On the first day of a nationwide lockdown — 75 districts have been on a lockdown since Sunday — India reported 87 confirmed coronavirus cases, the highest single-day jump so far.
The total now stands at 606, including 42 recovered patients and 10 dead. Health Ministry officials maintained there is no community transmission.
A 65-year-old died in Mumbai on Wednesday, while a death in Delhi that was initially marked as a COVID-19 death was taken off the list after the tests came out negative.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry Wednesday issued telemedicine guidelines in a bid to reduce the load on hospitals and doctors in the middle of the pandemic. This comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the nation, had asked people to refrain from crowding hospitals and get advice as far as possible over the telephone.
In a statement, the Health Ministry said approximately 64,000 people have arrived from other countries since March 21, of which 8,000 have been put in various quarantine facilities and 56,000 are in home isolation.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that 25,144 samples, taken from 24,254 individuals, have been tested for COVID-19 as of 8 pm, Wednesday. Of these, “581 individuals have been confirmed positive among suspected cases and contacts of known positive cases”, the ICMR said in a statement.
Following reports from many parts of the country that delivery personnel of different online facilities were stopped, and that e-commerce companies ceased home delivery of essential products, Home Ministry officials said during a briefing that they are in touch with both the companies and the state governments to ensure delivery.
On Wednesday, the Group of Ministers (GoM) discussed ways to prevent and manage the outbreak. The GoM discussed actions taken so far, the current status of social distancing measures as a preventive strategy, and stringent actions taken so far by the states to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The GoM discussed strengthening capacity of the states, which need to devote adequate resources for creating dedicated COVID-19 hospitals, equipping medical institutions with personal protective equipment (PPEs), ventilators and other essential equipment. States have been asked to ensure that essential services and supplies remain open. These include hospitals, medical shops and establishments engaged in manufacturing of medicines, vaccines, sanitisers, masks and medical devices.
The GoM also said Gujarat, Assam, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Goa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and the UT of Jammu and Kashmir are setting up hospitals dedicated for management of COVID-19. A total of 118 laboratories have been included in the ICMR network of coronavirus testing.
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