Uncertainity continues over the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) which was introduced as a game-changer to arrest the spread of COVID-19. With experts questioning the effectiveness of HCQ, a senior health official said the drug was under review “but no decision has been taken to drop it just yet”.

As a part of easing of restrictions in lockdown 4.0, 200 new trains will start plying from June 1, announced the Railways. The new trains would be in addition to the Shramik Special trains, whose numbers too would be increased.

The Hindu has brought out a multi-language e-book on essential COVID-19 information, in addition to covering the developments related to the coronavirus pandemic as it unfolded. Here is a collection of our daily cartoons on COVID-19.

Here are answers from experts on your queries about the virus, a list of State Helpline numbers, a State-wise tracker for COVID-19 cases, deaths and testing, and a map of confirmed cases in India.

Here are the latest updates:

12.50 pm | Kerala

Kerala postpones Class 10, 12 exams

The Kerala Government on Wednesday walked back from its contentious decision to hold SSLC, higher secondary and vocational higher secondary public examinations as per schedule from May 26 t0 30 despite the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The office of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government would hold the exams in the first week of June as per the Central Government’s guidelines.

Mr. Vijayan had on Tuesday overruled an earlier decision by the General Education department to postpone the examinations until the fourth phase of the COVID-19 lockdown ended on May 31.

12.40 pm | Andhra Pradesh

A.P. has 68 new COVID-19 cases

Andhra Pradesh had 68 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in the last 24 hours out of 9,159 samples tested.

With this, the total number of cases increased to 2,560 including 153 from other States —  Maharashtra (101), Gujarat (26), Odisha (10), Rajasthan (11), Tamil Nadu (3), West Bengal (1) and Karnataka (1).

The number of active cases is 843. The death toll stands at 53. As many as 1,664 persons have been discharged from hospitals so far.

Of the 68 new cases, 10 cases — six in Chittoor district and four in Nellore district — have links to the Koyambedu market in Chennai.

12.20 pm | Rajasthan

61 new cases in Rajasthan

Sixty-one new COVID-19 positive cases have been detected in Rajasthan today, taking the State’s tally to 5,906.

However, no new deaths were reported so far today.

Of the total number of patients, 3,354 have recovered and 2,929 have been discharged. As of now, the State has 2,409 active cases, said the State Medical and Health Department.

12.10 pm | Kerala

After 54 days, Kerala RTC restarts operations

Intradistrict ordinary services of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) commences operations in all 14 districts of Kerala after a 54-day lockdown. They will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. only.

Passengers maintain social distancing as KSRTC services resume in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on Wednesday.

Passengers maintain social distancing as KSRTC services resume in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on Wednesday.
 
| Photo Credit: S.Gopakumar

The fare has been hiked in view of the social-distancing norms to be followed on the buses. The minimum fare for 2.5 to 5 km has gone up from ₹8 to ₹12 and the fare for the subsequent kilometres has been increased from the existing 70 paise to ₹1.10. For the subsequent 15 farestages, the minimum fare of ₹12 and ₹1.10 per km travelled will be levied from the commuter.

Those travelling on concessional fare will have to pay only 50% of new fare.

12 pm | Goa

Flight carring 168 seafarers land in Goa

A Neos Air chartered flight carrying 168 seafarers has landed in Goa from Milan in Italy.

The aircraft has been chartered by Costa Cruises.

All seafarers will be tested for novel coronavirus at the airport itself before being moved to paid quarantine facilities.

11.40 am | Andhra Pradesh

Two airports in AP receive 459 stranded Indians

An Air India flight carrying 145 people stranded in London, landed at Vijayawada Airport here on Wednesday, as part of the biggest ever off-shore evacuation drive of Indian citizens under the Vande Bharat Mission.

The international airport in Visakhapatnam received two flights, one from Manila (Philippines) and the other from Abu Dhabi with 166 and 148 passengers respectively on Tuesday night, airport authorities said.

– PTI

11.20 am | Karnataka

In Karnataka, infection rate highest among those in 20-29 age bracket

Sixty-five percent of those who died in Karnataka due to COVID-19 were aged above 60. And all other patients who lost their lives were aged above 40.

Among those infected, a majority in the State fall under the 20-29 age bracket. As many as 24.7% of the total 1,373 patients tested positive in the State belong to this category.

11 am | Jammu and Kashmir

J&K admin imposes restrictions around quarantine centres in Udhampur

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has imposed restrictions around quarantine centres in Udhampur district where stranded people brought back from other states through special trains have been kept, officials said on Wednesday.

These directions were issued soon after the visit of Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu to the railway station in Udhampur on Tuesday, they said.

– PTI

10.40 am | India

New 24-hour high in COVID-19 cases

India added 5,611 new COVID-19 cases and 140 deaths in the last 24 hours taking the total number of cases in the country to 1,06,750, according to a Wednesday morning update from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

This includes 51,149 active cases and 3,303 deaths.

The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) noted that it has tested 25,12,388 samples so far, of which 1,08,121 were tested in the last 24 hours.

10.30 am | Odisha

74 new cases in Odisha

Odisha registers 74 new COVID-19 positive cases, taking the total number of cases in the State to 1,052. The number of active cases is 739.

Migrant labourers are seen from a truck as they collect food packets donated by social workers in the outskirts of Bhubaneswar as they are returning to their home districts on May 17, 2020.

Migrant labourers are seen from a truck as they collect food packets donated by social workers in the outskirts of Bhubaneswar as they are returning to their home districts on May 17, 2020.
 
| Photo Credit:
Biswaranjan Rout

Seventy two of the new cases were detected in quarantine centres for returnees, and the other two were locals, according to the State government. Six people have died and 307 people have recovered so far.

10.20 am | Delhi

An Assistant Superintendent in Rohini Jail, Delhi has tested positive for COVID-19. The policeman lives with his family in staff quarters in Tihar Jail premises.

More details are awaited.

10.10 am | Bihar

Bihar’s case count crosses 1,500

Bihar has registered 60 more COVID-19 positive cases. With this, the total number of cases in the State is now 1,579.

All new patients are from from Bhagalpur, Darbhanga, Banka, Nalanda, Khagaria, Madhubani and Supaul districts.

Meanwhile, the number of people who have recovered from the infection is now 534.

10 am | Meghalaya

Chennai returnee tests positive for COVID-19 in Meghalaya

A man, who returned from Chennai, has tested positive for COVID-19 in Meghalaya, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has said.

The Chennai returnee coronavirus patient has been admitted at a COVID-19 hospital in the Garo Hills, the CM said.

With the new case, the number of COVID-19 cases in the state has risen to 14 but the Chennai returnee is the only active case in the state at present as 12 people have recovered from coronavirus and one has died.

– PTI

9.50 am | Mumbai

Dharavi sees a dip in COVID-19 cases

After reporting a spike of 85 COVID-19 cases that pushed its tally beyond 1,300-mark on Monday, Dharavi reported only 26 cases on Tuesday.

Dharavi, which has been reporting around 50 cases every day since May 14, saw a dip. The number of cases there now is 1,353 while 56 deaths have been reported thus far. One of the new cases is a 5-year-old boy from the Dharavi Police Chawl and a 7-year-old boy from the Matunga labour camp.

9.30 am | India

Data | Is India undercounting its COVID-19 deaths?

India’s COVID-19 case fatality rate (CFR, deaths/cases) has always remained low. But data from some European and Asian countries show that since the 10th week of 2020, “excess deaths” have surged. In countries with relatively poorer income levels such as Indonesia and Ecuador, a very small % of those excess deaths have been attributed to COVID-19. With historically poor registration of deaths and medically-certified death rate, is India too undercounting its dead?

9 am | USA

Hydroxychloroquine a ‘line of defence’ against virus, says Trump defending drug

U.S. President Donald Trump defended his taking antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a ‘line of defence’ against coronavirus.

“I think it’s worth it as a line of defence and I’ll stay on it for a little while longer. I’m just very curious myself, but it seems to be very safe,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House, a day after he disclosed that he has been taking the drug to ward off the deadly infection.

The U.S. president said the drug has gotten a bad reputation only because ‘he was promoting it’. However, opposition leaders slammed Trump for taking the unproven drug.

How safe are your grocery packages?

Ever since the spread of COVID-19, grocery runs are characterised by masks, sanitisers and gloves.

But, are you cleaning the groceries the right way? Here are a few points to remember as suggested by experts during and after grocery shopping.

8.20 am | Assam

Assam registers 3 new cases

Assam saw three new COVID-19 positive cases late Tuesday night. With this, the total case count in the State is now 157.

According to State records, 110 of these are active cases. As many as 41 have recovered, and two cases have been shifted to other States. Four people have died due to the infection.

8.10 am | Bihar

24 new cases in Bihar

Bihar registered 24 new COVID-19 positive cases, taking the total toll in the State to 1,519.

All 24 new patients hail from Katihar, Bhagalpur, Supaul, Kaimur and Patna districts. The death toll in the State remains nine. At least 475 people have recovered so far, according to State authorities.

8 am | Brazil

Brazil surpasses 1,000 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours

Brazil’s daily death toll from the new coronavirus jumped to a record 1,179 on Tuesday as President Jair Bolsonaro doubled down on chloroquine as a possible remedy and U.S. leader Donald Trump said he is considering a travel ban from Brazil.

Mr. Bolsonaro, an ideological ally of Mr. Trump, has been criticised for his handling of the outbreak, such as opposition to restrictions on movement he sees as too damaging to the economy.

7.30 am | Tamil Nadu

Spike takes Tamil Nadu tally past 12,000

In yet another spike, Tamil Nadu recorded 688 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Chennai witnessed a sharp increase, accounting for 552, or 80% of the fresh cases. This took its total to 7,672, of which 5,691 are active cases. The city also accounted for 58 of the 84 deaths so far in the State.

In addition to Chennai, Chengalpattu reported 22 more cases and Tiruvallur eight cases. There were five cases in Kancheepuram, three in Thanjavur, two each in Kanniyakumari and Ramanathapuram, and one each in Dindigul, Kallakurichi, Nagapattinam, Ranipet, Theni, Thoothukudi and Tiruchi.

7 am | UK

Premier League confirms six positive COVID-19 cases after testing

The Premier League said that six people from three different clubs had tested positive for COVID-19 out of a sample of 748 individuals. This includes three people from Watford F.C., and one from Burnley F.C.

The novel coronavirus tests were taken on Sunday and Monday ahead of the return to small group training. “Players or club staff who have tested positive will now self-isolate for a period of seven days,” the league said in a statement.

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