Home / India / Covid-19 in local transmission stage, 92 cases in 24 hours: Govt

Covid-19 in local transmission stage, 92 cases in 24 hours: Govt

Death toll rises to 29; Centre dismisses reports of extending lockdown; Army calls news of imposing emergency fake
Homeless people rest, seated at a safe distance, during the nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, in New Delhi, Monday, March 30, 2020
Homeless people rest, seated at a safe distance, during the nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, in New Delhi, Monday, March 30, 2020

PTI   |   New Delhi   |   Published 30.03.20, 06:34 AM

Ninety-two new cases and four deaths due to COVID-19 have been reported in India since Sunday, the health ministry said on Monday while reiterating that there has been no community transmission of the virus as of now.

Technically, Covid-19 is still in the local transmission stage in the country as there has been no community transmission as of now, joint secretary in the health ministry Luv Aggarwal said.

Earlier in the day, cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba denied rumours claiming that the government of India will extend the 21-day lockdown.

Addressing the daily press briefing on the actions taken, preparedness and updates on the pandemic at 4pm, Agarwal informed that 92 new cases of Covid-19 and four deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours, taking total cases to 1,071 and the number of deaths to 29.

Underlining the importance of social distancing, said even one person's carelessness can lead to spread of this pandemic.

He said rather than spreading panic, there is a need for creating awareness about Covid-19.

Speaking at the same press conference, R. Gangakhedkar from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR ) said 38,442 tests have been conducted till now, out of which 3,501 were done on Sunday.

In the last three days, 1,334 tests have been done in private labs, he added.

'We are still at less than 30% of our testing capacity, he added.

No plans to extend lockdown, says govt

The government on Monday said that there was no immediate plan to extend the 21-day lockdown amid fears that shutdown of businesses across the country to counter the spread of coronavirus may trigger severe economic and social distress.

The clarification by cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba came after hundreds of thousands of migrant labourers undertook long journeys from major urban centres on foot to their homes in the last five days, reflecting their struggle for survival due to job losses following the lockdown.

The central government has already directed states to make arrangements for shelter and food for the migrant workers.

In a tweet, the government's Press Information Bureau said: 'There are rumours & media reports, claiming that the Government will extend the #Lockdown21 when it expires. The Cabinet Secretary has denied these reports, and stated that they are baseless.'

A Group of Minister (GoM) headed by defence minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday carried out a comprehensive review of the situation arising out of the lockdown, including movement of the migrant labourers.

There has been fears that the lockdown may spark severe economic and social distress.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said the sudden lockdown has created immense 'panic' and 'confusion'. He called for steps other than a total lockdown announced by some developed nations to tackle the deadly disease.

Gandhi said the number of poor people in India who are dependent on a daily income is too large to unilaterally shut down all economic activities in the wake of the pandemic.

31 Indians land in Delhi from Kabul 

A special flight from Afghanistan carrying 31 Indians, including diplomats and ITBP personnel, landed at the Delhi airport on Monday. The passengers were sent to a quarantine facility set up in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, officials said. 

The officials had earlier said that 35 people were brought on the plane. They were brought on a Kam Air flight from Kabul that landed at about 2.40pm at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport. 

”There are 31 passengers on the special flight from Kabul that includes four diplomats, 26 ITBP men and a civilian,” a senior official said. 

Their medical samples will be taken to check coronavirus symptoms, he said. 

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police is deployed to guard the main Indian embassy complex in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and four consulates in Herat, Kandhar, Jalalabad and Mazar-e-Sharif. The passengers were screened with temperature guns by ITBP personnel on the tarmac and were sent to the quarantine facility in the Chhawla area of southwest Delhi. 

The centre already has 481 Indians who were recently rescued from Covid-19 affected Rome in Italy.

Army dismisses social media messages of imposition of emergency as fake

The Indian Army on Monday dismissed as 'fake' certain messages circulating on social media about likely imposition of emergency in the country next month to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

Army officials also said no effort is being initiated to rope in services of retired personnel, the National Cadet Corps and the volunteers enrolled under the National Service Scheme in the wake of the coronavirus crisis

'Fake and malicious messages are circulating on social media about likely declaration of emergency in mid April and employment of #IndianArmy, #Veterans, NCC and NSS to assist the civil administration,' the Army's additional director general of public information (ADGPI) tweeted.

'It is clarified that this is absolutely Fake,' the ADGPI said.

Baijal, Kejriwal discuss measures to control spread of virus

Lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal on Monday held a meeting with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, district magistrates and DCPs via video conference and discussed measures to control the spread of coronavirus.

Taking to Twitter, Baijal said all district magistrates and deputy commissioners of police have been asked to ensure that no congregation is allowed in the national capital.

No movement except for availing essential services will be allowed, Baijal said, adding that social distancing should be maintained under all circumstances.

So far, 72 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the city.

Bengal prepares list of inmates eligible to be released

The correctional services department in West Bengal has prepared a list of 3,000 inmates who were eligible for parole and bail, in keeping with a Calcutta High Court order that sought to decongest jails amid the growing COVID-threat.

The court had last week formed a three-member panel to examine the situation in all correctional homes of West Bengal and prepare a report on the number of inmates who could be granted bail or parole to avoid crowding in prisons.

According to officials of the correctional services department, of the 3,000 inmates listed for relief, 2,000 are undertrial prisoners and 1,000 convicts.

'We have already sent the list to respective courts where cases of these 3,000 inmates have been heard or were being heard. It is now for the court to decide whether they would be released on bail and parole,' a senior official of the department said.

The list has been prepared in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the court. Convicts who have been sentenced to jail for seven years or less are the only ones who have made it to the list for parole, he said.

There are around 60 prisons in West Bengal, housing nearly 25,000 inmates. Of them, close to 7,000 are convicts and the rest undertrials.

Earlier, the department had disallowed prison visits by family members, as part of the precautionary measures to check the spread of novel coronavirus.

UP govt issues license to 42 companies to make sanitisers

The Uttar Pradesh government has issued licences to 42 companies to make 40,000 litres of sanitisers every day in order to ensure adequate supply, officials said on Monday.

There has been a spurt in the demand for sanitisers following the outbreak of coronavirus in the state and to deal with this, the government issued licences to 27 distilleries and 15 sanitiser-manufacturing companies, principal secretary, excise, Sanjay Bhoosreddy said.

These companies are currently producing 40,000 litres of sanitisers per day and it will be increased to 60,000 litres soon, he said.

The product is being made available in the markets through dealers, Bhoosreddy said. Chief medical officers who are placing requests are being provided promptly, he added.

There will be no shortage of sanitisers in the state and if required, production can be further increased, the official said.

Modi condoles death of Omar's uncle

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday condoled the death of Omar Abdullah's uncle and appreciated the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister's call to supporters to respect guidelines and not gather at either his residence or the graveyard.

Prayers from home will give peace to his uncle's soul, Abdullah tweeted on Twitter on Sunday night while announcing the death of Dr Mohammed Ali Mattoo in Srinagar following a brief illness.

The Prime Minister offered his condolences and said, In this hour of grief, your call to avoid any large gathering is appreciable and will strengthen India's fight against COVID-19.'

India has been under a 21-day lockdown since March 24 to curtail the spread of coronavirus. Social distancing is the only way to curb the spread of coronavirus, the government has said.

Replying to the Prime Minister, Abdullah said, 'My family joins me in thanking you very much for your message of condolence jenab. Your prayers for the departed soul are much appreciated.'

On Sunday night, the National Conference leader, who was released last week after nearly eight months in detention, went on Twitter to say his uncle had passed away after a brief illness.

At this difficult time the family appeals to everyone to respect the guidelines to not gather either at his residence or the graveyard. Your prayers from your homes will give peace to his soul.'

Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, whose Twitter handle is being operated by her daughter Iltija and continues to be detained, also expressed her condolences over the bereavement.

SC seeks report from SC on steps taken to prevent migrants' exodus

The Supreme Court on Monday sought a status report from the Centre by Tuesday on the measures taken in view of the large-scale migration of labourers from cities to their native villages amid the coronavirus outbreak and the consequent lockdown across the country.

The top court observed that the migration of labourers out of panic and fear is becoming a bigger problem than the coronavirus.

It said the court would not create more confusion by issuing directions on measures that the government is already taking to deal with the issue.

A bench of Chief Justice S. A. Bobde and Justice L. Nageswara Rao, which took up two separate PILs filed by advocates Alakh Alok Srivastava and Rashmi Bansal on the issue of migration of labourers through video-conferencing, said before passing any direction, it would like to wait for the status report from the Centre.

Solicitor-general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said the migration of labourers needs to be stopped to prevent the spread of the virus and the Centre as well as the states concerned have taken the requisite steps to deal with it.

The bench posted the matters for hearing on Tuesday.

Cases climb to 1,071

The number of Covid-19 cases climbed to 1,071 in India on Monday, while the death toll rose to 29, according to the Union health ministry.

The number of active cases stood at 942, while 99 people were either cured or discharged and one had migrated, the ministry stated.

In its updated data at 10.30am, it said two fresh deaths were reported from Maharashtra.

Thus, Maharashtra has reported the maximum number of eight Covid-19 deaths so far, followed by Gujarat (5), Karnataka (3), Madhya Pradesh (2), Delhi (2) and Jammu and Kashmir (2).

Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, West Bengal, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have reported a death each.

The total number of 1,071 cases includes 49 foreigners.

The highest number of confirmed cases of the pandemic has been reported from Kerala (194) so far, followed by Maharashtra at 193.

The number of cases has gone up to 80 in Karnataka, while Uttar Pradesh has reported 75 cases.

The number of cases has risen to 69 in Telangana, 58 in Gujarat and 57 in Rajasthan.

Delhi has reported 53 cases, while in Tamil Nadu, the number of positive cases is 50.

Punjab has reported 38 cases, while 33 cases have been detected each in Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.

There are 31 cases of the contagion in Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh has 19 and Ladakh 13.

Bihar has 11 cases, while nine cases have been reported from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Chandigarh has eight cases, while Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand have reported seven cases each.

Goa has reported five coronavirus cases, while Himachal Pradesh and Odisha have reported three cases each. Puducherry, Mizoram and Manipur have reported a case each, the health ministry said.

Bengal cases rise to 22

A 77-year-old man from the city tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, taking the total number of people afflicted with the virus to 22, a senior health official said.

The septuagenarian was admitted to a private medical facility on Sunday evening with fever, cough and severe respiratory issues, he said.

The elderly man, whose travel history is yet to be ascertained, is on ventilator support at an isolation unit of the hospital, the official said.

The total number of Covid-19 cases has risen to 22 in West Bengal, including two deaths.

A 44-year-old woman from Kalimpong in Darjeeling district became the latest fatality on Monday morning. She breathed her last around 2am at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital, officials said.

Health ministry issues advisory for aged people

Stating that the course of Covid-19 tends to be more severe in the case of the elderly population, resulting in higher mortality, the Union health ministry has issued an advisory, listing some 'dos' and 'don'ts' for reducing the transmission of the virus among the aged section.

'Elderly people are at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection due to their decreased immunity and body reserves, as well as multiple associated comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Also, course of disease tends to be more severe in case of elderlies, resulting in higher mortality,' the advisory stated.

The ministry advised the elderly people to wash their hands and face at regular intervals with soap, stay at home, avoid meeting visitors at home and if such a meeting is essential, maintain a distance of at least one metre.

It asked them to ensure proper nutrition through home-cooked, fresh, hot meals, hydrate frequently and take fresh juices to boost immunity.

The 'dos' also include exercising, taking the daily prescribed medicines regularly, postponing elective surgeries (if any) like cataract surgery or total knee replacement and cleaning frequently-touched surfaces with a disinfectant.

'If you develop fever, cough and/or breathing difficulty, immediately contact nearest healthcare facility and follow the medical advice rendered,' the advisory said.

It also listed some 'don'ts', including not coughing or sneezing into bare hands or without covering the face and not going near people suffering from fever and cough.

It advised them against self-medicating and going to hospital for routine checkups or follow-ups.

IOA plegdes support to fight pandemic 

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Monday promised 'support and contribution' towards the country's battle to contain the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, saying its member national federations and state affiliates will also step in to aid the cause.

In a statement posted on the body's Twitter handle, IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta said 'we are deeply grateful to all the front-line workers who are risking their lives to fight this pandemic.'

In another tweet, the IOA said the cycling federation and the Indian Golf Union have already promised monetary contributions to fight the outbreak, which has led to a nationwide lockdown till April 14.

'The #Cycling fraternity is committed to the need of the nation in fighting the severity of COVID-19 crisis. @OfficialCFI Chairman Mr Onkar Singh pledged a support of 1 Lac Rupees on behalf of Cycling Federation of India for this noble cause,' the IOA tweeted.

'In the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, IGU President Lt.Gen D Anbu (Retd), has pledged to commit a sum of 10 lac Rupees on behalf of the @IndianGolfUnion and the #Golf community to support the nation in its fight against the current crisis,' it added.

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