Coronavirus | Cases surge; ICMR denies community transmission

A girl stands amid smoke as municipal workers fumigate an area in Ahmedabad on March 29, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AP

India on Sunday reported more than 100 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the overall case load to 979.

“There have been six deaths in the past 24 hours,” said Joint Secretary in the Union Health Ministry Lav Agrawal at a briefing.

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“We have identified certain emerging hotspots and [will] investigate, on a war footing, what action can be taken there,” he added. However, none of the officials at the briefing specified the hotspots or the number of cases at these locations.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said testing for new cases has been stepped up to 30% of the nation’s capacity.

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Director-General of ICMR Balram Bhargava had said earlier this month that the country could theoretically test upto 70,000 samples a week.

Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at ICMR, Raman Gangakhedkar, said there was no estimate yet of whether the nationwide lockdown — now into its fifth day — had managed to check community transmission. “If we all observe the lockdown strictly then there’s a chance that we will soon reach the peak number of cases,” Dr. Gangakhedkar added. The ICMR continues to maintain that there are no instances of community transmission.

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Reports from State health authorities put the death toll from COVID-19 at 29, with 1,121 positive cases. Maharashtra reported two fatalities, while J&K and Delhi reported one each on Sunday. Maharashtra and Kerala continued to have the most cases at 203 and 202 respectively. Kerala reported 20 new cases, while 1.41 lakh people are under observation, State Health Minister K.K. Shailaja said. Maharashtra had 22 new cases, with 10 from Mumbai.

Coronavirus | Cases surge; ICMR denies community transmission

Since the lockdown was announced on March 24, India has added between 75-100 cases a day on average. According to district-wise updated figures from the Union Health Ministry, Mumbai recorded the highest number of cases at 81, followed by Kasargod in Kerala with 78. Bangalore came next with 26.

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The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority has asked States to coordinate with manufacturers of gloves, hand sanitisers and masks to address shortages in these products. The list mentions 35 manufacturers of gloves, 49 makers of sanitisers and 34 mask makers.

As of Sunday, coronavirus infections have been recorded in 188 countries. There were 6,83,694 cases according to, an independent tracker, and 32,155 deaths globally.

The thrust of the government is to ensure that the lockdown restrictions are strictly adhered to, said Mr. Agrawal. Delhi has seen a surge in migrants packing up and trying to leave the city for their homes in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar mainly but stranded in the city want of transport. The Central government reiterated directions to States to ensure that people stayed put and they be provided food, water and shelter.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 6:48:01 PM |

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