Migrant workers
Migrant workers and their family members walk on the national highway to reach their native place in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra | PTI Photo

India's COVID-19 tally rises to 33,610 with 1,823 new cases

The total number of positive COVID-19 cases in India touched 33,610 on Thursday, including 1,075 deaths, with 1,823 new cases being detected in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, one positive aspect now is the Centre’s statement that the country's recovery rate has improved to nearly 25.2 per cent.

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The total number of positive COVID-19 cases in India touched 33,610 on Thursday (April 30), including 1,075 deaths, with 1,823 new cases being detected in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, one positive aspect now is the Centre’s statement that the country’s recovery rate has improved to nearly 25.2 per cent.

Meanwhile, authorities across states on Thursday began preparations for helping lakhs of migrant workers and students to reach their home from various parts of the country where they are stranded for over a month due to the lockdown that has been imposed in wake of the virus outbreak.

Interactive: Know the coronavirus stats here

What needs to be seen now is the government’s next move on the nationwide lockdown whose second phase ends this Sunday (May 3). It may be noted that in the April 27 video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several chief ministers had voiced their support for extending the lockdown.

Meanwhile, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said India should open up up its economy in a measured way soon to save jobs and an estimated ₹65,000 crore would need to be spent to support the poor amid the crisis. Interacting with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi via video conferencing, Rajan said it is “all too easy to have a lockdown forever,” but that is not sustainable for the economy and India does not have the capacity to support people across the spectrum for too long.

In its evening update, the Union health ministry said 1,075 people have died due to COVID-19 so far across India after 67 deaths were reported since Wednesday evening. The number of cases has increased to 33,610, including the 1,823 new cases detected in the last 24 hours.

There are more than 24,000 active patients across the country, while more than 8,300 people have recovered and one patient has migrated. The total number of cases include 111 foreign nationals.

Related news: Trucks don’t need separate passes for movement amid lockdown: Govt

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said India is doing better compared to other countries on all parameters in its fight against COVID-19 and should be able to win this decisive war in the coming few weeks.

About 60,000 foreign nationals from 72 countries have also been evacuated from India, while the issue of evacuation of Indians stranded abroad is also under discussion, according to the ministry of external affairs.

Among states, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Karnataka and West Bengal have reported new cases, while more people have died in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, among other places since Wednesday evening.

At a press briefing on the COVID-19 situation, health ministry’s joint secretary Lav Agarwal said the current fatality rate among detected cases is 3.2 per cent, with 65 per cent being males and 35 per cent females. “If we divide on basis of age, then 14 per cent fatality has been seen in those aged below 45 years, 34.8 per cent between 45-60 years and 51.2 per cent in those above 60 years,” he said.

Agarwal further said that the recovery rate for COVID-19 has improved from 13.06 per cent to over 25 per cent in the past 14 days. He said the doubling rate for COVID-19 cases has also improved to 11 days as against 3.4 days before the lockdown was imposed.

Several states, meanwhile, announced steps they were taking for facilitating the movement of migrant workers and students, stranded in various cities due to the lockdown, to help them reach their respective native places, in line with the Union home ministry guidelines announced on Wednesday. Some states have already brought back some migrant workers from other places.

Related news: States gear up to take in migrants a day after Centre allows travel

The Madhya Pradesh government said it has brought back over 20,000 migrant labourers, who were stranded in other states due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has asked officials to prepare quarantine centres, shelter homes and community kitchens as the state readied for the return of its stranded migrant workers.

Maharashtra issued a notification designating all district collectors as the nodal authority for the movement of stranded people into or outside the state and also within the state, while the Gujarat government appointed 16 bureaucrats as nodal officers to facilitate the movement of such people across borders.

Meanwhile, the number of cases in Maharashtra crossed the 10,000 mark on Thursday, with the detection of 583 new COVID-19 cases, said a state health department official. He said the statewide tally now stands at 10,498. With 27 new deaths, the state’s death toll has increased to 569, the official said.

The Kerala government renewed its demand for special non-stop trains to transport those who are keen to leave for their respective states. There are 3.6 lakh workers in over 20,000 camps in the state and majority of them, hailing from West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, wanted to return home.

Related news: Wait to get home gets longer for stranded migrants

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also urged the prime minister to arrange special trains for transportation of migrant workers, while he directed all deputy commissioners to prepare data of migrant labourers stranded in the state due to the lockdown.

As per the Union home ministry order, buses would be used for transporting the stranded persons and these vehicles would be sanitised and will have to follow safe social distancing norms on seating. A senior official said all states and UTs will have to “strictly follow” these guidelines.

While the movement of trucks is already allowed for transportation of goods during the lockdown, the ministry separately clarified that no separate passes are required for their inter-state movement, including for those carrying goods or returning after delivery, and licence of the driver is enough.

(With inputs from agencies)

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