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170 districts declared as hotspots: Centre

New Delhi: With India entering the 22nd day of a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Union Health ministry, in its daily briefing, said districts across the country have been divided into hotspots, non-hotspots and green zone. While 170 districts have been classified as hotspots, a total of 207 districts have been declared as non-hotspots. A "hotspot (red zone) classification" would be districts or cities contributing to more than 80 per cent of the cases in the country or the state. Places that show a high rate of infection — doubling rate less than four days — will also be in this category.

All six Metros — Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad — currently have a high number of cases.

Meanwhile, the death toll due to the virus increased to 392 and the total number of infections neared the 12,000-mark, including 1,344 people who have recovered.

India on Wednesday reported a total of 11,933 confirmed COVID-19 cases, out which 10,197 are said to be active.

Maharashtra continued to be the worst affected will a total of 2,687 cases, followed by Delhi (1,561), Tamil Nadu (1,204), Rajasthan (1,005) and Madhya Pradesh (987).

The MHA, earlier on Wednesday, issued revised guidelines for the extended lockdown, in which it gave relaxation to agriculture, e-commerce and select industrial activities from April 20.

As per the directives, those who are permitted to move during the lockdown for providing essential services must have just one person in the private vehicle, seated in the backseat, apart from the driver in the case of a four-wheeler.

Those riding a two-wheeler are not supposed to carry a pillion with them, the MHA stated in its release.

Despite 1,118 new cases and 39 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Union Health ministry is still firm on its stand that there has been no community transmission of the disease in the country so far.

"States have been asked to classify districts which have reported a higher number of cases as hotspots, others as non-hotspots and green zones where no cases have been reported," Joint Secretary (Health) Lav Agarwal said.

Responding to a query on a study, ICMR official Raman Gangakhedkar said: "Coronavirus is also found in bats. In the research conducted in China, it was found that the virus might have originated due to mutation in bats and affected humans. There is another possibility that bats might have transmitted the virus to mammals called pangolin and from them, it got transmitted to humans."

In total, 2,44,893 samples were tested till Tuesday out of which 26,351 were tested in a single day at different ICMR labs, he added.

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