Coronavirus | Health Ministry shifts focus to contact tracing, infrastructure

“The need of the hour is to break the transmission, and for that, the lockdown is the key, and we seek the cooperation of people,” Joint Secretary at the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said.

April 08, 2020 05:18 pm | Updated December 03, 2021 06:32 am IST - New Delhi

A health worker checks the body temperature of a man in Ahmedabad on April 8, 2020.

A health worker checks the body temperature of a man in Ahmedabad on April 8, 2020.

With 32 deaths reported in the past 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday said building hospital infrastructure, aggressive contact tracing and total enforcement of the lockdown with the help of people were the main focus now in the fight against COVID-19 .

The country has 5,194 cases and 149 deaths, with 402 patients recovered. The Indian Council of Medical Research said 1,27,919 tests had so far been done and 13,143 samples were reported on Wednesday.

India coronavirus lockdown Day 15 updates | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India 

Reports from the State Health Departments put the number of confirmed cases at 5,598, with 4,932 active ones. The death toll in the country stood at 182, while 404 people have recovered. The most number of cases have been reported from Maharashtra (1,135), followed by Tamil Nadu (738) and Delhi (576).

‘Early identification key’

At a press conference in New Delhi, Lav Agrawal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry, said: “We are speeding up infrastructure-building and grading up our response as the number of cases...has shown a rise over the past few days.” 

He added that the country was facing an unprecedented challenge, in which “we are getting cases of both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients acting as carriers. The need of the hour is to break the transmission, and for that, the lockdown is the key, and we seek the cooperation of people.”


“When we are dealing with an infectious disease, it is an everyday battle, and even a single slip-up will cost us [dear]. Early identification is the key to managing the cases,” he said.“While even a single death is a major cause of concern, the number is relatively fewer in India.,” he said.

State-wise tracker for coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates | Helpline numbers

Replying to a question, The Health Ministry said there was no shortage of drugs. “The whole situation [of hydroxycholoroquine] is being monitored at the highest level; it is being ensured that there will be no shortage... Currently, this is being used for a very small section of the population,” he said.

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Punya Srivastav, Joint Secretary, Home Ministry, speaking at the briefing, noted that community leaders were being drafted for spreading awareness. “To prevent hoarding of essentials, the States have been asked to take action under Essential Commodities Act. A component in the ₹1.70 lakh-crore relief package, announced by the government, was for the building and construction workers, and currently, we have about 3.5 crore such workers registered. The State and Union Territory governments had been asked to use the welfare fund for them; it has a corpus of ₹31,000 crore. In 31 States and Union Territories, cash benefits — ranging from ₹1,000 to ₹6,000 — have been provided to over 2 crore workers, and 29 lakh people have been given food benefits. The measures are being taken to ensure effective implementation of the lockdown,” she said

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