India’s COVID-19 positive cases has breached 6200 mark, and deaths have surpassed 200-mark, as the country is under lockdown for the past 15 days.
Rajasthan, Odisha, and Madhya Pradesh made wearing masks in public spaces compulsory.
Numbers to note:
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Here are the latest updates:
9.00 pm | London
98-year-old Indian-origin woman beats COVID-19 to return to UK
A 98-year-old Indian-origin woman has pleasantly surprised her doctors and family after beating Covid-19 to return to her home in Scotland within days of her hospital admission.
Daphne Shah, who turns 99 in July, was taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee with a high temperature, persistent cough and breathing difficulties on April 2. She was later diagnosed with COVID-19 but recovered speedily and was back home by April 13.
“My son is looking after me now. I’m feeling reasonably well now, but I don’t want to say too well. Having a celebratory party in July sounds like a great idea,” Kochi-born Ms. Shah told her local ‘Dundee Courier’ newspaper.
9.00 pm | New Delhi
Delhi Minorities Commissions tells Health Dept. to drop Nizamuddin Markaz reference from bulletins
The Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) has asked the city’s health department to stop mentioning Nizamuddin Markaz in its daily bulletins on coronavirus cases.
In a letter to the secretary, Delhi Health department, chairman of the Commission Zafarul Islam Khan asked the department to drop any mention of “religious undertones” in its daily bulletins.
8.30 pm | Madhya Pradesh
Wearing masks now mandatory while stepping out in Madhya Pradesh
In a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Madhya Pradesh, the State government on Thursday issued an order making the use of masks mandatory for citizens while stepping out of their houses.
Violation of this will attract legal action, the order by the State Public Health Department said.
“The department has made it mandatory to wear face- masks while stepping out. Action will be taken against the violators under various laws, including the Madhya Pradesh Epidemic Disease COVID-19 Regulation-2020,” it said.
8.30 pm | Mumbai
Mumbai reports highest single-day jump, total cases now 876
With 162 new cases and 9 more deaths, Mumbai reported the highest single-day jump on Thursday.
The total number of cases in the city now stands at 876, while the death toll has touched 54.
8.20 pm | New Delhi
Total number of cases in Delhi touches 720
Three deaths and 51 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Delhi on Thursday, taking the total number of deaths to 12 and cases to 720, according to a daily health bulletin of the Delhi government.
Out of the total 720 cases reported so far, 25 people have been discharged from hospitals and 682 are still undergoing treatment.
– Nikhil M. Babu
8.10 pm | Mumbai
CAPA slams Centre’s decision to allow airlines bookings from April 14
The government’s decision to allow airlines to accept bookings from April 14, 2020 without any clarity on over the end of the lockdown on that day, has evoked sharp criticism.
CAPA Advisory, a leading aviation consulting firm, has asked the government to immediately review the decision, or else consumers would lose a lot of money as happened in the past with Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways.
“The decision to allow opening of advance bookings from April 14, without a decision on the lifting of the lockdown and the likely structure of the transition period post the lockdown needs to be immediately reviewed as it is unfair to consumers,” Kapil Kaul, CEO and Director, CAPA Advisory said.
7.55 pm | Tamil Nadu
Madras HC issues notice to Centre on plea to bring back stranded Indians from Malaysia
The Madras High Court has sent a notice to the Centre on a plea to bring about 350 stranded Indians back from Malaysia due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
A special division bench of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice R. Hemalatha issued the notice to the Union External Affairs Ministry on the PIL moved by advocate M. Gnanasekar and posted the matter for further hearing after a week.
7.50 pm | Gujarat
Gujarat reports 21 new cases
As many as 21 new COVID-19 cases were detected in Gujarat on Thursday, taking the total number of cases to 262 in the State. So far, 26 patients have recovered and have been discharged, while 17 have died.
– Mahesh Langa
7.40 pm | Punjab
Death toll in Punjab touches 10
The death toll due to COVID-19 touched 10 in Punjab on Thursday, after two more patients died in the State, according to an official statement.
The State health department said the two patients who were tested positive for COVID-19 died on April 9. While one hailed from Barnala, the other was from Ropar.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said the State intends to launch a rapid testing drive aiming to screen one million people.
– Vikas Vasudeva
7.20 pm | New Delhi
DGCA issues guidelines for aircraft storage and return to service
As almost all commercial passenger aircraft in India have been grounded due to COVID-19 lockdown, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on April 9 issued guidelines for their storage and subsequent return to service.
“Some aircraft manufacturers have recommended storage programs. An operator may use these recommendations while developing their own specific storage programme,” the DGCA circular noted, adding that each company’s storage programme must be approved by the regulator.
7.15 pm | Mumbai
Number of containment zones in Mumbai rises by 235 in a week
This shows a rapid rise in containment zones by 235 in just eight days.
These containment zones include various buildings, housing societies, slum pockets and hospitals.
7.10 pm | Ladakh
One more person tests positive in Ladakh, total cases now 4
One more person has tested positive for COVID-19 in Ladakh, taking the total number of active cases in the Union Territory to four, a senior government official said on Thursday.
Commissioner Secretary (Health) Rigzin Samphel said the patient is from Choshot Yokma area of Leh, which has now been notified as a ‘containment area’ by the district administration.
Of the nine results which came today, one is positive, Mr. Samphel said, adding that Leh and Kargil districts have two positive cases each.
The woman had gone on a pilgrimage to Iran. She had returned to India on March 21 and reached Leh on March 27. All those who came in her contact are being tracked.
7.00 pm | Rajasthan
Rajasthan makes wearing masks mandatory in urban areas, mandis
The Rajasthan government has made wearing masks mandatory in urban areas and agriculture mandis (wholesale markets).
Through video conferencing, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot directed officials to ensure compliance of the state government decision which will be applicable in all 196 urban local bodies of the state and in agriculture mandis (wholesale markets).
6.50 pm | Mumbai
Three new cases have been reported in Mumbai’s Dharavi, bringing the total number of cases in the area to 17, including three deaths.
– Tanvi Deshpande
6.45 pm | Rome
100 doctors have died of coronavirus in Italy, says health association
One hundred Italian doctors have died of the novel coronavirus since the pandemic reached the Mediterranean country in February, Italy’s health association, FNOMCeO, said on Thursday.
“The number of doctors who have died because of COVID-19 is 100 — perhaps even 101 at the moment, unfortunately,” said an FNOMCeO spokesman.
6.30 pm | New Delhi
‘Home Ministry’s control room resolved 300 cases in a day’
The control room set up the Union Home Ministry to help people stranded due to the lockdown has been able to resolve 300 cases on a single day, an official said on Thursday. Addressing a press conference, Home Ministry Joint Secretary Punya Salila Srivastava said State governments are adopting various methods to solve problems of people stranded during lockdown.
“The Home Ministry’s control room solved 300 problems on Wednesday. The helpline for northeastern region is also providing services smoothly,” she said.
6.20 pm | Uttar Pradesh
Three people test positive in Noida
Two more COVID-19 positive patients were detected in Noida and one in Greater Noida on Thursday, taking the total number of COVID-19 cases in Gautam Buddh Nagar to 63, according to officials.
“The new cases are from Sector 50 and Eldico Utopia in Sector 93A of Noida and Silver City in Sector P12 of Greater Noida,” the Health Department here stated.
6.15 pm | Tamil Nadu
96 test positive in Tamil Nadu, total cases surge past 800
At least 96 persons tested positive for COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu. With this, the total number of cases in the State has touched 834, said Health Secretary Beela Rajesh.
6.00 pm | Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu at local transmission stage currently, but may progress into Stage-III, says CM
Tamil Nadu is in Stage – II of COVID-19 (local transmission of the virus) and there is a possibility of the State progressing into Stage -III (community transmission), but the government has been taking proactive steps to control this, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said on Thursday.
“The government has been taking efforts to contain it within Stage-II,” he told journalists after chairing a review meeting with members of 12 coordination teams at the Secretariat.
5.45 pm | Washington
World faces worst economic fallout since the Great Depression, says IMF Chief
The global coronavirus pandemic is causing an economic crisis unlike any in the past century and will require a massive response to ensure recovery, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said on Thursday.
She warned that “global growth will turn sharply negative in 2020,” with 170 of the International Monetary Fund’s 180 members experiencing a decline in per capita income.
“In fact, we anticipate the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression,” Georgieva said in a speech previewing next week’s spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank.
Even in the best case the IMF expects only a “partial recovery” next year, assuming the virus fades later this year, allowing normal business to resume as the lockdowns imposed to contain its spread are lifted.
5.45 pm | New Delhi
In a bid to support pulses and oilseeds farmers, Agriculture Ministry hikes daily procurement limit from 25 to 40 quintals per farmer for the rabi season of 2020 under its Price Support Scheme. The procurement window, which was due to end on April 30, has also been extended to 90 days from the date of commencement for all States.
– Priscilla Jebaraj
5.40 pm | New Delhi
Masks now mandatory for everyone in New Delhi
Following the experience of other cities around the world, masks have been made mandatory for everyone stepping out of their house, said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Even if masks are not available, wearing a cloth or taking any similar measure will also do, but covering your mouth and nose is required, he said.
There are 21 areas in Delhi where containment is underway. This is mainly a measure to shield those areas, said the CM, adding: “Shield has six letters. S is for seal. No one will go in or out. H is for home quarantine. I is for isolation and tracing of those found with coronavirus infection. E is for essential supply: door to door delivery of essential items is being undertaken. L is for local sanitisation and disinfection of the area. D is for door to door checking: every door will be knocked to make enquiries about the health of its members regarding coronavirus symptoms … we seek citizens’ cooperation. You have to save yourself to save your family and save the country from coronavirus.”
– Jatin Anand
5.30 pm | Chhattisgarh
7 test positive in Chhattisgarh, State tally reaches 18
Seven persons test positive for COVID-19 in Chhattisgarh’s Korba district. The total number of cases in the State has risen to 18, said officials.
5.20 pm | West Bengal
Tea gardens to reopen in West Bengal
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says tea gardens will reopen in the State and that the Central government has already approved the decision.
She said 15% of the labour force would be allowed to work at a time in the tea gardens. The decision was taken because the lockdown has coincided with production of the first flush in Darjeeling, which is the best quality tea, she said, adding that the produce will be wasted if it is not plucked in time.
– Shiv Sahay
5.00 pm | Maharashtra
Salaries of Maharashtra MLAs and MLCs to be slashed by 30%
The Maharashtra Cabinet on Thursday decided to cut salaries of MLAs and MLCs by 30% starting this month, till March next year, in view of the State’s economy bearing the brunt of the coronavirus crisis.
The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, also decided to set up two committees to recommend steps for the economic revival of the State.
4.55 pm | West Bengal
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said twelve new positive cases have been registered in the last 24 hours. The active cases in the State have gone up to 80.
Three people have been cured.
Representatives of different industry chambers and bodies were present at the meeting. Exemptions for certain industries functioning with lesser staff would be looked into by the Chief Secretary.
– Shiv Sahay
4.40 pm | J&K
Twenty-four more positive cases reported in Kashmir, taking the total number of cases to 184.
As many as 32 in Jammu, 152 are in Kashmir, says J&K spokesman Rohit Kansal.
4.30 pm | New Delhi
COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package
Indian Railway has so far produced over 6 lakh reusable masks and 40,000 litres of hand sanitisers, says PIB spokesperson.
Central government has sanctioned ₹15,000 crore for the COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package for State governments, which is completely Centrally funded.
The fund can be used for strengthening the health infrastructure, procurement of equipment, upgradation of labs, ambulances, community surveillance and other allied works. The Central government informed the States about the package today.
4.20 pm | New Delhi
Waiting for DCGI nod for clinical trial on plasma therapy: ICMR
Research protocol for clinical trial on plasma therapy is in final stage, says ICMR spokesperson. We will have to get clearance from Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). In limited clinical trial for severe cases in other countries, it has been found to be successful, he adds.
13,143 samples were tested yesterday, he says.
4.20 pm | Uttar Pradesh
221 cases in UP linked to Nizamuddin event
Uttar Pradesh COVID-19 cases now stands at 410. This includes 221 linked to Tablighi Jamaat, says UP health principal secretary Amit Mohan Prasad.
Positive cases found in 40 out of the 75 districts. – Omar Rashid
4.20 pm | Maharashtra
Dharavi reports third death, a 70 year-old woman from Kalyanwadi. Total cases are now 14.
4.15 pm | New Delhi
Railway has mobilised 2,500 doctors to fight COVID-19
Railway has mobilised 2,500 doctors and 35,000 paramadics, says Health Ministry spokesperson Luv Agarwal. It is also preparing 80,000 isolation beds in railway coaches, he says.
GoM meeting discussed measures to fight COVID-19. They had a detailed discussion on dedicated hospitals and availability of essential items like PPEs and masks, Mr. Agarwal says.
20 domestic manufacturers are to supply 1.7 crore PPEs. Orders also placed for 49,000 ventilators, he says.
Discussion also took place on how to increase lab samples in cluster areas, Mr. Agarwal says.
PPEs are not required for everyone, irrespective of the availability, it should be used wherever required at the field level, keeping in view the risk profile, he says. – Devesh K. Pandey
4.00 pm | Rajasthan
A 76-year-old man, symptomatic and identified during house-to-house survey in Jodhpur, dies. This is the seventh coronavirus-related death in Rajasthan. – Mohammed Iqbal
3.50 pm | Maharashtra
After Mumbai, masks mandatory in Maharashtra cities
Wearing masks has been made compulsory in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Nagpur, where coronavirus has spread on a big scale, Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh said on Thursday.
The Home Minister made the appeal in a video message, which his party NCP posted on its Twitter handle.
“Wearing masks has been made compulsory in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, where coronavirus has spread on a big scale. So nobody should step out of their homes in these cities without wearing masks,” he said. – PTI
3.15 pm | Odisha
Two fresh COVID-19 cases in Odisha
Two more COVID-19 cases were reported in Odisha, taking the total number of people afflicted with dreaded virus to 44 in the state.
A 51-year-old woman from Dhenkanal town tested positive for COVID-19 while an elderly man from West Bengal’s Medinipur district was also diagnosed with the infection here, a senior official said. – PTI
2.50 pm | Delhi
Two people admitted for cardiac problems in Max Hospital Saket test positive for COVID-19
Two unrelated people who were admitted in Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital in Saket for cardiac problems tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday morning.
They were initially admitted at Max Hospital Saket, East Block, which was later turned into a COVID-19 treatment facility. They were then moved to Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital in Saket.
“We are still looking into how they contracted the virus. But there is no chance that they would have contracted it from COVID-19 positive patients at the East Block, as the COVID-19 patients were in isolation wards, when these two patients were admitted there,” a spokesperson of the hospital told The Hindu. – Nikhil M. Babu
2.40 pm | Telangana
8 new cases in Nizamabad
Eight patients tested positive for COVID-19 in Nizamabad district taking the total number of positive cases to 47 today.
Dstrict Collector C. Narayana Reddy appealed to the people not to be frightened about the situation. “However, you should cooperate with the administration by remaining indoors,” he said. – Ram Mohan
2.30 pm | Madhya Pradesh
A 62-year-old doctor from Indore died of COVID-19 on Thursday morning while undergoing treatment at a hospital, taking the toll owing to the illness to 22 in the city.
2.10 pm | Karnataka
Karnataka to cut 30% pay of legislators, Ministers for one year
The Karnataka Cabinet on Thursday decided to slash 30% monthly salaries and allowances of MLAs, MLCs and Ministers, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker for one year.
The cut in salary would save the state exchequer Rs 15.36 crore for one year. – Nagesh Prabhu
2.00 pm | Maharashtra
NSCI stadium now a quarantine facility
The Mumbai civic body converted the NSCI stadium in Worli as an observation facility for people who may have come in contact with coronavirus patients.
The Sardar Vallabhai Patel stadium at the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) complex is close to Worli Koliwada, one of the coronavirus hotspots in the city.
“We have converted the venue into a special observation zone,” said Mazhar Nadiadwala, Managing Director of Dome Entertainment which runs the stadium.
The company has set up 300 beds with standardised facilities, in line with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) guidelines, and also offered adjacent rooms to the civic body. – PTI
1.45 pm | Karnataka
10 new cases in Karnataka
Ten new COVID-19 cases were reported in Karnataka on Thursday. With this, the total number of positive cases in the state stands at 191.
This includes six deaths and 28 patients who are discharged.
A bulletin by the Department of Health and Family Welfare states that three cases are reported in Bagalkote, two each from Bengaluru and Mysuru, one each from Chikkaballapur, Mandya and Belagavi. While eight of them were in contact with COVID-19 patients, two of the patients had travelled to New Delhi. – Tanu Kulkarni
1.20 pm | Tamil Nadu
Anna University reschedules exams
Anna University’s end of semester exams which were scheduled to be held during April or May 2020 has been rescheduled due to the national lockdown, the Controller of Examinations said in a statement.
The revised dates and timetable will be published after the lockdown, it added.
12.45 pm | Andhra Pradesh
No fresh cases reported from AP
The blood samples of over 200 people have tested negative for coronavirus in Andhra Pradesh overnight as the total cases remained at 348, a health department bulletin said on Thursday.
No new COVID-19 cases were reported in the last 12 hours since 9 pm on Wednesday till 9 AM on Thursday, it said.
The total number of COVID-19 positive cases in the state stood at 348, with 335 active cases. – PTI
12.30 pm | Odisha
Odisha extends lockdown till April 30
Odisha government has decided to extend the lockdown until April 30.
Educational institutions in Odisha will also remain closed till June 17.
The State has requested the Centre to do the same and not to resume airline and railway services till April end. – Prafulla Das
12.20 pm | Jharkhand
With 8 fresh COVID-19 cases having reported in the last 24 hours, the overall count in the state rose to 13 – five in Bokaro, including the deceased, seven in Ranchi and one in Hazaribag. – PTI
12.10 pm | Bihar
Siwan reports 20 cases
With new COVID-19 cases detected in different districts of Bihar, the State’s tally has gone up to 51.
Siwan district has become a hotspot in the State with 20 positive cases being detected. – Amarnath Tewary
11.40 am | Rajasthan
Seven people who returned from Indore test positive in Rajasthan
The number of COVID-19 positive cases in Rajasthan has increased to 413 with the detection of 30 more cases today.
Seven each were detected in Jhalawar, Jhunjhunu and Tonk districts, according to Rajasthan government’s Medical & Health Department..
The Jhalawar patients have a travel history of Indore in Madhya Pradesh, while two of the positive cases in Jhunjhunu returned from Qatar and Dubai.
The seven cases in Tonk are contacts of infected Tablighi Jamaat workers.
Five cases were found in Jaisalmer district’s Pokhran town, two in Banswara and one each in Jodhpur and Barmer. – Mohammed Iqbal
11.30 am | Maharashtra
162 new coronavirus cases in Maharashtra
Maharashtra reported 162 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest rise in a single day. The State’s tally is 1,297.
“Out of the 162 new cases, 143 have been reported from Mumbai,” an health official said.
The other cities where people have tested positive are: Kalyan-Dombivli-four, Pune and Aurangabad-three each, Pimpri Chinchwad and Navi Mumbai-two each, and Yavatmal, Thane city, Mira Bhayandar, Vasai-Virar and Sindhudurg- one each. – Shoumojit Banerjee
11.15 am | Madhya Pradesh
Eight of family in Khargone test positive for COVID-19
Seven family members of a man in Khargone district who had returned from South Africa tested positive on Wednesday, taking the city tally 12 cases. The man is already undergoing treatment for the virus.
Rajni Davar, district Chief Medical and Health Officer, said the man had returned from South Africa via New Delhi on March 22, and was admitted to a hospital on March 31, and later tested positive for the disease.
The infected members, one girl and the rest men, are aged between 13 and 75. They have been shifted to the Khargone district hospital.
Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday recorded 69 fresh cases of COVID-19, taking the tally to 380. Indore alone recorded 40 new cases on the day, whereas Bhopal recorded nine. So far, 29 patients have succumbed to the illness in the State, with 21 of them being residents of Indore. – Sidharth Yadav
11.10 am | New Delhi
‘India will do everything possible to help humanity’s fight against COVID-19’
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said India will do everything possible to help the humanity’s fight against COVID-19, responding to US President Donald Trump who thanked India for the decision to allow the export of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine.
“Fully agree with you President @realDonaldTrump. Times like these bring friends closer,” Modi tweeted.
The India-US partnership is stronger than ever, he said.
“India shall do everything possible to help humanity’s fight against COVID-19,” the prime minister said. – PTI
11.00 am | Gujarat
55 fresh cases reported from Gujarat
Gujarat has reported 55 new COVID-19 cases, of which 50 are from Ahmedabad. One patient has succumbed to the virus in Ahmedabad.
The State has reported 241 cases so far, including 17 deaths. As many as 26 patients have recovered. – Mahesh Langa
10.15 am | Jharkhand
First COVID-19 death in Jharkhand
A 72-year-old man died of coronavirus in Bokaro district, the first COVID-19 death reported in Jharkhand.
The patient died on Wednesday night, Bokaro District Chief Medical Officer Ashok Kumar Pathak said. – PTI
9.50 am | Chhattisgarh
Man tests positive for coronavirus in Chhattisgarh
A 52-year-old man tested positive for coronavirus in Chhattisgarh’s Korba district, taking the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 11.
The man had come in contact with 16 Tablighi Jamaat members who were staying at a mosque in Purani Basti area of Katghora town.
The Katghora town has been put under complete lockdown and its border has been sealed as a precautionary measure. This is the third case reported from Katghora. – PTI
9.15 am | USA
11 Indians die of coronavirus in U.S.
At least 11 Indians have died of COVID-19 in the United States with another 16 testing positive for the infection which has claimed more than 14,000 lives and afflicted more than four lakh people in the US.
All Indian citizens who have succumbed to the deadly infection in the U.S. are male, with ten of them from New York and New Jersey area. Four of the victims are said to be taxi drivers in New York City. – PTI
9.00 am | Punjab
One more death reported from Ropar district in Punjab
Another COVID-19 death has been reported in Punjab, taking the toll in the State to nine, according to a senior official.
Confirming the death, Punjab Special Chief Secretary K.B.S Sidhu said the patient who was tested positive was a 55-year-old man hailing from Chatamli village in Ropar district. “The protocol for handling the body under COVID-19 is being followed,” he said.
8.30 am | Karnataka
An eighty-year-old woman from Gadag who had tested positive for COVID-19 has passed away.
According to official sources she passed away on Wednesday midnight reportedly due to cardiac arrest. Further details are awaited.
7.50 am | Bihar
With one more positive case of a 38 year old man from Nawada district, the total number of COVID-19 positive persons in Bihar goes up to 39. – Amarnath Tewary
7.20 am | USA
U.S. coronavirus death toll passes 14,600
U.S. deaths due to coronavirus topped 14,600 on Wednesday, the second-highest reported number in the world behind Italy, according to a Reuters tally. New York has accounted for nearly half of them.
Officials have warned Americans to expect alarming numbers of coronavirus deaths this week, even as an influential university model on Wednesday scaled back its projected U.S. pandemic death toll by 26% to 60,000.
Face masks compulsory while stepping out
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said that people stepping out of their houses will have to compulsorily wear a face mask.
“Wearing of facial masks can reduce the spread of coronavirus substantially. Therefore, it has been decided that facial masks will be compulsory for anyone stepping out of their house. Cloth mask shall be eligible too [sic.],” he said in a tweet.
CM calls for more hands to join war
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday appealed to ex-servicemen with experience in medical corps to return to hospitals to join the State in its battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. He also urged retired ward boys, nurses, and individuals, who have completed course in nursing to come forward.