High Population and Dicey Health Facilities Have Made India ‘Coronavirus Hotspot’

The recent coronavirus outbreak which originated in China’s Hubei Province, was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) after the virus rapidly infected many countries across the globe. Over 2,33,09,500 people have been diagnosed with the deadly virus and the death toll is now nearly 8,06,500, worldwide.

Italy and Iran have seen a rapid surge in coronavirus cases within a few days and became the epicenter of the infection in Europe and the Middle East respectively. The number of confirmed cases in the US has surpassed over 56,81,400.

Covid-19 Coronavirus in India

Coronavirus spread is now a major issue for the subcontinent

The number of cases of coronavirus in India has reached over 31,06,300  with over 57,500 deaths recorded so far. Despite this fact, people are spiraling and jumping off quarantine after getting tested positive.

There is no way to be sure without any tests whether there is a community spread or not since the average testing sample ratio is quite low as compared to South Korea who managed to control the spread with stringent measures.

However, given the high population density and the negligent behaviour of people, many are skeptical about the true number of infected cases. The WHO has disagreed with the testing method that the Indian authorities have put in motion based on the data and pattern of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Experts have expressed their concerns that the number of coronavirus cases could escalate rapidly in the coming days and India could become the next coronavirus hotspot within days.

Coronavirus in India – Updates

6:15 IST –  August 24, 2020:

India’s medical system is spiraling amidst the ordeal of the coronavirus pandemic. The total number of cases have crossed the 30-lakh mark, with 31,06,300 infected people and over 57,500 deaths. India’s COVID-19 tests per million rose sharply to 26,016 as cumulative tests surged to 3.59 crore. The number of people recovering from coronavirus has crossed 23 lakh pushing the recovery rate to over 75 percent.

3:00 IST – August 8, 2020:

India’s coronavirus cases have reached 20,88,611 today, with 61,537 cases being reported in a day. There are 6,19,088 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country presently while the recovery rate among COVID-19 patients has gone up to 67.62%.

Serum Institute of India (SII) on Friday said the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide at-risk funding of $150 million to manufacture 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for India and low-and-middle income countries.

At this rate of increase in infections, India soon will surpass Brazil’s numbers and become the 2nd most affected country after the US.

2:00 IST – August 1, 2020:

With 57,117 people testing positive for coronavirus within 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 tally has reached near 17 lakh mark today. The country’s death toll rose to 36,511 with 764 fatalities being recorded in a day.

The human trials of India’s first potential coronavirus vaccine Covaxin have started in Uttar Pradesh today. Uttar Pradesh’s Rana Hospital and Trauma Centre was one of the 12 institutes selected by ICMR for clinical human trial of Covaxin.

2:00 IST -July 28, 2020:

With 47,704 people testing positive for coronavirus within 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 tally has reached close to 15 lakh mark today, while the recoveries jumped to 9,52,743. The country’s death toll rose to 33,425 with 654 fatalities being recorded in a day.

Meanwhile, five sites across the country have been prepared for the third and final phase of human trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

10:50 IST – July 25, 2020:

Fresh coronavirus cases in India rose to 48,916 in the past 24 hours, pushing the total Covid-19 tally over 13 lakh mark today, while the total number of recoveries crossed 8.49 lakh. The death toll due to the disease rose to 31,358 with 757 fatalities reported in one day. The cases of infection keep getting higher and higher, raising concerns.

10:30 IST – July 20, 2020:

India reported a record single-day jump of 40,425 fresh COVID-19 cases pushing its tally to 11,18,043, while the death toll due to the infection rose to 27,497. So far in India, 1.40 crore samples have been tested for coronavirus, according to medical research body ICMR.

Meanwhile, many pharmaceuticals companies are working on developing a vaccine. Bharat Biotech last week started human clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate Covaxin. Pharma major Zydus Cadila had also last week started clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate with the first human dosing. Vaccine major Serum Institute of India, which is working on the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine, plans to start human trials in India in August 2020.

12:15 IST – July 15, 2020:

The number of fresh coronavirus cases in India have reached to a record 29,429, pushing its overall tally to 9,36,181, even as the recovery rate further improved. The death toll climbed to 24,309 with 582 people dead within 24 hours.

The government said that the country’s testing lab network has been further strengthened with 1,200 labs in the country – 852 labs in the government sector and 348 private labs – offering COVID-19 diagnostic facilities.

Human clinical trials for a vaccine for COVID-19 has been initiated in the country with approximately 1,000 volunteers participating in the exercise for each of the two indigenously developed vaccine candidates.

6:20 IST – July 11, 2020:

The Covid-19 cases in India have increased to 8,20,916. The country witnessed a spike of 27,114 in 24 hours which is the highest in India on record. The new cases have crossed the previous record of 26,506 that was registered on Friday. India had breached the 5-lakh mark 14 days ago.

4:15 IST – July 4, 2020:

The number of reported coronavirus cases in India rose by 7.2 percent over the last two days to reach 6,48,315. This is faster than the 6.7 percent growth in the preceding 48-hour period. The death toll has reached 18,655 after growing 4.6 percent over the last two days.

Over the past few weeks, new infections and deaths have been rising faster in India than in most other badly-hit countries. The country’s death toll is the eighth-worst in the world. Among countries with more than 5,000 deaths, India has recorded the second-biggest spike in deaths and the biggest jump in confirmed cases over the past week.

10:40 IST – July 2, 2020:

Total coronavirus cases in India today crossed the 6 lakh mark after 19,148 fresh infections were reported in the past 24 hours. According to ICMR, over 90.5 lakh samples have been tested so far across India for coronavirus as of July 1. And on Wednesday, over 2.2 lakh samples were tested for COVID-19.

Earlier this week, Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech said the country’s ‘first’ indigenous COVID-19 vaccine COVAXIN, developed by it in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology, has been approved for human clinical trials from the Drug Controller General of India.

6:30 IST – June 27, 2020: 

Coronavirus cases in the country have reached the 5 lakh-mark after India registered 18,552 new cases in the last 24 hours. The new cases have crossed the previous record of 17,296 that was registered on Friday. The total number of people in India who tested positive for coronavirus has reached 5,08,953.

The national capital is second in terms of total cases. Delhi’s Covid-19 tally now stands at 77,240. The capital has registered 2,492 deaths, so far and 47,091 have recovered out of it. The tally of active cases stands at 27,657.

Delhi Chief Minister conducted a press conference claiming that the current situation in the capital is under control. He also claimed that the testing rate has been increased by three times.

While, people are enjoying the un-lock period post coronavirus lockdown, the situation seems to be getting out of control.

6:00 IST – June 25, 2020:

With eased down lockdown restrictions in the country, India has seen the highest one day spike in coronavirus cases, with 16,922 new infected cases leading the total number of coronavirus patients to 4,73,105. The death toll has reached 14,894.

10:45 IST – June 22, 2020: 

With 14,821 people testing positive for the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 count has reached over 4,25,200. India also registered a massive jump in COVID-19 death toll – over 400 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours. The casualties related to COVID-19 infection surged to 13,699.

7:00 IST – June 19, 2020:

The effects of the pandemic in India grew by the highest number when more than 13,000 fresh cases were detected across the country in the last 24 hours. Maharashtra and Delhi recorded the biggest jump in cases on Thursday.

India reported 336 deaths related to coronavirus infection in the last 24 hours. Maharashtra recorded 100 fatalities while Delhi added 65 causalities on Thursday. The deadly novel virus claimed 12,573 lives in India.

India extended coronavirus lockdown in containment zones till June 30. The restaurants, malls and religious places of worship were allowed to open elsewhere from the first week of June. The country was under world’s longest lockdown to curb the coronavirus spread.

4:50 IST – June 13, 2020:

The coronavirus pandemic in India crossed another grim milestone of 3-lakh cases. The states witnessed a record jump in daily COVID-19 count in the last 24 hours. For the first time, over 11,000 people tested positive for the novel coronavirus in a day across the country. India’s COVID-19 tally surged to 308,993.

Maharashtra became the first state to record over 1 lakh coronavirus cases. The western state accounted for a third of India’s COVID-19 count. India took 10 days to hit 3-lakh mark after crossing 2 lakh cases on June 2.

The deadly novel virus claimed 389 lives in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 8,886 in India. In a first, Delhi recorded 129 fatalities on Friday, higher than that of Maharashtra.

The WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Gheybreyesus said that vigilance was required worldwide against the “very dangerous virus” even in regions where it appeared to be on the wane.

10:30 IST – June 6, 2020:

The coronavirus pandemic in India grew by the highest number yet again, when 9,887 fresh cases were detected in last 24 hours. With this, the total number of coronavirus patients in India increased to 236,657. India overtook Italy to become the sixth nation to record the most number of COVID-19 cases in the world.

India is getting ready to “unlock” the nation from next week following over a two-month long nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. The central government announced new guidelines for allowing shopping malls, restaurants, hotels and places of worship to open gradually.

The new rules include measures like staggering visitors to malls, disposable menu and 50% seating capacity at eateries and restaurants. All the establishments that come under containment zones will however remain closed.

10:50 IST – June 3, 2020:

The total number of coronavirus cases in India has reached over 2,07,600, while recoveries have gone past the one lakh mark. The death toll has risen up to 5,815. In the past 24 hours, 8,909 fresh cases and 217 deaths were reported.

India’s first COVID-19 case was detected in Kerala on January 30. While the tally took 110 days to reach the one-lakh mark on May 18, close to 1 lakh new cases have been detected in 15 days since then.

Earlier last week, the Centre announced plans to unlock the country and issued guidelines for the opening of various businesses with social distancing norms. India has been under lockdown since March 25, which was to end on April 14, but was later extended till May 3 then further till May 17 and May 31.

14:30 IST – May 29, 2020:

The coronavirus pandemic in India grew by the highest number yet on Friday when 7,466 fresh cases where detected across the country. The total number of coronavirus cases in the country increased to 165,799. Maharashtra saw an explosion of fresh cases while Delhi recorded its biggest spike in COVID-19 tally in last 24 hours.

With the biggest single-day spike in COVID-19 cases, India overtook Turkey to become the ninth worst-affected country by coronavirus pandemic.

A day after Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to all chief ministers and sought their opinions on extension of the ongoing nationwide lockdown beyond May 31, he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi today as India recorded the biggest-ever spike of over 7,400 Covid-19 cases in a day.

The nationwide lockdown was first announced by PM Modi on March 24 for 21 days in order to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. It was first extended till May 3 and then again till May 17. The lockdown was further extended for the third time till May 31.

18:15 IST – May 27, 2020: 

The Himachal Pradesh health department said that a total of 251 coronavirus cases have been reported in the state so far, including 177 active cases, 65 recovered patients and 5 deaths.

The Ministry of Railways on Wednesday said that more than 3,500 shramik special trains have been originated till now by Indian Railways carrying more than 48 lakhs passengers. Nearly 80 percent of total the total special trains are destined for various destinations in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

14:15 IST – May 22, 2020: 

While the Indian government is thinking of ending the lockdown, the scenario is getting much worse. The COVID-19 pandemic in India grew by the highest number yet on Friday when as many as 6,088 cases were detected across the country.

The total number of coronavirus patients in India increased to 118,447. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi registered a record number of COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

The death toll from the virus touched 3,583. As many as 150 coronavirus patients succumbed to death in the last 24 hours. Maharashtra confirmed 64 deaths on Thursday — one of the highest in single-day tolls in the state since the outbreak.

There were 66,330 active coronavirus patients in the country. On the brighter side, nearly 40% of the total coronavirus patients were recovered so far. More than 48,000 have been cured of the deadly infection.

18:15 IST – May 18, 2020:

With the emergence of 5 more cases in Hamirpur district, total positive cases in Himachal rises to 85. Active cases in the state rise to 37.

Meanwhile, Arvind Kejriwal has issued guidelines for Delhi amidst further lockdown. Restaurants can open for home-delivery. Private offices can open at full strength but they should try that most of the staff work from home. Markets can open but shops will open on odd-even basis. Sports complexes & stadiums can open but without spectators.

Taxis with 2 passengers, auto-rickshaw and e-rickshaw with 1 passenger each, buses with 20 passengers to be allowed. Construction activities are allowed in the national capital now but only with labourers who are in Delhi right now. 50 people to be allowed in marriage functions, while 20 people can attend funerals.

4,485 persons have been cured/discharged and 160 people have died due to COVID19 till now.

11:00 IST – May 18, 2020:

India has further extended the world’s largest and strictest lockdown for two more weeks (till May 31) due to the rapidly increasing number of daily cases. According to the fresh guidelines for the fourth phase of the lockdown issued by the home ministry, the movement of individuals shall remain “strictly prohibited” between 7 pm to 7 am, except for essential activities.

The lockdown extension came as India recorded its biggest single-day jump in virus cases with 4,987 new infections in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to 90,927 with 2,872 deaths.

The Western Indian state of Maharashtra has reported nearly a third of India’s total cases. Coronavirus cases in the state crossed the 30,000-mark on Saturday, as it reported 1,606 new cases in a single day. With a jump of 884 cases, India’s financial capital Mumbai’s total reached 18,555.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier announced a 20 lakh-crore stimulus package, aimed at making the country self-reliant and reviving the stalled economy.

17:30 IST – May 12, 2020:

While addressing the media today, Union Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that the coronavirus recovery rate in India was getting better, which is 31.7 percent currently. He further added that the mortality rate in India is one of the lowest in the world, which is 3.2 percent.

French economist Thomas Piketty said that India needs to come out with a basic income scheme to make the lockdown work. He also added that India has the potential to become the global democratic leader of the 21st century if it manages to address the issue of inequality.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday held a video-conference with India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his counterparts from Australia, South Korea, Brazil, Japan and Israel to discuss international cooperation in tackling the coronavirus pandemic and measures to deal with its economic fallout.

After the meeting, Pompeo tweeted that transparency and accountability will be key to the nations’ shared success in overcoming the health crisis.

14:15 IST – May 12, 2020:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to address the nation at 8 pm today, a day after he spoke to chief ministers of various states through video conferencing on the strategy to be adopted once phase 3 of the lockdown ends on May 17. The last time the prime minister had addressed the nation was on April 14.

India today crossed the 70,000-mark for Covid-19 cases while the death toll jumped to 2,293 with 87 fatalities in 24 hours. The active cases in the country stand at 46,008, while those cured are 22,454.

The numbers come on a day when the country takes the first steps towards normalising public activity with the Indian Railways resuming passenger services on restricted routes.

10:00 IST – May 8, 2020:

India registered over 3,000 new coronavirus cases for the second day as the total number of coronavirus cases in the country surged past 55,000. The total number of coronavirus cases in India stood at 56,342, according to the ministry of health and family welfare.

Maharashtra confirmed over 1,200 fresh coronavirus cases on Thursday, for the second consecutive day. Delhi witnessed the biggest spike in daily COVID-19 count as 448 new cases were added in the last 24 hours.

The death toll in India climbed to 1,886 with over 100 people succumbed to death in the last 24 hours. Maharashtra also recorded the highest single-day death toll — 43 people passed away in the state on Thursday due to coronavirus disease.

There were 37,916 active coronavirus patients in the country. More than 16,000 people were recovered from the disease.

Maharashtra witnessed a huge spike in coronavirus cases this week. The COVID-19 count in the state increased to 17,974. Mumbai alone accounted for over 10,000 coronavirus cases. The number of COVID-19 related deaths in Maharashtra surged to 698.

Gujarat became the second state to record 7,000 coronavirus cases. At least 387 people tested positive for the coronavirus in the state on Thursday, taking the total count to 7,012. With 29 deaths in the last 24 hours, the fatalities in Gujarat increased to 425, the second-highest after Maharashtra.

Tamil Nadu continued to report a high number of COVID-19 cases. The state recorded 580 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours. The total number of coronavirus patients in the state reached 5,409.

10:20 IST – May 7, 2020:

India’s COVID-19 count crossed the grim milestone of 50,000 today. The states detected 3,561 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. The total number of COVID-19 cases in India stood at 52,952. Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu accounted for 50% of the total coronavirus cases on Wednesday.

The death toll in the country increased to 1,783. India recorded 89 deaths in the last 24 hours, one of the highest since the coronavirus pandemic.

At present, there were 35,902 active patients in the country, according to the ministry of health and family welfare. Nearly 30% of the total coronavirus patients were recovered from the disease.

There was a staggering spike in Maharashtra’s coronavirus count this week. Over 500 people tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total cases in the state to 16,758. Mumbai alone witnessed 10,000 coronavirus cases.

The state also registered the highest number of coronavirus deaths in India. At least 650 people died due to COVID-19 disease in Maharashtra.

11:30 IST – May 4, 2020:

With the states registering over 2,000 new cases in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 count has crossed the grim milestone of 42,000-mark. The total number of coronavirus cases in the country has climbed to 42,533. The death toll has increased to 1,373 as India recorded 72 deaths in the last 24 hours.

There were 29,453 active coronavirus patients in the country. As many as 11,706 people were recovered from the disease.

Delhi saw the sharpest hike in fresh cases as 427 people tested positive for novel coronavirus on Sunday. The coronavirus count in the national capital has zoomed to 4,549. There were 64 COVID-19-related deaths in the state.

India enters the third phase of nationwide lockdown today. To mitigate the spread of novel coronavirus, the Centre extended the lockdown till May 17.

The Indian government classified the entire country in red, orange and green zones based on the number of coronavirus cases from that area. Several norms were relaxed in the least-affected areas.

7:00 IST – May 2, 2020:

The government has made the use of the Aarogya Setu app mandatory for all public and private sector employees.  The Union Ministry of Health declared the use of India’s own contact tracing app mandatory as part of fresh guidelines rolled out along with the lockdown phase 3 to check the spread of coronavirus.

The government has also said that companies and organisations will have to achieve 100 percent compliance with the order. By using the app, it is possible to keep track of all the people who came near or in contact with a person, who has been infected with the novel coronavirus.

The Indian government extended the lockdown by another two weeks on Friday. The third phase of the lockdown, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs, has been extended by two weeks. The second phase will end on 3 May.

However, some relief has been provided to districts that aren’t as severely affected by the virus. The green and orange zones have been allowed to resume some non-essential activities.

Maharashtra continued to remain the most-affected Indian state with a total of 11,506 cases. The state registered 26 new deaths in the past 24 hours. Out of the total cases, 1,879 have recovered from the disease and a total of 485 have succumbed to it.

Gujarat has the second-highest number of cases at 4,721 followed by Delhi’s 3,738 cases. Gujarat has registered a total of 236 deaths and 735 have recovered from Covid-19.

10:00 IST -April 29, 2020:

The total number of coronavirus cases in India stood at 31,332. The deaths related to COVID-19 have climbed to 1,007 with 73 people succumbed to death on Tuesday. Maharashtra has reported 31 deaths followed by Gujarat (19) in the last 24 hours.

At least 7,696 people have recovered from the disease so far. Kerala witnessed one of the best recovery rates in the country.

Maharashtra continued to remain the hardest-hit state. As many as 728 people tested positive in the state on Tuesday, taking the total number of coronavirus patients to 9,318. Delhi also witnessed a sharp hike in fresh cases this week. The national capital became the third state to record 3,000 coronavirus infections.

17:20 IST – April 27, 2020:

In a video meeting with state Chief Ministers, PM Modi said today that the nationwide coronavirus lockdown may continue in the parts of the country worst affected by the infection. Five of nine Chief Ministers at the meeting said the lockdown should end, while the rest were in favour of extending it for the sake of controlling the spread of COVID-19.

11:00 IST – April 27, 2020:

The states have added a staggering 1,396 COVID-19 cases added in the last 24 hours. India has witnessed 48 deaths related to coronavirus in the last one day. The death toll in the country stood at over 870.

Among all the states, Maharashtra registered the highest number of deaths on Sunday. At least 19 people died in the state in the last 24 hours. Gujarat recorded 19 fatalities on Sunday followed by Madhya Pradesh (4) and Uttar Pradesh (2) and West Bengal (2).

Amid indications towards a graded exit from the ongoing coronavirus lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a crucial meeting with chief ministers today on the way ahead.

In the last interaction on April 11 with PM Modi, many chief ministers had recommended extension of the 21-day lockdown by two weeks.

10:30 IST – April 23, 2020:

The total number of coronavirus cases in India has gone up to 21,393, with 1,409 fresh Covid-19 cases reported in past 24 hours, according to the latest data from Ministry of Health. The death toll from Covid-19 has reached over 680 after 41 casualties were reported in 24 hours.

Health Ministry data showed that 4,257 people who had been infected with conoravirus have recovered. Currently, there are 16,454 active coronavirus patients in the country.

Maharashtra remains the worst affected state with 5,652 cases and 269 deaths. The other states that have seen the most number of cases include Gujarat (2,407), Delhi (2,248), Tamil Nadu (1,629), Rajasthan (1,890), Madhya Pradesh (1592), Uttar Pradesh (1,449) and Telangana (945).

PM Modi will interact with chief ministers via video conferencing on Monday. In the last interaction on April 11, several chief ministers had recommended extension of the 21-day lockdown by two weeks, which was slated to end on April 14 earlier. On April 14, PM Modi had announced that the lockdown is being extended till May 3.

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.

11:00 IST – April 20, 2020:

As India completed 26 days of the nationwide lockdown on Sunday, the coronavirus tally in the country has reached over 17,000, while the Covid-19 death toll climbed to 540. At least 2,546 people have recovered from the infection. And at present, there are 14,175 active coronavirus patients in the country.

Maharashtra remains the worst affected state with 4,203 cases and 233 casualties. The other states that have seen the most number of cases include Delhi (2,003), Tamil Nadu (1,477), Rajasthan (1,478), Madhya Pradesh (1,407), Gujarat (1,743), Uttar Pradesh (1,084) and Telangana (844).

18:30 IST – April 17, 2020:

The Maharashtra State Housing Department has instructed all the landlords/house owners in the state to defer rent collection by at least 3 months. During the period, no tenant should be evicted from rented house due to non-payment of rent amount.

Meanwhile, the state tops the list with 3,205 cases and 194 deaths, which also the highest in the country. Delhi has 1,640 coronavirus cases with death toll at 38.

Madhya Pradesh has emerged as one of the current hotspots for COVID-19 cases in India as the State reported 20 deaths in 24 hours, bringing the total death toll in the country above 470.

Gujarat government offices will reopen with limited staff and adequate measures of social distancing and sanitation etc from April 20th.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said Delhi will begin treating severely-ill COVID-19 patients with the plasma enrichment technique on trial basis after receiving permission from the central government.

Under this technique, the transfusion of plasma from recovered patients to severely-ill COVID-19 patients is conducted. Convalescent plasma is an experimental procedure for COVID-19 patients.

Maharashtra has the most number of cases – 3,081 and Delhi is on the second spot with 1,578 cases.  As many as 325 districts in India have no cases of COVID19, Lav Agrawal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health, said during a regular media briefing today.

Meanwhile, the Centre has released a list of 170 ‘hotspot districts’ which includes six metros – Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

Cities such as Jaipur and Agra are also in the list of places where number Coronavirus patients was high. The government said that out of the 170 hotspots, 47 shows cluster outbreaks.

18:30 IST – April 15, 2020: 

The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued detailed guidelines for states, Union Territories and the general public to follow during the extended lockdown till May 3. A day after Prime Minister Modi announced the extension of the nationwide lockdown till May 3, MHA has issued a set of guidelines to follow during the lockdown.

The government has given some relief to the industrial sector. Manufacturing units and industries functioning from Special Economic Zones (SEZs) have been given relief to operate during the lockdown.  

A strict ban has been imposed on the sale of tobacco, gutka and liquor during the lockdown period. The government has allowed industries functioning in rural areas, to resume operations from April 30 but with strict social distancing norms.

Gatherings of funerals and marriages will be monitored and regulated by the District Magistrate. Manufacturing units producing essential goods such as drugs, medicines etc. have been allowed to function.

All educational, training institution etc. shall remain closed, taxis (including auto and cycle rickshaws) and services of cab aggregators to remain prohibited until May 3. Wearing face cover is compulsory in all public places, workplaces.

Workspaces have been asked to conduct screening of all employees and maintain a gap of 1 hour in between shifts and stagger lunch breaks etc. All railway transportation and flights remain suspended till May 3.  All social, political, sports, religious functions, religious places, places of worship shall be closed for public till May 3.

Shops of farm machinery, its spare parts, supply chain, repairs, ‘Custom Hiring Centres’ related to machinery to remain open from Apr 20. Highway ‘dhabas’, truck repairing shops, call centres for government activities to remain open from April 20. Grocery stores, fruit, vegetable shops or carts, milk booths, poultry, meat and fish shops to remain open during the lockdown.

Services provided by self-employed electricians, IT repairs, plumbers, motor mechanics, carpenters to be allowed from April 20. MNREGA works are allowed with strict implementation of social distancing and use of face masks.

Bank branches and ATMs, IT vendors for banking operations, banking correspondents, ATM operation and cash management agencies to remain functional. The list of all hospitals and medical facilities dealing with COVID-19 shall be put up at all workplaces.

18:45 IST – April 14, 2020:

PM Modi said that India’s nationwide coronavirus lockdown, the biggest in the world, will be extended until at least May 3. The three-week lockdown of the nation of 1.3 billion people, which started at midnight on March 25, was scheduled to end at midnight on Tuesday.

Modi said some restrictions in areas further away from infection hotspots would be eased on April 20 to help poor people dependent upon daily wages.

With 1,211 new Covid-19 infections reported in the past 24 hours, the total number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 10,363, according to the latest data from the Health Ministry. The death toll from coronavirus in India has risen to 339 while 1,035 patients have been cured of the virus or discharged.

Maharashtra is the worst affected state with 2,334 coronavirus cases. Delhi (1,510), Tamil Nadu (1,173), Rajasthan (873), Madhya Pradesh (604), Telengana (562), Uttar Pradesh (558) and Gujarat (539) are among the other worst-affected states.

Of the total 339 deaths, Maharashtra tops the tally with 160 fatalities, followed by Madhya Pradesh at 43, Delhi at 28 and Gujarat at 26.

18:15 IST – April 10, 2020:

COVID-19 has killed 199 people in the country, with 33 new cases reported in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of patients to 6,412. The highest number of cases have been reported from Maharashtra, with 1,364 people testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

21:00 IST – April 9, 2020:

The Centre has approved a five-year scheme worth Rs 15,000 crores to strengthen national and state-level health systems, as India fights to control the spread of the infectious COVID-19 coronavirus.

The “COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package” will be implemented in three phases – from January 2020 to June 2020, from July 2020 to March 2021 and from April 2021 to March 2024. This fund will be divided among all states and union territories.

18:30 IST – April 8, 2020:

Hundreds of undocumented migrants remain detained and at risk in crowded centres across the northeast Indian state of Assam. Family members of those detained fear a potential coronavirus outbreak due to overcrowding in the dentition centres, which makes physical distancing nearly impossible. Most centres lack proper hygiene and medical care for the detainees, increasing the chances of viral transmission.

Out of the total confirmed 5,274 COVID-19 cases 71 are foreign nationals, over 411 people have been cured of the highly contagious disease and one migrated outside from the country. India has recorded 773 coronavirus positive cases and 32 deaths since Tuesday.

Maharashtra is currently the worst-hit with 1,018 cases making it the first state in the country to report more than 1,000 coronavirus cases along with 64 deaths. Maharashtra was followed by Tamil Nadu  with 690 cases and Delhi with 576 cases.

Meanwhile, India is considering plans to seal off coronavirus hotspots in Delhi, Mumbai and parts of the south while easing restrictions elsewhere as a way out of a three-week lockdown that has caused deep economic distress.

Although some state ministers have favored the extension of the lockdown, the PM will decide this week whether to end it or not.

18:20 IST – April 7, 2020:

India announced it would allow a limited export of an anti-malaria drug seen as helpful in the treatment of the new coronavirus, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump warned of retaliation if New Delhi did not heed his request to supply the medicine to his country.

19:00 IST – April 6, 2020:

Millions of Indians turned off their lights and lit up balconies and doorsteps with lamps, candles and flashlights on Sunday, in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to “challenge the darkness” spread by the coronavirus crisis. PM had asked all citizens to turn out their lights for nine minutes at 9 PM local time (15:30 GMT) on Sunday and to display lamps and candles in a show of solidarity.

High Population and Poor Health Facilities Push India Towards Becoming Next Coronavirus Hotspot

Image: Reuters

Seven in every 10 coronavirus cases in India and nearly seven in every 10 deaths involve males, while women are currently sharing lesser burden of the lethal viral disease.

The first gender analysis of the COVID-19 cases in India by the Ministry of Health has shown that 76 percent of India’s current 4067 coronavirus cases are in males and 24 percent in females.

Similarly, 73 percent of 109 deaths reported in the country are in men and 27 percent in women.

18:15 IST – April 3, 2020:

Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said in a daily media briefing that as many as 647 COVID-19 positive cases found in 14 states in the last two days are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation. Out of the 12 deaths reported in the last 24 hours some are related to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation.

These cases were reported from 14 states and union territories – Andaman and Nicobar, Delhi, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

Maharashtra has the highest number of confirmed cases with 425 cases and 21 deceased. Tamil Nadu has 411, Delhi has 384 and Kerala has 286 cases of coronavirus. The states which have crossed 100-mark for COVID-19 positive cases also include Andhra Pradesh (132), Karnataka (124), Rajasthan (133) and Telangana (107).

15:00 IST – April 3, 2020:

ICMR has decided to conduct speedy detection of coronavirus cases in hotspots or areas which have reported large numbers of cases through rapid antibody blood test for the viral infection. The decision for the recommendation was taken at an emergency meeting of the National Task Force, formed to deal with the health crisis.

ICMR has approved laboratories under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to conduct the COVID-19 testing.

However, DBT, DST, CSIR and DAE laboratories have been asked to strictly follow the ICMR guidelines before initiation of COVID-19 testing. Meanwhile, the apex medical research body will not provide diagnostic kits/ reagents to these laboratories.

16:30 IST – April 2, 2020:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a video conference with all chief ministers to discuss ways to check the spread of coronavirus, even after the lockdown is over. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah and top bureaucrats  were present along with the prime minister.

The PM said that it is important to formulate a common exit strategy to ensure staggered re-emergence of the population once the lockdown ends. The PM also said it “can’t be business as usual” after the lockdown and certain safeguards would have to be taken.

Delhi govt to give Rs 5,000 to autorickshaw, gramin-sewa, e-rickshaw drivers in wake of COVID-19 lockdown.

19:45 IST – April 1, 2020:

As India entered the second-week of lockdown, over 1,900 positive coronavirus cases have been confirmed across the nation with 53 deaths. More than a hundred people tested positive for coronavirus and a nationwide manhunt has begun for suspected cases after a large religious gathering at Delhi’s Nizamuddin, which has been labelled as a virus hotspot with links to seven COVID-19 deaths.

All 2,100 people have been evacuated from “Markaz Nizamuddin”, the Delhi headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat group, since Sunday and at least 441 in Delhi have shown symptoms of the virus. hundreds of people were staying in the 100-year-old mosque complex, since March 8.

19:00 IST – March 31, 2020:

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said 1,548 people have been evacuated from Nizamudddin markaz (centre) hereof which, 441 were hospitalised after they showed coronavirus symptoms. He said that out of 97 cases of coronavirus in the city, 24 were those who took part in the congregation earlier this month.

Kejriwal also said the Delhi government will start distributing food from around 3,775 schools and night shelters to around 10-12 lakh people from April 1.

Meanwhile, the cases have increased over 1,350. Maharashtra has a total of 245 cases with 10 deaths, while Kerala has seen over 230 cases with 2 deaths. UP has 96 patients with 17 deaths whereas Karnataka has 91 cases with 6 deaths.

13:30 IST – March 30, 2020:

The number of total cases in India has climbed to 1,190 after around 50 fresh cases were recorded on Monday morning. The death toll due to Covid-19, meanwhile, has crossed the 30-mark, while 98 people have been either cured or discharged.

Maharashtra, the worst hit, has reported the most deaths (six) so far, followed by Gujarat (six), Karnataka (three), and Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir (two each). Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have reported a death each.

Amid rumors that the 21-day lockdown could be extended further, the Union government on March 30 categorically stated that there was no such plan. The 21-day lockdown had come into effect on Tuesday midnight after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an announcement to the effect in a nationally televised address on Tuesday evening.

13:00 IST – March 28, 2020:

At least three doctors in Mumbai have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. It is suspected that two of them came in contact with the virus through patients while one doctor’s relatives had recently come back from the UK. One of these doctors has died.

In a first, Indian scientists have revealed the microscopy images of COVID-19 coronavirus. The scientists took the throat swab sample from the first laboratory-confirmed Coronavirus case in India, reported on January 30 in Kerala. The findings were published in the latest edition of the Indian Journal of Medical Research.

revealed the microscopy images of COVID-19 coronavirus

A. A representative negative-stained COVID-19 particle showing morphodiagnostic features of family Coronaviridae. B. Defocussed image of the same particle resolving the virus envelope glycoprotein morphology in finer details. C. A highly magnified processed image for pixel corrections shows distinct evidence of direct ‘stalk’ connecting the peplomer to the virion surface.  / Image: India TV News

Meanwhile, the country is being governed with fear and chaos as the total number of cases has reached above 900 with 20 deaths nationwide.

India will soon start testing blood samples of people who do not have symptoms of the coronavirus disease in an attempt to find the scale of the outbreak. The ICMR, which is overseeing the country’s testing regime, is procuring 10 lakh kits for these serological tests.

19:50 IST – March 27, 2020:

A new report from the prestigious Johns Hopkins University and the Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) has predicted that 21-day lockdown may be ineffective to stop the COVID-19 peak arriving in the next three months, which could infect over 12 crore Indians in an optimistic (low) scenario.

In a high scenario, the total number of confirmed cases can even touch a massive figure of 25 crores, while the medium scenario could witness a total of 18 crores.

The ICMR has revealed that India will soon participate in WHO’s ‘solidarity trial’ for developing potential drugs for COVID-19, as the number cases soar to over 750 with 19 deaths in the country.

Moreover, Health secretary Lav Agarwal stated that ICMR will try to look at repurposing molecules to get a clear clue on the drug work in labs. He added that if it is successful, ICMR can take it to trials.

12:30 IST – March 27, 2020:

The number of confirmed cases has reached over 720 with 17 deaths in different corners of the country. The Health Ministry has stated that four deaths were reported from Maharashtra while Gujarat had registered three deaths.

Karnataka has reported two deaths so far, while Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Punjab, Delhi, West Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh have reported one death each.

Two siblings, an eight-year-old boy and seven-month baby, have tested positive for Covid-19 in Jammu and Kashmir, taking the number of cases in the UT to 13. Meanwhile, 31 people were arrested in the valley for violating prohibitory orders imposed under the lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced to convert 325 of its schools into a temporary kitchen for the needy people affected by nationwide lockdown. The Delhi government will feed 4 lakh, poor people, a day.

The Reserve Bank of India has also joined the fight with a host of measures aimed at minmising the damage from coronavirus outbreak. These measures come hours after Moody’s Investors Service cut India’s growth forecasts for the 2020 calendar year to 2.5% from 5.3%.

The MPC decided by 4-2 majority to reduce the repo rate by 75 basis points to 4.4 percent. The reverse repo rate was cut by 90 bps to 4 percent, creating an asymmetrical corridor.

Meanwhile, the citizens are getting restless and anxious as many haven’t gotten any fresh supplies in days due to the lockdown. While it is not much of an issue with the youth, the children and elderly need ample and fresh food supply to sustain their health. Moreover, the daily wage earners are not worried about the virus, they are more afraid of starving to death.

18:15 IST – March 26, 2020: 

PM Modi has urged the government authorities to find innovative ways to use their resources to set up manufacturing of medical equipment like ventilators and scaling up their production. The efforts to utilise state-owned facilities and production units for escalate production and supply of medical equipment and setting up quarantine facilities.

To fast-track the validation of commercial testing kits, the ICMR has allowed four labs to evaluate the kits that various manufacturers are offering to create on a large scale to test for COVID-19 patients.

A British national, who had earlier tested positive for Covid-19, responded well to the drugs combination of Ritonavir and Lopinavir (HIV antiretroviral drugs), and his latest test results showed that he tested negative for the virus, doctors at the Ernakulam Medical College Hospital in Kochi said.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today announced a  1,70,000-crore food security scheme to help the economically weaker sections to tide over the added challenge of lockdown and job loss during the worldwide outbreak of coronavirus.

The Ministry of Food Processing Industries wrote to state governments to ensure seamless production and distribution of essential food products during the 21-day lockdown over coronavirus. This step has been taken in order to ensure relief for the migrant workers stranded without food and shelter across India.

According to the Union Health Ministry, India is not in the community transmission stage of novel coronavirus pandemic. A senior ministry official revealed that if and when India registers community transmission of the deadly virus, people will be informed of their safety.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country, Odisha government said today that it readying to set up the largest Covid-19 hospital in India. The hospital will have about 1,000 beds and will be functional in a fortnight.

10:40 IST – March 26, 2020:

Three persons, with a history of international travel, have tested positive for COVID-19 in Goa, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said. This is the first instance of positive coronavirus cases in the state.

Amid a scramble for supplies, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged residents not to panic and said e-passes would be issued to vegetable-sellers and grocers among others to ensure essential supplies during the lockdown.

The government temporarily suspended toll collection on national highways to ease emergency services in view of the coronavirus outbreak. In view of COVID-19, it has been ordered to temporarily suspend the collection of toll at all toll plazas across India, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari announced. This will not only reduce inconvenience to emergency services but also save critical time.

Chinese officials have praised the Indian government for its efforts to fight coronavirus. In a statement issued by the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi, Counselor Ji Rong said, “Chinese enterprises have started to make donations to India. We stand ready to provide further support and assistance to the best of our capability in light of the needs of the Indian side.”

In Jammu and Kashmir, the restrictions on the movement and assembly of people continued for the eighth consecutive day on March 26. They added that the authorities tightened the curbs across the valley as four more positive cases. The security forces sealed off many roads and erected barriers to check the movement of people across the valley.

18:00 IST – March 25, 2020:

While the number of coronavirus in the country has reached over 600 people with 10 deaths, the people are scared and are trying to avoid getting infected. PM has advised people to stay indoors not to self-medicate.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi while interacting with the people of Varanasi on the coronavirus lockdown said the war of “Mahabharata was won in 18 days, the war against coronavirus would take 21 days.”

Appreciating their hard work amidst the coronavirus crisis, Odisha’s CM Naveen Patnaik has announced that the health officials and doctors will receive four months’ salary in advance. He has also revealed that he would donate his three months’ salary to help those affected by COVID-19.

11:30 IST – March 25, 2020:

As the PM announced a nation-wide lockdown for three weeks, the whole country scrambled for essential supplies before the lockdown was put in effect. Nobody in the world’s biggest democracy will be allowed to leave home for the next three weeks, Modi said.

Although the PM had assured the people that essential services will not be shut down, there was a wave of fear and panic.

“There are no clear instructions, police are telling us to close down the shop,” said Ram Agarwal, a grocer in Delhi swamped by people looking to buy dry food supplies and milk.

Cases reported from the remote parts of the western state of Maharashtra have fueled concerns about the ability of the public health system, notoriously starved of resources, to cope. India has just 0.5 hospital beds for every 1,000 people, compared to 4.3 in China and 3.2 in Italy.

According to some experts, shutting down a $2.9-trillion economy would cause widespread damage and especially hurt the poorest people, who are living in daily wages. There are also concerns about the ample supply of food for the second-most populous country of the world.

India has been put in lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. People have been told to stay indoors, but for many daily-wage earners, this is not an option.

Millions of other daily-wage earners are afraid of starvation amidst the lockdown. The lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 evening means they are now facing no prospect of income for the next three weeks. The likelihood is, some will run out of food in the coming days.

An ICMR study has revealed that India will see community transmission of COVID-19, but its efforts to effectively screen and quarantine the patients will determine when that occurs.

Using mathematical models of disease transmission, the study aimed to find if it’s possible to prevent and delay local outbreaks of the novel coronavirus through restrictions on travel from abroad and quarantine of patients.

The race to identify asymptomatic patients has begun as they could transmit the disease throughout a community undetected. The ICMR is trying to increase the testing criteria and curbing the spread of coronavirus in India.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on March 24, said that his government would be compelled to impose total curfew and “shoot-at-sight” orders if people violated lockdown to fight the spread of coronavirus.

20:50 IST – March 24, 2020:

Prime Minister Narender Modi has announced that a lockdown of 21 days commencing 12 AM midnight will be implemented to save the nation and its residents from this grave situation. The PM has urged people to employ restraint and not leave their homes unnecessarily and play their part in fighting the Covid-19 epidemic.

PM Modi also assured that essential services will not be hampered and there will be systems put in place to ensure smooth functioning for the same.

Also, a package of ₹15,000 crores has been announced for the healthcare sector to prepare for the expected eventuality.

18:00 IST – March 24, 2020:

The Maharashtra government had announced curfew on the entire state as the number of cases recorded has been rising and people continue to leave their homes disregarding Section 144 imposed by the government. While essential services would not be impacted, all religious places would be asked to shut down. The regulations would be in effect until March 31.

Himachal Pradesh government has also imposed an indefinite state-wide curfew. Kangra is the only district in the state where three coronavirus cases have been detected so far. However, the 69-year-old man, who died due to coronavirus in Kangra, had taken lunch in a restaurant in Una on March 21. The restaurant staff has been quarantined, officials said.

To help the tourists stranded across India, the Ministry of Tourism issued an advisory to treat hotels and similar establishments as Support Services amid the current coronavirus lockdown. The advisory was issued by the Secretary of Tourism Ministry to the Chief Secretaries (CS) of all states and union territories. The advisory is regarding foreign and domestic tourists who are stranded across the country due to lockdown and shut down of transport services.

The total number of cases in India has crossed over 500 with ten deaths due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

11:20 IST – March 24, 2020:

With the first case in the North East, the total number of coronavirus infections in India crossed the 500-mark. India reported three Covid-19 deaths on March 23, taking the death toll to 10. The entire country has been put under lockdown until the situation is contained. All transport has been suspended to curb the spread of coronavirus in India.

Punjab, which had thousands of expats heading for home, declared a curfew on Monday. So did Maharashtra, which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases.

In Kolkata, sources said the 57-year-old who died at a private hospital, did not have any travel history, raising concern about the chain of transmission of the virus.

The Supreme Court asked all states and Union Territories to set up high-level committees to identify prisoners who could be released on parole, to help de-congest the crowded prisons.

The number of states and Union Territories (UTs) which have imposed a lockdown has increased to 32 from 30. The number of districts under lockdown has increased to 560 from 548.

Some of the states that have imposed a complete curfew are Delhi, Maharashtra and Punjab. Tamil Nadu will be imposing Section 144.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at 8 pm regarding the vital aspects relating to the COVID-19 menace. His announcement comes even as the number of confirmed cases in India crossed over to 500.

11:20 IST – March 23, 2020:

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has expanded the criteria of people who can be tested to include all patients with pneumonia symptoms or severe respiratory illnesses as the number of confirmed cases rise above 420 in India with eight deaths.

Maharashtra has recorded a total of 89 cases, including 14 cases in Mumbai and 1 in Pune.

The Centre has urged the states to strictly impose lockdown in the areas where it has been announced and to take legal action against the violators.

17:40 IST – March 22, 2020:

India observed a Janta Curfew all across the nation that has been imposed from 7 am to 9 pm, with people staying indoors all day in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Amidst the coronavirus scare, the national capital has been largely under lockdown. CM Arvind Kejriwal has expressed a “compassionate gesture” to provide “free ration and doubled pensions” to almost 72 lakh people of Delhi, whose jobs and livelihood may have been affected by the coronavirus.

Delhi police has announced Prohibitory Orders under Section 144 CrPc in all the seven districts of the national capital as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the railways has announced to suspend all its passenger services from March 22 to March 31. Only goods trains will be running during the said period.

The state government has issued a notification, putting Kolkata and several other areas in West Bengal in lockdown from March 23 till March 27 to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The Uttar Pradesh government has also announced to impose a lockdown in 15 districts, including Lucknow, with effect from March 23 till March 31.

Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has declared a lockdown till 31 March in the state, under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 as a precautionary measure.

Taking preventive measures against the novel coronavirus, the Karnataka government has ordered that all public transport will remain cancelled in the state on March 23 as well.

All AC bus services will stay suspended until 31 March. After the Janta curfew concludes at 9 pm, Section 144 will be imposed in the state from 9 pm till midnight.

The Centre has asked the state governments to impose a complete lockdown in 80 districts across the country that have reported COVID-19 cases and casualties.

Only essential services will operate in these 80 districts and state governments have been asked to expand the list depending on their assessment of the situation.

16:20 IST – March 21, 2020:

The country’s largest military quarantine facility at Jaisalmer, which currently houses 500 people, can be expanded, while a dozen additional facilities and military hospitals are being kept on standby, to deal with the coronavirus in India.

Two battalions of troops have been moved and makeshift arrangements made for the desert facilities in Rajasthan and the one at Manesar in Haryana to quarantine Indians arriving from abroad. The facilities can house a total of 1,600 people.

10:20 IST – March 21, 2020:

ICMR has confirmed a total of 271 individuals have been tested positive among suspected cases and contacts of known positive cases. A total of 15,701 samples from 14,811 individuals have been tested for novel coronavirus.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday interacted with Chief Ministers of all states via video conferencing to discuss measures to combat COVID-19. Mr. Modi said that the threat of the pandemic is common for all states and underscored the need for Centre and states working together.

He said that while the participation of citizens is necessary to combat the challenge, panic needs to be avoided. He added that given the global context of the spread of the virus in various countries, constant monitoring of the situation is of utmost importance.

Meanwhile, railways have found that 4 passengers travelling from Mumbai to Jaipur on March 16 have been tested positive for COVID-19. They recently had returned from Dubai.

Another 2 passengers marked with mandatory quarantine, found to be travelling between Bengaluru and Delhi, were immediately deboarded and the entire coach was sanitised.

Over 3,200 people have died and around 81,000 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus in China so far. India sent about 15 tonnes of medical assistance comprising masks, gloves and other emergency medical equipment worth ₹ 2.1 crores to the coronavirus-hit Wuhan city.

How Did Coronavirus COVID-19 Reach India

In early February, the first confirmed cases were reported in the southern state of Kerala. The first three patients were treated and discharged from the hospitals after being cleared of infection. However, more cases were soon reported in Maharashtra, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi among other states and Union Territories.

Maharashtra has recorded the highest number of infected people with 128 cases till now. Kerala has over 118 positive coronavirus patients. Three fresh cases from Noida in the last two days took the total number of coronavirus patients in Uttar Pradesh to 38. Delhi has confirmed 35cases with COVID-19 infection while the tally stands at 31 in Haryana.

Karnataka reported 51 cases while Rajasthan and Gujarat have 38 cases each and Jammu Kashmir has 11 so far. Punjab 31, Tamil Nadu 26, and Andhra Pradesh have 10 cases each. Odisha have two cases while West Bengal has confirmed 10 cases.

According to the experts, the number of positive COVID-19 cases are likely to increase in the coming days.

India’s COVID-19 Testing Method

According to a report in IE, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which is the nodal agency of conducting all the tests related to the identification of coronavirus-induced infections, has said that all of its designated labs will conduct the real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

The test is commonly used for the detection of Influenza A and B, and H1N1 virus. It is conducted using a swab from the back of the throat, a saliva sample, or a liquid sample from the lower respiratory tract.

In the PCR test, a technique is used to duplicate a segment of the patient’s DNA. In the case of viruses that are made of RNA, the RNA needs to be converted into DNA using a process termed as reverse transcription. The process of duplicating the DNA is then carried out. After copies have been created, a fluorescent DNA binding dye shows whether the virus is present or not.

According to NIMHANS Head of Neurovirology Dr. V Ravi, India is conducting tests for COVID-19 in two stages. The genetic elements, which are common to the presence of coronavirus are tested in the first stage and in the second stage tests specific to the presence of COVID-19 are conducted.

While the National Institute of Virology in Pune was conducting the second test till the beginning of March, the facility has now been transferred to all the labs for quicker results, Dr. Ravi said.

Preventive Measures Taken By India

Amidst rising cases of coronavirus in India, the country has banned the entry of passengers from heavily affected 36 countries. Many states have shut down various institutions, including schools, colleges, malls, cinema theatres, and have advised citizens to avoid travelling to affected areas.

The ICMR had started testing random samples of influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory-like illness to check for community spread of coronavirus. It tested 150 samples at 13 of its virus research and diagnostic labs (VRDLs). In the second phase, the ICMR picked up over 1,020 samples across 51 VRDLs in the country. Out of the 1,020 samples, 500 have been confirmed negative.

The country is trying to contain the virus by closing its borders, testing incoming travelers, and contact tracing from those who tested positive.

The government has also advised people over 65 and children under 10 to stay home and asked private companies to ensure that any employees who can do their jobs from home, do so.

Mass Testing is Essential

With the escalating number of cases of coronavirus in India, mass testing has become necessary to map the virus spread in the country. The ICMR recently announced that it was increasing the testing capacity to 8,000 samples a day from the current 500. Its director-general Balram Bhargava maintained there was “no evidence” of the transmission of the virus in the community.

However, some experts said that in a nation of 1.3 billion people that it won’t be enough to contain the spread. Other measures such as widespread testing and social distancing may be infeasible in cities with high population density and poor health infrastructure.

Dr. T. Jacob John, the former head of the ICMR’s Centre for Advanced Research in Virology, a government-funded institution, said that while growth in total numbers has been slow until now, the number will be 10 times higher by April 15.

Experts believe that the low testing rate may be hiding a big number of infected cases in the country.

According to a report, Professor Ramanan Laxminarayan, an epidemiologist and senior research scholar at Princeton University, said that the actual number could be in “tens of thousands.”

The number of tests being done in India right now is grossly inadequate … also because the criteria is narrow. India should be conducting at least 10,000 to 20,000 tests per day … it has the capacity to conduct 100,000 tests per day. We have already wasted three weeks. We need to ramp up the testing. If we wait, things can get majorly out of control.

Criticism and Chaos

The Indian government is facing criticism for the relatively low number of tests it has administered to detect coronavirus cases, raising fears that tens of thousands of patients may be going undetected. India has tested only about 12,000 people so far, despite the capacity to test about ten times that many.

The country has administered a “very narrow” criteria according to the experts. The WHO has urged countries to test every suspect case, not just people with relevant travel or contact history. Only people who have traveled from the worst affected countries or come in contact with a confirmed case and shown symptoms after two weeks are being tested.

But many Indians with symptoms indicative of a possible COVID-19 infection, have been turned away from hospitals as they seek tests, and that is causing increasing fear in the world’s second-most populous country.

According to a team of scientists, India could face around 100,000 to 1.3 million confirmed cases of the new coronavirus by mid-May if it continues to spread at its current pace.

The estimates have invoked concerns among some medical officials and experts in India that the country of 1.4 billion people could see coronavirus cases jump sharply in the coming weeks and put its health system under severe strain.

The analysis first appeared on Medium, a U.S. publishing platform. The study was carried out by the COV-IND-19 Study Group of scholars and scientists looking into the threat posed by the coronavirus, and COVID-19, the disease it causes, in India.

Amidst this chaos, the whole country is being governed by panic. Although there has been a low rate of cases in comparison to the neighbouring countries, the sheer fear is induced by the fact that the population density of India is more than twice that of China and it could lead to a disastrous outbreak.

If the current symptomatic and asymptomatic cases are not kept isolated and the coronavirus escalated through community spread, more than 60 percent of the population could be infected within a matter of days.

The baseless claims that chickens are the carriers of the coronavirus prompted many of the poultry farmers to bury thousands of chickens alive.

Meanwhile, the contractors of religion have been encouraging the superstitious Indians to perform rituals to ward off the COVID-19 infection. As if that wasn’t enough, a Hindu group organised a Gaumutra (cow urine) Party, promoting the “cow politics” in the country and asked the devotees to drink the cow urine as a prevention from the infection.

The doctors and other medical staff have been bearing the brunt of the public panic. Medical staff in the national capital New Delhi revealed that they have been ostracized and discriminated against by their communities due to the coronavirus fears.

Some doctors have even reported being evicted, or facing threats that their electricity will be cut off. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers involved in COVID-19 care were asked to vacate their rented homes and some were even forcefully evicted from their temporary residence by landlords and house-owners due to the fear that those healthcare professionals make them susceptible to coronavirus infection.


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