Coronavirus India Roundup, April 27: CMs want lockdown extended, recovery rate improving, MP now has over 100 deaths
According to the Indian Health Ministry, 28,380 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the country, of which 21,132 are active cases.
According to the Indian Health Ministry, 28,380 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the country, of which 21,132 are active cases. A total of 6,361 have been discharged and 886 people have died. Of these, 1,396 cases were confirmed in the last 24 hours. The Ministry also said in the latest press briefing that the recovery rate has improved to 22.17%. Here are some major updates of the day:
PM Modi meets with CMs; hints at graded easing of containment measures
PM Modi held a video conference with the Chief Ministers on Monday and discussed the way ahead. States including Odisha, Meghalaya and Goa have advocated an extension of the lockdown with some industrial activity allowed to stir the economy. Odisha expressed interest in extending the lockdown to 3rd June within the state.
Amongst other major developments, PM Modi said that orange and green zones will have more freedom but with the caveat of physical distancing. Further, masks will likely remain a part of the social landscape for the foreseeable future. Private transport may be allowed with restrictions and state borders are expected to remain closed - public transport is also unlikely to reopen immediately.
In red zones, lockdown is expected to continue and states have been urged to step up efforts in helping red zones graduate to green and orange categories.
Authorities in MP mulling testing viral strain to check if it is more virulent
COVID-19 fatalities have now exceeded 100 in MP, and 2,168 have tested positive so far. Indore and Ujjain have been particularly affected with the latter having the highest mortality rate in cities with more than 100 cases.
Further, 7000 samples are pending to be tested - they have been sent to Ahmedabad and Puducherry for testing as there is not enough local capacity. The results of these tests are expected to cause a spike in cases.
The dean of Mahatma Gandhi Medical College, Indore has suggested sending the samples to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune to check if the strain present in the cities is more virulent in comparison to strains found elsewhere.
Earlier studies in Wuhan have shown that there are two distinct strains: L and S. The L strain is supposed to be more deadly and was registered earlier in the outbreak in Wuhan. With human interventions and lockdowns, the S strain became more common.
It is important to note that these are speculations; no studies have confirmed that one strain is significantly more harmful than the other, nor is it known which strain is prevalent in India. The NIV investigation may yield some results about the mutation of the disease, but currently, the higher death rates have been attributed to underlying health conditions.
Protocols to bring back stranded Indians from abroad being discussed
Tens of thousands of those who have been stranded abroad have been appealing to the government to bring them back. The government responded last week that given the current situation, it is difficult to repatriate citizens and to stay put.
It has now been learnt that the government is in talks with foreign governments about evacuating Indians once the lockdown is over. Those in the Gulf countries will be prioritized. The government is working to make sure adequate quarantine facilities are available for the returnees and on developing a database of those abroad who have tested negative. As of now, only those who test negative will be allowed back.
According to crude estimates, over two lakh Indians are waiting to return to the country. As of mid-April, 25 Indians abroad have reportedly died from COVID-19 .
For more information, read our article on When is an area considered a hot spot?
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