COVID-19: 170 districts identified as hotspots, death toll nears 400

In the hotspot areas, only essential services will be permitted and strict perimeter control will be in place

Delhi continues to lift COVID-19 restrictions

On a day when the Centre announced revised guidelines for the extended lockdown, 170 districts across the coiuntry were identified as COVID-19 hotspots.

The death toll on Wednesday (April 15) rose to 392 with 39 fatalities reported since Tuesday evening and the number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 10,197.

The Health Ministry said, so far, as many as 1,343 people had been cured and discharged, and one had migrated. Here are the major developments:

COVID hotspot identified
170 districts out of the country’s 700 districts have been identified as coronavirus hotspots. 207 others have been marked as potential hotspots according to the Centre. The Health Ministry has designated a dedicated team of doctors for door-to-door surveys. They will  check people not just for COVID but for other influenza-related illnesses and Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI).


Containment measures in hotspot districts
After the identification of hotspots, only essential services will be permitted in the zones and strict perimeter control with restrictions on movement will be enforced. “Very strong containment measures will be implemented in the hotspot districts accounting for a large number of COVID-19 cases or with fast growth of cases,” a government statement on the guidelines said.

Revised guidelines on lockdown
Health, agriculture, transportation and finance, MGNREGA works and e-commerce services will be allowed to function with some
relaxed restrictions, however, the public movement continues to be restricted. Air travels, hospitality services and public places to remain non-operational.

Export of farm items begins
The Union Agriculture Ministry, in a statement, said exporters problems are being resolved by allowing the export of major farm products such as rice, meat, dairy, and processed food items.”Exports of all major products i.e. rice, groundnut, processed food, meat, poultry, dairy, and organic products have started,” the ministry said.

India’s falling growth rate
On the economic front, Narendra Jadhav, a Rajya Sabha MP and former RBI chief economist, said India should release an economic package of not less than 5% of its GDP as the growth rate may drop to 2.1% in 2020-21 due to the impact of coronavirus infection. Jadhav said, the principal objective of the government should be to save lives now and save livelihoods in the immediate future.

Kerala cures the highest number of COVID cases in India
At least 218 people who had tested positive for COVID-19 in Kerala have been cured and discharged so far, the highest in the country and only one person was detected with the infection on Wednesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

Tamil Nadu death toll
Two men died of COVID-19 in the state, totaling the number of deaths to 14 and 38 more people tested positive, taking the total number of coronavirus cases in the state to 1,242, Health Minister C Vijayabaskar said.

6 new coronaviruses found
For the first time in the world, scientists have discovered six new coronaviruses in bats in Myanmar. The findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, will help understand the diversity of coronaviruses in bats and inform global efforts to detect, prevent and respond to infectious diseases that may threaten public health, particularly in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

US accounts for the most number of COVID deaths
The United States has the most deaths of any country with 26,059 fatalities and 609,516 reported infections. Italy follows with 21,067 deaths, Spain with 18,579, France 15,729 and Britain 12,107.

More than two million cases worldwide
There have been at least 2,001,204 reported infections in 193 countries and territories since the virus emerged in China in December, according to an AFP. Of those, more than 126,898 people have died worldwide.