Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: The total number of coronavirus positive cases in India has risen to 5,194 , which includes 4,643 active cases and 401 cured/discharged people. The toll is now at 149. Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will hold a video meet with Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs from Delhi at 12 noon.
Two more people died of coronavirus infection in Pune, taking the toll in the Maharashtra district to 10, officials said on Wednesday. A 44-year-old man, who was on ventilator support and suffering from uncontrolled diabetes, died at the civic-run Naidu Hospital early Wednesday morning, Pune Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said.
Health officials on Tuesday said that two pavement dwellers in Kolkata tested positive for coronavirus. A 40-year-old man who lived on a pavement in Bowbazar area, was earlier admitted to NRS Medical College Hospital on 3 April and was shifted to ID Hospital after testing positive for COVID-19.
The top brass of NITI Aayog told CNBC TV18 sources on Wednesday that the nationwide lockdown that is expected to end on 14 April need to have a ‘phased exit’ to cusion the economic damage caused by COVID-19 outbreak.
New York City’s toll from the coronavirus rose past 3,200 Tuesday, eclipsing the number killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. The number of deaths in the US due to coronavirus on crossed 12,700, with a record 1,900 fatalities in a single day.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday neared the 5,000 mark with India reporting 508 new cases and 13 deaths in 24 hours while many states advocated for a gradual approach to lifting the 21-day lockdown which ends on 14 April.
On Tuesday, several states also announced plans to ramp up their testing infrastructure and put in place strong ‘cluster containment’ plans in areas identified as hotspots of the outbreak.
There were also indications about possible relaxations from a complete lockdown for some sectors, including agriculture and unorganised labour sector, at least in some states, while there were also talks about even stronger area-specific restrictions in some places.
A Group of Ministers on COVID-19, recommended extension of closure of all educational institutions and restricting all religious activities having public participation till 15 May irrespective of whether the government extends the 21-day lockdown or not.
Confirmed cases climb to 4,789, toll reaches 124, says health ministry
Of the 4,789 cases confirmed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), 352 patients have been discharged or cured, one has migrated and there are 4,312 active cases in India.
However, a PTI tally of figures reported by various states at 9.45 pm showed 5,192 testing positive across the country and at least 162 deaths.
More than 400 have so far been cured and discharged, while nearly 1.1 lakh tests have been conducted so far in the country, as per official announcements, PTI said.
Also, while some states including Maharashtra reported a significant increase in the numbers, several states did not report a single additional positive case.
The number of confirmed cases in Maharashtra surged past 1,000, with 116 new cases being detected only in the city of Mumbai. The total number of coronavirus positive cases in Mumbai now stands at 642 with 40 deaths so far, including six new victims, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said in a release.
In Madhya Pradesh and Rajsthan the number crossed 300, while in Delhi the number of COVID-19 patients reached 576. Fresh cases were also reported from Punjab, Telangana, Haryana, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu among other states.
However, no fresh cases were reported from various states and union territories including Chattisgarh, Chandigarh, Goa, Jharkhand, Laddakh, Manipur, Mizoram, Odisha, Puducherry and Uttarakhand.
Lockdown, social distancing arrested spread of virus, claims health ministry
Officials said that the lockdown and social distancing measures have helped contain the pandemic in a big way in India.
Citing an ICMR study, the Health Ministry said just one COVID-19 patient can infect as many as 406 people in 30 days in the absence of preventive measures such as social distancing and the lockdown.
With the preventive measures, the possibility of the infection can be reduced to an average of just two-and-a-half persons per patient in the same period, Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said in the central government’s daily briefing on COVID-19.
He said social distancing works like a “social vaccine” in management of COVID-19, but refrained from commenting on whether the ongoing nationwide lockdown would be extended or lifted after 14 April.
“Whenever a decision is taken, it will be informed. Till a decision is officially communicated, please refrain from speculation,” he said.
Government sources, however, said many state governments and experts are requesting the Centre to extend the lockdown and the Central Government is thinking in that direction.
There has been a nationwide lockdown since 25 March, though some states had initiated such measures a few days earlier, to check the pandemic that has claimed more than 75,000 lives worldwide since its emergence in China last December. Over 13 lakh people have tested positive for the virus across the world so far.
States likely to relax restrictions on some sectors
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said some relaxation on work front for unorganised sector workers was on the anvil. She, however, made it clear that all must practise social distancing. The state government has identified seven COVID-19 hotspots in West Bengal.
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, however, said his government will extend the lockdown if needed, while his counterpart in Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot, said the state cannot withdraw the lockdown immediately and it has to be done in a phased manner.
A Karnataka government minister said it’s too early to take a call now on lifting the nationwide lockdown but appeared favouring an extension by at least two weeks.
Uttar Pradesh chief secretary RK Tiwari said, “There is still time for the lockdown and we will review the situation and then decide” on lifting it.
A panel report by the Kerala govt has suggested phased withdrawal of restrictions subject to the areas under review meet certain conditions.
Addressing his ministers through video conferencing on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also indicated towards a graded approach to lift the lockdown.
The Prime Minister had also asked the ministers whether the restrictions should be lifted sector-wise or district-wise, a source said. Modi has also asked the ministers to lay out plans to contain the economic impact of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, a meeting of the GoM chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and participated by Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday concluded that religious centres, shopping malls and educational institutions must not be allowed to resume normal functioning at least for four weeks from 14 April when the current lockdown ends.
The GoM also briefly discussed possible scenarios after end of the current spell of the lockdown. It also recommended that the inputs of the states are crucial in taking specific decisions on measures to contain the pandemic.
Arvind Kejriwal announces ‘five-T’ action plan
Several states, including Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, also announced plans to ramp up the tests, while numerous leaders across the country urged the people to strictly follow the lockdown and social distancing measures including for religious rituals.
Gehlot, the Rajasthan chief minister, said the state will start rapid testing within a week and that it has ordered 10 lakh testing kits from China.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a five-point action plan of “five Ts — testing, tracing, treatment, team-work and tracking — and monitoring” to contain the virus spread and said one lakh random rapid COVID-19 tests will be conducted in the city’s hotspot areas. He said arrangements have been made to deal with as many as 30,000 cases.
Gujarat government has also decided to implement a cluster containment plan across 15 localities in four cities, which involves a complete lockdown of these areas.
Low GDP forecasts in view of lockdown
Rating agency ICRA on Tuesday forecast a GDP forecast of just 2 percent for the current fiscal and said the Indian economy is estimated to have contracted by 4.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of FY20 ended 31 March.
Industry body Retailers Association of India on the other hand warned that around 80,000 jobs were expected to be cut by various retailers due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It had conducted a survey of 768 retailers, which employ 3,92,963 people across India, to gauge their view on the impact of COVID-19 on their business and manpower.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) also said that the COVID-19 crisis has the potential to push around 40 crore informal sector workers in India deeper into poverty, with the lockdown and other containment measures affecting jobs and earnings.
The stock market, however, witnessed a sharp rebound on Tuesday with a 2,476-point rally in the benchmark Sensex, while the investors’ wealth measured in terms of market value of all listed companies rose by nearly Rs 7.7 lakh crore.
Shares of pharma companies especially saw a lot of surge after India decided to partially lift a ban on export of paracetamol and anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine.
The decision came a week after a telephonic conversation between Modi and US President Donald Trump, who sought supply of hydroxychloroquine to the US to treat coronavirus infected people.
Trump on Monday said he would be surprised if New Delhi did not relent to the request as it has good relations with Washington and warned India of retaliation if it did not export the anti-malarial drug despite his personal request.
Indian pharma companies said there is enough stock of hydroxychloroquine in the country, and drug firms are ready to ramp up the production to meet domestic as well as export requirements.
Agarwal said cluster containment strategies are producing required results in some areas like Agra, Gautam Budh Nagar (UP), Pathanamthitta (Kerala), Bhilwara (Rajasthan), East Delhi and Mumbai and similar strategies are being adopted in other coronavirus-affected districts.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Apr 08, 2020 10:12:09 IST