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Delhi has crossed the 15,000-mark in coronavirus cases, with 792 new infections reported over the past 24 hours, authorities said on Wednesday. The new cases also represent the largest single-day spike and the first time that over 700 cases have been reported from the national capital in a 24-hour period. The total number of cases in Delhi is now 15,257.
On Wednesday Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee picked up where her Kerala counterpart, Pinarayi Vijayan, left off and accused the Railway Ministry of sending special trains for migrants without prior notice and disrupting COVID-19 containment protocols. Accusing the railways of "evacuating Maharashtra and spreading corona to Bengal" and playing politics with both states, she sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention.
Left-ruled Kerala raised similar objections to the Railways' handling of "shramik (worker)" special trains for stranded migrant workers. "... another train was scheduled for Kerala without informing the state. This will derail or subvert the state's attempts to contain COVID-19. I have raised this with the Prime Minister," Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said. Kerala has done an effective job, so far, in containing the virus, with only 896 cases for now.
Maharashtra has also been engaged in a tussle with the centre over the running of "shramik" trains. While the state has accused the centre of not providing an adequate number of trains, the centre has said the state has not provided the required details of passengers. Over the last weeks, huge crowds of people have been seen outside railway stations in state capital Mumbai.
Assam has seen a worrying increase in COVID-19 infections over the past two days; the northeastern state jumped from 300 cases to over 600 in that time. As of Tuesday night, there are 682 coronavirus cases, of which 613 are active. The challenge of containing the outbreak in the state is likely to become even more difficult in the coming days with the arrival of the rainy season. Close to 2.5 lakh people have been affected by flash floods and landslides, with a red alert sounded for Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.
A 23-year-old man who flew from Chennai to Coimbatore on Monday has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The IndiGo flight he was on was among the first to land in Coimbatore following a two-month grounding of all passenger flights amid a lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. On the same day, a 50-year-old Air India employee, who was one of 11 people on board a Delhi-Ludhiana flight, also tested positive. All other passengers have been sent to home quarantine.
The NITI Aayog has released the source code of Aarogya Setu, the government's contentious contact-tracing app. Launched in April, the app has been vigorously promoted by Prime Minister Modi and Union Ministers and been made mandatory for inter-state travel, central government employees and others. Earlier this month a French "white hat", or ethical hacker, raised concerns over security levels of the app. Apart from releasing the source code, the government has launched a "bug bounty" programme that offers a Rs 1 lakh reward for either discovering breaches or improving the code.
The Telangana High Court has slammed the K Chandrashekar Rao government for low rate of COVID-19 testing in the state. In strongly-worded comments, the court said: "Ignoring coronavirus by not testing is like inviting a Trojan horse". The southern state has reported over 1,920 confirmed cases and 56 deaths so far.
Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gehlot ruled out reports the Delhi Metro may re-start after the fourth phase of the lockdown ends on May 31. The metro, and all public transport, was shut in March after the lockdown was ordered. Resumption of metro was high on the list of suggestions from Delhi residents polled by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal earlier this month.
India's economy was pushed into a state of dormancy in April as the world's strictest stay-at-home measures to contain the coronavirus took its toll, a report by Bloomberg said. Government data on economic growth due Friday will probably show expansion slowed in the the January-March quarter to 1.2 per cent, according to a Bloomberg survey. The RBi expects contraction in the current fiscal year and negative growth in the next.