Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: In Delhi, 128 new cases have been reported, taking the total to 2,376. Two people have died to the coronavirus in the past day.
However, 84 people have recovered from COVID-19 till now.
Reports said that 778 new coronavirus cases were reported in Maharashtra on Thursday in addition to 14 new deaths. This takes the total number of cases in the state to 6,427 and the toll to 283.
In Mumbai, one of the worst-hit cities in the country, 4,205 cases have been reported, along with 167 deaths.
The Odisha government has announced a 60-hour complete shut down in Balasore, Bhadrak and Jajpur districts from 10 pm on Thursday till 26 April, in view of rise in COVID-19 cases, said Asit Tripathy, Chief Secretary, Odisha.
West Bengal chief secretary Rajiva Sinha on Thursday said, "In India, close to 70 percent cases are asymptomatic and doctors are also worried as to how to identify them. If lockdown opens on 4 May then this will be a big challenge."
CK Mishra, Environment Secretary and chairman of the Empowered Group 2, on Thursday said, 'On 23 March we had done 14,915 tests across the country and on 22 April, we have done more than 5 lakh tests. If a rough calculation is done it is about 33 times in 30 days. This is not enough and we need to ramp testing in this country."
The 'empowered groups' are described by CNBC-TV18 as, "The groups of officers have been empowered to identify problems, and provide solutions for time bound implementation, delineate policy, formulate plans as well as strategies operations."
AIIMS director Randeep Guleria on Thursday said that it was "important to reach out to patients who are missing out of treatment because of the stigma and panic", adding adding, "It is important to encourage more and more people to get tested, get treated."
'As on today, we have 12 districts that did not have a fresh case in the last 28 days or more. There are now 78 districts (23 states/UTs) that has not reported any fresh cases during the last 14 Days," said Health ministry joint secretary Lav Aggarwal.
The Union health ministry on Thursday said that in last 24 hours 1,409 positive cases have been reported, which takes the total confirmed cases to 21,393.
"As on today, we have 12 districts that did not have a fresh case in the last 28 days or more. There are now 78 districts (23 states/UTs) that has not reported any fresh cases during the last 14 Days," said Health ministry joint secretary Lav Aggarwal.
The entire Muslim community cannot be held responsible for one group’s "crime", Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Thursday while reacting to instances of Muslims being blamed for the spurt in COVID-19 cases after Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi's Nizamuddin Markaz, and asserted that most of the minority community members have condemned the group’s action.
With 49 individuals testing positive for the novel coronavirus on Thursday, Rajasthan reported a total of 1,937 positive COVID-19 cases, said the state health department.
The state has recorded 27 deaths so far, while the recovery rate was at 21 percent with 407 COVID-19 patients being cured.
The Rajasthan Health Department said that 134 patients have since been discharged.
IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta on Thursday rolled back the pay cuts that were earlier announced by the budget airline. "In deference to our Government's wishes of not reducing pay during the lockdown, we have decided not to implement the previously announced pay cuts during the month of April," CEO Ronojoy Dutta told employees in an email on 23 April.
The chief ministers of the Congress-ruled states on Thursday hit out at the Centre for not providing enough financial assistance to the states to strengthen its battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The chief ministers of Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Puducherry, demanded a financial package for the states to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
A group of non-resident physicians, health scientists, and healthcare providers have written to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee raising concerns over the "gross under-testing" and "misreporting of data" on the cause of death of COVID-19 patients.
In an open letter on Wednesday, the medical professionals said that while they have concerns about inadequate testing across India, they find the situation in West Bengal particularly grave.
As many as 70 areas in Palghar district of Maharashtra have been notified as containment zones after several COVID-19 positive cases were detected.
The containment zones fall under the Vasai-Virar municipal limits, and Dahanu and Palghar talukas, district Collector Kailas Shinde said in an order on Wednesday evening. Only essential services will be operational in the containment zones, he said.
Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid on Thursday appealed to all Muslims to follow the government's orders during lockdown imposed in view of the novel coronavirus. He further urged them to offer prayers at home during the month of Ramzan.
“If we follow govt instructions, we'll be able to eradicate COVID-19 soon. The holy month of Ramzan is about to begin. Prayers have to be offered at home itself and social distancing has to be maintained. By following it, we'll be able to protect everyone,” he said.
Telangana government has advised its officials to only send the primary contacts of COVID-19 positive cases to government identified quarantine centers, while the asymptomatic secondary contacts will be ordered to undergo home quarantine for 28 days instead of 14 days.
Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi addressed the CWC meet on Thursday saying, 'I offered our constructive cooperation and suggestions. Unfortunately, they have been acted upon only partially and in a miserly way. The compassion, large-heartedness and alacrity from the Centre is conspicuous by its absence.'
Four more COVID-19 patients in Jharkhand have recovered on Thursday, taking the recovery rate in the state to 16.32 percent with eight individuals being cured in total.
So far, the state has recorded 49 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, while three patients have succumbed to the infectious disease.
As the nation continued to reel under the novel coronovirus outbreak, Maharashtra and Gujarat faced the brunt of the crisis the maximum. The two western states accounted for 37 percent of the total 8,059 confirmed cases recorded in both so far.
With 229 fresh cases recorded in the last 24 hours, Gujarat on Wednesday emerged as the second worst affected state after Maharashtra, which reported 431 new cases.
The Maharashtra government has decided to aggressively evacuate suspected coronavirus patients from Dharavi and other hotspots and put them in institutional quarantine, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday.
The densely populated Dharavi slum area has reported close to 190 cases of coronavirus infection so far.
"Houses in Dharavi are very small and 10-12 people live in a house. Even if we advise home quarantine, the shortage of space defeats the purpose," he said.
The total number of novel coronavirus cases in India climbed to 21,393 on Thursday, according to the latest Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data. The toll stood at 682, it said.
So far, India has 16,454 active cases. While, the recovery rate of COVID-19 patients is at 19.8 percent.
Assam Director General of Police GP Singh on Wednesday said that a total number of 2,326 people were arrested and 17,872 vehicles were detained for violating lockdown rules.
He further tweeted that a total of Rs 1,02,41,400 fine was realised during the lockdown.
Sharing details regarding FIR registered for spreading fake news on social media/rumour related to COVID-19, he said, "Of 85 cases that were registered, 46 people were arrested, of which 12 people were later released on bail."
The total number of novel coronavirus cases in India surged past 20,000 on Wednesday. At least 1,486 fresh cases emerged in the last 24 hours, taking the COVID-19 count in the country to 20,471, according to the latest Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data.
With 49 deaths recorded since Tuesday, the toll now stands at 652, it said.
The countrywide COVID-19 toll rose to 652 while the number of cases jumped to 20,471 on Wednesday, an increase of 49 fatalities and 1,486 cases since Tuesday evening, according to the Union Health Ministry.
The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 15,859, while 3,959 people have been cured and discharged, the ministry said, adding that one patient has migrated.
Meanwhile, the Union Cabinet approved Rs 15,000 crore for "India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package" for setting up dedicated treatment facilities and laboratories as part of an urgent response to contain the pandemic.
The Cabinet also approved an ordinance aimed at preventing violence against health workers after several cases of assaults on doctors were reported during the coronavirus outbreak.
Maharashtra, Gujarat report most deaths
Of the 49 deaths reported since Tuesday evening, 19 were from Maharashtra, 18 from Gujarat, four from Madhya Pradesh, three from West Bengal, two from Andhra Pradesh and one each from Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, the ministry said.
Representational image. AP
Of the total 652 deaths, Maharashtra tops the tally with 251, followed by Gujarat at 95, Madhya Pradesh at 80, Delhi at 47, Rajasthan at 25, Andhra Pradesh at 24 and Telangana at 23, according to the ministry.
The death toll reached 21 in Uttar Pradesh, 18 in Tamil Nadu while Karantaka has reported 17 cases.
Punjab has registered 16 deaths, while West Bengal has reported 15 fatalities due to coronavirus infection so far.
The disease has claimed five lives in Jammu and Kashmir, while Kerala, Jharkhand and Haryana have recorded three COVID-19 deaths each.
Bihar has reported two deaths, while Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and Assam have reported one fatality each, according to the ministry data.
According to the health ministry''s data updated in the evening, the highest number of confirmed cases in the country are from Maharashtra at 5,221, followed by Gujarat at 2,272, Delhi at 2,156, Rajasthan at 1,801, Tamil Nadu at 1,596 and Madhya Pradesh at 1,592.
The number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 1,412 in Uttar Pradesh, 945 in Telangana and 813 in Andhra Pradesh.
The number of cases has risen to 427 in Kerala, 425 in Karnataka, 423 in West Bengal, 380 in Jammu and Kashmir, 254 in Haryana and 251 in Punjab.
Bihar has reported 126 coronavirus cases, while Odisha has 82.
Forty-six people have been infected with the virus in Uttarakhand while Jharkhand has 45 cases.
Himachal Pradesh has 39 cases, Chhattisgarh has 36, while Assam has registered 35 infections so far.
Chandigarh has 27 COVID-19 cases, Ladakh 18, while 17 cases have been reported from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Meghalaya has reported 12 cases, while Goa and Puducherry have seven COVID-19 patients each. Manipur and Tripura have two cases each, while Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have reported a case each.
"Our figures are being reconciled with the ICMR," the ministry said on its website.
It further said that one case of Jharkhand has been reassigned to Bihar after reconciliation.
Cabinet approves ordinance making attacks on doctors non-bailable offence
The Union government proposed making attacks on health workers non-bailable with maximum punishment of seven years in jail and Rs 5 lakh fine.
Javadekar said a person can be sentenced to anywhere between three months and five years in jail, besides a fine between Rs 50,000 and Rs 2 lakh, for crimes against healthcare workers under the new provision. In cases where injuries are serious, the punishment will range from six months to seven years, and carry fine between Rs 1-5 lakhs, the minister told reporters.
"Our government has zero tolerance against violence and harassment targeting doctors, nurses, paramedics and ASHA workers when they are doing their best to fight the pandemic," Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said after a Union cabinet meeting.
It was not clear whether these provisions would continue even after the COVID-19 crisis.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) called off its proposed ''white alert'' and ''black day'' protests scheduled for 22 and 23 April following a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah through video conference on Wednesday. The doctors' body has been demanding that the Centre bring a law to protect healthcare workers from rising attacks at a time when they are battling COVID-19.
The Union Health Ministry also advised chief secretaries of all states and Union Territories to adopt adequate measures in ensuring the safety of health workers involved in COVID-19 services.
In a letter, Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said amongst all professionals, the skills and services of these health workers place them in a unique position of saving lives.
Meanwhile, official sources told PTI that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with chief ministers via video conferencing on 27 April morning on the way ahead in the fight against coronavirus. This will be the third such video conference.
In the last interaction on 11 April, several chief ministers had recommended extension of the 21-day lockdown by two weeks, which was slated to end on 14 April earlier. Modi then extended it to 3 May.
Centre, West Bengal govt continue to be at loggerheads
A political stand-off continued between the BJP-headed Central Government and the Trinamool Congress-led government in West Bengal, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleging that the Centre had dispatched faulty testing kits to her state.
"Canards are being spread every day that only a few are getting tested in Bengal for COVID-19. This is absolutely false. Faulty kits were sent to Bengal which have now been withdrawn. We didn't even get adequate testing kits," she told a press conference.
The state government, however, assured it will abide by all the Central Government orders on the nationwide lockdown and said "it is not a fact" that it was not cooperating with the central team deputed to assess the COVID-19 situation in the West Bengal.
The assurance followed the Centre's allegation that the West Bengal government was obstructing the central team's work.
West Bengal has so far reported 15 deaths and 385 confirmed cases, though at least 79 people have been cured of COVID-19 in the state.
Rahul Gandhi seeks suggestions for MSME stimulus package
The Congress party on Wednesday has sought suggestions from the public on what a MSME economic stimulus package should cover. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweets, "COVID-19 has devastated our micro, small and medium businesses."
With inputs from agencies