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Last Updated : May 31 2020 7:46AM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
Govt issues guidelines for phase wise re-opening of areas outside containment zones            Inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods allowed            PM pens letter to countrymen on first anniversary of his govt's second term            PM Modi to share his thoughts in his 'Mann Ki Baat' at 11 AM today            Covid-19 recovery rate improves to 47.40 per cent           

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Midday News

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  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaffirms gratitude towards all doctors, nurses, medical staff and health care workers who are leading the battle against COVID-19

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh chairs a group of Ministers meeting to assess the post lock-down situation.

  • India to supply essential drugs to neighbouring countries affected by the pandemic. 

  • Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu says government will ensure smooth functioning of supply chain for vulnerable sections.

  • Railways converts 2500 coaches as Isolation Coaches; forty thousand  isolation beds now ready for contingency.


Today is World Health Day. On the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that we should not only pray for each other’s good health and well-being but also reaffirm our gratitude towards all those doctors, nurses, medical staff and healthcare workers who are bravely leading the battle against the COVID-19 menace. In a tweet, the Prime Minister said that we should also ensure that we follow practices like social distancing which will protect our own lives as well as the lives of others.He expressed hope that the day will also inspire us to focus on personal fitness throughout the year, which would help improve our overall health.

Information and Broadcasting Minister, Prakash Javadekar today praised the efforts of the health professionals. In a tweet, Mr. Javadekar said, the nation thanks all the doctors, nurses and health workers on World Health Day and appreciate their contributions towards helping the world fight against COVID-19. He said, people can help health professionals by staying at home.


Group of Ministers today met at Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's residence in New Delhi for assessment of post lockdown situation in the wake of COVID-19. The ministers discussed possible ways of easing out lockdown after fourteenth of this month. Availability and procurement strategy of medical aids and preparedness of hospitals was also evaluated. The meeting was attended by Union ministers Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani, Piyush Goel, Prakash Javadekar, Ram Vilas Paswan among others. Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla was also present in the meeting. Later  in a series of tweets, Mr Singh said the GOM shared the appreciation for the Union Cabinet’s decision to reduce the salaries of all MPs for a year and also the suspension of MPLADS funds for 2 years. He said the amount saved through these decisions would be utilised in strengthening India’s fight against Corona Virus. The ministers also shared their insights on how to overcome the situation and help the people to stay motivated, determined and vigilant in the battle against the pandemic.


Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said that government will ensure smooth functioning of supply chains and adequate relief and support for the vulnerable sections. He said that concern about the health of the people shall take precedence over stabilization of economy. In his assessment of the completion of two weeks of lock down today and the way forward, Mr. Naidu said, the next week will be critical for deciding the exit from the present nation-wide restrictions. He said, the data regarding the extent and rate of spread of virus infection will have a bearing on exit strategy.

Referring to the consultations between the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers on the exit strategy, Mr. Naidu urged the people to abide by the decisions and co-operate with the same spirit that has so far been demonstrated even if hardship were to continue after 14th April.  

Recalling the overwhelming response of the people to the various appeals of the Prime Minister, Mr. Naidu said, it is an indication of the virtue of spirituality that forms the core of Indian ethos. He said, people of the country have demonstrated this core value in abundance.

Alluding to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in the national capital, Mr Naidu said, it was an avoidable aberration and an eye opener to others. The Vice President urged the global community to draw right lessons from the present crisis by addressing the inadequacies.


India will license paracetamol and hydroxychloroquine in appropriate quantities to all neighbouring countries who are dependent on country's capabilities. Responding to media queries, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said today,the decision has been taken in view of the humanitarian aspects of COVID-19 pandemic. He said India will also be supplying these essential drugs to some nations who have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic. He added, there should not be any speculation or attempt to politicise the matter.

The MEA spokesperson said the DGFT has notified lifting restrictions on 14 drugs yesterday. He said paracetamol and Hydroxychloroquine will be kept in a licensed category and their demand position would be continuously monitored. He assured that the first obligation is to ensure that there are adequate stocks of medicines for the requirement of India's own people. In order to ensure this, some temporary steps were taken to restrict exports of a number of pharmaceutical products. Mr. Srivastava said these restrictions have been largely lifted after having confirmed the availability of medicines for all possible contingencies currently envisaged.


The Government has opened up supply lines from abroad with the receipt of 1.70 lakh Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) coveralls from China which have been donated to India. Along with domestic supplies of 20 thousand coveralls, a total of 1.90 lakh coveralls will now be distributed to hospitals and will add to the 3 lakh 87 thousand 473 PPEs already available in the country as of now. A total of 2.94 lakh PPE coveralls have been arranged and supplied by the Centre now.

In addition to this, two lakh domestically produced N95 masks are also being sent to various hospitals. About 16 lakh N95 masks are presently available in the country, and this figure will increase with the fresh supply of two lakh masks.


The Ordnance Factory Board under the Ministry of Defence is ready to roll out modified tents in the form of low cost isolation units to check the Covid 19 pandemic. These tents are being assembled at Ordnance Factory Kanpur and are 30 per cent cheaper than tents used for military purposes. The Ordnance Factory tents can accommodate two patients each and all necessary medical equipment that are reqiired to fight Covid 19. It's fabric is poly viscose and the support metals are mild steel and aluminium alloy. These tents can also be used for medical screening and emergencies.


Government has termed a prominent newspaper's Op-Ed which alleges that Arogya Setu app will be used for surveillance as baseless. In a series of tweets, it said the mobile application does not link user location and user data with any sensitive personal data. Neither does it make users vulnerable to hacking. The Centre clarified that the  app is not used for surveillance and it follows best practices on data privacy and data security.

The app enables people to assess themselves the risk for their catching the Coronavirus infection. It  calculates this based on their interaction with others, using cutting edge Bluetooth technology, algorithms and artificial intelligence.

The app is also for helping the Government to take necessary timely steps for assessing risk of spread of COVID-19 infection, and ensuring isolation where required.


A total of 4421 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus or COVID- 19 have been reported in the country so far. Out of these, 325 patients have recovered and been discharged from the hospitals, while 114 patients have died. Currently there are 3981 active COVID 19 cases in the country.


In our series 'Expert Speak' on All India Radio, we bring you the views of the leading medical experts on COVID-19. Talking to AIR News, Dr. Naresh Gupta of Lok Nayak Jai Prakash hospital, Delhi, said there are no medicines of proven value to prevent COVID 19 as of now.

Dr Sanjay Pandey of GB Pant Hospital, Delhi threw light on who should one wear the mask apart from symptomatic persons.


The News Services Division of All India Radio in its bilingual live phone-in programme will bring you today a Special discussion Programme on  Covid-19.

Dr. Raman R Gangakhedkar, Head, Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases, Indian Council Medical Research will participate in the discussion.

Listeners can ask questions to the experts on Toll Free Telephone No: 1800-115767 (Repeat 1800-115767). You can also ask questions on telephone number: 011: 2331-4444 (Repeat 011: 2331-4444) and post queries on our Twitter handle @airnews s by #tag Askair.

This can be heard tonight on FM Gold Channel and additional frequencies from 9.10 PM onwards. This programme will also be available on our website NEWS ON AIR DOT COM and on our YouTube Channel NEWSONAIROFFICIAL. You can also follow us on the NEWSONAIR app for s.


Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today appealed to

the people to strictly and honestly follow the guidelines of lockdown and social distancing on the occasion of Shab-e-Barat on Thursday. He urged the people to offer prayers and perform other religious rituals while staying inside their homes. Mr. Naqvi said, almost all the religious leaders, religious and social organisations have appealed to the Muslim community to honestly follow the guidelines of lockdown and social distancing on the occasion of Shab-e-Barat.

All the state waqf boards, through the Central Waqf Council, have been directed to assist the local administration in implementation of lockdown completely on Shab-e-Barat Naqvi said, the entire country is seriously and honestly following the guidelines of lockdown and social distancing on the appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said, any carelessness can be harmful for us, our family, the society and the entire country.


Centre has issued advisory to States and Union Territories regarding containing and management of COVID-19 in National Parks, Sanctuaries and Tiger Reserves. In view of the spread of COVID 19 in the country and a recent news report of a Tiger being infected with the COVID 19, Environment Ministry has written to States and Union Territories to take immediate preventive measures to stop the transmission and spread of the virus from humans to animals and vice versa. It has asked to reduce the human wildlife interface and restrict the movement of people to National Parks, Sanctuaries and Tiger Reserves. The Ministry has also asked to constitute a task force or Rapid Action Force with Field Managers, Veterinary doctors, Frontline staff, to manage the situation as quickly as possible.


The Delhi government has formed a five-point action plan to contain spread of COVID 19 in the national capital. Briefing media this afternoon, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal named 5 Ts - Testing, Tracing, Treatment, Teamwork, and Tracking for effectively tackling the pandemic. Highlighting the importance of testing, Mr Kejriwal said one lakh random tests for COVID-19 will be conducted in hotspot areas. He said testing will help identify the affected people and Delhi is going to do large scale testing like South Korea.

Delhi government has ordered kits for the testing of 50,000 people. Orders for the rapid test of one lakh people have been placed. The deliveries of kits will begin by Friday and random tests will be done at hotspots. Mr Kejriwal said detailed tests will also be done.

He said the national capital was facing shortage of PPE kits, but has received some assistance from Centre in this regard and the problem is solved for now.

The Chief Minister said arrangements will be made for 8,000 beds to treat serious COVID-19 patients. He said they have arrangements for 30,000 cases.

There are 2,950 beds currrently reserved for COVID-19 patients. Delhi government will takeover 12,000 hotel rooms in wake of spike in number of coronavirus cases.


In Uttar Pradesh, the help of technology is being taken in a unique way in the fight against corona virus. In Meerut city, special Sanitization Cabin and disinfectant Chamber has been prepared for the safety of people where anyone can be sanitized in few seconds. A Report:

"Cantonment board of Meerut has prepared special Sanitization Cabin and disinfectant Chamber for the safety of its staff and their families. This cabin type Chamber has the facility of spray of Sanitizer and disinfectant and within few seconds it sanitizes a person’s body without any use of hand. CEO of Cantonment Board Prasad Chauhan told AIR that the facility is open for the employees of other departments so that when they go for work they must be free from the possibility of getting infected from corona virus.

The Cantonment board is also planning to prepare few more such chambers and going to put them in markets and near the hospitals so that maximum number of persons can get benefit of this chamber. With Sangeeta Shrivastava from Meerut this is Sushil Chandra Tiwari, AIR news, Lucknow."


In Bihar, no positive case of Coronavirus has been detected in last sixty hours in any part of the state. Our correspondent reports that, for the first time, five people recovered altogether from COVID-19.  With this nine people so far have been cured in the state from the virus. Discharged persons include four from Siwan district who had travel history from the middle East and an employee of a private hospital of Patna.

Thirty Two positive cases have so far been detected in different parts of the state. Maximum seven are from Munger district while six from Siwan. Five cases each are from Patna and Gaya. Gopalganj, Nalanda, Begusarai, Saran, Lakhisarai and Bhagalpur have also recorded cases. Meanwhile the state government has issued show - cause notices to 76 doctors for not being present on duty. These doctors have been given three days to explain why action should not be initiated against them. Leave of doctors have been cancelled in view of the pandemic.


With 24 more Corona patients reported today in Rajasthan, the number of COVID- 19 infected has gone up to 325 in the State. The capital city of  Jaipur has the 103 Corona cases. Jodhpur, Bikaner, Kota, Tonk, and Jhunjhunu have also emerged as new hotspots of COVID 19. On the other hand, Bhilwara has become a model for the rest of the country to follow where the administration successfully prevented community spread of the virus by taking many timely and strict decisions. More from our correspondent:

"The exemplary manner in which the administration tackled Corona in Bhilwara is being discussed all over the country and it is being called the ‘Bhilwara model’. It was on 19 th March, when a owner of a private hospital who also happened to be a doctor tested positive for COVID 19. The administration, imposed curfew in the entire city next day. The entire district was isolated by sealing all the routes to the district. After this, curfew was strictly maintained and essential items were delivered at the doorstep. Health teams have so far twice screened about 25 lakh people of the district. In the last seven to eight days, only one new case has been reported. District Collector Rajendra Bhatt explains about the Bhilwara model.

The kind of strictness the administration showed to control Corona and the way the public of Bhilwara cooperated is an example for the whole country to learn and follow. Jitendra Dwivedi, Akashvani News, Jaipur.


Following the rise in the number of Covid 19 cases, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has started proactive testing and mobile surveillance to prevent the spread of the virus in the cluster quarantined areas. Our correspondent reports that city has reported 77 confirmed cases so far. A report:

"Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has started Corona Mobile Testing Vans in the cluster quarantined areas of the city today. Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra said 7 Vans have been set up in 7 Zones , and each van has a Surveillance Team with thermal guns & a Testing Team for sample collection. He said the teams will test the samples of all the people living in the cluster and people who were referred by Health Department during door to door survey, Mr Nehra told that AMC started using drones to disinfect the quarantined clusters from today. APARNA KHUNT, AIR NEWS, AHMEDABAD."


In Madhya Pradesh, the number of affected people has increased to 74 after 12 new corona infected reported in the capital Bhopal today. The number of patients in the state has exceeded two hundred and fifty. A report:

"Chief Medical and Health Officer Sudhir Kumar Dehria said that 5 of these people are health department employees and seven patients are police and their family members. In Bhopal, two infected patients have gone home after treatment and one person has died so far. On the other hand, two police personnel were injured when police team was attacked by some miscredents in Islampura area of Bhopal yesterday. Police have registered a case against about a dozen people. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan strongly condemned the attack and said that the attack on the police force will not be tolerated. Meanwhile, more than one hundred vehicles have been seized in Satna district for violating lockdown and an FIR has been registered against 50 people. Sanjeev Sharma, AIR News, Bhopal."


In Pune, 37 more cases of corona virus were recorded taking the count of COVID-19 patients in the district to 141. Given a surge in positive cases, the Pune Municipal Corporation has sealed areas reporting a large number of infections and turned them into containment zones. As per an order issued by the PMC, sealing of areas comes in to effect from Monday midnight and will be in force till further directives. More from our Correspondent..

Out of 141 COVID 19 cases in Pune district 113 cases have been reported from areas falling under the Pune Municipal Corporation jurisdiction. In Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, there are 20 cases, while rural parts account for eight infections so far. Municipal commissioner of Pune Shekhar Gaikwad has said that tight restrictions have been imposed in the sealed areas of Pune city till further orders. However, people suppling essential services, transportation of goods and the PMC and district administration staff working on preventive measures has been excluded. People in other areas which are currently not part of containment zones are advised to buy at least seven days of essential commodities without crowding shops. Mask is now made mandatory for people in Pune if they have to come out on road for any essential work. NITIN KELKAR, AIR NEWS, PUNE.


A Dornier Aircraft was launched yesterday evening  from INS Hansa, Goa to bring  COVID-19 test kits as well as a specialist from the National Institute of Virology Pune to Goa. Specialist from National Institute of Virology Dr Dilip Hinge will be providing training to the Microbiologists at Virology lab of Goa Medical College with respect to the test facility.


The district administrations in Tamil Nadu are installing several disinfection chambers in front of big vegetable markets. The chambers have sensors and canons spraying disinfectant vapours whenever a person enters into it. Meanwhile, Chennai Police Commissioner AK Viswanathan has warned the public who travel long distances under the guise of going for buying essential items, saying, strong actions would be initiated against casual travellers. Meanwhile, the state government has announced a slew of measures to help staff involved in the fight against the covid19 disease. More from our correspondent:

"The Tamil Nadu Government has come forward to bear the expenses of medical treatment of all the staff who are involved in containing the spread of the Covid-19 if they contact the disease on the line of duty. The state Chief Secretary Shanmugham has passed an order stating that the staff can be treated either in Government or Private hospitals. It further states that they would also be given an ex-gratia of two lakh rupees. It will be in operation till the end of May and would be reviewed on the same day based on the prevailing situation then. Jayasingh, AIR News, Chennai.


In Telangana, police have registered cases against over 20 people including 16 Indonesian nationals. Cases have also been registered against those who helped them in carrying out religious activities in violation of visa rules while neglecting and disobeying lock down orders.


In Kerala, confirmed COVID-19 cases since the last few days have not shown any worrisome rise. A report

"A Walk-in Sample Kiosk or WISK is a mobile cubicle with a sealed glass front, and have extended gloves attached in the front, through which a medical practitioner standing in the cubicle can collect samples. The healthcare professionals in the kiosk can collect throat swabs of people who will stand outside the kiosk. The swab can be collected without direct exposure and contact. After the swab collection, the gloves can be sanitised from outside. This drastically reduces the need for PPE kits and protects the medical practitioner and the patient and enables mass collection of samples. The Walk-in Sample Kiosks , are being developed by Doctors of Kalamsessry Medical College. Presently two kiosks  are being installed at Ernakulam Medical College and will be placed in other hospitals too which isolation wards and testing facility. According to the Ernakulam district administration, the model installed in Kochi is one of the first of its kind in India. Meanwhile presently 266 patients are under treatment for Covid 19 in Kerala. and over 1, 52000 people are under observation in the State. Mayusha for AIR News from Thiruvananthapuram."


In Ladakh, the UT administration has started the process of the establishment of first ever COVID-19 Testing Laboratory. Our Leh Correspondent reports the health department at present is sending blood samples of the suspected patients to National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi in the absence of Covid 19 testing lab in the region. A report:

"Ladakh health Commissioner Secretary Rigzin Samphel told AIR , a team of experts from Indian Council of Medical Research from, New Delhi is reaching Leh during this week and it will be headed by Ladakhi microbiologist serving at Indian Institute of Medical Science , New Delhi Dr Kunzang Chorol. It is expected to start function in May. The site selection has been completed and online training for local doctors is also being arranged .

With Ramesh Chandra, This is Yangchan Dolma AIR news from Leh Ladakh."


Centre is taking all steps to ensure smooth supply of essential items in the country amidst the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic. Home Ministry has written to states and union territories to give special attention on keeping the supply of Medical Oxygen smooth and hassle-free across the country. A report:

"Union Home Secretary had written to all State Chief Secretaries to give special attention on keeping the supply of medical oxygen smooth and hassle-free. It was emphasised that there is a critical need to maintain adequate supply of medical oxygen in the wake of the pandemic. Medical oxygen is also included in the national list and WHO's list of essential medicine. Home Ministry had issued consolidated guidelines on the lockdown measures to be taken by various Ministries, Departments and states for containment of the epidemic. The exceptions under various clauses of these guidelines include all manufacturing units of Medical Oxygen Gas and Liquid, Medical Oxygen Cylinders, Cryogenic Tanks for storing liquid Oxygen, Liquid cryogenic Cylinders, among others. Transportation and cross land border movement of these items is also permitted. With Bhupendra Singh, Suparna Saikia, AIR News, Delhi."


Indian Railways has put all its might and resources behind national efforts to combat COVID 19. It has converted 2500 coaches as Isolation Coaches. Railways met half the initial target of 5000 coaches in a quick time. 40000 isolation beds are now ready for contingency. On an average, 375  coaches are being converted by Indian Railways in a day. The work is being carried out at 133 locations in the country. These coaches are equipped as per medical advisories issued. All efforts have been made to ensure best possible stay and medical supervision as per the needs and norms.


Indian Railways has geared up its efforts to produce Personal Protective Equipment, PPE on a mission mode. The PPE overall produced by Jagadhari workshop in Haryana was recently cleared by Defence Research and Development Organization’s lab.

Approved design and material will now be used for making protective overall by 17 railway workshops situated in different zones. The PPE overall will offer much needed protection to railway Doctors and paramedics working as front line warriors for treating the corona patients.

Railways has said that facilities are being geared up to produce one thousand PPE overall every day for railway Doctors and paramedics. The production facilities will be ramped up in future. Railways is also considering to supply 50 per cent of PPE material to other medical professionals of the country.


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