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Coronavirus Outbreak LIVE updates: India registers 2,902 cases, 68 deaths; 5 new cases in Rajasthans Jodhpur brings state COVID-19 tally to 196

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Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST updates: With five more individuals testing positive for the novel coronavirus in Jodhpur on Saturday, Rajasthan’s tally of confirmed cases is at 196. This figure also includes 41 Tablighi Jamaat attendees, said the state health department.

An FIR has been registered against 12 Bangladesh citizens who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi last month and are now in administrative quarantine in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district, police said on Saturday.

With 15 new positive cases, the COVID-19 tally in Odisha on Saturday climbed to 20, said the State Health and Family Welfare Department. Out of the 15, seven persons were in close contact with the coronavirus patient from Suryanagar, which include his wife, daughter and tenants.

Twenty-five more coronavirus positive cases were confirmed in Agra, taking the total number of cases to 45 in the district, Agra District Magistrate Prabhu N Singh told ANI on Saturday.

A sixty-year-old coronavirus positive woman with no travel history dies in Rajasthan’s Bikaner hospital, officials told PTI. Rajasthan reported 12 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, out of which 8 of them have been linked to people who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area last month.

A person from St Estevam with foreign travel history has tested positive for COVID-19. The total number of positive cases in Goa rises to 7, Goa health minister Vishwajit Rane told ANI on Saturday.

A 75-year-old man has succumbed to coronavirus in Karnataka’s Bagalkote, taking the death toll in the state to four, officials said. The victim, who was a trader and did not have any travel history, died on Friday.

India registered the highest spike in new coronavirus cases in 24 hours on Friday with 478 new patients testing positive and 12 succumbing to the virus. The Tablighi Jamaat cluster remained in focus on Friday even as confirmed cases jumped to 2,547 according to data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Of the total cases reported by the MOHFW, 2,322 are active cases while 163 have been either discharged, cured or migrated while 62 have died due to the virus.

 Coronavirus Outbreak LIVE updates: India registers 2,902 cases, 68 deaths; 5 new cases in Rajasthans Jodhpur brings state COVID-19 tally to 196

Residents stand in a queue to receive food distributed by the police during lockdown in Hyderabad. AP

However, according to PTI, the nationwide tally crossed 3,000 on Friday with at least 90 dead as states confirmed over 500 new cases.

Typically, there has been a lag between the numbers reported by the Centre and by states, which officials have been attributing to procedural delays.

At least 211 people have recovered across the country so far, as per updates from various states. The states also reported a total number of confirmed infection to be 3,041, after the country saw the highest jump in new cases.

At least 14 fresh deaths were reported by various states in the day, including six in Maharashtra alone, to take the overall nationwide toll to 90.

As per state-reported data, Maharashtra continued to lead on Friday with 490 confirmed cases, followed by Tamil Nadu with 411 cases. While 26 people have died in Maharashtra, 11 have lost lives in Telangana.

At least 11 CISF personnel in the state have contracted coronavirus at Panvel near Mumbai, a local civic official said on Friday.

Delhi’s tally of confirmed cases has risen to 386, after 93 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, while six have died in the city.

These three states were also among those reporting new cases, while fresh deaths were also reported from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh among others.

Recent spike due to Tablighi Jamaat cluster, says Centre

The spike in numbers, according to the Centre, was largely due to more samples from the Tablighi Jamaat cluster testing positive.

As many as 647 positive coronavirus cases have been reported so far from across 14 states whose linkage can be traced to the Tablighi Jamaat cluster at Nizamuddin, the Centre said on Friday.

The government had on Thursday said that it has traced epidemiological linkage to the Tablighi Jamaat cluster in about 400 cases.

“The cases can be traced in Andaman and Nicobar, Assam, Delhi, Himachal, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh,” Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Friday.

The Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi has emerged as a hotspot for COVID-19 after several positive cases from across India were linked to the gathering including deaths in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Telangana.

An FIR was earlier registered against Tablighi Jamaat head Maulana Saad and others under the Epidemic Disease Act 1897, in the national capital.

UP, MP invoke NSA against those misbehaving with health workers

Amid reports of attacks and misbehaviour with doctors and medical staff from some parts of the country, officials said the Home Ministry has asked states to take strict action against people allegedly abusing health workers.

In Madhya Pradesh, the Indore district administration invoked the National Security Act (NSA) against four men involved in the alleged attack on health workers in the city.

In Uttar Pradesh also, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said this stringent act will be invoked against quarantined Tablighi Jamaat members accused of misbehaving with the nursing staff at a Ghaziabad hospital.

Uttar Pradesh Power Minister Shrikant Sharma on Friday alleged that Tablighi Jamaat members tried to “hide themselves” in parts of the country in an “attempt” to spread the coronavirus disease while termign the Ghaziabad hospital incident as “disgraceful and condemnable”.

In the national capital also, doctors from some hospitals, where the Tablighi Jamaat members are admitted, have complained to the Delhi government about their non-cooperation with the medical staff.

Five people have been arrested in Bengaluru also for allegedly manhandling health workers conducting a coronavirus survey, PTI said.

Modi asks citizens to light lamps on Sunday; Congress slams PM

After nine days of the 21-day nationwide lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also released a video message, in which he asked people to continue following social distancing and stay indoors, as he urged everyone to switch off the lights at their homes and light up lamps, candles or mobile phone torches for nine minutes at 9 pm on 5 April to display the country’s “collective resolve” to defeat coronavirus.

There have been indications that the lockdown would be eased in a phased manner after the 21-day period ends on 14 April.

The main opposition party Congress, however, said Modi failed to address critical questions on India’s fight against COVID-19 in his message, dubbing it as “just a feel-good moment curated by India’s photo-op prime minister”.

Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Friday slammed the prime minister for not addressing a press conference on coronavirus, unlike other world leaders.

“Today’s speech had nothing on coronavirus figures, medical infrastructure, migrant workers. etc. However, the prime minister asks people to light lamps. He is the only leader who has not addressed a single press conference on the coronavirus outbreak,” Chavan said.

The BJP, however, asked its workers to spread Modi’s appeal among the masses.

The opposition leaders also referred to hardships being faced by the people during the lockdown and the economic cost of it.

India GDP to grow at 2%: FITCH Ratings

Meanwhile, Fitch Ratings said India may post a GDP growth of 2 percent in the current fiscal, the slowest since the economy was liberalised 30 years back, while the stock market suffered another day of meltdown and the rupee slumped 53 paise to slip below the 76-mark against the US dollar.

The rating agency also projected that the global economy will fall into a deep recession in 2020 due to the massive disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with growth print contracting by 1.9 percent, pulled down by a larger contraction in the US and the Eurozone.

Leading industry chamber the Confederation of Indian Industry said the pandemic would have a debilitating impact on India’s tourism sector with an estimated overall loss of Rs 5 lakh crore and job cuts for 4-5 crore people.

The World Bank, in the meantime, announced an emergency funding of $1 billion for India to help it tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Support appeared pouring in from several other quarters as well, with more than 31,000 doctors, including retired government and Armed Forces Medical Services, and private physicians volunteering to help the government fight against COVID-19 pandemic, a senior government official said.

Supply of testing kits remain an issue; IMCR suggests rapid testing in hotspots

An ICMR official separately said 182 labs across the country are functional now for COVID-19 diagnosis, out of which 130 are government labs. Around 8,000 samples were tested for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, he added.

However, a BloombergQuint report on Friday claimed that several of the accredited private testing labs are facing a shortage of foreign-made testing kits while “red tape is slowing the deployment of locally made test kits”

Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in an advisory, has also recommended the use of a rapid antibody test in the country’s coronavirus hotspots.

In Maharashtra, the state government said more than nine lakh people have been surveyed for coronavirus symptoms under the state government’s ‘cluster containment action plan’, which started areas where three or more patients were found.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan announced that the trauma centre at Dr RML Hospital will function as a dedicated COVID-19 isolation ward while the Safdarjung Hospital’s super-specialty block has been converted into a state-of-the-art isolation management centre in Delhi.

The government also asserted there is no shortage of medical supplies in the country. It has also placed orders to procure over 10 crore hydroxychloroquine tablets, which the ICMR has recommended to be used as a preventive medication for those involved in the care of suspected or confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

President Ram Nath Kovind also expressed concern over the gathering of migrant workers in Anand Vihar and the congregation of Tablighi Jamaat in Nizamuddin, saying these two incidents caused a setback to the efforts to combat coronavirus, according to a statement issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan.

In a video-conference with the Governors, Lieutenant Governors and Administrators of states/union territories, the president emphasized the need to ensure that no one remains hungry during the nationwide lockdown, enforced to check the spread of the virus.

Prime Minister Modi also spoke to a number of sportspersons through a video-call and sought their support in the COVID-19 fight with many of them vowing to raise awareness and spirits amid a national lockdown.

Officials also referred to the cases remaining largely under control in India as compared to various other countries.

Since its outbreak in China last December, more than 10 lakh people have been infected globally with this deadly virus and more than 51,000 have died including more than 6,000 deaths in the US alone.

The UN General Assembly unanimously adopted its first resolution on the coronavirus pandemic, co-sponsored by India and 187 other nations, calling for intensified global cooperation to defeat the deadly disease that is causing “severe disruption” to societies and economies.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Apr 04, 2020 12:06:11 IST

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