India in 2 minutes

Fraudster tried to sell Statue of Unity

Police in Gujarat have registered a case against an unknown online fraudster who tried selling the world's largest statue for US$4 billion, claiming the proceeds would be used to help the state government fund its fight against the coronavirus.

The plot to sell the Statue of Unity, at 182 metres the world's tallest such structure, is among the most brazen cases police have come across. They say cybercrimes have surged since the health scare gripped the country.

Ban eased on drug being tested for Covid-19

The Indian government has approved some exports of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug being touted as a possible coronavirus treatment, after apparent pressure from the United States President Donald Trump, who has been urging Americans to take it.

The tablets are used to prevent and treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, but over the past week Mr Trump has been aggressively promoting the drug as a treatment for coronavirus, despite there being no conclusive medical evidence to prove its efficacy.

TikTok, Facebook asked to remove users spreading misinformation

The Indian government has told Facebook and Chinese video app TikTok to remove users found to be spreading misinformation about the coronavirus following concern about videos intended to mislead Muslims, according to a government source and a letter seen by Reuters.

The move follows a report by Delhi-based digital analytics firm Voyager Infosec, which identified a pattern of targeted disinformation in many social media videos that appeared to be aimed at Muslims, with some using religious beliefs to justify defiance of health advisories over the virus.

Popular actor stitches mask

Malayalam actor Indrans, 63, a popular comedian and character artiste, on Tuesday returned to his erstwhile profession of tailoring and stitched a face mask.

He demonstrated how to stitch a mask at a jail complex in Thiruvananthapuram as part of Kerala Police's announcement that they will supply half a million masks to the public.

Baby born in Bihar named Covid

A baby born in Bihar's Gaya district last Saturday was named Covid after the pandemic. "The name of the child will always remind us the joy he brought in the family amid such scare and terror," said Mrs Priyanjali, the mother of the child.

Migrant workers treated as 'state guests'

As thousands of migrant workers from other states find themselves stranded in Odisha due to the nationwide lockdown, the state government on Tuesday claimed that it has made arrangements to provide them with food and other basic necessities.

Chief spokesman on Covid-19 Subroto Bagchi said 56,926 migrant workers have been given accommodation in 1,882 camps.

Karnataka opens National Highway to Kerala patients

The Supreme Court on Tuesday disposed of Karnataka's petition challenging the Kerala High Court order on opening the National Highway at Kasargod border to provide hospital access in Mangaluru to patients from Kerala.

The decision came after Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta said talks between the chief secretaries of the two states had led to an amicable resolution of the issue.

Karnataka had blocked entry of all traffic, including patients from Kasargod, to Mangaluru after the border district of Kerala reported a steep increase in Covid-19 cases.

World's dirtiest air becomes cleaner

Cities across India, which was home to 14 of the 20 most-polluted cities in the world last year, are breathing some of the cleanest air after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a three-week nationwide lockdown, starting on March 25.

On April 8, the financial hub Mumbai was the only Indian city in the top 20 most-polluted places, according to data from IQAir.

Supermarket billionaire's wealth surges

The Indian tycoon whose net worth surged the most among peers can thank the nation's hoarders, with millions scrambling to stock up on staples amid the world's biggest isolation effort.

The net worth of Mr Radhakishan Damani, who controls Avenue Supermarts, has surged almost 11 per cent this year to US$10.7 billion, making him the billionaire with the biggest gains among the 12 richest Indians whose wealth is tracked by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Shares of Avenue Supermarts, which contributes nearly all of the wealth to Damani's net worth, have advanced 24 per cent this year. Mask-wearing becomes compulsory Millions of people in India, including in its two largest cities, were ordered on Wednesday to wear face masks or coverings.

Residents in the capital New Delhi and financial hub Mumbai, which have a combined population of almost 40 million, as well as in the most-populous state Uttar Pradesh, where 200 million live, will have to cover their faces in public spaces.

"Wearing of facial masks can reduce the spread of coronavirus substantially," Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said. "Therefore, it has been decided that facial masks will be compulsory for anyone stepping out of their house."

Plan to restrict lockdown to hotspots

The Central government is considering plans to seal off coronavirus hotspots in Delhi, Mumbai and parts of the south while easing restrictions elsewhere as a way out of a three-week lockdown that has caused deep economic distress.

The sweeping clampdown ends on April 14 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will decide soon whether to extend it. He told a conference of political leaders on Wednesday that several state governments had asked for an extension of the lockdown but India is also facing serious economic challenges.

Uttar Pradesh to close 15 worst-affected districts

Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, has decided to seal 15 of its districts worst affected by coronavirus infections to try to contain the spread of the disease.

"Since the numbers have risen sharply, this move is essential to stop community spread," said chief secretary R. K. Tiwari.

The state has recorded 326 infections and three deaths.

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