Highlights: The active caseload breached the 4 lakh-mark again after around three-and-half months.

New Delhi:

India saw 59,118 new coronavirus infections in a day, the highest single day rise so far this year, taking the nationwide COVID-19 tally to 1,18,46,652, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday.

The active caseload breached the 4 lakh-mark again after around three-and-half months.

Registering an increase for the 16th day in row, the active cases have increased to 4,21,066 comprising 3.55 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate has further dropped to 95.09 per cent, the data stated.

The 59,118 new infections reported in a span of 24 hours were the highest since October 18, 2020. The death count increased to 1,60,949 with 257 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.
As many as 61,871 new infections were recorded in a span of 24 hours on October 18.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,12,64,637, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.36 per cent, the data stated.

Meanwhile,  As farmers protesting against three contentious agricultural laws hold an all-India strike – Bharat Bandh – today to mark four months of their agitation at Delhi’s borders, demonstrations have affected rail and road traffic. Four trains were cancelled and more than 30 trains were stopped over agitations near railway stations in Delhi, Chandigarh, Firozpur and Amritsar. 

Demonstrations were also reported at National Highway-9 near one of three protest epicenters in the national capital – the Ghazipur border. Policemen have set up barricades to block the movement of protesters. The farmers’ protest at the Delhi borders started on November 26 at three epicenters- Singhu border, Ghazipur and Tikri. 

Here are the Latest News Highlights:

Nearly 500 Charged For COVID-19 Fraud In US

Nearly 500 people have been charged in the United States for fraud schemes involving more than half a billion dollars in Covid-19 relief, the Justice Department said Friday.

“The Department of Justice has led an historic enforcement initiative to detect and disrupt Covid-19 related fraud schemes,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

A total of 474 defendants have been charged in cases involving attempts to fraudulently obtain over $569 million dollars, the department said.

May Take “Strict Action” By April 2: Ajit Pawar On Pune Covid Surge

The Maharashtra government may have to take “strict action” in Pune by April 2 if the coronavirus situation remains unchanged, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said today, hinting at reimposing lockdown.

“I want to tell the people that the situation is worsening. If the situation remains unchanged, we might have to take strict action by April 2. I urge everyone to please follow rules. Wear masks, maintain social distance,” he said today, after meeting with officials and elected representatives in the district.

Mr Pawar said the government has decided to place restrictions on assemblies in the district. He said not more than 50 guests will be allowed in marriage functions; 20 people will be allowed to attend funerals.

Gujarat Records Over 2,000 New Covid Cases For First Time
Gujarat reported 2,190 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest daily rise so far, which took its caseload to 2,96,320, the health department said, reported news agency PTI.

For the first time since the pandemic began, the one-day rise in cases crossed the 2,000-mark in the state.

Six deaths during the day pushed the death count to 4,479, officials said .

Fresh Restrictions In Maharashtra’s Palghar Amid Covid Surge
Considering the rise in COVID-19 cases, the administration in Maharashtra’s Palghar district on Friday ordered the shutting of wedding venues, lawns and ceremonial halls from April 15, reported news agency PTI.

The district disaster management cell met during the day and decided to take some stringent measures in light of the spike in infections.

As per the order, all wedding venues, lawns and other ceremonial halls will remain shut from April 15 onward, the order stated.

Madhya Pradesh Logs 2,091 Covid Cases, 9 Deaths, 1,048 Recoveries
Madhya Pradesh on Friday reported 2,091 new COVID-19 cases, taking its tally to 2,84,265, while nine deaths increased the death count to 3,937, a health official said, reported news agency PTI.

As many as 1,048 people were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, taking the count of recoveries in Madhya Pradesh to 2,68,290, he added.

“No Lockdown Likely Now In Telangana,” Clarifies Chief Minister In Assembly
Amidst a surge in coronavirus cases across the state, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on Friday said there are no plans to impose lockdown in the state, reported news agency ANI.

Speaking in the Assembly, Chief Minister KCR said, “There will be no lockdown implemented in the state of Telangana. People need not panic.”

He further said that due to the previous lockdown, the state has faced a lot of problems. There will be no implementation of lockdown in the state.

The state government is taking all the required measures to control the spread of coronavirus in the state, he said, adding, people must wear masks, maintain social distancing, avoid public gatherings and must take care of themselves.

Nagpur Logs 4,095 Covid Cases, Highest Ever In A Single Day
Nagpur on Friday saw its highest ever single-day spike in COVID-19 cases as 4,095 were detected with the infection. Nagpur also saw 35 deaths and 1,943 people getting discharged after recovering, an official said, reported news agency PTI.

The district’s caseload now stands at 2,11,162, including 4,819 deaths, and a recovery count of 1,69,407 has left it with 36,936 active cases, he added.

With 17,6265 samples being examined on Friday, the number of tests in Nagpur went up to 15,58,808, the official informed.

Will Never Ever Forget Sacrifices Soldiers Of Bangladesh, India Made: PM Modi
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Bangladesh’s Freedom Struggle Significant Moment In My Journey Too: PM Modi
The freedom struggle of Bangladesh was a significant moment in my journey too… My colleagues and I had done a satyagraha in India… I was in my early twenties. I even had the opportunity to go to jail during this satyagraha for Bangladesh’s struggle for freedom: PM Modi in Bangladesh

Saluting, Remembering “Mukhtijoddhas” Of Bangladesh: PM Modi
I am also saluting and remembering the “mukhtijoddhas” of Bangladesh… I also remember and pay homage to all those Indian soldiers who stood shoulder to shoulder with the “mukhtijoddhas” to ensure Bangladesh gets its freedom: PM Modi in Bangladesh

This Year Marks 50 Years Of Independence, Birth Centenary Of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman: PM In Bangladesh
This year, that marks the 50 years of the liberation and Independence of Bangladesh, as well as the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, marks a significant milestone for both Bangladesh and India: PM Modi in Bangladesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Addresses Event In Bangladesh: Highlights
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“Can Puducherry Polls Be Deferred?”: High Court On Complaint Against BJP
The Madras High Court on Friday asked the Election Commission if the Puducherry Assembly election – scheduled for April 6 – could be deferred in light of allegations the BJP had wrongfully accessed and misused voters’ Aadhaar details, including phone numbers, for campaigning purposes. Read Here
India Crosses 5.5 Crore COVID-19 Vaccination Mark
Union Health Ministry in its daily vaccination update on Friday said the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 5.5 crores with over 23 lakh inoculated in the last 24-hours. “A total of 5,55,04,440 vaccine doses have been given, as per the provisional report till 7 am today. These include 80,34,547 HCWs (health care workers) who have taken the 1st dose and 51,04,398 HCWs who have taken the 2nd dose, 85,99,981 frontline workers (FLWs) 1st dose, 33,98,570 FLWs (2nd dose), 2,47,67,172 beneficiaries more than 60 years old and 55,99,772 beneficiaries aged 45 and above with specific co-morbidities,” according to the Health Ministry said on Friday.
With Rising COVID-19 Numbers Restrictions Imposed On Public Gatherings
In the wake of an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Madhya Pradesh, the Crisis Management Committee in Indore has curtailed the timing of markets ahead of Holi. All religious places will also be closed till further orders. The committee on Thursday decided that markets will be closed at 9 pm instead of 10 pm. All the religious places will be closed till further orders and their congregations will not be allowed. People will not be allowed to sit in restaurants while takeaways are permitted. 50 people will be allowed in the marriage ceremony while at a funeral 20 people will be permitted.
President Kovind Visits Army Hospital After Experiencing Chest Discomfort
President Ram Nath Kovind today visited the Army Hospital (Research And Referral) in New Delhi for a check-up after complaining of chest discomfort this morning. A medical bulletin said the 75-year-old is undergoing a routine check-up and is under observation. His condition is said to be stable.
Bharat Bandh: Protesters Block Roads In UP’s Muzaffarnagar
Members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) blocked roads here on Friday as part of the 12-hour Bharat Bandh, called by farmer groups who have been protesting against the new agri laws. Roads in and around the district including the Delhi-Saharanpur National Highway and Muzaffarnagar-Deoband Road were blocked by the protesters.
Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan, Infected With COVID-19, Holds In-Person Meeting

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has come under severe criticism from both the opposition and the public for holding an in-person meeting with his media team despite being infected with COVID-19, according to a media report today. Imran Khan, 68, tested positive for the coronavirus last Saturday, just a couple of days after receiving a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine. Hi wife Bushra Bibi also tested positive for COVID-19 the same day. Read Here
Telangana Adds 518 Fresh COVID-19 Cases, 3 Deaths

Telangana continued to witness an upward trend in COVID-19 cases with 518 new infections being reported, a record high this year, taking the tally to 3,05,309, while the death toll rose to 1,683 with three more fatalities, the state government said on Friday. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) accounted for the most number of cases with 157, followed by Medchal Malkajgiri and Rangareddy districts with 44 and 38 cases respectively, it said in a bulletin, providing details as of 8 PM on March 25.

Nepal Removes Quarantine Provisions For Tourists Vaccinated For COVID-19
Nepal on Thursday enforced new travel rules removing the quarantine requirements for foreign tourists who have got both doses of COVID-19 vaccine, in an attempt to give a boost to pandemic-depressed travel and tourism business in the country. According to new travel protocols, posted on the website of the Tourism Ministry on Thursday evening, vaccinated tourists entering the Himalayan Nation have to submit a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test report form within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin along with documents proving administration of both doses of anti-coronavirus vaccines has also been made mandatory for those flying by air.
”Satyagraha” Ends Atrocities, Arrogance: Rahul Gandhi On Bharat Bandh
India’s history shows that ”satyagraha” ends atrocities, injustice and arrogance, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Friday, expressing support for the ”Bharat Bandh” called by farmer unions protesting the three agri laws. Farmer unions protesting the laws have called for a complete ”Bharat Bandh” from 6 am to 6 pm on Friday which marks four months of the farmer agitation on Delhi”s three borders — Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri. In a tweet in Hindi, Gandhi said India”s history shows that ”satyagraha” ends atrocities, injustice and arrogance. 
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Fresh Electoral Bonds Can Be Issued From April 1, Says Supreme Court
The Supreme Court today said that fresh electoral bonds can be issued from April 1. The decision came based on the Election Commission’s argument that it approves of the instrument since without it political parties will deal in hard cash. The poll panel, however, said it is keen on bringing in more transparency into the transactions involving the bonds.
Maharashtra: Weekly COVID review meeting, under the chairmanship of Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, begins in Pune.

Amid Relentless Resurgence, Maharashtra Issues New Covid-19 Guidelines
Maharashtra today hit a six-month high in the daily reportage of fresh Covid-19 cases at 35,952 and 111 deaths. The state has consistently remained the worst-hit of all by the pandemic. Amid this resurgence in infection over the past few weeks, the government has issued a fresh set of guidelines to tackle the situation. These measures include both precautionary ones and those meant to reinforce the medical infrastructure. Read Here
6 New COVID-19 Cases Push Mizoram’s Tally To 4,460

Six more persons, including a Border Security Force (BSF) jawan, have tested positive for COVID-19 in Mizoram, taking the state’s caseload to 4,460, an official said Friday.

No Vegetable, Milk Supplies On Bharat Bandh Today, Say Farmers
As farmers protesting against three contentious agricultural laws  hold an all-India strike – Bharat Bandh – today to mark four months of their agitation at Delhi’s borders, rail traffic was affected this morning. Some trains from Delhi to Chandigarh, Amritsar, Kalka among other destinations were cancelled this morning. Read Here
India Records 59,118 New Infections, 257 Deaths In 24 Hours

India’s total tally of COVID-19 cases surged to 1,18,46,652 with 59,118 new infections, while the recoveries have surged to 1,12,64,637 , according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday. The death count increased to 1,60,949 with 257 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. 

A group of protesters sing and dance at Ghazipur border (Delhi-UP) during 12-hour ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by Samyukt Kisan Morcha against Centre’s Farm Laws.

All Above 45 Years To Get COVID-19 Vaccine From April 1 In Odisha

Odisha government on Thursday asked the district and municipal authorities to prepare for the COVID-19 vaccination of all people aged 45 years and above from April 1. “Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) based on the recommendation of NEGVAC has expanded the prioritized age group to include all persons aged 45 years and above for COVID-19 vaccination from April 1, 2021. Accordingly, there will be no need for a co-morbidity certificate for people aged 45 to 59 years from April 1, 2021,” the PK Mohapatra, Additional Chief Secretary to the Odisha Government.

Samyukt Kisan Morcha has called for a 12 hour long ‘Bharat Bandh’ today, protestors block the road at Singhu Border.

Will Block AstraZeneca Vaccine Exports If Home Demands Not Met: European Union
The European Union warned Thursday that it will ban drugs firms from exporting coronavirus vaccines to the UK and other countries until they make good on their promised deliveries to the bloc. EU chief Ursula von der Leyen’s stark warning — which could hit UK-based AstraZeneca first — came after a video summit of all 27 EU leaders and stoked fears that cross-Channel rivalry could damage global efforts to combat the pandemic.
Ambala: Protesters block GT Road and railway track near Shahpur, in view of 12-hour ‘Bharat Bandh’ call by Samyukt Kisan Morcha against Centre’s Farm Laws.

Nearly 36,000 New Covid Cases In Maharashtra, Mumbai Above 5,000 Again
Maharashtra reported 35,952 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, its single-highest surge in 24 hours since the beginning of the pandemic, along with 111 deaths. The country’s financial capital Mumbai too logged 5,504 new infections – crossing 5,000 for the second day in a row – to post a new single-day high. Read Here
Covid-Negative Report A Must For Entering Bengaluru From April 1

People from outside Karnataka will have to carry a negative coronavirus test (RT-PCR) report to enter capital Bengaluru from April 1, minister Dr K Sudhakar informed on Thursday.

“Nearly 1,400 cases have been reported in Bengaluru (on Wednesday), which is the highest in the last 4 months. There is a spike in cases every day. It is increasingly found in passengers arriving in the city from other states,” he said.

“As of now, the restriction is for Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab and Chandigarh. But now going forward, it is applicable to all states,” he added.

To distinguish those exposed to the virus, it has been decided to hand-stamp the infected people, he added.

Fire Breaks Out At Covid Hospital In Mumbai, 70 Patients Rescued