NEW DELHI: The Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Wednesday (April 8, 2020) said that the number of fresh cases linked to COVID-19 has risen to 5,194 and the death toll stands at 149. Addressing a press briefing in the national capital, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry, said, “The total number of coronavirus cases has risen to 5,194 with 773 cases and 32 new deaths reported in last 24 hours since Tuesday, taking the toll to 149.’’
“As many as 402 patients have recovered,” Lav Agarwal said.
Agarwal stated that as the number of COVID-19 cases is rising in the country, the country’s response and preparedness is also being intensifying accordingly. The top Health Ministry official said that in hospitals, the main focus is on infection prevention and control measures are being followed so that health workers aren’t infected by COVID-19.
“Infections in hospital staff is a big challenge, and we are looking at a behavioural change in the hospital setup. Infection control norms must be followed,’’ Agarwal said.
He added that the Centre has directed the states to continue its focus on building hospitals and on surveillance and contact tracing.
Lav Agarwal further stated that physicians have been directed to take care of pregnant women who may be suspected to be positive. Training modules will be launched to deal with suspected COVID-19 cases of pregnant women, he informed.
The Health Ministry official also assured that there is enough stock of hydroxychloroquine available in the country. “It is ensured that not only today even in future there will not be any lack of HCQ (Hydroxychloroquine) as and when needed,’’ Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry
During the joint press briefing, R Gangakhedkar, a senior Indian Council of Medical Research official, said that a total of 1,21,271 tests for COVID-19 have been done so far. The COVID-19 death toll in India is too small to say that the number of deaths in Maharashtra is significantly high, the ICMR official said while responding to a question.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a three-and-a-half hour-long meeting via video conferencing with Parliament floor leaders of all major political parties over the lockdown situation in the country. Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan said that PM mentioned suggestions he had received over the lockdown and said that almost everyone advocated not lifting the restrictions as of now.
“The PM said that suggestions he is getting are for continuing the lockdown. I suggested that whenever lockdown is lifted, it should be in a phased manner. We should keep interstate borders sealed, even entry from one district to another district should be restricted,” Paswan said.
According to him, almost all floor leaders suggested that this lockdown should not be lifted in the present situation and should be continued. “The Prime Minister heard everyone carefully and took notes of the suggestions,” Paswan said while mentioning that every leader assured the PM that they will support the decision taken by the government.
The meeting via video conference was attended by Congress` Ghulam Nabi Azad, TMC`s Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Shiv Sena`s Sanjay Raut, BJD`s Pinaki Misra, NCP`s Sharad Pawar, SP`s Ram Gopal Yadav, SAD`s Sukhbir Singh Badal, BSP`s Satish Chandra Mishra, YSRCP`S Vijay Sai Reddy and Mithun Reddy, JDU`s Rajeev Ranjan Singh among others.
The PM has been interacting with various stakeholders and leaders since the imposition of the lockdown on March 25.