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New Delhi, April 14, 2020
India today reported 29 more deaths due to coronavirus (COVID-19), raising the toll to 353, and 1,463 new cases of infection in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of infected persons to 10,815 so far even as the Government extended the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the pandemic till May 3.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement about the 19-day extension of the lockdown in a televised addess to the nation, saying the country could not afford to drop its guard at this stage of the fight against the pandemic.
However, he said that there could be a conditional relaxation of the stringent lockdown conditions from April 20 in some areas after a review of the situation. At the same time, he declared that the relaxations could be withdrawn if cases of infection were reported in those areas or if the guidelines are violated.
"Areas that will succeed in this litmus test, which will not be in the hotspot category, and will have less likelihood to turn into a hotspot, may be allowed to open up select necessary activities from 20th April. However, keep in mind, this permission will be conditional, and the rules for going out will be very strict. Permission will be withdrawn immediately if lockdown rules are broken, and spread of coronavirus risked. Hence, we must make sure we ourselves don’t become careless, not allow anyone else do so. A detailed guideline will be issued by the Government tomorrow in this regard," he said.
The Prime Minister said the provision for this limited exemption in such identified areas after April 20 had been made keeping in mind the livelihood of the poorer sections.
"Those who earn daily, make ends meet with daily income, they are my family. One of my topmost priorities is to reduce the difficulties in their lives. The government has made every possible effort to help them through the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojna. Their interests have also been taken care of while making the new guidelines," he said.
"These days, the harvesting of the Rabi crop is also in progress. The Central and State governments are working together to minimize the problems of the farmers," he said.
The lockdown, imposed on March 25 for 21 days, would otherwise have ended at midnight tonight.
Figures released by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare this evening showed that the 29 new deaths in the past 24 hours included 11 in the worst-hit state of Maharashtra, seven in Maharashtra, four in Delhi, three in Karnataka, two in Andhra Pradesh and one each in Telangana and Punjab.
Of the total of 353 deaths so far, Maharashtra accounted for the highest number at 160, followed by 50 in Madhya Pradesh, 28 in Delhi, 26 in Gujarat, 17 in Telangana, 12 in Punjab, 11 in Tamil Nadu, nine each in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, seven in West Bengal, five in Uttar Pradesh, four in Jammu & Kashmir, three each in Haryana, Kerala and Rajasthan, two in Jharkhand, and one each in Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha.
The 1,463 new cases reported in the past 24 hours marks the highest increase in the number of fresh cases of infection reported by the government in a single day so far and takes the total number of cases so far to 10,815.
This number includes those who have died as well as 1,190 patients who have recovered, which meant that the number of active cases in the country has gone up to 9,272 as of this evening.
Of the total of 10,815 cases, Maharashtra accounted for the highest at 2,337 -- making it the first state to go past the 2,000-mark in the number of cases.
It is followed by 1,510 cases in Delhi, 1,173 in Tamil Nadu, 879 in Rajasthan, 730 in Madhya Pradesh, 657 in Uttar Pradesh, 624 in Telangana, 617 in Gujarat, 473 in Andhra Pradesh, 379 in Kerala, 270 in Jammu & Kashmir, 258 in Karnataka, 199 in Haryana, 190 in West Bengal, 176 in Punjab, 66 in Bihar, 55 in Odisha, 35 in Uttarakhand, 32 in Himachal Pradesh, 31 each in Assam and Chhattisgarh, 24 in Jharkhand, 21 in Chandigarh, 15 in Ladakh, 11 in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, seven each in Goa and Puducherry, two each in Manipur and Tripura and one each in four North-Eastern States of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland.
The total number of cases includes 76 foreigners, the Ministry said.
According to the Ministry, a total of 602 dedicated COVID-19 hospitals with 1,06,719 isolation beds and 12,024 ICU beds have been developed across the country to deal with the crisis.
The Office of Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India has issued guidelines for controlling spread of COVID-19 in densely populated areas. The emphasis of this manual is to bring frugal sanitary and hygiene solutions and measures with focus on community shared toilet, washing or bathing facilities.
Following the extension of the lockdown, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) today issued directions to all the Ministries and Departments of the Government fo India and all State and Union Territory governments saying that the measures stipulated in the Consolidated Guidelines of MHA, for containment of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, will continue to remain in force up to May 3.
According to the order, all restrictions that have been imposed in various sectors, and on various activities, will continue to remain in force. These restrictions would have to be enforced strictly by all the authorities concerned.
The communication to States and UTs emphasized that as per the orders issued by MHA under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the States/Union Territories cannot dilute restrictions imposed via the aforesaid guidelines.
The Railways have announced the cancellation of all passenger train services in the country till May 3, while the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has said that all commercial domestic and international flights will remain cancelled till that date. Within India, all bus and taxi services are cancelled and there are severe restrictions on movement of private transport vehicles. All district and state borders are sealed to prevent the movement of people.