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Coronavirus Updates: Total Covid-19 Cases Rise To 2,069, Death Toll At 53

Track latest news updates and developments on how the coronavirus situation is evolving in India here.

Coronavirus  Updates: Total Covid-19 Cases  Rise To 2,069, Death Toll At 53

Total confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus stand at 2,069 in India as of 6 p.m. today, according to the data made available on the Health Ministry’s website. This includes 155 people discharged and 53 people who succumbed to the respiratory illness.

This marks the end of India's day ninth of the three-week lockdown mandated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi which is slated to end on April 14.

The country reported its initial 1,000 cases on March 29 -- nearly two months after reporting its first case. The second thousand have been reported in merely four days.

Globally, coronavirus cases have crossed 937,000 while the death toll stands at 47,000, according to the latest available data.

Track latest news updates and developments on how the coronavirus situation is evolving in India here:

Total Covid-19 Cases Rise To 2,069, Death Toll At 53

Total confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus stand at 2,069 in India as of 6 p.m. today, according to the data made available on the Health Ministry’s website. This includes 155 people discharged and 53 people who succumbed to the respiratory illness.

The country reported its initial 1,000 cases on March 29 -- nearly two months after reporting its first case. The second thousand have been reported in merely four days.

Bione Launches Rapid Covid-19 At-Home Testing Kit

Genetic and microbiome testing firm Bione on Thursday said it has launched a rapid Covid-19 at-home screening test kit that displays accurate results within minutes.

The kit is approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research and will be deployed in the market after proper quality checks and assurance, Bione said in a statement.

The product has been sourced from the company's worldwide CE and FDA approved partners and will be brought to market after stringent quality controls have been ensured.

The company is in the process of getting approval for more United States Food and Drug Administration approved partners, Bione said in a statement.

Bione is well-equipped to supply 20,000 kits per week and intends to build its manufacturing facilities in the coming months to sufficiently cater to the high demand, it added.

"Covid-19 home screening test kit has emerged as a breakthrough product in such unprecedented times. By bringing down the result time, we are looking to make an impact and help India fight Covid-19," Bione CEO Surendra Chikara said.

Bione urges people to undergo a laboratory test if someone shows the symptoms of coronavirus, the statement said.

Source: PTI

Positive Coronavirus Cases In Tamil Nadu Rise To 309

As many as 75 more people tested positive for coronavirus in Tamil Nadu on Thursday and the total count rose to 309, a senior official said and the tally is the second highest in the country.

Of the 75 cases reported today, 74 were returnees from a recent Tablighi Jamat congregation held in Delhi's Nizamuddin West and another was a contact of a person infected earlier, Health Secretary Beela Rajesh told reporters here.

A total of 264 persons who had attended the conference from the State in the national capital have tested positive for the contagion, she said.

Source: PTI

64-Year-Old Coronavirus Patient Recovers, Discharged In Chandigarh

A 64-year-old woman who had tested positive for coronavirus on March 25 was discharged from a hospital in Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur district on Thursday following her recovery, a health official said.

She is the third coronavirus patient in the state to be discharged. There are six active cases in the state now.

The woman had returned to Bilaspur from Saudi Arabia on February 10.

Nearly 40 days after her return, she showed symptoms such as coughing and sneezing following which her sample was sent for examination and it came out positive for the virus on March 25, Chief Medical and Health Officer Dr Pramod Mahajan said.

She was being treated at isolation ward of Apollo hospital here. Her fresh samples tested negative following which she was discharged on Thursday afternoon, Dr Mahajan said.

Earlier, of the nine Covid-19 cases reported in the state till Wednesday, a 68-year-old man from Raipur and 33- year-old man from Bhilai were discharged from AIIMS Raipur on March 31.

Source: PTI

Coronavirus Helplines Either Busy Or Unreachable, Complain Users

When over the counter paracetamols did not help abate Delhi-based Ankur Tiwari's low-grade fever, sore throat and breathlessness, he tried calling up the Covid-19 helplines to check if he needed to get tested for the fatal virus, but to no avail.

"The numbers were either busy or did not connect at all. I waited for over half an hour on a single call, but it never connected," Tiwari told PTI.

The two helpline numbers that the 46-year-old teacher had tried calling were — 011-22307145 (Delhi government) and 011-23978046 (central government), both of which he took down from the audio message that plays on the phone before making a call.

"Eventually, I had to go to a local doctor, who has assured me that I have nothing more than seasonal flu," he said.

Tiwari is among the many people who have raised concerns, especially in the last two weeks when the number of positive Covid-19 cases in the country started spiking, about the allegedly non-functional helpline numbers issued by the central and state governments.

As on Thursday, at least 1,965 people in the country are infected with coronavirus while 50 have died due to the disease.

Over a month back, the central and the state governments set up 24X7 helplines to answer people's queries on novel coronavirus, including when, how and where one should get tested in case they have symptoms like coughing, fever, shortness of breath, and vomiting.

City-based journalist Chinki Sinha, who wanted to inform authorities about a positive Covid-19 case in her neighbourhood of Defence Colony, also called the Delhi helpline and received a response similar as Tiwari.

The helpline was busy for over 30 minutes.

"I was calling about the positive case in the neighbourhood and how the guards of the landlords in the colony were sitting without masks. I wanted to ask them to sanitise the area," she said.

Sinha finally tweeted to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal about the problem, to which she hasn't received a response yet.

Many also turned to Twitter to register their complaints on the issue.

Azhar Ullah from Delhi, who wanted to report two suspected COVID-19 cases, also pointed out that neither the state not the central helpline was functional.

"#coronavirus emergency no. are not working 01122307145, 01123978046, 9599507173 i am trying to connect two suspect are their i am from delhi (sic),” he wrote.

Another user Akash Deep shared a screenshot from his phone showing all his outgoing calls to the Delhi helpline number — 011-22307145 as "not connected".

"Sir I called more then 100 times on helpline no. No response no help I am feeling viral if I want to check my self what I can do. What kind of services you provide. #coronavirus," he wrote.

Twitter user Abhimanyu also shared screenshots where six calls made to the health ministry's 24*7 control room —011 23978046 — "didn't connect".

According to the 'Delhi Health Bulletin — COVID-19' released daily by the state government, its coronavirus help desk received and responded to an average of 287 calls per day between March 19-25.

Incidentally, most complaints about the Delhi government helpline involve a single number — 011-22307145, which is the one announced on the audio message before making a phone call, and the list of state helplines that is being circulated on social media.

The average number of calls too increased by over three times after the government activated 10 lines in the Directorate General of Health Services state headquarter control room on March 26.

The average number of calls received and responded to were 823 between March 26-29.

The 10 Delhi helpline numbers are --22391014, 22301028, 22302441, 22307133, 22304568, 22307745, 22307135, 22307145, 22300012, 22300036.

Several attempts to reach out to the Union health ministry about the helpline went unanswered.

People in different states have also complained about not being able to get through helpline numbers issued by both state and central authorities.

In Mumbai, Allisandra D'Abreo tried calling the Maharashtra helpline — 020-26127394, after her 49-year-old mother showed persistent flu-like symptoms including fever, body pain, congestion, coughing and chest pain, but the line was “constantly busy”.

Source: PTI

PM Modi To Share Video Tomorrow At 9 A.M.

Discussing Change In Testing Protocols, Says ICMR Chief

While no change has been made yet, a discussion is happening on if and how to change testing protocols in India, said ICMR’s Chief Epidemiologist RR Gangakhedkar, as numbers spike to nearly 2,000.

“We will tell you soon”.

Mumbai's Dharavi Sees First Death

After a reported death in Dharavi - Asia’s largest slum with over 10 lakh people living in close proximity - the building where the dealth was reported has been sealed according to Lav Agarwal.

The sample collection of particular colony members and family is being done, he added. Furthermore, the state government has deployed 4,000 health workers who are tracing and testing people in the area, he said.

Nearly 9,000 People Placed Under Quarantine, Says Home Ministry Joint Secretary

Speaking about the Nizamuddin hotspot for Covid-19 cases, Home Ministry Joint Secretary Punya Salila Srivastava said nearly 9,000 people have been identified and placed under quarantine out of which 1,306 are foreigners.

Out of 2,000 Tablighi Jamaat workers including 250 foreigners, close to 1,800 hundred people have been shifted to a quarantine centre and the rest have been hospitalised, he added.

The cases related to this cluster came to light from Telangana, Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said.

“As and when the people associated to this cluster traveled to Delhi, J&k, Andaman & Nicobar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Assam and Uttar Pradesh, more cases emerged. Out of these places 400 confirmed cases have been found related to this cluster,” he said. “This number is only increasing as more reports are coming.”

Pursuing Airlines To Give Credit On Cancellation, Says Aviation Secretary

India’s aviation ministry is pursuing airlines to issue credit points for cancelled tickets if they are unable to return funds so that customers can reschedule their trips, said Aviation Secretary Prabhdeep Singh Kharola in a press conference today.

Air India is already issuing credit tat can be used later on, he said.

This comes after the ministry has already asked airlines to waive cancellation charges.

Other Highlights

  • Government has to examine the condition of other countries before resuming international flights.
  • Any decision on resumption of international flights will be taken after lockdown.
  • when asked if airlines should book tickets from April 15, the secretary said it was up to them.
  • “If the lockdown is lifted then they can fly but if the lockdown is extended they will have to cancel the flights.”

PIB's Covid-19 Fact Check Unit Becomes Operational

The Press Information Bureau's Covid-19 Fact Check Unit became operational on Thursday.

The unit is headed by the bureau's director general, Nitin Wakankar, a statement issued by the PIB said.

The PIB on Wednesday had set up a portal to check facts related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

It will receive messages by email and will send a response in a stipulated time-frame. The official version of any news on Covid-19 can be obtained from the unit, the statement said.

Source: PTI

Odisha CM Inaugurates Two Dedicated Covid-19 Hospitals

With the number of Covid-19 positive cases gradually rising in the country, the Odisha government has readied two dedicated hospitals exclusively for coronavirus patients which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday, a senior official said.

The chief minister inaugurated the facilities in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack through video-conferencing, during which he interacted with doctors and paramedics and appreciated their commitment in the fight against the coronavirus.

Two stand alone hospitals, with a total capacity of 625 beds, are now ready to provide dedicated health care services to Covid-19 patients, the official said.

The first hospital with 500 beds is at KIMS Bhubaneswar while the second with a capacity of 125 beds is at Ashwini Hospital in Cuttack. Both the hospitals have been funded by state PSU Odisha Mining Corporation.

Mentioning that the government is ready to provide better health care to Covid-19 patients in the two stand alone hospitals, the chief minister expressed hope that people of the state can win the fight against the deadly infection through social distancing, hand washing and observing lockdown guidelines.

The state government had earlier announced free treatment along with free food and rent free stay for all Covid-19 cases in these hospitals.

Odisha has so far reported five positive Covid- 19 patients. One of the five has been completely cured and discharged from hospital.

Source: PTI

15 Of Family Violate Home Quarantine, Kept At Government Facility

Fifteen members of a family from Maharashtra's Pune district have been kept at a government quarantine facility after they violated the home quarantine order, a police official said on Thursday.

The family members went to the state's Osmanabad district on March 22 to attend the last rites of a relative, despite the state government having advised people to avoid gatherings and follow social distancing, the official said.

Following the announcement of 21-day nationwide lockdown last month, the authorities asked them to remain under home quarantine in Osmanabad and stamped their hands.

"After spending a couple of days there, the family members sought permission to return to Pune, which was turned down by local authorities. On Tuesday night, the family hired a mini-bus and a driver and escaped from Osmanabad," the official said.

They used all the minor roads where police personnel were not deployed, but the bus was caught by Pune rural police near Wadgaon on old Mumbai-Pune highway.

"Despite all of them having home quarantine stamps on their hands, they were travelling in a bus. We have now put them under institutional quarantine," the official said.

The state government last month decided to put stamps on the hands of people undergoing home quarantine for suspected exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Maharashtra has so far reported 338 Covid-19 cases and 16 deaths due to the viral infection.

Source: PTI

PM Modi Holds Video Conference With CMs On Coronavirus

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday helda video conference with all chief ministers to discuss ways to check the spread of coronavirus.

Contact tracing of those feared to be exposed to the deadly virus and isolation of those who test positive of the virus are likely to be discussed in the meeting, sources said. The meeting is underway.

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PM Modi Holds Video Conference With Chief Ministers On Coronavirus

Arunachal Man Who Attended Nizamuddin Event Tests Positive For Covid-19, First Case In State

A 31-year-old man, who attended a congregation in Delhi's Nizamuddin West, tested positive for Covid-19 in Lohit district on Thursday, making it the first case of coronavirus in Arunachal Pradesh, health officials said.

The swab sample of the man, a resident of Medo area in the district, was sent for testing to the Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) at Dibrugarh in Assam and the report came back as positive, Health Secretary P Prathiban said.

The man attended the congregation in Nizamuddin on March 13, officials said.

Source: PTI

Another Man Dies Due To Coronavirus In Rajasthan

A man from Rajasthan's Alwar district, who had tested positive for coronavirus and was admitted to the state-run SMS hospital here, died on Thursday, an official said.

"One person, who had tested positive and was from Alwar, has died," Additional Chief Secretary, Medical and Health, Rohit Kumar Singh said He had also suffered a brain stroke in the past, Singh said.

Further details are awaited.

This is the third coronavirus death in Rajasthan. Earlier two persons suffering from coronavirus had died in Bhilwara district but officials have maintained that they were suffering from other health issues also.

Source: PTI

Owners Urged Not To Abandon Pets Over Coronavirus Fear

The Palghar district administration in Maharashtra has urged people not to abandon their pet animals over fear of contracting the coronavirus infection.

Despite the government's appeal, several people have abandoned their pets in open in Palghar. As a result, the pets have got mixed with the stray animals and several of them have been starving, District Deputy Commissioner of Animal Husbandry Dr Prashant Kamble said.

He dismissed as baseless the belief of some people that domesticated animals spread the coronavirus infection.

"It is not spread through them. These animals left on roads have no food, water and shelter and they are starving to death," he said.

Source: PTI

12 New Coronavirus Cases In Indore; MP Tally Reaches 98

Twelve more coronavirus patients have been found in Indore, taking the total number of such cases in Madhya Pradesh to 98, an official said on Thursday.

Of the total cases in the state, 77 percent are from Indore, he said. The 12 new patients include an 80-year-old woman and three from a family whose nine members earlier tested positive for coronavirus, an official of the Government Mahatma Gandhi Memorial college in Indore said.

Indore, which is an industrial hub, is the worst affected by coronavirus in the state. Majority of Covid-19 patients in Indore have no travel history and they contracted the infection at the local level, the official said.

Source: PTI

First Death Due To Covid-19 In Haryana, 67-Year Old Man From Ambala Dies

Haryana recorded its first Covid-19-related death as a 67-year-old man from Ambala died at the PGIMER here soon after testing positive for coronavirus, a senior health department official said on Thursday.

The man had multiple underlying health conditions and had reported to Ambala civil hospital with acute respiratory distress from where he was referred to the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh, he said.

"He tested positive for coronavirus around midnight Thursday and passed away around the same time," the health official from Ambala told PTI.

Source: PTI

India Total Cases Close To 2000-Mark, Death Toll At 50

Total number of Covid-19 infection cases has risen to 1,965 as of Thursday morning 9 a.m., according to data made available by the Health Ministry. This includes 150 cured or discharged and 50 people who succumbed to the respiratory illness.

This marks the entry into India's day nine of the three-week lockdown mandated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi which is slated to end on April 14.

India Adds 437 Cases In Day

Total number of Covid-19 cases in India rose to 1,834 as the country added 437 new cases in a day.

  • Active cases: 1,649
  • Cured/discharged/migrated: 144
  • Deaths: 41

Total Cases In Maharashtra Rise To 335

The number of coronavirus cases in Maharashtra increased by 33 to 335 on Wednesday while six patients died, taking the death toll to 16, health officials said.

Thirty of the new cases were found in Mumbai alone, two in Pune and one in Buldhana, said an official. Six coronavirus patients died during the day, five of them in Mumbai..

The state had reported 302 Covid-19 cases on Tuesday.

Source: PTI

India's Spurt In New Cases, Coincides With Rise In Testing

India has seen Covid-19 infections rise almost tenfold in the last two weeks. And while the rise seems scary, that coincides with the increase in number of samples that India has tested.

Read more here.

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Chart: As India Increases Covid-19 Testing, New Infections Spurt

India Looks For Foreign Aid

The Indian embassy in Beijing has been tasked to coordinate with relevant authorities in China for procurement of medical equipment.

On multiple occasions, China said that it was ready to extend possible assistance to India in dealing with the pandemic. Officials said India is in touch with a number of suppliers in China for immediate procurement of 10,000 ventilators.

India has recorded over 1,600 positive cases of coronavirus and at least 38 deaths so far. Globally, the virus has infected more than 850,000 people and claimed around 42,000 lives.

Officials said India is also examining Germany’s efforts to check the pandemic. The leading European nation has asked several of its car manufacturers to produce ventilators and other medical equipment to deal with rising cases of the infection.

The Indian envoy in Washington is coordinating with the Trump administration for cooperation in laboratory tests for the virus infection, sources said.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke over phone to discuss a coordinated effort by India and the U.S. to respond to the pandemic.

Earlier on March 14, the two top diplomats discussed ways in which India and the US could cooperate to address this global challenge.

The number of those infected by the deadly disease surged to 164,000 and fatalities crossed 3,100 in the U.S.

Sources said India is in touch with several countries in their efforts to find a vaccine for coronavirus.

Source: PTI

Tamil Nadu Records 110 New Cases

As many as 110 people who returned to Tamil Nadu from Tablighi Jamaat meet in Delhi tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, taking the total cases in the state to 234, a top Health department official said.

This is a quantum jump as the state recorded the highest number of new cases in a single day so far. Health Secretary Beela Rajesh told reporters here that 110 people hailing from 15 districts of the state have tested positive for the contagion.

All of them had participated in the Delhi religious congregation and the tally of Covid-19 cases in the state now stood at 234, she said.

Around 1,500 people from Tamil Nadu had attended the event last month and of them over 1,131 have returned to the state so far.

Source: PTI

15 More Test Positive In Rajasthan

Fifteen fresh cases of coronavirus were reported from Rajasthan on Wednesday with 13 of them detected in the Ramganj area of Jaipur's walled city, taking the count of the infected people to 108 in the state, an official said.

Jaipur has now become a major coronavirus hotspot in the country with 34 cases, 26 of which have been reported from the Ramganj area, a densely populated locality.

The other two cases were reported from Jodhpur, where a 65-year-old man with no travel history and a 61-year-old woman evacuated from Iran last week tested positive for the disease, Additional Chief Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said.

Source: PTI

Kerala Adds 24 New Cases

Kerala reported 24 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, taking the total number of people under treatment in the state to 237.

The worst affected Kasaragod accounted for 12 positive cases on Wednesday, Ernakulam three and Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Malappuram and Kannur two cases each, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters after a Covid-19 review meeting this evening.

One case was detected from Palakkad.

So far, 265 positive cases have been reported from the southern state and 26 people, including six foreigners, have tested negative, he said.

Source: PTI

2 Resident Doctors Of Safdarjung Hospital Test Positive

Two resident doctors of the Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi have tested positive for coronavirus infection, official sources said on Wednesday.

One of them, who is part of the team treating Covid-19 patients at the hospital, is believed to have contracted the disease during the course of duty, they said. According to sources, the other one, a post-graduate student of the biochemistry department, had recently travelled abroad.

Both of them showed symptoms of Covid-19 and their test results came out positive two days ago. They are now undergoing treatment at the isolation ward of the Safdarjung hospital.

"All the doctors and staff who had come in contact with them have been tested. So far, none of the contacts has tested positive for coronavirus infection," sources said, adding all of them have been asked to monitor their health.

Source: PTI

Four More Test Positive For Covid-19

Four more people tested positive for Covid-19 in Guwahati on Wednesday, taking the total number of cases in Assam to five, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

All the patients in the state had attended a congregation at Tablighi Jamaat Markaz in Delhi's Nizamuddin West earlier this month, he said at a press conference.

"The number in Assam is expected to go up by this evening as some more tested positive at Jorhat Medical College Hospital, but we can declare it only after all the confirmatory tests, according to guidelines and protocol, are completed," Sarma said.

Source: PTI

Over 5,000 Quarantined In Maharashtra

Over 5,000 people in Maharashtra have been quarantined so far as they were in close contact with 162 Covid-19 patients in the state, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said here on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters, Tope said that 5343 people have been identified as high-risk contact, because they were in close contact with the 162 COVID-19 positive patients in the state

"We have quarantined these high-risk contact people as they are likely to be infected or are carriers of the coronavirus infection, he said.

It is a clear indication that more people will test positive for coronavirus in coming days, the minister said.

Source: PTI

Delhi Announces Rs 1 Crore For Families Of Workers Who Die In Dealing With Covid-19