Coronavirus India Roundup, April 11: 1,035 new cases, lockdown extension till 30 April imminent
While no official announcement has been made yet, many highly placed sources are suggesting that extending the lockdown is inevitable.
While no official announcement has been made yet, many highly placed sources are suggesting that extending the lockdown is inevitable. The Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa said guidelines for the coming weeks will be issued shortly. Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s CM, has sparked confusion after tweeting that the PM ‘has taken the correct decision to extend the lockdown’. The cabinet is reportedly looking at the options put forward by the CMs after a video discussion today. The PM is not expected to address the nation today. In addition to Odisha, Punjab and Maharashtra have also decided to extend the lockdown.
On a touching note, CK Veneet, an Indian footballer, joined a government helpline centre in an effort to help the people in his hometown Kannur, Kerela. He plans to continue this work till the end of the lockdown.
The latest figures
Luv Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health said 1,035 new cases and 40 deaths were confirmed in the last 24 hours. He added that 642 people have recovered and been discharged so far. The number of total confirmed cases stands at 7,529 and death toll at 242.
He mentioned that statistical modelling suggests that the number of infections could have been as high as 2 lakhs if no containment measures were in place. Further, he said that there are 586 COVID-19 dedicated hospitals in the country, and over 1 lakh isolation beds, with the capacity increasing daily.
Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu continue to have the highest number of cases at 1,574 and 911 respectively, with Delhi following close behind at 903.
The ICMR chief, Dr Raman Gangakhedkar said that 16,564 samples were tested yesterday, suggesting that capacity is slowly increasing. However, he conceded that the rapid testing kits that were supposed to arrive in numbers have not yet been delivered.
An ICMR study, released on April 9, tested 5,911 patients with severe acute respiratory illness in some parts of the country for COVID-19 ; 104 (or 1.8%) of them tested positive. Of these, 40 did not report any international travel or contact with a confirmed case. While this data may suggest the beginning of community transmission in some parts of the country, the Health Ministry maintains that India is not in stage 3 (community transmission) yet.
Ladakh will now be able to access essential supplies
The government on Saturday reopened the Srinagar-Leh highway after four months of closure. The highway is closed during the winter months each year, due to heavy snowfall along the Zojila Pass. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data show that the union territory of Ladakh has 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection; of these, 10 have already recovered.
Announcements from the Home Ministry
The Home Ministry said that it has written a letter to all states/ UTs to ensure police protection for all health workers. This comes after a barrage of attacks on medical personnel from across the country.
The aquaculture industry joins the list of those who are exempted from the lockdown.
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) lobbies for pooled testing for the resumption of factories
The CII suggested a graded return to work for industries where work from home is not possible, such as e-commerce and construction. Pooled testing (which involves taking samples from multiple people and testing them together with a single test) will save crucial time for this process and also help the government get a better idea of disease transmission, CII contends. If a sample is negative, those workers should be allowed to work, whereas a positive sample would warrant individual testing.
Further, CII added that factories could resume at 50% labour capacity and provide shelter and food as well. The recommendations are being considered.
In a similar development, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is reportedly considering the resumption of factories that require low amounts of labour, and those involved with food processing since agricultural activities have been given a green light. It appears that industries will be slowly allowed to restart on a case by case basis, however, high labour endeavours such as textile manufacturing will be on the bottom of the list.
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