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Coronavirus Updates: Maharashtra becomes first Indian state to report more than 1 lakh cases

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Maharashtra became the first Indian state to report more than 1 lakh coronavirus infections as of Saturday, June 13, 2020. The state reported a total of 1,01,141 cases, out of which 49, 628 are active ones. Novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of 3,717 people in Maharashtra.

The total number of cases (1,01,141) also includes 47,796 recoveries, according to the Union Health Ministry website. Over the last 24 hours, the number of active coronavirus cases has spiked by 3,493, whereas 127 more people have succumbed to the virus.

Maharashtra has left the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, China's Wuhan, far behind.

Coronavirus cases in Maharashtra have been rising like a tornado despite the state's consistent efforts at contact tracing and testing. The state took a total of 76 days to report 50,000 cases while another 50,000 cases were added in merely 20 days.

The bulk of coronavirus cases in Maharashtra continue to come Mumbai. Mumbai is likely to have become the epicentre of COVID pandemic in Maharashtra because people mostly live on shared space basis either in slums or in flats.

Mumbai has an urban population of over 22 million, with a population density of 73,000 per square mile, whereas the percentage of people living in slums is as high as 41%.

SC slams Delhi government: Coronavirus patients treated 'worse than animals'

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The Supreme Court on Friday slammed Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government for its handling of COVID-19 patients' dead bodies terming it "very sorry state of affairs". The apex court also criticised Delhi government over drop in coronavirus testing at a time when cases are rising sharply in the national capital.

The court issued a notice to LNJP Hospital in Delhi and said, "There is a problem in Delhi, testing has gone down from 7,000 to 5,000 per day. Why has your testing gone down? Tell us why testing numbers are reducing in Delhi."

"We have also noticed that the Delhi government itself has admitted that the number of tests has gone down in June as compared to the month of May," the court said.

Hearing a plea filed related to mishandling of coronavirus affected dead bodies, the apex court said the situation in Delhi is "horrendous, horrific and pathetic" with respect to the handling of COVID-19 patients and that they are being treated "worse than animals". A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, S.K. Kaul and M.R. Shah further stated that government hospitals in Delhi are not properly dealing with bodies of deceased COVID-19 victims, adding that they are not even informing family members about deaths on some occasions.

The court also asked the government why some patients were not getting admission in hospitals despite the government app showing the availability of beds.

"Reports also show that patients are not able to get admitted to the hospital whereas data shows a large number of beds remain vacant. The state is not only duty-bound to provide beds but also adequate infrastructure, manpower and staff to attend to the patients," the SC bench said.

Besides Delhi, the Supreme Court also pulled up Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu over the condition of government hospitals in their respective states. The apex court seeks report from four states regarding the same and will hear the matter again on June 17.

Delhi, the third-most affected from coronavirus crisis, has 34,687 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and of these, 1,085 have died. This also includes 20,871 active cases, 12,731 recoveries. On Thursday, the national capital reported its highest spike in coronavirus cases with 1,877 new cases.

Coronavirus crisis: 9 countries that successfully controlled the pandemic

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The coronavirus pandemic has spread across almost all the countries in the world, leaving behind a trail of death and financial ruin. Be it the European countries or the US, and India, coronavirus induced-lockdowns have affected the economic conditions of every country.

Amid this global pandemic that started from Wuhan in China in December 2019, some countries prudently fought against this deadly virus, while some struggled. So far, countries that have won the battle against the coronavirus outbreak are predominantly small ones with less to very less population.

There are at least nine countries in the world that have successfully controlled COVID-19 so far. These include New Zealand, Iceland, Tanzania, Fiji, Montenegro, Vatican City, Seychelles, Mauritius, and Papua New Guinea.

1. NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand reported its first coronavirus case on February 28, 2020.  On March 25, just like India, New Zealand enforced one of the strictest coronavirus lockdowns in the world. The pandemic peaked in early April in New Zealand, with 89 new cases recorded per day and 929 active cases.

By June 8, the country did not report any active cases. The last case was reported on May 22. Overall, New Zealand had a total of 1,504 cases (1,154 confirmed and 350 probable[a]) and 22 people have died from the virus.

2. TANZANIA

Tanzania's President John Magufuli has declared the country "coronavirus-free". Tanzania received the first coronavirus case on March 16. On 29 April, the last day official data was released, there were 509 cases, with 21 deaths in the East African country.

However, in May-end its President said only four patients were under treatment.

3. ICELAND

The tiny island nation with a population of 360,000 reported its case on February 28. The Icelandic health-care system started testing people on January 31, one month before the first official case was detected. Iceland had reported around 1,800 coronavirus cases and 10 deaths.

There have been only three new cases so far this month. Now,  Iceland will open its airports to tourism on June 15.

4. MONTENEGRO

One of Europe's smallest countries with a population of a little over 6 lakh, the country has not reported any new case of coronavirus  AFTER May 24. The country reported 324 coronavirus cases and nine deaths in 68 days.

The first coronavirus case was confirmed on March 17.

5. FIJI

Fiji declared itself coronavirus-free on June 5. The small island country with a population of 930,000 reported its first COVID-19 cases in mid-March.  A total of 18 people were infected from the deadly virus in the pacific island nation. All of them recovered. Fiji has not reported a single death from COVID infection. The country's recovery rate is 100 per cent.

6. SEYCHELLES

With just 11 confirmed cases, life in Seychelles began returning to normal in early-May, when no new positive case of coronavirus was reported. Seychelles reported the fist confirmed case of coronavirus on March 14, 2020. By April 6, there were 11 confirmed cases.

Seychelles went into lockdown on April 8,  shutting non-essential services and banning all movement aside from grocery shopping. The Seychelles government declared the country free of COVID-19 on May 18.

7. PAPUA NEW GUINEA

The Pacific nation declared itself free of the coronavirus on May 4. It had 24 cases of Covid-19 and no deaths from the virus.

8.VATICAN CITY

On March 5, the holy city reported its first coronavirus case. On June 6, Vatican City declared itself coronavirus free. It reported the last confirmed case of COVID-19 on May 16. Overall, Vatican City reported 17 coronavirus cases and one death.

9. MAURITIUS

According to a statement by the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA), no new cases have been recorded in Mauritius for 20 consecutive days as of May 17. In the island nation, 332 confirmed cases of coronavirus appeared, out of which 322 recovered, and 10 died.

Send migrant labourers to their hometowns within 15 days: SC tells Centre, state govts

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The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, directed the Centre and state governments to identify stranded migrants and send all of them to their native places with the next 15 days. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M R Shah asked the Union government to provide additional trains within 24 hours to send migrant workers back to their hometowns.

The top court, which pronounced its order through video conferencing, has also directed authorities to consider withdrawing all cases against migrant labourers for alleged violation of lockdown rules under the Disaster Management Act.

Additionally, the apex court asked the state governments to consider granting counselling to migrant workers, who have returned to their homes. It also directed authorities to provide them with employment opportunities as per their skill sets. "Employment relief needs to be mapped out and skill-mapping of migrant labourers needs to be carried out," it said.

On May 28, the Supreme Court had directed that the migrant workers wanting to return to their home states will not be charged train or bus fares. It also asked concerned authorities to provide free of cost food to the labourers.

The bench, which posted the matter for further hearing on July 8, said the schemes for welfare and employment of migrant workers should be publicised adequately. The SC has taken note of the submissions of the Centre and the state governments on steps taken so far to mitigate the miseries of the migrant workers stranded across the country during the nationwide lockdown.

The Centre has claimed it has done its "best" to alleviate miseries of migrants. According to the Central government, till June 3, over 4,200 'Shramik Special' trains have been deployed to transport migrant workers to their native places.

And, over one crore stranded migrant workers have been sent to their destinations, the Centre added. Further, the union government has asked states to give details about the leftover migrant workers that need to be shifted.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, had assured the court that trains required are being made available to the concerned states and they would be provided in the future as well when demands are raised.

The counsel for states, including Gujarat, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, West Bengal and Kerala, had given data with regard to migrant workers to the court.

According to counsel for Gujarat, "Out of 22 lakhs, 2.5 lakhs migrant workers are remaining". Delhi counsel has stated that less than 10,000 stranded migrants were left in the national capital who were willing to go back to their hometowns.  Counsel for the Uttar Pradesh government had said that over 100 special trains were used for transporting people back to the state from various parts of the country.

The Bihar government had said that 28 lakh migrant workers have returned to the state. The Kerala government had said that out of 4.34 lakh migrant workers, over 1 lakh have been transported so far. And, 1.2 lakh migrants workers were yet to be sent back.

Oil India's natural gas well explodes in Assam; 1,610 families evacuated

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A natural gas well owned by Oil India Limited (OIL) turned into an inferno in Baghjan, Assam next to Dibru-Saikhowa National Park on Tuesday.

The well had been continuously spewing out gas or undergoing a blowout since May 27 in Tinsukia district.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal called up Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan to get foreign experts to repair the damage.

OIL Chairman and Managing Director Sushil Chandra Mishra, on June 8 said three experts from Singapore-based Alert Disaster Control reached Tinsukia district to plug the blowout in the gas well.

On the status of repair work, the PSU major had said arrangements were made to create water umbrella to control operation. Besides, the preparation of placement of high capacity water pumps was also under progress.

However, poor weather condition was hampering the work progress, according to a statement issued by the company.

Five people have reportedly died due to the gas leak in the area.  However, the district administration, where the gas field is present, has ordered a magisterial inquiry on the matter.

According to OIL, it had appointed an environmental consultant to assess the impact of the blowout in nearby areas of the district.

Earlier, pictures of carcasses of a river dolphin and fish in Maguri Motapung Beel, adjacent to Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and about 1.5 km from the site, went viral on social media.

Following this, the Assam Forest department had issued a notice to OIL on May 29 seeking details of the incident.

Since May 27, around 1,610 families were evacuated from the nearby affected areas and were camped in four relief camps set up at Baghjan Dighulturrang LP School, St Joseph School- Baghjan Tea Estate, Gateline LP School-Dighultarrang and No. 1 Baghjan Gaon LP School.

OIL had also assured that it would provide immediate financial relief of Rs 30,000 each to over 1,600 families affected by a major blowout from a gas well in Assam.

Ambulances with para-medical staff are on stand by and a team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been mobilised to look after the relief operation.

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