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COVID-19: Focus shifts to rapid tests as confirmed cases cross 3,000, toll at 68

COVID-19: Focus shifts to rapid tests as confirmed cases cross 3,000, toll at 68

New Delhi: Ramping up their efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, authorities on Friday announced exclusive isolation wards and initiated rapid tests in areas identified as hotspots of the infection while a record of more than 8,000 samples were tested in 24 hours. However, the number of confirmed cases reported by states rose by over 500 to cross 3,000 with at least 90 dead.

While Maharashtra, Telangana and Delhi disclosed several new cases of the deadly virus infection, government officials said the numbers have risen in last few days mostly due to one event -- referring to the Tablighi Jamaat's religious gathering in the national capital attended by thousands of people last month.

Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said the tally has not risen sharply otherwise due to the lockdown and the government's efforts to promote social distancing. According to the ministry, at least 647 cases reported in last two days are linked to the Jamaat congregation.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also said there is no need to panic as the situation is under control and that the community spread of the virus is not taking place in the national capital.

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. Only Mahrashtra and Tamil Nadu have higher tallies at 490 and 411, respectively. 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.

While 26 people have died in Maharashtra, 11 have lost lives in Telangana.

At least 211 people have recovered across the country so far, as per updates from various states, which reported total number of confirmed infection across the country rising by 534 on Friday -- the highest for a day -- to reach 3,041. 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.

In its evening update, the Union Health Ministry had put the nationwide tally of confirmed cases at 2,547 and 62 deaths. Typically, there has been a lag between the numbers reported by the Centre and by states, which officials have been attributing to procedural delay in assigning cases to different states.

After nine days of the 21-day nationwide lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also released a video message, in which he asked people to continuing 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 April 5 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 April 14.

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".

The BJP 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.

Fitch Ratings said India may post a GDP growth of 2 per cent 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.

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 USD 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.

An ICMR official separately said 182 labs across country are functional now for COVID-19 diagnosis, out of which 130 are government labs

(Story Reissued With Fresh Inputs)1(1324 Words) Download Download PrintPrint 4/3/2020 10:14:00 PM

(Eds: Adding updated tally in para 7 with new cases reported by states)

New Delhi, Apr 3 (PTI) Ramping up their efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, authorities on Friday announced exclusive isolation wards and initiated rapid tests in areas identified as hotspots of the infection while a record of more than 8,000 samples were tested in 24 hours. However, the number of confirmed cases reported by states rose by over 500 to cross 3,000 with at least 90 dead.

While Maharashtra, Telangana and Delhi disclosed several new cases of the deadly virus infection, government officials said the numbers have risen in last few days mostly due to one event -- referring to the Tablighi Jamaat's religious gathering in the national capital attended by thousands of people last month.

Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said the tally has not risen sharply otherwise due to the lockdown and the government's efforts to promote social distancing. According to the ministry, at least 647 cases reported in last two days are linked to the Jamaat congregation.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also said there is no need to panic as the situation is under control and that the community spread of the virus is not taking place in the national capital.

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. Only Mahrashtra and Tamil Nadu have higher tallies at 490 and 411, respectively. 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.

While 26 people have died in Maharashtra, 11 have lost lives in Telangana.

At least 211 people have recovered across the country so far, as per updates from various states, which reported total number of confirmed infection across the country rising by 534 on Friday -- the highest for a day -- to reach 3,041. 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.

In its evening update, the Union Health Ministry had put the nationwide tally of confirmed cases at 2,547 and 62 deaths. Typically, there has been a lag between the numbers reported by the Centre and by states, which officials have been attributing to procedural delay in assigning cases to different states.

After nine days of the 21-day nationwide lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also released a video message, in which he asked people to continuing 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 April 5 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 April 14.

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".

The BJP 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.

Fitch Ratings said India may post a GDP growth of 2 per cent 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.

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 USD 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.

An ICMR official separately said 182 labs across country are functional now for COVID-19 diagnosis, out of which 130 are government labs

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