Coronavirus India Updates: As India entered the last week of the 40-day lockdown, the country recorded its highest single-day spike of 1,975 Covid-19 cases, taking the total number of cases close to the 27000-mark, including 826 deaths. All eyes are now on the video conference between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief ministers on Monday that is expected to shape the broad contours of the roadmap ahead. As many as 5,913 persons have recovered from the virus so far.
Of the total 826 Covid-19 deaths, Maharashtra accounts for the highest number of fatalities at 323, followed by Gujarat (133), Madhya Pradesh (99), Delhi (54), Andhra Pradesh (31) and Rajasthan (33). Being one of the worst-affected states, Maharashtra is likely to extend the second phase of the lockdown until May 15 in Covid-19 hotspots Mumbai and Pune.
Here is a look at some of the latest Covid-19 developments:
Decision on easing curbs in Maha after national lockdown: CM Uddhav
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that the decision on the relaxation of restrictions in the state will be taken after a review of the situation once the national lockdown ends on May 3. He said this during his televised address over the coronavirus situation in the state.
CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray addressing the State https://t.co/yjy7PUQ0mP
— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) April 26, 2020
“The national lockdown, which has been extended till May 3, will be reviewed once we get stock of the situation next week. We will decide our next steps on relaxation of the lockdown after that,” Thackeray said. He also thanked Union minister Nitin Gadkari for his recent remarks that this is not the right time to indulge in any kind of politics.
At 811, Maharashtra on Saturday recorded the biggest single-day spike in cases, taking the overall tally to 7,682. Of the total cases, 5,049 have been reported from Mumbai and 1,030 from Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.
Number of recovered patients crosses 1,000 mark in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu has become the second state after Maharashtra to report more than 1000 recoveries. As many as 60 persons were discharged from various hospitals in the state today, taking the total number of recoveries to 1,020. Meanwhile, a 42-year old man died of the virus in Chennai, the 24th victim to the infection in Tamil Nadu. The total number of cases increased to 1885 after 64 more people were tested positive. Out of this, only 841 patients remain Covid-19 active.
Stating that India’s fight against the novel coronavirus had become “people-driven”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said citizens should pray more than ever this Ramzan so that the world was rid of Covid-19 before Eid celebrations. Addressing his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme, PM Modi said the pandemic had changed the way people celebrate festivals in the country.
PM Modi also opined that the masks would become a new symbol of civilised society in the times to come. “Due to Covid-19, masks are becoming a part of our lives. It doesn’t mean that all of those who are wearing are sick. Masks will become a new symbol of a civilised society. If you want to protect yourself and others from the disease, the use of a mask is important,” PM Modi said.
Special buses to bring stranded migrants to railway stations after screening by state governments following which they will be taken to their native states in special trains in a kind of a hub-and-spoke arrangement — all free of cost.
This is part of the strategy chalked out by serving officers in Railways who have authored a paper titled “Facilitating Migrants Travel” in consultation with key officials in service. The estimate, as per the paper, is several thousands of non-stop trips stretching over days. The development comes at a time when states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have recently announced plans to bring back migrant workers stuck in other states.
The paper says the states would bring the passengers in numbered buses and based on the data, Railways will prepare its logistics. The destination states will indicate where the train can and cannot stop — skipping containment zones and hotspots.
Health Secretary Preeti Sudan gets 3-month extension
Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan, who was due to superannuate this month-end, was on Sunday given a three-month extension in service as the Centre effected a major top-level bureaucratic reshuffle. The move assumes significance as the Health Ministry is at the forefront of India’s battle against the novel coronavirus.
— abantika ghosh (@abantika77) April 26, 2020
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved a three-month extension in Sudan’s service, beyond the date of her superannuation, i.e. April 30, a Personnel Ministry order said. She will continue to function as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Family Welfare during the period, it said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday made it clear that the lockdown in the national capital would not be relaxed beyond what the Union Home Ministry had suggested in its guidelines.
In an online media briefing, the Aam Aadmi Party chief said his government was implementing the Centre’s guidelines on opening of neighbourhood and standalone shops during the lockdown till May 3. “No markets and malls will be allowed to open in the national capital and all shops in Covid-19 containment zones will remain shut,” Kejriwal said.
“We are going through difficult times. We will have to continue our efforts to reduce the number of Covid-19 infections in Delhi,” he said.
Kejriwal also said the pandemic doesn’t discriminate between any religion. “We need to work together. Plasma of Muslim can be used to treat Hindu patient and vice versa,” he said.
भगवान ने जब दुनिया बनाई थी तो उन्होंने इंसान बनाए थे, दीवारें तो हमने बनाई।
अगर हमारे देश के सब लोग मिलकर प्यार मोहब्बत से काम करेंगे तो हमारे देश के आगे सारी दुनिया को झुकना पड़ेगा। pic.twitter.com/AZXACJBERl
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) April 26, 2020
COVID-19 pool testing should be encouraged in UP: CM Adityanath
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday said pool testing should be encouraged in the state to ensure that coronavirus is contained in the hotspots and containment zones. At present, pool testing of coronavirus samples is being conducted in Lucknow, Meerut and Etawah. Pooling of samples involves testing them in batches and when pooled sample tests positive, then individual samples are assessed. Pool testing reduces the number of test kits used, therefore, increases testing capacity.
मुख्यमंत्री श्री @myogiadityanath जी ने कोविड-19 से निपटने के लिए गठित टीम-11 के साथ आज हुई दैनिक बैठक में कहा है कि पूल टेस्ट के माध्यम से अधिक लोगों की जांच करके कोरोना वायरस महामारी पर प्रभावी नियंत्रण किया जा सकता है। अतः पूल टेस्टिंग को बढ़ावा दिया जाए। pic.twitter.com/iWHhgA8Daj
— Yogi Adityanath Office (@myogioffice) April 26, 2020
“For prevention of COVID-19, pool testing should be encouraged, as through pool testing more people can be tested, and thereby COVID-19 could be effectively controlled,” Adityanath said while chairing a meeting of senior UP government officials at his residence in Lucknow.
Aggressive testing key to fighting Covid-19: Manmohan Singh
Without aggressive testing facilities, India cannot conquer the challenges posed by the coronavirus, former prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Sunday. “There are problems with regard to the inadequacy of testing facilities and without more aggressive facilities of testing, we are not going to conquer this menace,” he said in a video released by the party.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, meanwhile, urged PM Modi to clear “bottlenecks” and ramp up coronavirus testing in the country. Quoting experts, Gandhi said “random testing is the key to beating the virus”. India has to scale up COVID-19 testing from the current 40,000 to one lakh tests per day, he said.
“Experts agree that mass random testing is the key to beating Corona. In India, a bottle neck is stopping us from scaling testing from the current 40,000 per day to 1 lakh tests a day, for which test kits are already in stock. PM needs to act fast and clear the bottleneck,” Gandhi said on Twitter.
Focus should be on correct information: Priyanka Gandhi
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday said the focus should be on correct information and right treatment to contain the spread of the virus. Her remarks came over Agra Mayor Naveen Jain’s letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, requesting him to “save Agra”.
“The situation in Agra city is bad and the number of coronavirus patients is going up everyday. The mayor of Agra says that if the right arrangements are not made, the matter can go out of hand,” Priyanka Gandhi said on Twitter.
“Yesterday, I had raised the same issue. Transparency is very important. It is important to pay attention to testing. If coronavirus is to be stopped, then the focus should be on correct information and right treatment,” she added.
38 fishermen undertake 5-day voyage to reach Odisha from Chennai
A group of 38 fishermen covered roughly around 600 nautical miles on their boat from Chennai to reach their hometown in Odisha, officials said.
According to PTI, the migrants, who had gone to Chennai to work for a fish merchant, were stranded in the southern metropolis following the nationwide lockdown. “We purchased a wooden boat with a dual engine and left Chennai on April 20. After undertaking a five-day long journey, we reached Ganjam on Saturday evening,” one of the fishermen said.
When asked what prompted them to leave Chennai amid the shutdown, another fisherman said, “You know that the number of coronavirus cases has been on the rise in Tamil Nadu. That apart, we would go hungry on some days. Under those circumstances, we were compelled to take the risk.”
Indore strain may be deadlier, will send samples to NIV: Doctors
A more virulent strain may be wreaking havoc in Indore, which has emerged as a hotspot in Madhya Pradesh, doctors treating coronavirus cases have said.
According to PTI, the doctors said that the samples from Indore, where the pandemic has claimed 57 lives, will be sent to the Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV) to confirm their apprehensions of the strain being deadlier than in other parts of the country.
“We have a feeling the strain is definitely more virulent in Indore belt. We have discussed this with the NIV and will be sending samples for them to compare by extraction of virus genome, Dean of Government Mahatma Gandhi Memorial (MGM) Medical College Jyoti Bindal told the news agency.
“There are also other factors also for the high fatality rate, like patients turning up at the hospitals late,” she said. “In Indore belt, the testing is confined to coronavirus detection only, and not its type, another doctor said.
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