Metrovaartha http://www.metrovaartha.com/ en-us Sun, 31 May 2020 00:00:00 +0530 Tamil Nadu extends coronavirus lockdown till June 30, allows partial resumption of public transport http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22026/tamil-nadu-extends-coronavirus-lockdown-till-june-30--allows-partial-resumption-of-public-transport- http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22026/tamil-nadu-extends-coronavirus-lockdown-till-june-30--allows-partial-resumption-of-public-transport- Sun, 31 May 2020 11:57:02 +0530 ]]> The Tamil Nadu government on Sunday announced extension of the ongoing lockdown till June 30, albeit with more relaxations that included partially opening up public transport and allowing more employees at the workplace. Chennai:The Tamil Nadu government on Sunday announced extension of the ongoing lockdown till June 30, albeit with more relaxations that included partially opening up public transport and allowing more employees at the workplace.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami said the curbs on religious places, inter-state bus transport, and Metro and suburban rails would continue.

Pubic transport will resume with reduced services from June 1, but buses will not be operated in Chennai, Kancheepurm, Tiruvallur and Chengalpet districts having the highest concentration of COVID-19 cases in the state.

Private stage carriers will be allowed to operate in authorised routes, Palaniswami said.

"To prevent the spread of coronavirus, the curfew is being extended till June 30 under the State Disaster Management Act and as per the Union Home Ministry's notification," he said in a statement.

Tamil Nadu is among the states worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It witnessed the biggest single-day spike of 938 new coronavirus cases on Saturday taking the infection count to 21,184.

The Centre had on Saturday announced 'Unlock 1", a graded exit plan from the lockdown that allowed, among others, reopening places of religious worship and restaurants.

The state government on Sunday also announced a number of other relaxations, barring containment zones, and these include allowing more employees at the workplace and permitting showrooms and jewellery shops to re-open. Malls will remain closed, the chief minister said.

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Tear gas and burning cars in US cities as unrest continues http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22025/tear-gas-and-burning-cars-in-us-cities-as-unrest-continues http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22025/tear-gas-and-burning-cars-in-us-cities-as-unrest-continues Sun, 31 May 2020 11:50:59 +0530 ]]>Tense protests over the death of George Floyd and other police killings of black men grew Saturday from New York to Tulsa to Los Angeles, with police cars set ablaze and reports of injuries mounting on all sides as the country lurched toward another night of unrest after months of coronavirus lockdowns. Minneapolis: Tense protests over the death of George Floyd and other police killings of black men grew Saturday from New York to Tulsa to Los Angeles, with police cars set ablaze and reports of injuries mounting on all sides as the country lurched toward another night of unrest after months of coronavirus lockdowns.

The protests, which began in Minneapolis following Floyd's death Monday after a police officer pressed a knee on his neck for more than eight minutes, have left parts of the city a grid of broken windows, burned-out buildings and ransacked stores. The unrest has since become a national phenomenon as protesters decry years of deaths at police hands.

The large crowds involved, with many people not wearing masks or social distancing, raised concerns among health experts about the potential for helping spread the coronavirus pandemic at a time when overall deaths are on the decline nationwide and much of the country is in the process of reopening society and the economy.

After a tumultuous Friday night, racially diverse crowds took to the streets again for mostly peaceful demonstrations in dozens of cities from coast to coast. The previous day's protests also started calmly, but many descended into violence later in the day.

In Washington, growing crowds outside the White House chanted, taunted Secret Service agents and at times pushed against security barriers. President Donald Trump, who spent much of Saturday in Florida for the SpaceX rocket launch, landed on the residence's lawn in the presidential helicopter at dusk and went inside without speaking to journalists.

In Philadelphia, at least 13 officers were injured when peaceful protests turned violent and at least four police vehicles were set on fire. Other fires were set throughout downtown.

In the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the site of a 1921 massacre of black people that left as many as 300 dead and the city's thriving black district in ruins, protesters blocked intersections and chanted the name of Terence Crutcher, a black man killed by a police officer in 2016.

In Tallahassee, Florida, a pickup truck drove through a crowd of protesters, sending some running and screaming as the vehicle stopped and started and at one point had a person on its hood, police said, but no serious injuries were reported. Police handcuffed the driver but did not release his name or say whether he would face charges.

In Los Angeles, protesters chanted “Black Lives Matter,” some within inches of the face shields of officers. Police used batons to move the crowd back and fired rubber bullets. One man used a skateboard to try to break a police SUV's windshield. A spray-painted police car burned in the street.

And in New York City, video posted to social media showed officers using batons and shoving protesters down as they made arrests and cleared streets. Another video showed two NYPD cruisers driving into protesters who were pushing a barricade against a police car and pelting it with objects, knocking several to the ground.

"Our country has a sickness. We have to be out here," said Brianna Petrisko, among those at lower Manhattan's Foley Square, where most were wearing masks amid the coronavirus pandemic. "This is the only way we're going to be heard." Back in Minneapolis, the city where the protests began, 29-year-old Sam Allkija said the damage seen in recent days reflects longstanding frustration and rage in the black community.

"I don't condone them," he said. "But you have to look deeper into why these riots are happening." Minnesota Governor Tim Walz fully mobilized the state's National Guard and promised a massive show of force.

"The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd," Walz said. "It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities." Soon after the city's 8 pm curfew went into force, lines of police cars and officers in riot gear moved in to confront protesters, firing tear gas to push away throngs of people milling around the city's 5th police precinct station.

The tougher tactics came after city and state leaders were criticized for not forcefully enough confronting days of violent and damaging protests that included protesters burning down a police station shortly after officers abandoned it.

Trump tweeted Saturday night that the Guard "should have been used 2 days ago & there would not have been damage & Police Headquarters would not have been taken over & ruined. Great job by the National Guard. No games!" Overnight curfews were imposed in more than a dozen major cities nationwide, ranging from 6 pm in parts of South Carolina to 10 pm around Ohio. People were also told to be off the streets of Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle and Minneapolis — where thousands had ignored the same order Friday night. More than 1,400 people have been arrested in 16 cities since Thursday, with more than 500 of those happening in Los Angeles on Friday.

The unrest comes at a time when most Americans have spent months inside over concerns surrounding the coronavirus, which the president has called an "invisible enemy." The events of the last 72 hours, seen live on national television, have shown the opposite: a sudden pivot to crowds, screaming protesters and burning buildings, a stark contrast to the empty streets of recent months.

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Trump postpones G7 summit, wants India, others to join group http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22024/trump-postpones-g7-summit--wants-india--others-to-join-group http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22024/trump-postpones-g7-summit--wants-india--others-to-join-group Sun, 31 May 2020 08:17:22 +0530 ]]> US President Donald Trump on Saturday postponed the "outdated" Group of Seven summit that he planned to hold in June at the White House, seeking inclusion of India and some other countries to the grouping of world's top economies. Washington: US President Donald Trump on Saturday postponed the "outdated" Group of Seven summit that he planned to hold in June at the White House, seeking inclusion of India and some other countries to the grouping of world's top economies.

Trump told reporters, travelling with him on board the Air Force One from Florida to Washington DC, that he is "postponing it until September" and plans to invite Russia, South Korea, Australia and India.

"I don't feel that as a G7 it properly represents what's going on in the world. It's a very outdated group of countries," he said.

Alyssa Alexandra Farah, White House Director of Strategic Communications, said that this is bringing together "our traditional allies" to talk about how to deal with the future of China.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office had said on Saturday that she would not attend the summit unless the course of the coronavirus spread had changed by then.

G7 is a forum of the seven countries with the world's largest and most advanced economies — France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Heads of States of these countries meet annually on international economic and monetary issues.

The US holds the presidency of the G7 this year. During the summit, G7 president normally invites heads of States of one or two countries to attend the meeting as a special invitee. Last year French President Emanuel Macron had invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the G7 Summit.

Trump talking about inviting India to the next G7 Summit is reflective of the growing international stature of the country

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Bobby Joe Morrow, 3-time winner in 1956 Olympics, dies at 84 http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22022/bobby-joe-morrow--3-time-winner-in-1956-olympics--dies-at-84- http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22022/bobby-joe-morrow--3-time-winner-in-1956-olympics--dies-at-84- Sun, 31 May 2020 08:11:23 +0530 ]]>Bobby Joe Morrow, the Texas sprinter who won three gold medals in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics while a student at Abilene Christian University, died Saturday. He was 84. San Benito : Bobby Joe Morrow, the Texas sprinter who won three gold medals in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics while a student at Abilene Christian University, died Saturday. He was 84.

Morrow's family said he died of natural causes at home in San Benito.

Morrow won the 100 and 200 metres in Melbourne and anchored the United States' champion 400 relay team, matching the world record of 20.6 seconds in the 200 and helping the relay squad set a world record.

Earlier in 1956 he successfully defended his AAU 100-yard title and swept the sprints for Abilene Christian at the national college championships. He was honoured as "Sportsman of the Year" by Sports Illustrated, and won the AAU's James E. Sullivan Award the following year.

Morrow spent most of his life in the Rio Grande Valley along the Gulf of Mexico near the Mexican border. He was born in Harlingen and grew up in San Benito. He starred in track and football at San Benito High School, where the football stadium is named Bobby Morrow Stadium.

"On behalf of our entire San Benito CISD family, I extend our most sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to the Morrow family. They will be in our thoughts and prayers," Carman said in the post.

"Mr. Morrow's legacy will live on forever in San Benito," the San Benito school district said on Facebook.

Morrow was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1989. 

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History in the making: SpaceX propels two NASA astronauts into orbit http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22021/history-in-the-making--spacex-propels-two-nasa-astronauts-into-orbit http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22021/history-in-the-making--spacex-propels-two-nasa-astronauts-into-orbit Sun, 31 May 2020 08:02:23 +0530 ]]>A rocket ship built by Elon Musk's SpaceX company on Saturday successfully blasted off with two NASA astronauts into orbit from the US state of Florida on their way to the International Space Station, marking the dawn of a new age in commercial space trave Washington: A rocket ship built by Elon Musk's SpaceX company on Saturday successfully blasted off with two NASA astronauts into orbit from the US state of Florida on their way to the International Space Station, marking the dawn of a new age in commercial space travel.

The blastoff from Kennedy Space Center in Florida also assumes significance as it marks the launch of humans into orbit from US soil for the first time in nearly a decade.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (49) and Doug Hurley (53), lifted off at 3:22 pm EDT Saturday atop the company's Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

With the liftoff, SpaceX became the first private company to launch people into orbit, a feat achieved previously by only three governments: the US, Russia and China.

The reusable, gumdrop-shaped capsule called Crew Dragon, would now take the two American astronauts to a 19-hour journey to the International Space Station (ISS). The spacecraft is scheduled to dock with the ISS at 10:29 am EDT on Sunday.

The successful launch, which was postponed early this week due to inclement weather, gave Americans something to cheer about as in the last three months they have lost over 100,000 of their countrymen due to the coronavirus that has brought the country's economy to its knee. More than 40 million people have lost their job and the pandemic has pushed the economy into a recession.

Top US leadership including President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and thousands of curious Americans had gathered to watch the launch live on a bright Sunday afternoon.

Congratulating Musk, NASA and the astronauts, Trump described the launch day as a great day for the country.

"I'm so proud of the people, of NASA, public and private. When you see a sight like that, it's incredible. When you hear that sound — the roar — you can imagine how dangerous it is," he told reporters soon thereafter.

"I think this is such a great inspiration for our country. Our country is doing well... We suffered something that was terrible. It should have never happened — it should have never come out of China... That's one of the reasons why I wanted to be here today and I think any one of you would say that was an inspiration to see what we just saw," Trump said.

The President said he spoke with Musk, whom he called one of the "great brains." He also spoke with the two NASA astronauts prior to takeoff.

"What a historic opportunity to watch the first launch of astronauts from American soil to the Space Station since 2011," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. "Launch America is the first big step on our roadmap to the Moon for Artemis," he said. NASA's Artemis programme, the US initiative to explore more of the lunar surface, aims to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024.

"This is a dream come true for me and everyone at SpaceX,” said Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla.

"It is the culmination of an incredible amount of work by the SpaceX team, by NASA and by a number of other partners in the process of making this happen," he said.

"Today a new era in human spaceflight begins as we once again launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil on their way to the ISS, our national lab orbiting Earth," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

"The launch of this commercial space system designed for humans is a phenomenal demonstration of American excellence and is an important step on our path to expand human exploration to the Moon and Mars," he said.

"Today, in lifting our ambitions and our imaginations to the heavens, the United States has once more reshaped the future of space travel," said Joe Biden, former US Vice President and Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee.

"When Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a mission to the ISS, they added their names to the long list of heroes who have changed the way we think about our universe and our place in it,” he said.

"Their voyage not only marks the return of American astronauts travelling to space from US soil, but a pioneering new phase of public-private cooperation for the peaceful exploration of space," Biden said as he asserted that the seed of today's launch was planted by the Obama-Biden administration.

"We planted the seeds of today's success during the 2009 Recovery Act, which according to NASA, has saved taxpayers up to USD 30 billion and invigorated an aerospace industry in Florida that accounts for more than 130,000 jobs in the state," he said.

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas Lucas said, "Today marks a new era in space travel".

"It's been nearly 10 years for we last launched American astronauts from American soil on an American rocket. The successful launch today is the culmination of years of hard work and commitment through NASA's Commercial Crew Program," he said.

Congressman Kevin McCarthy said the launch of the spacecraft is a "testament to American ingenuity and our country's profound ability to overcome challenges as they arise, particularly in the age of COVID-19".

Congresswoman Kendra Horn, chair of the Space Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, congratulated NASA and SpaceX on successful demonstration launch of astronauts Hurley and Behnken to the ISS. Known as NASA's SpaceX Demo-2, the mission is an end-to-end test flight to validate the SpaceX crew transportation system, including launch, in-orbit, docking and landing operations. This is SpaceX's second spaceflight test of its Crew Dragon and its first test with astronauts aboard, which will pave the way for its certification for regular crew flights to the station as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Programme.

After successfully docking, the crew will be welcomed aboard the International Space Station, where they will become members of the Expedition 63 crew, which currently includes NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy.

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Dept of Science and Tech plans mathematical model for giving predictions on COVID-19 http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22020/dept-of-science-and-tech-plans-mathematical-model-for-giving-predictions-on-covid-19 http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22020/dept-of-science-and-tech-plans-mathematical-model-for-giving-predictions-on-covid-19 Sun, 31 May 2020 07:57:03 +0530 ]]>The Department of Science and Technology (DST) plans to develop a COVID-19 national mathematical supermodel to help predict the spread of infection that can assist policy makers, DST Secretary Ashutosh Sharma said on Saturday New Delhi :The Department of Science and Technology (DST) plans to develop a COVID-19 national mathematical supermodel to help predict the spread of infection that can assist policy makers, DST Secretary Ashutosh Sharma said on Saturday.

There were more than 20 groups with different mathematical models. The plan was to choose the best aspects from these models to make a supermodel, he said Under a special COVID-19 funding initiative, the DST was already funding 10 groups involved in mathematical modelling, Sharma added.

As part of this initiative, the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) and Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, will co-ordinate to connect and work with all COVID-19 modelling projects and programmes in the country.

"This will help develop a set of benchmarks to assess various models and to finally deliver the COVID-19 India National Supermodel. The coordination team will consult and work with the research groups active in modelling, various software developers, and reputed companies to ensure delivery of a suitable user interface and software," a statement said.

Sharma said the supermodel can help in giving predictions of different aspects of coronavirus, which in turn can be used by policy makers.

"The model will entirely rely only on the data that is relevant to COVID-19, and also have an adaptive built-in component to learn from the newer trends in the data. It will aggregate successful evidence-based mathematical and statistical forecasting models and include the best predictive analytics for robust forecasting of infectious disease spread," the statement said.

"Mathematical modelling and simulations for the spread of COVID-19 virus and its impact are not mere academic exercises but are critical needs for rational decision making, planning, and resource management," Sharma said.

It is thus of vital importance that a robust national model which is vetted by a large cross-section of the scientific community working in the area is developed, Sharma added.

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Pained by migrants' sufferings, made arrangements for their travel: Home Minister Amit Shah http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22019/pained-by-migrants--sufferings--made-arrangements-for-their-travel--home-minister-amit-shah http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22019/pained-by-migrants--sufferings--made-arrangements-for-their-travel--home-minister-amit-shah Sun, 31 May 2020 07:52:19 +0530 ]]>The government was pained by the suffering of migrant workers and tried its best to ensure that they do not face any problem either in commuting or after reaching their respective states, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday and noted that one crore people have been able to return home so far. New Delhi: The government was pained by the suffering of migrant workers and tried its best to ensure that they do not face any problem either in commuting or after reaching their respective states, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday and noted that one crore people have been able to return home so far.

Shah's remarks came amid criticism of the Modi government over the handling of the migrants issue as tens of thousands of people have been forced to walk for days or take unsafe modes of transport to their native places during the coronavirus lockdown.

Without naming any leader or political party, Shah claimed that the opposition leaders who had termed the lockdown as “unplanned” have a biased view, and maintained that elaborate arrangements have been made both by the Centre and state governments to check the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are also pained by their sufferings (Un sabko jo takleef hui uska dard hame bhi hai). It doesn't mean no arrangements were made,” he told Aaj Tak news channel on the plight of migrant workers.

Shah said over one crore migrants labourers have reached home so far -- about 54 lakh through trains and 41 lakh through buses.

He said the government has made all arrangements for the safe travel of labourers.

Shah said the railways provided food to 1.5 crore people and water bottles to 2.25 crore people.

“I don't want to say that nobody faced any problem. But whosoever has faced problems, the prime minister, I and all my party leaders sympathise with them,” the home minister said.

To a question on the spike in coronavirus cases particularly in Maharashtra, Shah said all state governments are trying their best to check the pandemic.

“We are fighting this pandemic together. All of us are united against it and we will overcome it soon,” he said.

When asked about BJP leader Narayan Rane's demand of imposing the President's rule in Maharashtra, Shah said that it was his individual opinion and not of the party.

To a question on assembly polls in Bihar and West Bengal, he exuded confidence that the BJP will emerge victorious.

“We are in a good condition in Bihar. We are definitely going to win in West Bengal. The BJP is set to form a government there,” Shah said.

He said violence has become an "etiquette" in the politics of West Bengal and “it is time for a change" in the state.

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As Lockdown-4 ends, home ministry issues guidelines for 'Unlock-1' from June 8 http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22018/as-lockdown-4-ends--home-ministry-issues-guidelines-for--unlock-1--from-june-8 http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22018/as-lockdown-4-ends--home-ministry-issues-guidelines-for--unlock-1--from-june-8 Sun, 31 May 2020 07:45:21 +0530 ]]>The Home Ministry on Saturday said 'Unlock-1' will be initiated in the country from June 8 under which the nationwide lockdown effectuated on March 25 will be relaxed to a great extent, including opening of shopping malls, restaurants and religious places, even as strict restrictions will remain in place till June 30 in the country's worst-hit areas. New Delhi : The Home Ministry on Saturday said 'Unlock-1' will be initiated in the country from June 8 under which the nationwide lockdown effectuated on March 25 will be relaxed to a great extent, including opening of shopping malls, restaurants and religious places, even as strict restrictions will remain in place till June 30 in the country's worst-hit areas.

While announcing the extension of the lockdown in containment zones across the country, the Union Home Ministry said temples, mosques, churches and other religious places and shopping malls will be allowed to open in a phased manner from June 8 while a decision on opening of schools and colleges will be taken in July in consultation with the states.

Issuing fresh guidelines to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, which has so far claimed 4,971 lives and infected 1,73,763 people in India, the home ministry has given more powers to the states and union territories to ascertain and define a containment zone.

Delhi at present has 122 containment zones and about 30 municipality areas in the country are considered to be the worst-hit.

Unveiling the phased reopening, which the home ministry termed as 'Unlock-1', the guidelines said activities at religious places, opening of hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services and shopping malls will start from June 8.

However, cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums and similar places will continue to remain shut.

The home ministry asked the union health ministry to issue standard operating protocols for the sectors which were allowed to open after consulting other ministries, departments and other stakeholders to ensure social distancing and to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Opening of educational institutions including schools and colleges will be undertaken in July in consultation with states and union territories, who in the meantime shall hold meetings at the institution-level with parents and other stakeholders.

"Based on the feedback, a decision on the re-opening of these institutions will be taken in the month of July, 2020," the guidelines said and added that the health ministry will prepare SOPs for these institutions.

International air travel, metro rail, social, political, sports, entertainment, cultural and other large congregations including religious shall also remain suspended, the order said, adding that a decision on these would be taken after making an assessment of the situation.

The home ministry said within the containment zones, strict perimeter controls shall be maintained and only essential activities will be allowed.

The ministry also reiterated that there shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods and no additional permission required for such travels.

"However, if a state or UT, based on reasons of public health and its assessment of the situation, proposes to regulate movement of persons, it will give wide publicity in advance regarding the restrictions to be placed on such movement, and the related procedures to be followed," it said.

The ministry also made it clear that movement of passenger trains and 'Shramik specials' meant to ferry migrant workers, domestic air travel and return of Indian nationals stranded outside the country will continue to be regulated as per the standard operating procedure.

The government also eased night curfew which shall now remain in force from 9 PM to 5 AM during which movement of individuals and all non-essential activities will not be allowed. Earlier, the timing was from 7 PM to 7 AM.

The ministry advised persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

Issuing additional directives, the fresh guidelines advocated 'Work from Home' (WfH) as far as possible besides staggering of work hours.

The guidelines said that for marriage-related gatherings, the number of guests should not to exceed 50 while for funerals or last rites-related gatherings, the number of persons should not to exceed 20.

It said the Aarogya Setu app enables early identification of potential risk of infection, and thus acts as a shield for individuals and the community.

With a view to ensuring safety in offices and work places, employers on best effort basis should ensure that the Aarogya Setu is installed by all employees having compatible mobile phones.

The nationwide curbs were first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 for 21 days in a bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The lockdown was first extended till May 3 and then again till May 17. It was further extended till May 31 and now has been extended in containment zones till June 30.

The government from the beginning allowed opening of shops selling essential commodities and in phases allowed markets and shops of non-essential items to function in non-containment zones.

The government has also allowed limited operations of train and domestic flights during the last fortnight. The Indian Railways is also running special trains since May 1 for transportation of migrant workers from different parts of the country to their native states.

The government is also bringing back stranded Indians from abroad through air and sea under the Vande Bharat Mission. 

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India's COVID-19 death toll nears 5,000; Phased exit from lockdown to begin June 1 http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22017/ http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22017/ Sat, 30 May 2020 21:38:54 +0530 ]]>India's COVID-19 death toll neared 5,000 on Saturday after a record one-day spike of 265 fatalities, while the government said a phased exit would begin on June 1 from the over-two-months-long lockdown. The count of confirmed infections also rose past 1.73 lakh with nearly 8,000 new cases. New Delhi | India's COVID-19 death toll neared 5,000 on Saturday after a record one-day spike of 265 fatalities, while the government said a phased exit would begin on June 1 from the over-two-months-long lockdown. The count of confirmed infections also rose past 1.73 lakh with nearly 8,000 new cases.
The Union Health Ministry said all precautions must be taken while "living with the new normal" of COVID-19, as it stressed on strict adherence to physical distancing and use of face covers at public places by everyone while also following personal and social hygiene standards.
"The management of COVID-19 is only possible when all the due care is taken by everyone without being complacent about the situation and by not taking the relaxations during the lockdown situation for granted," it added, Announcing the new guidelines, the Union Home Ministry said a complete lockdown would remain in place till June 30 in areas identified as COVID-19 containment zones across the country, but restrictions would be lifted in a phased manner at other places after the ongoing fourth phase of the lockdown ends this Sunday.
States and union territories will be allowed to impose additional curbs as per the ground situation about the pandemic, which has had a huge economic cost as well mainly due to the lockdown bringing most business activities to a standstill.
Separately, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced a four-week extension of the coronavirus lockdown in the state till June 30, saying the threat of COVID-19 was not over yet and he would continue with tough measures, if necessary, to save lives of the people. Singh, however, said his government will take into account the Centre's guidelines on the lockdown.
In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the lockdown in the state to contain coronavirus will be extended till June 15.
The Union Home Ministry said a night curfew will be in place across the country from 9 pm to 5 am, except for essential services, and everyone will have to follow social distancing and hygiene-related guidelines including on wearing of face covers.
There would be no restriction on movement of people and goods within or between states from June 1 itself, while places of worship, hotels, restaurants and shopping malls will be allowed to open from June 8.
Schools, colleges and other educational institutions would be opened in the next phase after consultation with state and other local authorities as well as parents and other stakeholders. A decision on reopening these institutions would be taken in July.
The third phase would involve re-starting international air travel, metro rail, cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums and assembly halls, as also large congregations involving social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural and religious functions. The dates for allowing these activities would be decided later after assessing the situation.
The exit guidelines came on a day when the country saw the nationwide tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases as well as the death toll rising by record numbers.
In its morning update, the Union Health Ministry said the number of confirmed cases has risen to 1,73,763 after 7,964 new cases were detected in the 24 hours since Friday 8 AM, while 265 more deaths were reported in the same period to take the toll to 7,964.
However, the recovery rate also improved further to over 47 per cent with more than 82,000 COVID-19 patients having been cured and discharged, leaving nearly 86,000 active cases across the country, the ministry said.
India is the ninth worst-hit nation by the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, close to 60 lakh, people have tested positive for the dreaded virus infection ever since it was first reported in China last December, while more than 3.65 lakh have lost their lives.
The US is the worst-hit country with close to 17.5 lakh cases and over 1.02 lakh fatalities. The US also accounts for the maximum number of recoveries at over 4 lakh, while India ranks ninth for the number of recoveries as well.
However, India figures among the top five countries in terms of active cases, with the four worst affected being the US, Brazil, Russia and France. More than 36 lakh people have been tested so far in the country.
Within India, Maharashtra is the worst-hit state, while Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are among other badly hit places.  Maharashtra, reported 2,940 new cases and 99 deaths, taking the case count to 65,168 and the toll to 2,198. At the same time, 1,084 more COVID-19 patients recovered during the day, taking the total number of discharged patients to 28,081, the state health department said.
The national capital saw a record single-day spike of 1,163 fresh cases, taking its tally to over 18,000. Its death toll rose to 416, health authorities said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, however, reassured the people that his government is several steps ahead of the novel coronavirus and is more than prepared to deal with it. He also said there cannot be a permanent lockdown and focus needs to be on minimising the number of deaths even if cases rise.
Gujarat reported 412 new cases, taking its tally to 16,356, while the state's death toll crossed the 1,000-mark after 27 patients succumbed to the pandemic.
In West Bengal, the number of confirmed cases climbed to 5,130 after 317 more people tested positive, while its death toll rose to 237.
Tamil Nadu witnessed its biggest one-day spike of 938 new cases, taking its tally to 21,184, while four men and two women died pushing the death toll to 160.
New cases were reported from several other places too, including in Karnataka, Ladakh, Nagaland, Uttarakhand, Assam, Puducherry, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Rajasthan, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala.
While a nationwide lockdown has been in place since March 25, the number of cases has increased sharply this month and many states have attributed the rise to the arrival of people from other states in special trains and buses for ferrying migrants and from abroad in special flights being run to bring back stranded Indians and expatriates in different countries.
The tally had crossed the one-lakh mark on May 18, also the day when the fourth phase of the lockdown began with several relaxations.
The Union Health Ministry, however, said the doubling time of coronavirus cases in India has improved to 15.4 days from 13.3 days in the past three days. It also said that more than 11,000 patients were cured in 24 hours till Saturday 8 AM, the highest for a day.
The ministry further said testing capacity has increased in the country through 462 government laboratories and 200 private laboratories.
In a survey conducted by LocalCircles, a community social media platform, around 57 per cent respondents expressed concern about exorbitant charges for COVID-19 treatment at private hospitals, while 46 per cent feared to contract a secondary infection in a government facility.

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COVID-19 tally in Kerala rises to 1,208, 7 Pilots and cabin crew, among 58 infected; 1.30 lakh under observation http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22016/covid-19-tally-in-kerala-rises-to-1-208--7-pilots-and-cabin-crew--among-58-infected--1-30-lakh-under-observation http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/22016/covid-19-tally-in-kerala-rises-to-1-208--7-pilots-and-cabin-crew--among-58-infected--1-30-lakh-under-observation Sat, 30 May 2020 21:30:15 +0530 ]]>Kerala's COVID-19 count rose to 1,208 on Saturday with 58 people including Air India Express's two pilots and five cabin crew and a health worker testing positive for the infection while 1.30 lakh are under observation in the state. Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala's COVID-19 count rose to 1,208 on Saturday with 58 people including Air India Express's two pilots and five cabin crew and a health worker testing positive for the infection while 1.30 lakh are under observation in the state.
While the active cases have touched 624, a total of 575 people have been discharged after treatment, including 10 who were cured today, Health Minister KK Shailaja said.
Nine people have succumbed to the virus in the state, the latest casualty being a 36-year-old man who returned from the UAE and died at the Alappuzha medical college hospital on Friday.
Official sources said the deceased was under quarantine since his return on May 27 and did not have any symptoms of the virus, but was suffering from some liver ailment. After his death, the sample was sent for testing which was found positive.
Another Gulf returnee, who was under observation, died at a hospital at Thalassery in Kannur today. But his samples were negative, district medical office sources said.
Of the positive cases from various districts, Thrissur registered the highest with 10, Palakkad (nine), Kannur (eight), Kollam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Kozhikode districts (four each) and Kasaragod (three).
While 17 of the infected had come from abroad, 31 were from other states, including 19 from Maharashtra and nine from Tamil Nadu.
Two people were infected through contact.
So far, 1.27 lakh people have come to the state through airport, seaport, check-posts and railways.
According to an official release, 1,30,157 people are under observation, of which 1,28,953 people are at home or institutional quarantine and 1,204 in hospitals, including 243 admitted today.
In the last 24 hours, 3,206 samples have been sent for testing.
As per the release, so far 65,002 samples have been sent for testing of which 62,543 have returned negative.
Besides, as part of sentinel surveillance, 12,255 samples of health workers, migrant workers and those with high social contact were taken and 11,232 were found negative.
There are totally 106 hot spots, including five added today.
Palakkad has the maximum COVID-19 cases of 125, followed by Kannur 113, Kasaragod 67, and Malappuram 57.

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