India’s COVID-19 tally at 5,865; no decision yet on lockdown extension

Govt announced a ₹15,000 crore scheme to strengthen national and state-level healthcare systems in the country

COVID-19 doctors
Healthcare workers during their visit to Adarsh Nagar to conduct COVID-19 tests, in Jabalpur | PTI Photo

India’s COVID-19 numbers are approaching the 6,000-mark, in view of which, various states have imposed restrictions on movement of people in areas identified as COVID-19 hotspots. Apart from making masks mandatory, they have also beefed up surveillance and enforcement measures to contain the virus outbreak.

Here are the latest updates from the day:

Rise in numbers: The total number of cases in India stands at 5,865, including 169 deaths and 477 cured and discharged cases, according to the latest health ministry figures. However, a PTI tally based on state figures said 6,475 cases and 196 deaths have been reported so far. The ministry said in its evening update that 591 new cases and 20 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours.

₹15,000 crore scheme: The Centre announced a ₹15,000 crore ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package’, to strengthen national and state-level healthcare systems in India. It will be implemented in three phases: first one from January 2020 to June 2020, the second phase from July 2020 to March 2021, and the third phase from April 2021 to March 2024.


Odisha extends lockdown: Odisha became the first state to further extend the lockdown till April 30 and also announced closure of schools till June 17. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has also asked the Centre not to resume train and flight services until April 30. Several other states said they will take a final decision in the coming days on whether to extend the lockdown.

RBI expresses hope: The Reserve Bank of India expressed hope that recent monetary and fiscal measures will mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on domestic demand and spur growth once normalcy is restored. In its Monetary Policy Report, the RBI said the lockdown following the outbreak of COVID-19 and expected contraction in global outlook would weigh heavily on the growth outlook.

Maharashtra leads tally: Maharashtra has reported the highest number of COVID-19 deaths at 72, followed by Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh with each recording 16 deaths and Delhi at nine. Punjab and Tamil Nadu have reported eight fatalities each while Telangana has recorded seven deaths. Of the 20 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, eight were from Maharashtra.

Interactive: Know the coronavirus stats here

Rational use of PPE: The Union health ministry has stressed on the rational use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by healthcare workers treating coronavirus patients amid concerns over their dwindling numbers in India. It said, however, there is no need to panic as there are sufficient stocks of PPEs in India and the government is making all efforts to augment their supply further.

Central teams on ground: The health ministry said it has formed 10 high-level multi-disciplinary central teams and they have been sent to nine states to support them with the containment plans, hospital management and ventilator management. These states are Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telengana and Uttar Pradesh.

Clinical trial of therapy: According to ICMR, India is in the final stages of finalising protocol for conducting clinical trial on convalescent plasma therapy — a process in which blood plasma from a patient who has recovered from COVID-19 is infused into a critically ill patient so that the specific antibodies present in the blood of the recovered person can help fight the infection.

Strict measures: Several states have announced strict measures to enforce the lockdown. Odisha has promulgated an ordinance with provision of imprisonment up to two years for those violating regulations. Rajasthan made it mandatory for people to wear masks in urban areas and mandis, while the same was made compulsory in various cities of Maharashtra.

Indians dead in US: At least 11 Indians have died of COVID-19 in the United States with another 16 testing positive for the infection which has claimed more than 14,000 lives and afflicted more than four lakh people in the US. All Indian citizens who have died in the US are male, with 10 of them from New York and New Jersey area. Four of them are said to be taxi drivers in New York City.