The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India crossed 40,000 on Sunday, making it one among 16 countries that have crossed that figure. With 83 more deaths since Saturday, a single-day high, the death toll nationwide has gone up to 1,306.

India currently has 28,070 active cases and 10,886 patients have recovered, according to the latest numbers available on the Health Ministry website. Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi led with the maximum number of cases.

The Centre has announced the formation of Central Public Health teams to investigate 20 districts in 10 States which have registered the maximum cases. These districts and cities include Mumbai, Pune and Thane in Maharashtra; Ahmedabad, Surat, and Vadodara in Gujarat; Indore and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh; Chennai in Tamil Nadu; Hyderabad in Telangana; Kolkata in West Bengal; Kurnool, Guntur, and Krishna in Andhra Pradesh and South East and Central Delhi .

These teams, comprising experts from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), AIIMS, JIPMER and the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health among others, will submit reports to the State health authorities with recommendations.

In terms of total cases, three other countries are comparable to India — the Netherlands, Peru and Belgium, with confirmed infections from 40,000-49,900.

There are 15 other countries with more than 50,000 cases, according to global coronavirus tracker, Worldometer. 

Data from State Health Departments put the nationwide death toll at 1,389. The number of positive cases overall stood at 42,496, with 29, 318 active ones. Mumbai reported 441 new cases and 21 deaths, taking the total number of cases to 8,613 and fatalities to 343, an BMC official said.

With 23 deaths, the toll in Ahmedabad district has crossed 200; 274 new cases takes number of patients in the city to 3,817.

India is one of 11 countries that have tested over one million samples, with the latest Health Ministry update reporting 74,000 tests a day.

However, at just 758 tests per million of population, India ranks among countries that have tested the lowest fraction of their population.

In an interview to the Press Trust of India, NITI Aayog Member, V.K. Paul said extending India’s lockdown was part of a plan to curb infection transmission.

The rationale (behind extending the lockdown till May 17) is that the gains of lockdown need to be consolidated in the country.

“…Real goal of lockdown was to suppress the chain of transmission of the virus. So, we will lose that, if we abruptly end it,” Dr. Paul said.

On April 25, Mr. Paul, who also heads a key government empowered committee on medical management, presented a study to suggest that the lockdown had slowed the rate of transmission and increased the doubling time , the period it took for cases to double, to about 10 days. He also presented an analysis to show that new cases would cease by May 16, though — as The Hindu had reported — this was a guesstimate and questioned by experts.

From Monday, several States are expected to enforce considerable relaxations accorded by the Ministry of Home Affairs, depending on whether districts and areas within them are in red, orange, green or containment zones.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday that the rate of growth in new cases in India was steadying. “As per data today, for the past three days, the doubling rate is 12; for seven days 11.7 and for 14 days its 10.4. We need to adhere to strict physical distancing and basic hand hygiene etiquette to take lockdown 3.0 to a logical end,” the Minister was quoted as saying in a statement released by the government.

There were 130 hotspot districts, 284 non-hotspots and 319 non-infected districts. The government had distributed 2 million personal protective equipment across the country, the statement added.

News Source: The Hindu


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