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India toll rises to 62, total count now crosses 2,500

India toll rises to 62, total count now crosses 2,500

New Delhi: The total number of COVID-19 cases across the country climbed to 2,547 while the death toll rose to 62 from 53 on Friday after three patients died in Maharashtra, the Union Health ministry said.

According to the data, with an increase of 478 new cases in the last 24 hours, a total of 2,547 confirmed cases were reported on Friday, out of which 2,322 are active while 163 have recovered.

With India battling the COVID-19 crisis, the government on Friday carried out a detailed review of the overall healthcare system as well as the situation arising out of the 21-day nationwide lockdown, officials said.

The review was conducted by a Group of Ministers headed by Union Defence minister Rajnath Singh, comprising several key members of the Union Cabinet including Home minister Amit Shah, Food minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Railways minister Piyush Goyal, Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Information and Broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar.

The officials said the ministers deliberated on various arrangements being made to deal with an increasing number of cases as well as to ensure adequate supplies of medicine and essential commodities during the lockdown.

The ministers took stock of supply of essential goods across the country which has been smooth, government sources said, adding difficulties arising out of shortage of labourers in loading and unloading of food materials from trucks and freight trains are being addressed.

On movement of migrant workers, the GoM felt the issue has been resolved as they are being looked after in temporary shelters set up by the state governments, the sources said.

Meanwhile, the Centre told the Delhi High Court on Friday that it cannot evacuate Indians abroad due to the lockdown to contain the spread of Coronavirus pandemic, but was taking proactive steps for their safety and welfare.

A bench of Justices Sanjeev Sachdeva and Navin Chawla, which conducted the hearing through video conferencing, was told by the Centre's counsel that a high-level group of ministers has been formed to review the current status and actions for prevention and management of COVID-19 and appropriate advisories are being issued from time to time.

The GoM also appealed to people to respond to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to turn off all lights in their homes and light candles or 'diyas' for 9 minutes at 9 pm on April 5 and make the initiative a "grand success".

But besides all the steps and initiatives undertaken by the Centre to combat the virus on a war footing, it seems to be struggling to get the required quantity of equipment to deal with the national health emergency, as about 29 per cent of the total districts in the country are in the grip of the deadly Coronavirus.

According to the Health ministry's report, a total of 211 districts out of 736 are facing COVID-19 challenge, with some districts of Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, etc turning out to be the epicentres of the highly infectious virus.

The maximum number of COVID-19 cases reported from Maharashtra's Mumbai, which has witnessed 174 positive cases till Thursday, followed by Kerala's Kasargod has reported 115 cases.

Similarly, Delhi's South Delhi district has reported 63 cases, while Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Buddh Nagar district has registered 45 cases and Gujarat's Ahmedabad has 33 COVID-19 confirmed cases.

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