The health ministry on Sunday said 106 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths were reported from six states in the last 24 hours. Joint Secretary in the ministry Lav Agarwal said till now, there are 979 confirmed coronavirus cases in the country, including 25 deaths. Raman Gangakhedkar of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) said till Sunday, 34,931 tests were conducted for the contagion. “Capacity utilisation in the ICMR network is around 30 per cent. We have increased the number of laboratories, 113 have been made functional and 47 private laboratories have been given the approval to conduct COVID-19 tests,” he said. Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry Punya Salila Srivastava said employers must be instructed to give full wages to workers on the due date without any deduction for the closed-down period and landlords cannot charge rent for this period. She also said the workers cannot be forced to vacate the premises. “The SPs and DMs will be held personally responsible for its strict implementation,” Srivastava said, referring to the orders issued to stop the mass exodus of migrant workers.
The government has launched a toll-free helpline number – 08046110007 — for people who may face any mental health issue due to the ongoing countrywide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. In its daily briefing on the coronavirus situation in the country, the health ministry said on Sunday the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, has launched the number.
Host of celebrities, including producer Bhushan Kumar, actors Sonam Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao, have joined their Bollywood peers in pledging money to various relief funds aimed at combating the coronavirus pandemic. Bhushan, who heads the Bollywood film studio T-Series, said he will be donating a sum of Rs 11 crores to PM-CARES Fund, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to combat health contingencies like the coronavirus “Today, we are all at a really crucial stage and it’s extremely important to do all we can to help. I, along with my entire @TSeries family pledge to donate Rs 11 crores to the PM-CARES Fund. We can and will fight this together, Jai Hind,” the producer tweeted. Bhushan also said that he has pledged Rs 1 crore to Maharashtra Chief Minister’s relief fund. “Hope we all get through this difficult time soon. Stay home, stay safe,” he tweeted in response to a post from Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Office that appealed citizens to donate to the CM relief fund. Sharing the same tweet from CMO Maharashtra, Sonam wrote, “This is an excellent initiative. And I will be donating.” Rao said the country needs to stand together in the fight against coronavirus and for that he has done his bit. “It’s time to stand together & to help our administration in this fight against Coronavirus. I’ve done my bit.. Donated to #PMReliefFund #CMReliefFund and to #ZomatoFeedingIndia to help feed families in need. Please support in whatever way you can. Our Nation Needs Us,” he wrote. Filmmaker Aanand L Rai said it’s time for people to unite and donate as she shared a tweet by PM Modi. “So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth. Tough times never lasts but tough people do. Lets contribute to @narendramodi ji’s PM-CARE Fund and strengthen our country & come out as winners in these testing times.#IndiaFightsCorona,” the “Zero” director said. Popular TV host and actor Maniesh Paul said that he will be donating Rs 20 lakhs for PM-CARES Fund. “I take a pledge to donate Rs 20 lakhs from my savings to the PM-CARES fund…its time to be there for everyone… @narendramodi ji. Jai Hind,” he tweeted. Murad Khetani, the producer of 2019 blockbuster “Kabir Singh”, pledged Rs 25 lakh to the fund. “Pledge to contribute 25 lakhs to PM Cares funds, our earnest prayers and thoughts are always for our country’s well being @PMOIndia #PM-CARES fund @narendramodi” he wrote in a post. On Saturday, Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar came forward to announce that he will be donating Rs 25 crore to Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM-CARES). Actor Varun Dhawan followed the suit, saying that he has pledged Rs 30 lakh as donation to PM-CARES Fund and Rs 25 lakh to Maharashtra CM’s relief fund. Filmmaker Karan Johar hailed the creation of the new fund as a “great initiative” and said he will be doing his bit in the battle against coronavirus. “This is an absolutely great initiative by our honourable PM @narendramodi… In our own way and capacity we must all pledge to contribute to the PM-CARES Fund….this will go a long way for the well being of millions of our people,” he tweeted. TV star Arjun Bijlani said he will be donating Rs 5 lakh each to the PM-CARES Fund and Maharashtra CM’s relief fund. A number of celebrities have come forward to donate money to various relief funds so as to help people in crisis. South superstar Mahesh Babu tweeted on Saturday that since the lockdown situation adversely impacts the lives of daily wage cine workers. He said he will be contributing Rs 25 lakhs “towards Corona crisis charity for TFI workers.” “Requesting all fellow actors to come forward and make their contributions in these testing times #StayHomeStaySafe,” he said. South superstar Rajinikanth was the first celebrity to announce that he will be donating Rs 50 lakh to help daily wage workers. Several A-listers from the south, including Prabhas, Pawan Kalyan, Ram Charan and others have also donated money. In Bollywood, Hrithik Roshan and Kapil Sharma too had come forward to fund relief work.
There was no shortage of masks and testing kits for detecting coronavirus cases in Karnataka and the government would import them if a need arose, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Sunday said. Apprising leaders of political parties on measures taken by his government to combat spread of coronavirus, he also told an all-party meeting that the government has decided to provide life insurance cover to police and civil workers and has taken extra precautions to maintain supply of food grains. “There is no shortage of testing kits, medicines and masks.