India sees biggest jump in COVID-19 cases, debate on ending lockdown Apr 09, 2020 0 722 12345 DPANew DelhiPrime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday indicated that a complete lifting of a countrywide lockdown on April 15 was unlikely even as India reported its biggest jump in Covid-19-related deaths and cases in the past 24 hours.Modi in a video conference meeting with leaders of major political parties said several state governments, district administrations and health experts had suggested extending the lockdown, a release from his office said.“The situation in the country is akin to a social emergency; it has necessitated tough decisions and we must continue to remain vigilant,” Modi was quoted as saying.The Indian government announced a 21-day lockdown on March 24 to contain a possible surge of new coronavirus cases in the country of 1.3 billion people. All except those working in health care and providing essential services and commodities were asked to stay at home.Flights, rail and vehicular traffic were stopped and borders between states sealed.Most experts have advised a phased exit from the lockdown to balance health concerns with the economic damage it has caused.Easing the lockdown in pockets that are not affected and sealing Covid-19 hotspots are among the strategies being debated, officials said.Modi is scheduled to hold a meeting with chief ministers of regional governments on Saturday after which a final decision is expected.A panel of federal ministers has advised extending the closure of schools and colleges and the banning of religious and other gatherings until May 15.Regional governments were in the process of identifying Covid-19 hotspots and trying to isolate these, federal Health Ministry spokesman Lav Agarwal said. The government of Uttar Pradesh state, one of the worst affected, said it was sealing off 15 districts completely till April 15.“Bank employees, media persons who are allowed now elsewhere will not be able to enter these areas,” the state’s health secretary Amit Mohan Prasad said at a briefing in state capital Lucknow. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Joy, relief as thousands leave China’s Wuhan Apr 09, 2020 0 363 Malaysia’s virus tally passes 4,000 but recoveries top new cases Apr 09, 2020 0 402 Putin orders bonuses for ‘frontline’ Russia virus medics Apr 09, 2020 0 132 Philippines slams provocative acts in disputed seas amid pandemic DPA Manila The Philippines on Wednesday called on claimants to the disputed South China Sea to avoid any provacative actions that would raise tensions in the area as the region and the world struggles to cope with the .. Killer of Bangladesh’s founding leader faces execution 45 years on AFP Dhaka A Bangladesh military captain arrested after nearly 25 years on the run over the assassination of the country’s founding leader will be executed, officials said on Wednesday. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, father of .. Indonesian ferry passengers jump ship in panic over coronavirus Jakarta Several passengers travelling on a ferry jumped into the sea and swam ashore off Indonesia’s Flores island after three people on board showed symptoms of the new coronavirus, an official said on Wednesday. The .. South Korea halts visa waivers for countries with bans on nationals DPA Seoul South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Wednesday temporarily suspended visa-free entry and visa waiver programmes with countries imposing entry bans on its nationals, Yonhap news agency .. After ripping through Vanuatu, Cyclone Harold lashes Fiji DPA Canberra Cyclone Harold lashed the Pacific Island state of Fiji on Wednesday, just days after it ripped through Vanuatu. The category 4 tropical cyclone has damaged homes and caused widespread flooding across .. Bangladesh locks down Rohingya refugees’ district amid pandemic Dhaka Bangladesh has imposed a lockdown in a southern district that hosts more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims in an attempt to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in the crowded refugee camps, officials said on .. Hong Kong extends measures to stop surge in COVID-19 cases Hong Kong Hong Kong will extend measures prohibiting public gatherings of more than four people across some industries and two additional business sectors, the government said in a statement on Wednesday. Hong Kong ..