India Coronavirus Infection Count Update

INDIA: The number of coronavirus cases in India has a reported total another increase of infections as confirmed by the Indian Council of Medical Research.

The total number of positive cases in India has risen to 649, the Health and Family Welfare Ministry said on Thursday. While there are total 593 active cases, the number of discharged cases stands at 42, according to the ministry.

SNAPSHOT

  • The first phase of Census 2021 and the updation of National Population Register (NPR) postponed until further orders
  • In view of the coronavirus outbreak, the government has ordered temporary suspension of toll fee collection across India
  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday ensured supplies of all essential commodities and told people “not to panic-buy”
  • PM Modi on Tuesday announced a nationwide lockdown starting 25 March at midnight for 21 days to curb the spread of COVID-19
  • PM Modi said the Centre has made a provision of Rs 15,000 crore for the country’s health infrastructure

Test results of a 75-year-old woman who died in Karnataka on Wednesday, have come out to be positive, Dr Sudhakar, Minister of Medical Education of the state said on Thursday, 26 March.

A 73-year-old man who tested positive for coronavirus died due to co-morbidity in Bhilwara in Rajasthan, officials stated.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying she supports the 21-day lockdown, and sought measures to protect doctors, paramedics and ease supply chain.

A 54-year-old man infected with coronavirus died in Tamil Nadu in the early hours of Wednesday, taking the number of casualties in the country to 10. The total number of cases in India is 562.

To tackle the pandemic, 1.3 billion people across the country have been placed under a complete lockdown starting Wednesday for the next three weeks.

Several states had announced a lockdown in the wake of the Sunday Janata curfew but Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of a 21-day lockdown from midnight Tuesday, under the Disaster Management Act, standardizes and extends the shutdown across the country. In doing so, it signals the resolve of the government to ensure social distancing at a scale unprecedented in history coinciding with the increasing possibility that the pandemic could have entered Stage 3 — community transmission.

Within minutes of his address, there were reports of panic buying for groceries and provisions from across the nation which had, until then, hunkered down for a lockdown until March 31.

Minutes after the announcement of a 21-day lockdown, people in Nerul, Navi Mumbai, made emergency purchases. (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

But quick tweets from Modi attempted to assuage fears. “My fellow citizens, there is absolutely no need to panic. Essential commodities, medicine etc would be available. the Centre and various state governments will work in close coordination to ensure this,” he said.

The Indian prime minister has been using social media regularly to inform people about efforts being taken as well as urge people not to panic. On Monday, he had asked people lockdown seriously after news reports emerged showing people on roads, defying lockdown orders.

With the COVID-19 death toll rising to seven, the Centre and state governments, in a high-level meeting, have decided to completely lock down 75 districts across the country where coronavirus cases have been reported, officials said on Sunday.  The states of New Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan, have announced a complete lockdown that involves shutting down public transport, malls and shops starting Monday. 

As the number of deadly COVID-19 positive cases increase in India, it was agreed that there was an urgent need to extend the restrictions on the movement of non-essential passenger transport, including interstate transport buses till March 31. The districts where lockdown was announced are from states that include Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. All metro rail services were also suspended till March 31 in major cities Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and others.

Tirupati Balaji Temple to be shut for devotees

The famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala and all other major temples will be out of bounds for devotees while malls and cinema halls would be closed down in Andhra Pradesh till 31 March to check the spread of coronavirus, the state government announced on Thursday.

The restrictions would come into force from Friday, 20 March Deputy Chief Minister for Medical and Health A K K Srinivas (Nani) said briefing reporters here after a high-level meeting on COVID-19, chaired by Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy.

India is conducting only about 90 tests per day, despite having the capacity for as many as 8,000. Doctors say it is either that there are many more cases in India than have been detected, because of the difficulties of getting tested, or that India has indeed managed to so far escape the worst, possibly because of quick and strict efforts right from the start.

It is still unbelievable how the world’s second-most-populous nation, with 1.3 billion people, has remained relatively unscathed while the number of cases explodes to its east and west. That has spawned a sense of almost disbelief about the crisis in some quarters.

“I am not scared. I eat, party, sleep,’’ said Akshay Gupta, an accountant who was bar hopping on Saturday night. “The scare is overhyped.”

NY Times

From the desk of the editor at Quint

In a time of a pandemic – and panic – the story of a young Indian medical student from Wuhan, the epicentre of the world’s novel coronavirus outbreak, is a lesson for the nation. Among the first three cases to test positive for coronavirus in India, the student has now recovered. But he says, with a sense of pride, “No one else got infected because of me… the cases didn’t spread from me.” The day after he landed in Kerala, he felt an obligation to report to the nearest public health centre. He was advised a strict home quarantine, to be later shifted to the isolation ward at a medical college in Alappuzha after he developed symptoms.

His period of convalescence lasted 28 days – “A very long time to be cut off from family and friends,” he acknowledges.

As coronavirus in India affects more people each day – the death of a 63-year-old man in Mumbai, with a history of travel to Dubai, taking India’s death toll to 3 – citizens cannot shy away from their responsibility to do what it takes to mitigate its spread. This can be many things, from working from home (and Bengaluru’s startups have useful tips on how to stay productive) to avoiding crowded places, from washing your hands the right way to going to get a check-up if you develop symptoms. The Quint’s Abira Dhar, who was quarantined at Mumbai’s Kasturba Gandhi Hospital upon her return from New York, talked about her fears and the need to see a doctor if you have travel history to outbreak zones and show symptoms – yet without panicking. Even Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray shared her video.

Meanwhile, on the part of the Indian government, the priority should be to contain the virus at local transmission. Some reassurance came from the Indian Centre for Medical Research (ICMR), which after intensified random sampling of people who displayed flu-like symptoms but don’t have travel history abroad, concluded that there is no evidence yet to suggest asymptotic people are spreading the virus in India. Hence, ruling out community transmission. However, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that asymptomatic transmission is still a possibility. And it’s been proven true. British actor and filmmaker Idris Elba, who recently shared that he had contracted COVID-19, showed no symptoms.

The next big priority for the Indian government is to ramp up testing. As of now, India is testing 600 samples per day in all of its 51 labs. To enhance capacity for diagnosis and detection, the government will also allow around 60 accredited private labs to conduct tests for COVID-19. But will this be enough? Even as the US, Israel, and China have begun research on developing a vaccine, it is going to be a long process – and a long wait, as molecular biologist Ameya Paleja writes, making it even more pressing that we do whatever it takes. The total confirmed cases in India have risen to 206. The number will definitely shoot up. It’s an eventuality. But so will the number of those recovered – like the medical student from Wuhan. And so, remember – ‘My duty… my responsibility.’ The student, by his own admission, has no plans to abandon Wuhan, his second home. He plans to return and complete his medical studies.

Life goes on – maybe that’s the other lesson here.

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