COVID-19 claims 4th life in India, total number of cases rises to 173
New Delhi: As India on Thursday reported fourth Coronavirus death from Punjab and positive cases rose to 173, the Centre allowed 50 per cent of its employees of Group B and C to work from home, while the remaining 50 per cent have been asked to attend office every day at different time slots for working hours in an effort to contain the spread of the highly contagious virus. The 72-year-old man had a history of travelling to Germany via Italy. Incidentally, this is the first Coronavirus death in Punjab.
The worldwide deaths due to COVID-19 reached 9,312, while confirmed cases are currently 2,28,019 in 176 countries. In a major achievement, China, the epicentre of COVID-19, reported no new domestic cases on Thursday.
However, in a major relief, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has stated that the findings of all 846 samples tested negative for community transmission.
"Till date, a total of 826 samples of people suffering from Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI)/influenza like illnesses have been tested at 51 sites and none of the samples was found positive," the ICMR official said.
The government, in its latest advisory, has asked states to issue directions for children, senior citizens to stay at home. As per the advisory, senior citizens above 65 years and children below 10 years have been advised to stay at home. Notably, the advisory wouldn't be applicable for public representatives, government officials and medical professions.
In a move to discourage unnecessary travel and to prevent the vulnerable category of senior citizens from undertaking unnecessary travels, the Ministry of Railways has suspended concessional bookings of all tickets except patients, students and 'Divyangjan' category from Thursday till further advisory. It will be applicable for both unreserved and reserved segments in trains.
India on Thursday evacuated over 90 citizens stranded at Singapore's Changi Airport due to the travel restrictions imposed by the government back home in response to the fast-spreading Coronavirus pandemic, the Indian High Commission here said.
The Centre has also started to enforce work from home for private-sector employees except those working in emergency or essential services.
The government has also asked sports bodies not to hold any sporting events, including competitions or selection trials, till April 15.
As a precautionary measure, the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) postponed its key recruitment examinations. "As a precautionary measure, in view of the emergent situation due to COVID-19, it has been decided by the SSC, in the larger public interest, to postpone the ongoing combined higher secondary (10+2) level examination (Tier-I), 2019 with effect from March 20," it said in an order.
Meanwhile, Bihar Staff Selection Commission chairman Ravinder Kumar told Millennium Post that the commission has also postponed the recruitment drive of drivers that were scheduled to be held from March 17.
After the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations has also postponed Class X and XII board exams. The UGC has also directed universities to postpone all exams.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) has asked insurers to settle all claims related to COVID-19 expeditiously under existing health policies that provide for the treatment of hospitalisation expenses.
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