Coronavirus Outbreak LIVE updates: 25 Indian Navy personnel test positive, several feared infected on INS Angre; global COVID-19 toll crosses 1,50,000

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    Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST updates: Twenty sailors of the Indian Navy have tested positive for COVID-19 at INS Angre in Mumbai, News18 reports. Meanwhile, the number of deaths linked to the novel coronavirus reached 150,000, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

    The Union health ministry claimed a decline in the rate of doubling of infections in the last one week even as India witnessed a surge in cases with  1,076 infections and 32 fresh deaths in the last 24 hours, and Gujarat becoming the sixth state to cross the 1,000 mark in confirmed coronavirus cases.

    The total number of confirmed cases in the country rose to 13,835 on Friday with toll from COVID-19 disease at 452, as per the last update released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW). Of the total cases, 11,616 are active while 1,766 have been cured/discharged and one has migrated.

     Coronavirus Outbreak LIVE updates: 20 Indian Navy personnel test positive, several feared infected on INS Angre; global COVID-19 toll crosses 1,50,000

    The number of coronavirus cases in India jumped to 13,835 while toll rose to 452. PTI

    However, according to a PTI tally based on reports from states, the total number of confirmed cases in the country is 14,173 while the toll stands at 479.

    Meanwhile, even as the Union home ministry updated its containment plan for coronavirus hotspots, Maharashtra, the worst-affected state in the country, relaxed restrictions on sugarcane workers as well as released plans to allow some industrial and commercial activities, including MNREGA works from 20 April in areas that are not marked as containment zones.

    Activities related to supply chain of essential goods, whether in manufacturing, wholesale or retail trade of essential goods through local stores, large brick and mortar stores or e-commerce companies, will be also allowed, except in containment areas.

    On Friday, the number of confirmed cases in the state crossed the 3,000 mark and toll from the virus inched closer to 200.

    Mumbai, Indore worst hotspots

    Mumbai once again remained the worst-affected hotspot in the Maharashtra (and the country), with 77 more people testing positive in India’s financial capital on Friday. According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the city has 2,120 confirmed cases as on Friday. The number in Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum, reached 101 with 15 new infections reported on Friday, PTI reported.

    Indore, which is the second worst-affected city in the country (and the worst affected city in Madhya Pradesh), the number of confirmed cases were at 842 while 47 patients have died since the outbreak began less than a month ago. At 5.58 percent death rate, Indore’s coronavirus mortality is above the national average, state health officials said.

    Gujarat becomes sixth state to cross 1,ooo mark

    While Maharashtra continues to lead in terms of total confirmed cases at 3,205 infections, Delhi is the second worst-affected state with 1,640 cases, followed by Tamil Nadu with 1,323 cases, Rajasthan with 1,193 cases and Madhya Pradesh with 1,164 infections.

    In Gujarat, the total number confirmed cases reached 1,021 after 92 new cases were reported on Friday, while the death toll reached 38  (the third highest in the country and same as that of Delhi) with the addition of two fatalities, health officials said in Ahmedabad.

    State officials attributed the sudden spurt in the cases in Gujarat to intensive surveillance and testing in coronavirus hotspots, including those which have been placed under curfew till 21 April in the walled city of Ahmedabad.

    Meanwhile, Karnataka, which recorded 38 new positive cases, its highest single day tally so far, on Friday has scaled up the number of coronavirus tests by five times, state officials said. The state has 353 confirmed cases so far.

    Of the total 452 deaths listed by the health ministry on Friday, Maharashtra tops the tally with 194 fatalities, followed by Madhya Pradesh at 57, Gujarat and Delhi at 38 each and Telangana 18.

    Tamil Nadu has reported 15 deaths while Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh reported 14 fatalities each.

    Punjab and Karnataka reported 13 deaths each.

    Rajasthan has registered 11 deaths while West Bengal reported 10 deaths fatalities. Some states have reported less than 10 deaths.

    As per the latest updated data from the health ministry, the rate of recovery of COVID-19 patients in India is at 12.7 percent, while the mortality rate of 3.27 percent.

    Rate of doubling of cases has slowed, says health ministry

    At a daily media briefing about updates on COVID-19 situation, Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal maintained that there had been a 40 percent decline in the growth of new cases.

    The average growth factor of cases from 1 April stood at 1.2, whereas between 15 and 31 March 15 it was 2.1.

    This decline of 40 percent was due to increase in testing, including that of cases with severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and influenza-like illness (ILI). he said.

    The health ministry official also said that the rate at which coronavirus cases were doubling has come down.

    “Before lockdown, the doubling rate of coronavirus cases was 3 days. Going by the number of cases in the last seven days, the doubling rate has been 6.2 days. In 19 states and Union Territories the doubling rate is less than the national average.” he said

    Agarwal also claimed that India has been doing better than many other countries on the outcome ratio, which is the number of recoveries from coronavirus infection versus the number of deaths.

    “If 80 percent of the patients in India are recovering and in 20 percent cases deaths are being reported, then by that standard India has been doing a little better than many other nations on the outcome ratio,” he said.

    He also informed reporters that 1,919 dedicated COVID-19 hospitals with 1.73 lakh isolation beds and 21,800 ICU beds have been readied till now.

    In a letter to all chief secretaries and principal secretaries (health) of states, ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bharagava listed the protocol for using the rapid antibody test’ in hotspot area for epidemiological studies and surveillance.

    India received five lakh rapid antibody testing kits from China on Thursday and these, health ministry officials, said are being distributed to states for districts with high burden of infection.

    In case, the state does not have a hotspot, these tests may be used for: any hotspot which may emerge in future or as a surveillance tool for epidemiological purpose in such areas where cases have not emerged so far, the ICMR said.

    The ICMR said that 28,542 samples were tested on Friday with the total number of samples tested so far at 3,32,583.

    The ICMR also said that it will conduct a study to find the efficacy of BCG vaccine against COVID-19 and till any definitive result is reached it will not recommended the vaccine even for healthcare workers, officials said on Friday.

    Maharashtra seeks relief from Centre, allows conditional travel for sugarcane workers

    The Maharashtra govt on Friday sought financial aid from Centre. While Maharashtra finance minister Ajit Pawar has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a grant of Rs 10,000 crore for five months, state revenue minister and Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat on Friday demanded a package of Rs 25,000 crore from the Centre to help the state tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

    Thorat said that the state is taking care of 7.5 lakh poor and migrant labourers in 6,500 camps.

    “We have demanded PPE kits from the Centre but are yet to get them. We want the Centre to give us a package of Rs 25,000 crore as well as Rs 16,500 GST refund to tackle the outbreak,” he added.

    On Friday, the Maharashtra government relaxed some of the restrictions placed on movement of people, including allowing over one lakh migrant sugarcane workers to return to their native villages amid the lockdown subject to the carrying out of medical tests in connection with the coronavirus outbreak.

    A statement released by the office of Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde said that the  decision will benefit sugarcane workers from Beed and Ahmednagar who are stranded in western Maharashtra, the border areas with Karnataka and other parts of the state.

    The statement said those operating these factories will have to get workers and their kin tested and certified, and inform authorities, including gram panchayats, and then obtain requisite permissions for their safe return.

    Health ministry updates containment plan, extends wait period to four weeks

    The Health ministry said on Friday that  containment operations will be scaled down if no secondary positive case of COVID-19 is reported from a quarantine zone for at least four weeks after the last confirmed test has been isolated and all his contacts have been followed up for 28 days.

    According to the ministry’s “Updated containment plan for large outbreaks COVID-19”, a containment operation (large outbreak or cluster) is deemed to be over 28 days from the date the last case in that zone tests negative.

    The plan said the authorities will do extensive contact tracing and active search for cases in containment zone, test all suspect cases and high-risk contacts, isolate all suspect or confirmed cases, implement social distancing measures and intensive risk communication as part of the cluster containment strategy.

    “The objective of this containment plan is to stop the chain of transmission thus reducing the morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19,” the ministry said.

    Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also said that the Thiruvananthapuram-based Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Science and Technology in Kerala has developed a low cost diagnostic test kit that can confirm COVID-19 infection in two hours.

    The kit can detect coronavirus in 10 minutes, and the sample to result in time will be less than two hours, Vardhan tweeted.

    A total of 30 samples can be tested in a single batch in a single machine, he added.

    Meawnhwile, Union home minister Amit Shah said the Modi government is leaving no stone unturned to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

    “Modi government is leaving no stone unturned in this fight against COVID-19, ensuring minimum disruption in people’s lives while planning for a strong and stable India in days ahead,” he tweeted.

    With inputs from agencies

    Updated Date: Apr 18, 2020 08:10:08 IST

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