Toll 12; highest cases 128 in Maha, 106 in Kerala, Delhi sees 5 fresh cases
On the first day of the three-week countrywide lockdown, the count of confirmed coronavirus cases shot up from 519 on Tuesday to 606 on Wednesday while death toll touched 12 in the country with Maharashtra reporting the highest number of cases at 128, followed by Kerala with 109 cases. Delhi registered five fresh cases. Of the total 606 cases, 42 are cured ones. So far authorities have denied community spread of the disease.
Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu registered their first death on Wednesday. A 65-year-old woman in Ujjain and A 54-year-old man in Madurai died of Covid-19. In its updated figures released on Wednesday morning, the Health Ministry stated that the second death reported in Delhi was Covid-19 negative.
Five more persons tested positive for COVID-19 in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday evening. Kejriwal did not give any details about the new patients, but he did say that only one of the five had a history of foreign travel. The remaining four were either family members of coronavirus patients or had come in close contact with them.
Meanwhile, the Government said of the 64,000 people who arrived in the country since March 21, 8,000 are under quarantine and 56,000 in home isolation.
After the Group of Ministers meeting, Union Health Minister Dr Harshvardhan assured the Centre is making efforts to ensure personal protective equipment and N-95 masks are available in adequate numbers for medical fraternity.
Gujarat, Assam, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Goa, Karnataka, MP and Jammu & Kashmir are also setting up hospitals dedicated for the management of Covid-19.
A total of 118 laboratories have been included in the ICMR network of COVID19 testing while private labs have started collecting samples.
As the cases continue to soar, the GoM called for preparedness on behalf of the States which need to devote adequate resources for creating dedicated COVID-19 hospitals, equipping the medical institutes with PPEs, ventilators and other essential equipment.
The Centre has also asked the States to ensure that essential services and supplies remain open. These include hospitals, medical shops and establishments engaged in manufacturing of medicines, vaccines, sanitisers, masks and medical devices.
Highlighting the critical importance of social distancing as an effective strategy for prevention of COVID-19 and limiting the spread of the disease, Dr Harsh Vardhan, said, “We are fighting an infectious disease. In order to protect ourselves and others, it is highly important that we follow all the protocols, guidelines and directions issued by the Government, failing which may lead to legal actions u/s 188 of IPC.”
Amidst reports that doctors treating Covid-19 patients were facing harassment by the people, Dr Harsh Vardhan also asked people not to ostracise medical staff who are on the forefront of this health emergency and serving to save lives from the deadly infection.