COVID-19 has claimed 18 lives in India as of March 27, according to data from the Health Ministry and State governments. As many as 716 people have been tested positive for the coronavirus.
The United States overtook China and Italy to occupy the grim title of the country with the most coronavirus infections. China, meanwhile, reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus infection in three days, and 54 new imported cases. Worldwide, the number of cases topped half a million, and deaths climbed past 24,000.
The new 24/7 national helpline numbers are 1075 and 1800-112-545 and 011-23978046. Email: ncov2019-at-gmail.com. The Prime Minister has announced a WhatsApp helpdesk number: 9013151515.
Here are today’s updates:
10 am | Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Second COVID-19 case in Andaman and Nicobar as man tests positive
A man has tested positive for COVID-19 in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the second such case in the Union Territory, a senior official said on Friday.
A man, who returned from Kolkata on March 24, tested positive for the deadly virus on Thursday and the second patient had travelled with him on the same flight, Chief Secretary Chetan Sanghi said.
Both were undergoing treatment at a hospital here, he added.
All the 55 passengers of the plane were quarantined after the first case came to light.
9.30 am | Karnataka
Hydroxychloroquine now a schedule H1 drug
Hydroxychloroquine is now a schedule H1 drug, and can be sold on prescription only.
According to a gazette notification issued by the Union Health Ministry, the sale of the drug from now on should be in accordance with the conditions for sale of drugs specified in Schedule H1 to the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945.
9.10 am | Chennai
Koyambedu wholesale market to function on March 27 and 28
The Koyambedu wholesale market, including vegetable and fruits market, will continue to work on March 27 and March 28, according to traders welfare associations.
Various traders associations had earlier announced that the market would remain closed on these two days in solidarity with the nation-wide lockdown. However, the decision was withdrawn after a meeting with the authorities concerned on Thursday morning.
8.50 am | Mangaluru
Business as usual in Mangaluru’s Central Market
Notwithstanding Deputy Commissioner’s prohibition on retail sales at the Central Market from Thursday, business was as usual at the wholesale vegetable and fruit market of Mangaluru on Friday morning.
Thousands thronged to the market throwing all safety norms to the wind. However, customers had to park their vehicles outside the barricaded area and walk into the market, unlike usual.
The DC’s promis to make alternative arrangements outside the market for availability of essentials remained unfulfilled.
8.20 am | India
Rate of spread has slowed relatively, says Health Ministry
With 16 deaths and 694 COVID-19 positive cases, India is now showing a relatively slower spread of COVID-19 infection rate, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry, Lav Agarwal said on Thursday. But he added, “We cannot be relaxed about restrictions put in place to contain the virus.”
Reports from the States put the number of deaths at 18 with Maharashtra, Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir each reporting a fatality. The total number of positive cases stood at 716 — Kerala had the highest number at 137, followed by 129 in Maharashtra and 52 in Karnataka.
8 am | USA
US tops world in COVID-19 cases, overtaking China and Italy
The United States on Thursday took the grim title of the country with the most coronavirus infections and reported a record surge in unemployment as world leaders vowed $5 trillion to stave off global economic collapse.
More than 5,00,000 people around the world have now contracted the new coronavirus, overwhelming healthcare systems even in wealthy nations and triggering an avalanche of government-ordered lockdowns that have disrupted life for billions.
In the United States, more than 82,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19, edging out Italy, which has reported the most deaths, and China, where the virus was first detected in December in the metropolis of Wuhan.