COVID-19 death toll rises to 13,049 globally, India cases rise to 324, train services halted for Janta Curfew

Experts say that sealing off international borders was one of the things India did well in the fight against SARS-CoV-2.

Myupchar March 22, 2020 13:11:52 IST
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COVID-19 death toll rises to 13,049 globally, India cases rise to 324, train services halted for Janta Curfew

As many as 60 new cases of coronavirus infection were reported across India on Saturday - Kerala confirmed 12 additional cases of COVID-19 infection, 11 more people tested positive in Punjab and Gujarat reported seven new cases of novel coronavirus infection.

Other states, too, reported fresh cases on Saturday, taking India’s total tally of active patients to 296 (according to health ministry data, 24 patients have recovered from the viral infection and four others have died on Indian soil). Active patients are those who confirmed sick and haven’t been discharged from the hospital or died.

COVID19 death toll rises to 13049 globally India cases rise to 324 train services halted for Janta Curfew

Representational image. Image by Наркологическая Клиника from Pixabay.

Several states are imposing lockdowns and partial lockdowns in an effort to contain the infection. As of now:

  • All of Rajasthan is in lockdown from 22 - 31 March.
  • There’s a lockdown in four districts of Punjab — Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr — till 25 March, Wednesday. In the capital city, Chandigarh, government offices are closed until 31 March.
  • Government offices are also closed in Chhattisgarh till 31 March.
  • In Maharashtra, Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur are in partial lockdown till 31 March and Akola is in complete lockdown till 24 March, Tuesday.
  • In Odisha, cities like Puri, Rourkela Sambalpur and Balasore, as well as the districts of Khurdha, Cuttack, Ganjam, Kendrapada and Angul, will be under lockdown from 7 am-9 pm till 29 March.

In Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday evening held his first-ever digital press conference to say that there would be no lockdown in the Capital for now. However, all social, political and religious gatherings are to be limited to under five people.

Other states, too, are taking measures to avoid large gatherings and encourage social distancing. In West Bengal, restaurants, pubs and bars are closed till 31 March. 

In Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populated state with 199,812,341 people according to the 2011 census, the tally of confirmed patients has grown to 25. 

For Sunday’s 'janta curfew' — set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech on Friday — Indian Railways has cancelled over 3,700 passenger trains till 10 pm Sunday. Delhi Metro rail services have also been closed till 10 pm today.

Starting today, no international flights will be allowed to land in India for a week till the midnight of 28 March. Experts say that sealing off international borders was one of the things India did well in the fight against SARS-CoV-2 - the coronavirus that is less deadly but far more infectious than SARS-CoV-1 which claimed over 700 lives globally in 2002-03.

5 Worst affected states in India, by number of patients

State

Number of confirmed cases, according to health ministry data

Maharashtra

63

Kerala

52

Delhi

27

Uttar Pradesh

24

Rajasthan

22

Data sourced from https://www.mohfw.gov.in/ at 11:00 am Sunday.

On Saturday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) shared guidelines for testing for coronavirus infection with private labs. In addition to putting a ceiling of Rs 4,500 on tests, the medical authority has guided labs to do a home collection of samples, take care of biosafety and biosecurity while taking samples and testing and disposing of biowaste. The private labs have been instructed to conduct real-time PCR based assays rather than test for antibodies in the blood. 

International news

Italy saw around 800 deaths from COVID-19 related complications on Saturday. Iran’s total death toll has now crossed 1,550. Even Syria — after years of war and strife — is patching together resources to disinfect areas and fight the infection. While Singapore recorded its first COVID-19 death on Saturday morning, Columbia saw the first COVID-19 death on Saturday night. Singapore is banning the entry of short-term visitors from Monday, 11:59 pm. 

The total number of cases globally has increased to 3,07,278 cases. The number of people who have recovered from the illness is also encouragingly close to one lakh - 92,373.

Things to do

As the weeks and months go by, we understand more about this novel strain of coronavirus - so named because the virus has a corona or “crown” when seen under the microscope.

While a cure and a vaccine for COVID-19 may take a bit longer in testing, doctors around the world are sharing knowledge resources for the management of symptoms like respiratory distress and discussing the merits of malaria medicine. 

In the meantime, here are nine things you can do to stay safe:

  • Avoid turning on the AC if you live in a large apartment complex with central air-conditioning or are still working from the office - this is because air conditioning can suck up cough droplets and transport them to multiple levels and ducts.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Wash your hands properly for at least 20 seconds — and ideally up to 1 minute — with soap and water.
  • If you get symptoms like fever and cough, call the National helpline 1075 for guidance on what to do next.
  • Postpone any non-essential visits to the hospital and any elective surgeries.
  • Don’t panic and don’t stock too much food at home - remember, the Prime Minister in his address to the nation has promised adequate supply of food in the coming months.
  • If you are considering self-quarantine, remember that you are in good company. Many celebrities from Shabana Azmi to Alia Bhatt are in self-quarantine.
  • If you must step out, make sure to maintain a social distance of 1-2 meters from everyone else. Try not to touch surfaces, especially doorknobs and lift buttons.
  • Remember to exercise, stay healthy and keep your mind occupied. Anxiety and stress will not help your immunity at this time.

For more tips, read our article on  Coronavirus Infection: Symptoms, Types, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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