Thursday, April 22

Over 500 new Covid-19 cases in a day in India; total number crosses 2,500

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The number of people infected with coronavirus disease Covid-19 in the country rose by more than 500 to cross 2,500 – 2,507 to be precise – on Thursday.

New fatalities too logged a big jump – 19 – taking the total toll to 72 in the country, which is in the middle of a three-week long nationwide shutdown to ensure the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak does not assume the proportions it has in countries such as Italy and the United States.

Several states including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala reported significant rise in the number of Covid-19 positive cases. In Maharashtra, at least 81 more tested positive on Thursday, taking its tally to 416, while two more patients succumbed to the infection, increasing the toll to 19.

In Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said there are 208 Covid-19 patients in the national capital, of which 108 were evacuated from the Nizamuddin Markaz of the Tablighi Jamaat. He said two people who had attended the congregation died due to the disease on Thursday and cautioned that the number of positive cases may shoot up in the national capital in coming days.

With the Jamaat congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area last month emerging as one of the biggest hotspots of the coronavirus outbreak, authorities said nearly 9,000 people – members of the Jamaat and their primary contacts – have been identified and quarantined across the country. This includes, 1,306 foreigners associated with the group.

A majority of the new cases identified on Thursday are linked to the congregation, officials said. The health ministry, however, asserted there was no evidence of community transmission and 20 existing and 22 potential hotspots have been identified across the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will share a video message with people at 9 am today, interacted with chief ministers through a video conference on Thursday and told them to focus on Covid-19 containment measures – testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine – and said it was imperative to work on a war footing, identify hotspots and ensure that the infection does not spread.

Hopes of the 21-day lockdown getting removed, at least partially, rose after Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said airlines are free to allow ticket booking for flights after April 14. He also said resumption of international flights will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on which countries they are coming from, after the lockdown ends.

In less than 100 days in the year 2020 – Thursday was the 93rd day to be precise – the virus has infected one million people globally and killed 50,000, ripping through 203 countries in a rampage that will likely exact as severe an economic, social and psychological toll as the number of casualties by the time humanity can beat it. Till now, a little over 200,000 have recovered from the disease.