Police using drones for surveilliance in Chennai during the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, on April 4, 2020.
Police using drones for surveilliance in Chennai during the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, on April 4, 2020. |IANS

India COVID-19 toll rises to 77, total number of cases rise to 3,374

By Sonny Abraham/NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, April 5, 2020

India today reported two more deaths due to coronavirus (COVID-19), raising the toll to 77, and 302 new cases of infection since last night, which took the total number to 3,374 so far.

Of the two new deaths, one was reported from Karnataka and the other from Tamil Nadu, figures released by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare this morning said.

Of the total of 77 deaths so far, Maharashtra accounted for the highest number at 24, followed by ten in Gujarat, seven in Telangana, six each in Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, five in Punjab, four in Karnataka, three each in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, two each in Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh, and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Himachal Pradesh.

The total number of 3,374 cases includes the 77 deaths and 267 patients who have been cured, which meant there were 3,030 active cases of the virus in the country as of this morning.

Of the total 3,374 cases, Maharashtra accounted for the highest number at 490, followed by 485 in Tamil Nadu, 445 in Delhi, 306 in Kerala, 269 in Telangana, 227 in Uttar Pradesh, 200 in Rajasthan, 161 in Andhra Pradesh, 144 in Karnataka, 105 in Gujarat, 104 in Madhya Pradesh, 92 in Jammu & Kashmir, 69 in West Bengal, 57 in Punjab, 49 in Haryana, 30 in Bihar, 24 in Assam, 22 in Uttarakhand, 20 in Odisha, 18 in Chandigarh, 14 in Ladakh, 10 in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, nine in Chhattisgarh, seven in Goa, six in Himachal Pradesh, five in Puducherry, two each in Jharkand and Manipur and one each in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.

Meanwhile, there continued to be serious concern about the religious congregation that was held under the aegis of the Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) in the national capital in mid-March after hundreds of the participants, who have since dispersed to different parts of the country, have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past few days.

Briefing journalists about the situation, Lav Kumar, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, said on Saturday that as many as 1023 positive cases of COVID-19 across the country have been linked to the Tablighi Jamaat participants.

These cases have been reported from 17 states including Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, many of which have seen a sharp spike in the number of cases in recent days.

The Home Ministry has blacklisted at least 960 Tablighi Jamaat-related foreign nationals who were in India on tourist visas. At least 360 people, who participated in Tablighi Jamat activity, have gone back to their countries and the Ministry is in the process of blacklisting them as well.

The police in all States have been instructed to take strict action as per the Disaster Management Act and the Foreigners Act against all visa violations.

Several hundred of the participants were staying at the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters here after the lockdown came into effect on March 25 and the authorities earlier this week cleared the complex and screened all of them. Many of them have been sent into quarantine while those who have tested positive for the virus have been hospitalised.

In a massive countrywide exercise, all the States and Union Territories are also trying to trace people who had attended the event from their areas as well as their contacts.

Agarwal said that, apart from the doctors, nurses and allied healthcare professionals who are available to address the requirements of containment and management of COVID-19 in the country, there were also 9.70 lakh ASHAs, one lakh AYUSH professionals, NCC cadets, ex-servicemen, Red Cross, NSS, NYK volunteers, employees of gram panchayats and urban local bodies and civil society organsiations who would be involved as required.

He said a Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for reallocation of residents, post-graduate students and nursing students as part of hospital management has been prepared.

Additionally, more than 31,000 doctors including retired doctors from Government, Armed Forces Medical Services, public sector undertakings and private doctors have voluntarily signed up to join the fight against COVID-19, he said.

Agarwal said 30 training modules have so far been prepared and compiled on various topics such as clinical management,ventilator support, infection prevention and control, quarantine management etc. are available online on the Health Ministry website.

According to him, it had been observed that most of the deaths are being reported from elderly people or people having co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney/cardiac issues, and so on. Hence, all people falling in the high risk category need to follow all precautions, he said.

Moreover, an age profile analysis of all the positive cases being reported so far shows that 8.61 per cent of the cases are between 0-20 years of age, 41.88 per cent cases are between 21-40 years, 32.82 per cent between 41-60 years and 16.69 per cent cases are above 60 years of age.

He also said air cargo carriers had transported around 119 tonnes of essential medical supplies and equipment till date to all States, with special focus on North Eastern regions and hilly areas. The material supplied includes COVID-19 related reagents, enzymes, medical equipment, testing quits, personal protective equipment (PPE), masks, gloves and so on.