- 336 new cases reported, six have died in 24 hours: Health Ministry
- World Bank has approved $1 billion funds for India to tackle the virus
- Worldwide more than one million people have been infected by the virus
Sixty-two people have died after being infected by the novel coronavirus, the government said today. Across the country the number of confirmed cases is now 2,547, with 478 new cases detected in the past 24 hours. A total of 163 people have been discharged from hospitals after receiving treatment. Confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported from 211 districts across the country, up from 161 on March 29 and 75 on March 22. Worldwide the number of COVID-19 positive cases has crossed 1 million, with over 50,000 dead. On Thursday the World Bank approved $1 billion in emergency financing for India to tackle the outbreak. This morning Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation, via a brief video message, for the second time since a nationwide 21-day “total lockdown” was initiated. The centre, meanwhile, has identified 13 coronavirus hotspots across the country.
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The Uttar Pradesh government has filed charges against some members of the Tablighi Jamaat, the Islamic sect whose religious gathering in Delhi has been linked to hundreds of coronavirus cases, under the strict National Security Act (NSA). The charges were filed after allegations of misconduct against and assault on nurses at a Ghaziabad hospital. While ordering the charges to be filed, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath described them as “enemies of humanity”. Those charged under the NSA can be held for up to a year if the accused are seen to threaten public order.
This morning Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation via a video message in which he urged people, once again, to stay inside their homes during the lockdown. “The only way to break the chain of coronavirus is to maintain social distancing,” he said, adding, “Please do not go out on to the roads, lanes in your localities. (Limit yourself to) the doorstep or balconies of your own homes”. States have been told to crack down on those violating the lockdown or obstructing officials. Such people should be sent to jail for one or two years, the government has said.
Mumbai (179) and Delhi (152) have reported over 150 COVID-19 cases each. Other metros with the most number of active cases are Bengaluru (52), Pune (49) and Hyderabad (44). Among non-metros, Kasargod (115) and Kannur (49) have the most cases, with Uttar Pradesh’s GB Nagar (45), Ahmedabad (33) and Jaipur (32) next. Among states Maharashtra (339), Tamil Nadu (309) and Kerala (286) are worst affected by the coronavirus outbreak, with Delhi (219) and Rajasthan (133) next.
The centre has identified 14 hotspots across the country, where the maximum number of cases are detected. Dilshad Garden, Nizamuddin, Noida, Bhilwara, Kasargod, Pathanamthitta, Kannur, Mumbai, Pune, Indore, Jabalpur, Ahmedabad, Ladakh and Yavatmal are listed as the COVID-19 hotspots.
This morning a 35-year-old doctor from Mumbai’s Dharavi, which is Asia’s largest slum, tested positive for COVID-19. This is the third case of novel coronavirus infection from Dharavi in as many days, raising fears of a new virus hotspot. Over a million people live in the five square kilometre slum that has a maze of dirty lanes, cramped huts and community toilets, making it a challenge to check the spread of a virus that spreads easily from person to person.
Andhra Pradesh, where 140 of 161 coronavirus cases have been linked to the Tablighi Jamaat gathering, reported its first COVID-19-linked death today. A 55-year-old man who had links to the Islamic group had died on March 30. He had contracted the virus from his son, who had returned from Delhi on March 17. The son, who is also positive, and nearly 30 others have been isolated.
On Thursday a resident doctor from Delhi’s prestigious AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) tested positive for the coronavirus. His wife, who is also a doctor and is nine months pregnant, tested positive too. Sources said neither had any recent travel history. So far seven Delhi doctors have tested positive for the highly infectious virus; two of them work at the national capital’s Safdarjung Hospital, which is directly opposite AIIMS in one of the city’s busiest localities.
The World Bank has approved $1.9 billion in aid for 25 countries. The largest chunk of this – $1 billion – will come to India and should be used for “better screening, contact tracing and laboratory diagnostics, (buying) personal protective equipment and setting up new isolation wards”, the global financial institution has said. Other South Asian countries to receive aid include Pakistan ($200 million), Afghanistan ($100 million) and Sri Lanka ($128.6 million).
Also on Thursday the Prime Minister held a video conference with chief ministers of several states – his first since the lockdown started – to discuss containment protocols and how to lift the lockdown in a phased manner. “It is important to formulate a common exit strategy to ensure staggered re-emergence of the population once the lockdown ends,” PM Modi said, according to a statement giving details of the interaction.
The number of coronavirus cases around the world crossed 1 million and deaths have topped 50,000, news agency AFP reported Thursday. The United States has reported the highest daily death toll of any country so far and accounts for around a quarter of all known infections. About 6,000 have died in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University, with over 1,000 dying in the past 24 hours. Around 85 percent of Americans are under some form of stay-at-home order.