Coronavirus: India - summary of news for Sunday 3 May

Coronavirus live: latest India Covid-19 updates - 4 May

Summary of news for Sunday 3 May

This live blog for all the news on Sunday 3 May has now closed. You can follow Monday's latest coronavirus developments here.

Rajasthan

Rajasthan to fine anyone not wearing a face mask

The Rajasthan Government has given all Executive Magistrates the power to fine anyone not wearing a face mask or having their face covered in a public or work palace. The fines are set at Rs 200 (€2.4). In the notification issued yesterday, the Rajasthan Government said that shopkeepers are also to be fined if they are found selling items to any person not wearing a face mask or face cover.

What’s more, any person not maintaining social distancing (minimum six feet from the other person) in public place will be penalised with a fine of Rs 100.

Bad debt news 

India expects bad debts at its banks could double after the coronavirus crisis brought the economy to a sudden halt, a senior government official and four top bankers told Reuters.

Indian banks are already grappling with 9.35 trillion rupees ($123 billion) of soured loans, which was equivalent to about 9.1% of their total assets at the end of September 2019.

"There is a considered view in the government that bank non-performing assets (NPAs) could double to 18-20% by the end of the fiscal year, as 20-25% of outstanding loans face a risk of default," the official with direct knowledge of the matter said.

A fresh surge in bad debt could hit credit growth and delay India's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Indian economy has ground to a standstill amid a 40-day nationwide lockdown to rein in the spread of coronavirus cases.

The lockdown has now been extended by a further two weeks, but the government has begun to ease some restrictions in districts that are relatively unscathed by the virus.

India has so far recorded over 40,000 cases of the coronavirus and more than 1,300 deaths. 

Britain to trial new coronavirus tracing system

Great Britain will trial a new coronavirus tracing programme next week on the Isle of Wight, just off the south coast of England, cabinet minister Michael Gove said on Sunday as the government looks at how to minimise the risk of a second wave of infection.

The UK has surpassed Spain and now has the second worst death toll in Europe from Covid-19; Britain is confident that the peak of the virus has passed and is now looking at how to restart its shuttered economy and ease social restrictions on citizens.

"This week we will be piloting new test, track and trace procedures on the Isle of Wight with a view to having that in place more widely later this month," Gove told a news conference.

A mass testing system along with the ability to trace people who have been in contact with those who test positive are seen as crucial to preventing a second spike and facilitating the relaxation of a lockdown which has lasted almost six weeks.

Gove said the system being trialled next week would include asking citizens on the island to download a smartphone app as well as traditional ways of tracing those who have come into contact with a patient who has tested positive. "We will be able to make sure that people who are suffering from the virus ... they and their contacts can be encouraged to stay at home, so that we can limit the potential of any outbreak," Gove said.

The Isle of Wight has around 80,000 households.

Who

The world "is involved in the fight of its life, but there is hope"

Parts of the world are starting to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and to cautiously resume some sort of normal life, but the new coronavirus will pose significant risks until vaccines are developed, the WHO's top emergencies expert said on Sunday.

Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's (WHO) emergencies programme, said while many countries are still in the eye of the storm, others were beginning to show it is possible to contain the disease to some extent.

"In that sense, there's hope," Ryan told Reuters in an online interview from Geneva. "At a global level the situation is still very, very serious but the pattern of the disease and the trajectory of the virus is very different in different parts of the world right now," he said. "What we're learning is that it is possible to get this disease under control and it is possible to begin resuming normal economic and social life, with a new way of having to do that, and with extreme caution and vigilance."

However, some countries in Africa and in central and South America are still seeing "an upwards trajectory in cases" and although they may not appear to have a big problem yet, the availability of tests remains an issue, Ryan added.

"We're in the middle of the fight of our lives - all of us around the world," Ryan said. "There's going to be a significant and extended risk until we reach a point where we have a safe and effective vaccine available to all."

After months of severe lockdown, people in Italy and Spain were starting to enjoy a little more freedom on Sunday. Israel has opened some schools, while South Korea said it would further relax social distancing rules from 6 May, allowing a phased re-opening of businesses.

Ryan said this showed "not that the virus can be beaten absolutely, but that we can reach a point where we have enough control over the virus that our social and economic lives can begin again". The WHO warned on Friday that countries must lift lockdowns gradually, while still being 'on the look-out' for Covid-19 and ready to restore restrictions if the virus jumps back.

India

Bad bank debt could double after coronavirus crisis, claim sources 

India expects bad debts at its banks could double after the coronavirus crisis brought the economy to a sudden halt, a senior government official and four top bankers told Reuters. Indian banks are already grappling with 9.35 trillion rupees ($123 billion) of soured loans, which was equivalent to about 9.1% of their total assets at the end of September 2019.

"There is a considered view in the government that bank non-performing assets (NPAs) could double to 18-20% by the end of the fiscal year, as 20-25% of outstanding loans face a risk of default," the official with direct knowledge of the matter said. A fresh surge in bad debt could hit credit growth and delay India's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

"These are unprecedented times and the way it's going we can expect banks to report double the amount of NPAs from what we've seen in earlier quarters," the finance head of a top public sector bank told Reuters. The official and bankers declined to be named as they were not officially authorized to discuss the matter with media.

India's finance ministry declined to comment, while the RBI and Indian Banks' Association, the main industry body, did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

The Indian economy has ground to a standstill amid a 40-day nationwide lockdown to rein in the spread of coronavirus cases. The lockdown has now been extended by a further two weeks, but the government has begun to ease some restrictions in districts that are relatively unscathed by the virus.

Bangalore

Health workers and personnel at Victoria Hospital in Bangalore shown clapping during the IAF flypast earlier today. Indian Air Force helicopters dispersed flowers and petals to pay tribute to health workers responding to the ongoing coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.

Beer

Millions of litres of Indian beer may have to be thrown away 

Around 250 Indian microbreweries may be forced to throw gallons of surplus of beer down the drain, The Hindu reports. Unlike bottled or canned beer, non-industrial craft beer has a much shorter shelf life and a number of small breweries have already started throwing much of their unsold beer away as it is cheaper than the cost of running electricity to keep it cool and fresh. Beer plants in India have remained closed since lockdown was enforced on 25 March however liquor stores were allowed to open from today.

Delhi IAF

Indian Air Force (IAF) band members wearing a protective face masks perform from a truck at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to pay tribute to health workers responding to the coronavirus pandemic in New Delhi, India earlier today.

Similar tribute were also paid in other parts of the country including Goa Medical College, SNM Hospital in Leh, Jaipur in Rajastha and Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences in Bhubaneswar.


 

 

Delhi

Fly past to honour India's heroic frontline workers

The Indian Air Force conducted a flypast across India on Sunday as a show of gratitude to doctors, paramedics, police and frontline healthcare workers who have been battling to contain the coronavirus pandemic. 

IAF helicopters disperses flowers over All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to pay tribute to health workers responding to the coronavirus pandemic in New Delhi. Military bands played music outside numerous hospitals and clinics across the country during the event.

CRPF headquarters in Delhi closed after driver tests positive

The Central Reserve Police Force headquarters in New Delhi have been closed and sealed after bus driver tested positive for Covid-19, the Times of India reports this morning. Those who have been in close contact with the patient, around 40 people, have been placed in quarantine as a precaution. Around 135 employees at the CRPF base have tested positve for the virus out of 458 tests undertaken during the past few days.

Coronavirus India: which zones of Delhi are under lockdown?

The Indian government stated that nationwide lockdown would be extended by two weeks after May 4, with 'considerable relaxations' in lower-risk districts marked as green and orange zones.

Indian farmers worried about harvest as migrant workers leave

Labour shortages, transport restritions and plummeting demand due to a nationwide coronavirus lockdown have hit India's farmers hard and many are struggling to reap and sell their harvests and find themselves staring at huge losses.

Rolling Stones announce Extra Licks #StayAtHome specials

The Rolling Stones have announced their Extra Licks weekly livestream series, featuring bonus footage from six concert films from throughout the band’s career.

The series — released as part of YouTube’s #StayHome campaign — will kick off May 3rd at 1500 ET/2100 CEST (12:30 IST +1) with extra footage from the band’s 2016 concert film Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip Across Latin America

Ramadan supplies hit as lockdown curbs buffalo meat exports

For more than a decade Kuala Lumpur street vendor Abu Zahrim Ismail has seen brisk sales of daging dendeng, a spicy buffalo meat jerky, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

But this year, the spread of coronavirus pandemic has slashed shipments of Indian buffalo meat, driving prices higher and hitting sales.

Most meat processing plants in India, the world's second largest beef exporter and Malaysia's top supplier, have been shut as the South Asian nation fights to contain the pandemic.

“The virus has really turned everything upside down,” Abu said.

Divide and colour

India stated that it would extend its nationwide coronavirus lockdown for another two weeks after May 4, but would allow 'considerable relaxations' in lower-risk districts marked as green and orange zones.

Read the full story here.

Tracing order

India's government has given an order to all public and private sector employees to use the contact tracing app as some lockdown measures are eased.

Daily FT trend update

As we begin another day we can reflect on the latest round of trajectories seen across the world. India's curve, like Brazil and Russia, is on the rise.

Coronavirus live blog India - welcome

Welcome to our live updates and breaking news feed which maintains a focus on India.

It's Sunday 3 May and we will bring you all the latest news, comment, opinion and statistics throughout the day as things continue to develop during the coronavirus epidemic.

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