The Union health ministry on Sunday said that at least 519 people had died due to coronavirus so far and the number of positive cases have climbed to 16,116 in India, registering an increase of 31 deaths and 1,324 cases since Saturday evening.
The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 13,295 while 2,301 people have been cured and discharged, and one patient has migrated, the ministry said.
While Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray announced that some industries will be allowed to resume operations in certain areas from Monday, Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao has announced an extension of the lockdown till 7 May.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a LinkedIn post, urged unity and brotherhood in the face of COVID-19.
COVID-19 does not see race, religion, colour, caste, creed, language or borders before striking.
Our response and conduct thereafter should attach primacy to unity and brotherhood.
We are in this together: PM @narendramodi
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) April 19, 2020
Of the 519 deaths, the highest number of 211 was reported from Maharashtra, followed by Madhya Pradesh (70), Gujarat (58), Delhi (43) and Telangana (18).
The death toll reached 17 and 16 in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab respectively. Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have reported 15 deaths each.
Karnataka has reported 14 deaths, West Bengal 12, while Rajasthan has registered 11 fatalities.
The disease has claimed five lives in Jammu and Kashmir, while Kerala and Haryana have recorded three COVID-19 deaths each.
Jharkhand and Bihar have reported two deaths each, while Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and Assam have reported one fatality each, according to the ministry data.
According to the health ministry’s data updated in the evening, the highest number of confirmed cases in the country is from Maharashtra (3,651), followed by Delhi (1,893), Gujarat (1,604), Madhya Pradesh (1,407) and Tamil Nadu (1,372).
The number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 1,351 in Rajasthan and 1,084 in Uttar Pradesh.
Telangana has 844 cases, Andhra Pradesh 603 and Kerala 400.
The number of cases has risen to 384 in Karnataka, 341 in Jammu and Kashmir, 310 in West Bengal, 233 in Haryana and 219 in Punjab.
Bihar has reported 86 coronavirus cases, while Odisha has 61 such cases.
Forty-two people have been infected with the virus in Uttarakhand, while Himachal Pradesh has 39 cases.
Chhattisgarh has 36 cases, Assam and Jharkhand have registered 35 cases each. Chandigarh has 23 COVID-19 cases, Ladakh 18, while 14 cases have been reported from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Meghalaya has reported 11 cases, while Goa and Puducherry have seven COVID-19 patients each.
Manipur and Tripura have two cases each, while Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have reported a case each.
“Our figures are being reconciled with the ICMR,” the ministry said on its website. The website also mentioned that the patient from Nagaland was shifted to Assam.
‘Need to start economic wheels again’: Uddhav Thackeray
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray told a news conference on Sunday that some activity would be permitted in the least-affected parts of the state while observing a strict lockdown in the red zones that have the maximum number of cases.
“We need to start the economic wheels again. We are giving selective permissions from tomorrow, especially in orange zones and green zones,” he said, referring to areas with lower levels of infection.
Industries ready to provide accommodation to their workers during the lockdown will be given food grain supply and permission for raw material from the state, he said.
“The state government is allowing the industries from green and orange zones to start production and processing activities in a restricted manner. The industries will have to arrange the accommodation for their workers. They would not travel long distance for work,” he said.
The green zones are those which have not reported any coronavirus case, while orange zones are the ones where only a few cases have been reported.
The chief minister also said that except for movement of essential services, all the district borders would remained sealed.
But Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said his government has decided not to relax lockdown restrictions which is in force till May 3 as of now since coronavirus appears to be spreading at a “faster pace” in the national capital. The government will assess the situation again after one week, he said.
The Telangana government has decided to extend lockdwon in the state till 7 May. During this period, food delivery services will not be permitted to function and no religious congregation will be allowed in any place.
Govt bars e-commerce companies from selling non-essential products
Four days after e-commerce companies were allowed to sell products like mobile phones, refrigerators and ready-made garments, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued an order excluding non-essential items from their business. The April 15 order had said e-commerce platforms were allowed to sell such items from April 20.
Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) officials had earlier said televison sets and laptops could also be sold online after which a few e-commerce companies had starting accepting orders.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla also wrote a letter to the chief secretaries of all States and Union Territories giving a clarification.
“…I would like to clarify that while operations of e-commerce companies for non-essential goods stands prohibited, however they will continue to operate for essential goods as has been allowed earlier and continue to be allowed,” he said.
Bhalla also said labourers, who are stranded in different parts of the country due to the lockdown, will be allowed to go to their respective places of work within a state with certain conditions.
He, however, made it clear there will be no inter-state movement of workers during the lockdown.
Since additional activities, outside the containment zones, have been permitted in the ‘consolidated revised guidelines’ with effect from April 20, these workers could be engaged in industrial, manufacturing, construction, farming and MNREGA works, he said.
Agriculture, construction, Information Technology(IT), industrial units in the SEZs and rural areas and e-commerce operations were among the select sectors where the coronavirus-induced lockdown restrictions are to be lifted from April 20 in a bid to also reduce the distress caused to millions of people.
The announcement to ease the curbs to allow some “select necessary activities” in areas which are not COVID-19 hotspots was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 14 while declaring the extension of the three-week nationwide lockdown for another 19 days till May 3 to battle the pandemic. The next day, the MHA unveiled the guidelines with some conditions.
The relaxations lay strict emphasis on social distancing with a warning by the Centre it will be withdrawn if there is any violation of lockdown norms. Wearing of masks is also being mandatory besides making spitting a punishable offence with a fine of at least Rs.1,000.
The permitted activities from April 20 are aimed at ensuring agricultural and related activities remain fully functional, rural economy functions with maximum efficiency, employment opportunities are created for daily wage earners and other members of labour force, select industrial activities are allowed to resume their operations, with safeguards and mandatory standard operating protocols and digital economy, the MHA said.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Apr 20, 2020 06:53:01 IST