In a tragedy that highlights the plight of thousands of jobless labourers stuck in other states due by the coronavirus lockdown and walking long distances back to their native states, 16 migrant workers were killed after a goods train ran over a group of migrants who fell asleep on the rail tracks on Friday in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra.
The Aurangabad incident was reported at around 5:22 am on Friday morning. The migrant labourers were on their way to their native places in Madhya Pradesh and had fell asleep on the railway tracks after an overnight walk from Jalna, about 40 kilometres from the site of the incident.
A video clip from the incident site showed bodies of the migrants on the railway tracks and their personal belongings scattered around. The victims were aged between 20 and 35 years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed anguish over the death of 16 migrant.
The health ministry, in their routine daily briefings on coronavirus in the country, said that at least 216 districts in India have not reported any Covid-19 case till date. In the last 24 hours, Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agrawal said, 3,390 new Covid-19 positive cases have been reported.
Besides, 1,273 coronavirus patients have recovered. The recovery percentage is now 29.36 per cent, the health ministry said. Till now, 16,540 patients have been cured and 37,916 patients are under active medical supervision. In total, India’s coronavirus count has mounted to 56,342.
Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus positive cases in Maharashtra — the worst-affected state in the country — reached 19,063, with 1,089 more people reporting positive on Friday. Thirty-seven people have died in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll in the state to 731, said the Maharashtra Health Department.
As the number of coronavirus case continued to grow in Maharashtra, the Maharashtra government on Friday transferred Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Pravin Pardeshi and named Iqbal Chahal as his successor. As one more day gets over, here’s how India fought with coronavirus pandemic on Friday.
Amid the lockdown and the rising number of cases from across the state, with Mumbai as the epicentre, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray refuted rumours that the Army will be deployed in the city to manage the coronavirus crisis. While Uddhav Thackeray conceded that the “chain” of virus infection has not been broken in the state et, but assured that adequate medical infrastructure was available, especially in Mumbai.
FIVE LABOURERS JUMP FROM SLOW-MOVING TRAIN IN UP, SENT TO QUARANTINE CENTRE
Five labourers jumped from a slow-moving Shramik Special train bound for Gonda on Friday following which they were detained and sent to a quarantine centre, police said. The Shramik Special train was ferrying migrant labourers from Amritsar to Gonda.
The train was moving at a slow speed towards Sitapur around 5 am when the five labourers hailing from Shahjahanpur jumped from it, SHO, Government Railway Police (GRP), Ajit Kumar Singh. As the train was moving at a slow speed none of them suffered injuries. All of them were detained and later sent to a quarantine centre.
SOCIAL STIGMA, LOW TESTING BEHIND BENGAL’S HIGH COVID-19 MORTALITY RATE: EXPERTS
Social stigma and low testing are the key reasons for the high mortality rate among Covid-19 patients in West Bengal, where the disease, like elsewhere in the country, is still an urban phenomenon, experts say.
The state’s TMC government has been drawing consistent criticism from the Centre and opposition parties over the way it has tackled the pandemic, and has been accused of under-reporting data about the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.
The centre recently rapped the state government over its Covid-19 management which, it said, was characterised by a very low rate of testing in proportion to the population, and a very high rate of mortality of 13.2 per cent, the highest in the country.
22 MIGRANTS ESCAPE FROM QUARANTINE CENTRE IN CHANDIGARH
At least 22 migrant labourers, who had returned from Andhra Pradesh, escaped from a Covid-19 quarantine centre in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district, police said on Friday.
The labourers escaped from a quarantine facility in Dantewada late on Thursday evening and a search was launched to trace them, Dantewada superintendent of police Abhishek Pallava said.
As many as 47 migrant labourers, who had travelled to their home districts from the neighbouring state, were quarantined at a facility in Aranpur police station area. Of these, 22 labourers, who hail from Nahadi village fled from the centre.
“They were examined for primary coronavirus symptoms on Thursday and all of them were found to be asymptomatic,” Pallava said. The district administration has informed the sarpanch and secretary of the concerned village panchayat, Pallava said, adding that the police have launched a manhunt to track them down.
COVID-19 CASES MOUNT TO 6,318; DEATH TOLL RISES TO 68 IN DELHI
The total number of coronavirus cases in the national capital climbed to 6,318, with 338 new cases and two fresh deaths being reported on Friday, according to the Delhi government authorities.
On Thursday, the city had recorded its largest single-day spike of 448 new Covid-19 cases. The total number of cases in the city now stands at 6,318, with 338 fresh cases reported on Friday, the authorities said.
On Thursday night, the total number of cases stood at 5,980 with 66 deaths. With two more fatalities, the death toll from COVID-19 in Delhi has risen to 68, PTI reported.
UP’S FIRST COVID-19 PATIENT TO UNDERGO PLASMA THERAPY STABLE
A 58-year-old doctor, the first COVID-19 patient in Uttar Pradesh to undergo plasma therapy, is stable and continues to be on ventilator support 13 days after the experimental treatment began, doctors said on Friday.
The patient from Orai in Uttar Pradesh was admitted to the King George Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow on April 26.
SC ASKS STATES TO CONSIDER ONLINE SALES, HOME DELIVERY OF LIQUOR
The Supreme Court Friday asked states to consider non-direct contact or online sales and home delivery of liquor during the lockdown period to prevent the spread of coronavirus on account of crowding at the shops.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and B R Gavai, which took up the matter through video conferencing, disposed of the plea challenging the guidelines issued by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on May 1, allowing sales of liquor through direct contact sales during the lockdown period.
“The bench directed that States may consider allowing non-direct contact sales or online sales or home delivery of liquor during these times,” advocate Sai Deepak, appearing for petitioner Guruswamy Nataraj said after the hearing.
PUNJAB COP SHOOTS DEAD KABADDI PLAYER
A Punjab policeman shot dead a 24-year-old international kabaddi player and seriously injured his friend in Kapurthala district, fearing they would attack him for stopping their vehicle during curfew, police said on Friday.
Assistant Sub Inspector Paramjit Singh killed Arwinderjit Singh and seriously injured Pardeep Singh on Thursday night in Lakhan Ke Padda village.
The ASI was going to the village to drop his friend Mangu in a car when they saw another vehicle coming towards them at 10 pm when a curfew was in force in the area, police said. They followed the car and signalled to stop. When the car stopped, the ASI fired four to five rounds from his service revolver at Arwinderjit and his friend suspecting that they were going to attack him.
The kabaddi player died on the spot and his friend was admitted to a private hospital in Jalandhar but was stated to be out of danger.
HUNDREDS OF MIGRANT WORKERS PROTEST AT RAILWAY STATION
Hundreds of migrant workers belonging to northern states on Friday staged a protest in front of the central railway station in Mangaluru demanding that arrangements be made for them to return to home towns.
The crowding of workers at the railway station is learnt to be prompted by a social media post which went viral giving false information that free special trains have been arranged for workers, sources said.
More than 700 workers residing at Surathkal, Nanthoor, Kulur and Derebail near Mangaluru reached the station by foot. Some of them held placards reading “we want to go home.”
The workers, belonging to Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal, squatted on the road in front of the railway station.
200 INDIANS FROM SHARJAH TO ARRIVE IN LUCKNOW ON SATURDAY
An Air India flight with around 200 Indians from Sharjah will arrive in Lucknow on Saturday, an official said. The Indian government on Monday had announced plans to begin a phased repatriation of its citizens stranded abroad from May 7.
The government also said that Air India will operate 64 flights from May 7 to May 13 to bring back around 15,000 Indian nationals stranded abroad due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
GAUTAM BUDDH NAGAR REPORTS FIRST DEATH DUE TO COVID-19
A 60-year-old man died due to coronavirus in western Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddh Nagar on Friday, becoming the first fatality in the district due to Covid-19. The victim was a resident of Noida’s Sector 22, officials said.
30 MORE BSF PERSONNEL TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19
Thirty more Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, including two posted at its headquarters in Delhi, have tested positive for Covid-19, taking the overall infections in the force to 223, officials said on Friday.
The border guarding force has the maximum confirmed cases of the disease among the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), also known as paramilitary forces.
The CAPFs have over 500 active Covid-19 cases at present.
74 FRESH COVID-19 CASES REPORTED IN UTTAR PRADESH
Uttar Pradesh reported 74 fresh coronavirus cases on Friday, taking the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 3,145, an official said. A total of 3,145 cases have been reported from 68 districts, of which nine have no active cases, Principal Secretary, Health, Amit Mohan Prasad said.
So far 63 deaths have been reported in the state, Prasad said, adding that 1,261 people have fully recovered.
RAHUL GANDHI ASKS PM TO DEVOLVE POWER, TAKE STATES INTO CONFIDENCE
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday exhorted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to devolve power and make the state’s partners in efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, contending that “if we keep this fight in PMO, we will lose”.
Rahul Gandhi said there will be a “calamity” if the fight against the novel coronavirus is centralised in the prime minister’s office (PMO). His remarks came after complaints by Congress-ruled states that they were being pushed into fiscal distress in the absence of the Centre providing them resources to fight the pandemic.
Addressing a press conference through video conference, he also asked the government to adopt transparency in its actions to tackle the coronavirus and work together with states and take them into confidence.
YOGI ADITYANATH URGES MIGRANTS TO NOT WALK, CYCLE HOME
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday asked officials to reach out to their counterparts in other states for better coordination in bringing the migrants home and urged the workers to not walk or cycle to Uttar Pradesh as this could endanger their health and security.
His appeal came on a day 16 migrants were crushed under a goods train in Maharashtra when they were sleeping on rail tracks during their return home in Madhya Pradesh.
ODISHA EXTENDS MANDATORY QUARANTINE PERIOD TO 28 DAYS
The Odisha government on Friday extended the mandatory quarantine period for COVID-19 suspects to 28 days from the existing 14 days, a senior official said. The step was taken after observing changes in the incubation period of the highly infectious virus.
DHARAVI’S TALLY OF COVID-19 PATIENTS RISES TO 808
The number of COVID-19 patients in Dharavi, Mumbai’s biggest slum sprawl, reached 808 on Friday as 25 more persons tested positive for the infection, a senior official of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.
The death toll in the area also rose to 26, he said.
Although the death toll increased on Friday, no deaths were reported during the day, he said.
“Till Thursday night, Dharavi’s death toll was 21. The five death cases were added in the tally on Friday although these patients had died in the last few days,” the official said.
Of the 808 patients, 222 have been discharged so far from hospitals after recovery, he added.