Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: Uttar Pradesh government on Friday issued orders that strict action will be taken under the National Security Act (NSA) against those who attack police personnel anywhere in the state during the 21-day nationwide lockdown.
Addressing the nation via video conference on Friday, Narendra Modi asked the citizens on 5 April (Sunday) to stand in their balconies or in any corner of their house for 9 minutes with candles, lamps or mobile flash lights to mark the march from darkness to light.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he would share a video message on Friday morning, but gave no indication on the subjcet of his address. “At 9 am tomorrow morning, I’ll share a small video message with my fellow Indians,” Modi tweeted on Thursday.
Many believe his message could be related to the coronavirus crisis. Modi has addressed the nation twice since the pandemic became a cause for serious concern in India.
Another COVID-19 case emerged in Dharavi in Mumbai after a 35-year-old doctor tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Friday. His family has been quarantined and will get tested on Friday.
The global tally of confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 1 million-mark on Thursday as the pandemic explodes in the United States and death toll continues to climb in Italy and Spain, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinted at a “staggered” exit from the ongoing lockdown after the 21-day period ends on 14 April even as confirmed coronavirus cases in India climbed to 2,069 and toll increased to 53 on Thursday and over 9,000 Tablighi Jamaat attendees and their primary contacts quarantined across the country.
According to the Union Health ministry, 235 more people were confirmed positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours while three more — one from Gujarat and two from Delhi — died because of virus.
The numbers include 1,860 active cases, 155 people who have been either cured or discharged and one had migrated, it said.
However, the figures announced by various states, including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi, showed more than 400 positive cases getting detected on Thursday itself — taking the total to 2,360, PTI said.
Data from states also show that at least 14 people died during the day due to the virus.
A majority of the new cases are linked to the congregation, officials said.
In the total tally, about 400 COVID-19 positive cases have been found whose epidemiological linkage can be traced to the Tablighi Jamaat cluster, said the Union Health Ministry, which asserted there was no evidence to widespread community transmission and 20 existing and 22 potential hotspots have been identified across the country.
Thursday also saw the government toughening its stand against foreigners who were part of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Nizamuddin West, with the MHA saying that it has blacklisted 960 foreigners and cancelled their visas after finding that they were involved in Tablighi Jamaat activities violating their visa conditions.
The Home Minister’s Office asked Delhi Police and police chiefs of other states where these foreigners are currently living, to take legal action against them under the Foreigners Act and the Disaster Management Act.
A Home Ministry official said while 9,000 Tablighi Jamaat members and their primary contacts have been quarantined till now across the country due to “massive efforts” to check the outbreak, the Centre has written to all states and union territories that “the lockdown measures should be implemented in letter and spirit”.
States report over 400 new cases
According to the Union health ministry’s website, the 2,069 confirmed cases in India include 55 foreign nationals.
The highest number of coronavirus confirmed cases have been reported from Maharashtra at 335 so far, followed by Kerala at 265 and Tamil Nadu at 234.
The number of cases in Delhi has gone up to 219.
Uttar Pradesh has reported 113 positive cases so far, while the COVID-19 cases in Karnataka have risen to 110 and in Telengana to 107. Rajasthan has reported 108 cases, Madhya Pradesh 99, Gujarat 87, Andhra Pradesh 86. Jammu and Kashmir has 62 positive patients so far.
The number of cases have risen to 53 in West Bengal. Punjab has reported 46 COVID-19 cases and Haryana 43.
Bihar has 24, while Chandigarh has 16 and Ladakh has reported 13 cases.
Ten cases have been reported from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Chhattisgarh has nine positive patients while Uttarakhand has reported seven cases so far.
Goa and Assam have reported five coronavirus cases each. Odisha has four cases while Puducherry and Himachal Pradesh have reported three cases each. Jhakhand, Mizoram and Manipur have reported a case each, according to the ministry.
Several states, however, reported higher figures, which have not yet been updated in the health ministry’s website.
The death of a COVID-19 patient from Mumbai’s Dharavi, one of the biggest slums in Asia, sparked fear of its spread in highly congested area. The Union Health Ministry said contact tracing and testing as per protocol is being conducted in the area. Several small-scale industries and workshops of leather goods, pottery and textiles operate from the slum colony spread over 613 acres.
On Thursday late evening, one more positive case emerged from Dharavi after a general practitioner was found positive by a suburban lab.
As many as 88 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state on Thursday, taking the tally to 423, while the death toll rose to 21, said health officials.
Officials in the state also said around 1,400 persons from Maharashtra attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi and 1,300 of them have been traced.
Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar said no social events including religious congregations would be allowed in the state.
The state was also allowed by the Centre to roll out rapid COVID-19 testing on a mass scale.
In Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said there are 208 COVID-19 patients in the national capital, of which 108 were evacuated from the Nizamuddin Markaz (centre) of the Tablighi Jamaat.
He said two people who had attended the congregation died due to COVID-19 on Thursday and cautioned that the number of positive cases may shoot up in the national capital in coming days.
According to Andhra Pradesh officials, coronavirus positive cases continued to maintain an upward curve in the state too on Thursday with a total of 38 additions in the last 24 hours, taking the aggregate in the state to 149.
Karnataka reported 14 new positive cases of coronavirus, taking the total number of the affected to 124. Among 14 new positive cases reported in the state include – ten men, who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi, and are currently isolated at a designated hospital in Bidar; while one woman from Kalaburagi is the contact of a person who has attended the congregation.
Nearly 1,000 people from Karnataka, who are linked to Tablighi-Jamaat congregation in New Delhi, have been screened so far, the government said on Thursday
Modi calls for ‘staggered’ exit from lockdown
Prime Minister Modi, who will share a video message with people on Friday morning, in the meantime interacted with chief ministers through a video conference and told them to focus on COVID-19 containment measures — testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine — and said it was imperative to work on a war footing, identify hotspots, encircle them and ensure that the infection does not spread out.
According to an official statement, Modi also pitched for formulating a common exit strategy to ensure “staggered re-emergence of the population” once the 21-day nationwide lockdown ends on 14 April.
Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said the prime minister has urged states to manage the coronavirus crisis at the district level.
Action against violators, sporadic attack on doctors
In the meantime, sporadic attacks on doctors, social workers and police personnel also came to the fore raising concerns over their safety and prompting warnings by authorities.
Seven persons were arrested for the alleged attack on health workers in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore city, who had gone there to quarantine relatives and acquaintances of a COVID-19 patient but were attacked with stones by an unruly mob leaving two women doctors injured. A video of the attack went viral on social media.
Authorities also continued to take action against those violating the lockdown, which entered its ninth day on Thursday.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote to all chief secretaries of the states and union territories to action against those violating the lockdown or making false claims under the Indian Penal Code and the Disaster Management Act.
Bhalla said those violating these laws can be punished with jail term of up to two years and fine.
The Health Ministry said domestic indigenous manufacturing of N-95 masks has been stepped up, while orders have been placed for over 1.5 crore personal protective equipment (PPEs) and supply has begun too.
Congress, BJP slam each other over coronavirus; PM to address nation tomorrow at 9 am
The Congress on Thursday came down heavily on the government accusing it of low coronavirus testing, with party president Sonia Gandhi alleging that its “unplanned” implementation of countrywide lockdown caused “chaos and pain” to millions of migrant workers.
Blaming the government for not giving any thought to the deteriorating economic situation, the party demanded setting up of a task force of world experts for measures to revive the economy.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday alleged that the government is “under-funding” the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and asked the Modi dispensation to announce that it will fund the battle with Rs 5-6 lakh crore.
“Government is hopelessly under-funding the fight against the epidemic. Under-funding will exacerbate the situation and the money spent may turn out to be a waste. Dr Jahangir Aziz has already warned the government in this regard,” the former finance minister asserted.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah hit back at the Congress accusing the party of weakening the country’s fight against the coronavirus by doing “petty politics” and asked when will it give priority to national interest over its own.
“Under PM @narendramodi’s leadership, India’s efforts to fight coronavirus are being lauded domestically and globally. 130-crore Indians are united to defeat COVID-19,” the minister said in a tweet.
“Yet, the Congress is playing petty politics. High time they think of national interest and stop misleading people,” Shah said.
Airlines can allow bookings after 14 April, says aviation minister
Hopes of the lockdown getting removed, at least partially, after its 21-day period rose further after aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said airlines are free to allow ticket booking for flights after 14 April. He also said the resumption of international flights will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on which countries they are coming from after the 21-day lockdown ends.
Separately, Air India also said it has got approvals from Indian and Chinese authorities to operate cargo flights to Shanghai and Hong Kong to get medical supplies.
A few other positives that came to light on Thursday included defence research institution DRDO developing a “bio-suit” to protect doctors and paramedics engaged in treating coronavirus-affected people from the infection.
The “bio-suit” which will act as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the healthcare personnel, officials told PTI.
They said considering the high demand of PPEs across the country, steps are being taken to produce at least 15,000 suits per day.
India is currently reeling under increasing shortage of PPE for doctors and paramedics involved in taking care of coronavirus patients. The government is also scouting global markets to procure PPE, ventilators and N95 masks.
Globally, more than 9,40,000 people have tested positive since the deadly virus outbreak in China in December 2019, while more than 47,000 have lost their lives.
World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said there had been a “near exponential growth” in new cases over the past five weeks and a doubling of deaths in the past week alone.
“In the next few days we will reach one million confirmed cases and 50,000 deaths,” he said, while asking Africa and Latin America to be ready for a wider impact.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Apr 03, 2020 10:11:58 IST