Coronavirus Outbreak LIVE Updates: India confirms 20,471 COVID-19 cases with 652 deaths; WHO says long way to go to tackle pandemic

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    Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: Assam Director General of Police GP Singh on Wednesday said that a total number of 2,326 people were arrested and 17,872 vehicles were detained for violating lockdown rules.

    He further tweeted that a total of Rs 1,02,41,400 fine was realised during the lockdown.

    Sharing details regarding FIR registered for spreading fake news on social media/rumour related to COVID-19, he said, “Of 85 cases that were registered, 46 people were arrested, of which 12 people were later released on bail.”

    The total number of novel coronavirus cases in India surged past 20,000 on Wednesday. At least 1,486 fresh cases emerged in the last 24 hours, taking the COVID-19 count in the country to 20,471, according to the latest Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data.

    With 49 deaths recorded since Tuesday, the toll now stands at 652, it said.

    The countrywide COVID-19 toll rose to 652 while the number of cases jumped to 20,471 on Wednesday, an increase of 49 fatalities and 1,486 cases since Tuesday evening, according to the Union Health Ministry.

    The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 15,859, while 3,959 people have been cured and discharged, the ministry said, adding that one patient has migrated.

    Meanwhile, the Union Cabinet approved Rs 15,000 crore for “India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package” for setting up dedicated treatment facilities and laboratories as part of an urgent response to contain the pandemic.

    The Cabinet also approved an ordinance aimed at preventing violence against health workers after several cases of assaults on doctors were reported during the coronavirus outbreak.

    Maharashtra, Gujarat report most deaths

    Of the 49 deaths reported since Tuesday evening, 19 were from Maharashtra, 18 from Gujarat, four from Madhya Pradesh, three from West Bengal, two from Andhra Pradesh and one each from Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, the ministry said.

     Coronavirus Outbreak LIVE Updates: Assam Police arrests 2,326 people for flouting lockdown norms; 35 COVID-19 cases, one death in state so far

    Representational image. AP

    Of the total 652 deaths, Maharashtra tops the tally with 251, followed by Gujarat at 95, Madhya Pradesh at 80, Delhi at 47, Rajasthan at 25, Andhra Pradesh at 24 and Telangana at 23, according to the ministry.

    The death toll reached 21 in Uttar Pradesh, 18 in Tamil Nadu while Karantaka has reported 17 cases.

    Punjab has registered 16 deaths, while West Bengal has reported 15 fatalities due to coronavirus infection so far.

    The disease has claimed five lives in Jammu and Kashmir, while Kerala, Jharkhand and Haryana have recorded three COVID-19 deaths each.

    Bihar has reported two deaths, 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 are from Maharashtra at 5,221, followed by Gujarat at 2,272, Delhi at 2,156, Rajasthan at 1,801, Tamil Nadu at 1,596 and Madhya Pradesh at 1,592.

    The number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 1,412 in Uttar Pradesh, 945 in Telangana and 813 in Andhra Pradesh.

    The number of cases has risen to 427 in Kerala, 425 in Karnataka, 423 in West Bengal, 380 in Jammu and Kashmir, 254 in Haryana and 251 in Punjab.

    Bihar has reported 126 coronavirus cases, while Odisha has 82.

    Forty-six people have been infected with the virus in Uttarakhand while Jharkhand has 45 cases.

    Himachal Pradesh has 39 cases, Chhattisgarh has 36, while Assam has registered 35 infections so far.

    Chandigarh has 27 COVID-19 cases, Ladakh 18, while 17 cases have been reported from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

    Meghalaya has reported 12 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.

    It further said that one case of Jharkhand has been reassigned to Bihar after reconciliation.

    Cabinet approves ordinance making attacks on doctors non-bailable offence

    The Union government proposed making attacks on health workers non-bailable with maximum punishment of seven years in jail and Rs 5 lakh fine.

    Javadekar said a person can be sentenced to anywhere between three months and five years in jail, besides a fine between Rs 50,000 and Rs 2 lakh, for crimes against healthcare workers under the new provision. In cases where injuries are serious, the punishment will range from six months to seven years, and carry fine between Rs 1-5 lakhs, the minister told reporters.

    “Our government has zero tolerance against violence and harassment targeting doctors, nurses, paramedics and ASHA workers when they are doing their best to fight the pandemic,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said after a Union cabinet meeting.

    It was not clear whether these provisions would continue even after the COVID-19 crisis.

    The Indian Medical Association (IMA) called off its proposed ”white alert” and ”black day” protests scheduled for 22 and 23 April following a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah through video conference on Wednesday. The doctors’ body has been demanding that the Centre bring a law to protect healthcare workers from rising attacks at a time when they are battling COVID-19.

    The Union Health Ministry also advised chief secretaries of all states and Union Territories to adopt adequate measures in ensuring the safety of health workers involved in COVID-19 services.

    In a letter, Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said amongst all professionals, the skills and services of these health workers place them in a unique position of saving lives.

    Meanwhile, official sources told PTI that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with chief ministers via video conferencing on 27 April morning on the way ahead in the fight against coronavirus. This will be the third such video conference.

    In the last interaction on 11 April, several chief ministers had recommended extension of the 21-day lockdown by two weeks, which was slated to end on 14 April earlier. Modi then extended it to 3 May.

    Centre, West Bengal govt continue to be at loggerheads

    A political stand-off continued between the BJP-headed Central Government and the Trinamool Congress-led government in West Bengal, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleging that the Centre had dispatched faulty testing kits to her state.

    “Canards are being spread every day that only a few are getting tested in Bengal for COVID-19. This is absolutely false. Faulty kits were sent to Bengal which have now been withdrawn. We didn’t even get adequate testing kits,” she told a press conference.

    The state government, however, assured it will abide by all the Central Government orders on the nationwide lockdown and said “it is not a fact” that it was not cooperating with the central team deputed to assess the COVID-19 situation in the West Bengal.

    The assurance followed the Centre’s allegation that the West Bengal government was obstructing the central team’s work.

    West Bengal has so far reported 15 deaths and 385 confirmed cases, though at least 79 people have been cured of COVID-19 in the state.

    Rahul Gandhi seeks suggestions for MSME stimulus package

    The Congress party on Wednesday has sought suggestions from the public on what a MSME economic stimulus package should cover. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweets, “COVID-19 has devastated our micro, small and medium businesses.”

    With inputs from agencies

    Updated Date: Apr 23, 2020 09:09:59 IST

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