officials on Sunday reversed the decision to open several retail outlets, citing growing numbers of infections across the western state.

Authorities continued to send hundreds of migrant labourers who had set out on foot from cities where they had lost their livelihoods to their homes or to quarantine centres across India.

If North Korea faces succession, who might replace Kim Jong-un?

Despite rumours of his death, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was spotted this week at a resort town in the country, according to satellite images reviewed by a Washington-based North Korea monitoring project.

India opposition questions low testing rate in the country

Tiger King, Unorthodox and other Netflix essential lockdown viewing

With many parts of the world under lockdown, platforms such as Netflix have seen a major boost in subscribers as we look for avenues of escape from the Covid-19 virus.

Indian farm workers broke, uncertain as rural lockdown eased

As India eased its tough coronavirus lockdown for farmers, some agricultural workers said they were unaware they could return to the fields after weeks without income during the peak harvest season.

India's 1.3 billion people will continue to live under strict curbs until May 3, but the government said farms and factories could resume activity on Monday in the hinterland, which has been less hard-hit by COVID-19.

"We didn't know the restrictions were lifted," farm worker Mukesh Sahani told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from his village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, saying weeks without earnings had left his family with "just about enough to eat and live."

"We have incurred the biggest loss ever this year. My parents and I managed to get two days of work this month for 400 Indian rupees ($5), as against the 15-20 days of work we get on various farms every year," he added.

April is normally a month of strong demand for farm workers but the lockdown, which is now in its fourth week, has brought the countryside to a virtual standstill and harvest festivals have been muted this year.

It was unclear exactly how many of the country's millions of agricultural workers were unaware that the controls had been partially lifted, as farming unions sought to spread the word in the countryside.

Seema Kulkarni of the Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch, a network of civil society groups and women farmers which has been sending out messages to its members this week, said there was "eagerness" among farm workers to get back to their jobs.

Nearly 70% of India's population live in rural areas, where more than half of men and nearly 70% women are engaged in agricultural work, government data shows. Due to circumstances a government spokesperson said daily wages under a rural employment scheme had been increased to 202 rupees ($2.65) from about 180 Indian rupees ($2) and nearly 55 billion rupees ($655 million) disbursed among 16 million people.

These were among the many steps - including allowing agricultural activities and setting up call centres to coordinate transportation of farm produce - undertaken by the government to mitigate hardship in rural India, he said. K.S. Dhatwalia, principal director general of the Press

Information Bureau of the Indian government, said in an email that both sowing and harvesting activities were on course, with the sowing area coverage better than last year.

A man wearing a protective mask walks through a disinfectant tunnel installed in a market area during an extended nationwide lockdown to slow the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kolkata, India, April 26, 2020.

A man wearing a protective mask walks through a disinfectant tunnel installed in a market area during an extended nationwide lockdown to slow the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kolkata, India, April 26, 2020.

India plans to fast track Chinese investments after policy change - sources

(Reuters) India plans to fast track the review of some investment proposals from neighbouring countries such as China following concerns new screening rules could hit plans of companies and investors, three sources told Reuters on Saturday.

To avoid opportunistic takeovers during the coronavirus outbreak, India said this week that all foreign direct investment from countries sharing a land border would require prior government clearance, meaning they can't go through a so-called automatic route.

Advisers to Chinese firms have said they are concerned the process could take several weeks and hit deals and investment timelines. Auto firms such as SAIC's MG Motor and Great Wall, and investors Alibaba and Tencent have placed major bets on India.

The Chinese Embassy in New Delhi has called the new screening policy discriminatory. A senior Indian government source who is involved in policymaking told Reuters that New Delhi will try to approve any investment proposal in a non-sensitive sector within 15 days when the stake being bought is not significant.

The official declined to elaborate on which sectors would be considered sensitive and what threshold of investment would be deemed significant.

"We will try to fast track investment proposals as soon as possible. It may be faster for some (sectors) and in others we might take some time," said the official, who did not want to be named due to the sensitivity of the discussions.

India's Modi urges citizens follow lockdown as coronavirus cases rise

(Reuters) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday appealed to citizens to strictly comply with a nationwide lockdown and maintain social distancing norms, as cases of coronavirus mounted steadily despite over a month-long curfew.

In a radio address, Modi said the country was in the midst of a "war" and urged hundreds of millions of citizens to sustain the "people-driven" fight and not be misled into believing the spread of the virus has been brought fully under control.

"I will urge you that we should not be trapped into over-confidence and nurse the belief that in our city, in our village, in our streets, in our office, coronavirus has not reached and that is why it will not reach" Modi said.

India's high population density, poor sanitation infrastructure, and high rates of internal migration has hastened the spread of the virus.

India has reported 26,496 cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, and 824 deaths. The authorities have set up teams to focus on compliance with lockdown measures.

Modi imposed a lockdown of India's 1.3 billion people on March 25 but experts fear that the world's biggest lockdown has not been able to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and country was witnessing a surge in cases with testing being ramped up.

"We need to be careful that physical distancing, covering the face with a cover or a mask and washing our hands again and again will be the biggest medicine to fight this disease in the days to come," Modi said.

On Saturday, India allowed small shops in residential areas to reopen although with staff members reduced by half and there were expected to wear masks and gloves during work hours.

Taking a look at India's potential route back to normality.

Delhi officials making an innovative effort to keep people connected and in the present during lockdown

The country's PM says PPE has been dispatched all around India.

Indians Singapore

Almost 6,300 Indian expats infected in 50 countries
 

Close to 6,300 Indian nationals abroad have tested positive for coronavirus - almost double the figure of a week ago, the Times of India reports. Official figures compile the confirmed cases of Indian nationals in 50 different countries with Singapore and the Gulf countries the worst affected. The death toll of Indian expats currently at 40, up from 25 registered on 16 April.

 

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson to return to work tomorrow

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be back at work on Monday, a Downing Street spokeswoman confirmed on Saturday, after having recovered from a case of coronavirus that sent him to intensive care for three nights in early April. Johnson, 55, will take back control of a government under pressure from the economic fallout of shutdowns aimed at curbing the spread of the highly infectious virus, as well as a rising death toll.

As of Saturday, Britain has recorded more than 20,000 deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Criticism is growing over the government response to the pandemic, with limited testing and shortages of protective equipment for medical workers and carers. Johnson's stand-in leader Dominic Raab has faced questions over how Britain will ease the lockdown without a deadly second wave of infections.

Britain's interior minister urged Britons to stick to the lockdown rules earlier on Saturday. But many lawmakers want restrictions to be eased to bolster the economy, which budget forecasters say could be heading into its deepest recession in more than 300 years.

Johnson was taken to St Thomas's Hospital in central London suffering from Covid-19 symptoms on 5 April and was discharged on 12 April. Since then he has been continuing his rehabilitation at his Chequers retreat.

Britain sends out mobile units to boost coronavirus testing

Eight mobile coronavirus testing units staffed by the army are starting to travel around Britain, with dozens more to follow, to help the government approach its target of 100,000 tests a day for the new coronavirus. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has promised that number of daily tests by 30 April, but by Friday only 28,760 had been achieved.

Refitted vehicles will collect throat swabs, which will be sent to laboratories for processing, the Department of Health said in a statement on Sunday. A further 96 of the units will start operating during May. The units can be set up in under 20 minutes and will carry out tests on essential staff such as those who work in care homes, the police and prisons, and have found it difficult to travel to fixed, drive-through test centres. There are concerns that a lack of testing could slow Britain's gradual exit from lockdown and delay the revival of its economy, the world's fifth-largest.

The mobile units carried out a trial run last week in Salisbury, Southport and Teesside. In Northern Ireland, the units will be staffed by contractors, not the army, the statement said.

FT daily Covid-19 graphs issued

​​​​​​The daily graphs from John Burn Murdoch (Financial Times) have been lauded in many circles for the detail and visual representation of the evolution of the virus in parts of the world.

 

109 people die after drinking liquor they believed prevented coronavirus

109 people in the Dominican Republic died after drinking local moonshine known as clerén with the country registering 130 cases of intoxication from the drink.

 

Hello and welcome to our live Covid-19 India blog where we plan to bring you the latest breaking news, updates and information relating to the pandemic in the country. At the time of writing over 26,000 people have been diagnosed positive with coronavirus and over 800 deaths in the nation as a result of the virus.

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