New Delhi: India recorded the biggest single-day jump of 2,293 coronavirus cases, taking the total to 37,336, the Union Health Ministry said this morning, adding that 1,218 deaths linked to the highly infectious COVID-19 have been reported so far. Seventy-one deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. The nationwide lockdown, which began on March 25 to check the spread of the novel coronavirus, has been extended by two more weeks, the government said on Friday. Restrictions will be further eased in this phase of lockdown – third since the shutdown began – to boost economy hit hard by the pandemic. The home ministry has announced new guidelines based on the demarcation of the country into red zones with “significant risk of spread of the infection”; green zones with either zero cases or no confirmed cases in the past 21 days; and those in-between as orange.
Here are top 10 developments on coronavirus cases in India:
- India’s most economically-important cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Ahmedabad – are all marked red zones; the cities will stay under strict lockdown for the next two weeks. As the government eases curbs in some parts, travel by air, rail, metro, and inter-state movement by road will remain banned across the country. Schools, colleges, hotels, restaurants; cinemas, malls, shopping centers, gyms, and sports complexes will also stay shut. Gatherings — social, political, cultural and religious — will also not resume for now.
- Movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities, shall remain strictly prohibited between 7 pm to 7 am. Most commercial and private offices can open with up to 33 percent of staff, with the rest working from home.
- The recovery rate – the number of patients who have successfully fought the illness – stood at 26.64 percent this morning. A total of 9,951 patients have recovered so far.
- In a huge relief for migrant laborers, students, pilgrims, or tourists, who were stranded due to the countrywide shutdown over the pandemic, the government on Friday announced special trains to facilitate their return to their homes. According to the Indian Railways, “Shramik (Worker) Special” trains will be run to take stranded people home and passengers will only be allowed onboard once they are found to be asymptomatic upon screening. Physical distancing measures will be enforced on the trains.
- More than a month after lakhs across the country thanked healthcare workers and those working tirelessly to provide essential services, India’s armed forces on Sunday will conduct fly-pasts, light up ships at sea, and shower petals on hospitals in an elaborate display as an expression of gratitude. “We (wish to) convey our gratitude to each and every corona warrior and all the citizens of our nation. On May 3 there will be some special activities as a gesture of special gratitude by all three forces,” Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on Friday.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday welcomed the decision of the armed forces to plan a series of events to thank doctors, paramedics, and policemen engaged in the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic. In a series of tweets, he said India has waged a strong fight against COVID-19 due to courageous frontline warriors who have cared and cured many. “They are spectacular. India applauds them and their families,” he said.
- In a major change to criteria governing coronavirus hotspot classification, the government has now said that it will now label a district “green”, or virus-free if no new cases are reported in a 21-day period. Previously an infection-free period of 28 days was required to re-classify a district from “red”, or an area with over 15 COVID-19 cases, to “green”, an area with no new cases.
- In a two-week period – between April 15 to April 30 – the number of coronavirus hotpots reduced from 170 to 130, according to government data. However, the number of “green zones”, or districts with no new COVID-19 case, decreased from 356 to 319, during this period, indicating the spread of the virus in a limited manner.
- Maharashtra on Friday recorded the biggest single-day jump in COVID-19 count with 1,008 new cases. The state’s total crossed the 11,500, which includes 485 deaths.
- Worldwide, over 34 lakh people have so far contracted the illness, nearly 2.3 lakh people have lost their lives. The outbreak originated in China’s Wuhan city in December and has spread to over 180 countries in the last five months.