COVID-19: Total cases 649; Rate of increase ‘relatively stable’, says govt
New Delhi, Mar 26 : COVID-19 has claimed four lives and there are 43 fresh cases of the infection reported in last 24 hours, taking the tally to 649, Union health ministry said on Thursday, but asserted that the rate of increase in the positive cases was “relatively stable” in India.
The Union health ministry officials also said India was at the second stage as there is still no “hard evidence” to say that there has been community transmission of the fast-spreading coronavirus, remarks which may provide anxious citizens with much needed assurance and hope.
As the virus kept extending its footprint, the Central and state governments unleashed measures on a war-footing. While the Union finance ministry unveiled a Rs 1.70 lakh crore economic package involving free foodgrain and cooking gas to poor for the next three months, one-time doles to women and poor senior citizens among other benefits, and the health ministry announced that 17 states have started to earmark hospitals for dedicated treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Addressing a media briefing on the COVID-19 situation, health ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal said,”there is still no hard evidence to say there has been community transmission of coronavirus in India and assured that the country was geared to tackle the coronavirus challenge.
He said,”forty-two fresh coronavirus cases and four deaths related to COVID-19 have been reported in the last 24 hours. Total number of cases stands at 649.”
Though the cases of coronavirus are increasing in India, but “we are realising that the rate at which cases are increasing…seeing relatively a stable trend or little bit reduction in the rate of increase in cases,” he added.
“This, however, does not establish a clear trend. We are hopeful that by following social distancing policy, conducting a proper contact tracing and by ensuring all people at home quarantine are monitored, we will be able to combat the disease,” he said.
India is under a complete lockdown for 21 days since Wednesday, in a desperate measure to contain the spread of the virus. Globally, the death toll from the coronavirus has risen to 21,293 with more than 471,518 cases reported in over 170 countries and territories, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The ministry stated that 13 COVID-19 deaths were reported so far in the country. Maharashtra reported three deaths, Gujarat two, while Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Karnataka, Punjab, Delhi, West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh reported one death each.
According to the data, the number of active COVID-19 cases in the country stood at 593, while 42 people were either cured or discharged and one had migrated.
The total number of 649 cases included 47 foreign nationals, the ministry said.