Coronavirus Cases In India Rise To 223, 35 new cases, highest in a single day
NEW DELHI : The total number of coronavirus cases in India has climbed to 223 after over 35 new cases, highest in a single day, emerged from the various parts of the country.
At present, there are 171 active coronavirus patients in the country, according to the data released by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The total cases in India include 163 Indians and 32 foreign nationals. India reported its fourth casualty of COVID-19 infection on Thursday. The cases in Maharashtra rose to 48 where as Kerala witnessed as many as 28 coronavirus patients. Delhi has recorded 17 coronavirus cases till date.
India is still in Stage 2 of the outbreak, as per the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). This means transmission is via local means – through individuals who have travelled abroad or their family members or acquaintances, which can be traced. Stage 3 involves community transmission and an exponential growth in the number of cases.
In a drastic step to prevent a surge in coronavirus cases in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a ‘janata curfew’ on Sunday. In an address to the nation on Thursday evening, Modi asked citizens to voluntarily stay indoors from 7am till 9pm.
In today’s media briefing Health Ministry officials said there was no shortage of essential goods and urged people not to panic. Senior ministry official Lav Agarwal also said people had been advised to stay away from large religious gatherings and such festivals had been requested to be postponed. The ministry’s comment came hours after a Ram festival in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya was “suspended”.
India is still only testing at 10 per cent of its capacity, Dr Raman Gangakedhkar of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) said in the briefing. Medical experts have expressed worry over the low rate of testing in the country, suggesting mass-level aggressive testing, like that by South Korea, could be key to containing the virus. On Wednesday the ICMR said private labs could be roped in to increase testing facilities.
“Under this janata (public) curfew, no one should leave their homes or gather in their neighbourhoods. Only those related to essential services should go out,” Prime Minister said in his televised address last night.
Educational institutions and other public spaces in several states have been shut down. Earlier today Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said shopping malls in the national capital would also be closed. Punjab has shut down all public transportation. Malls and cinemas have also been shut down in Kerala, Maharashtra (which has reported the maximum number of cases at 48), Odisha, Bengal and a number of other states.
In a notification issued Thursday evening, the centre asked its employees to work from home in a phased manner. As per the notification, 50 per cent of Group B and C employees will work from home, while the rest will attend office during staggered working hours. Government offices had already discontinued biometric attendance systems.
A special task force, headed by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, has been set up to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Indian economy. The task force comes amid warnings by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi that the outbreak will have “devastating” economic consequences.
(With Agency Inputs ).