India reports 35 more COVID-19 deaths as toll rises to 308
Doctors and municipal workers, accompanied by police personnel, going from door to door to screen people for COVID-19, in Amritsar, Punjab, on April 12, 2020. IANS

India reports 35 more COVID-19 deaths as toll rises to 308

New Delhi, April 13, 2020

India today reported 35 more deaths due to coronavirus (COVID-19), raising the toll to 308, and 705 new cases of infection since last night, taking the total number so far past 9000, even as the Government continued to mull various options on extending, with some relaxations, the 21-day nationwide lockdown that will end tomorrow.

Figures released by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare this morning showed that the 35 new deaths included 22 in Maharashtra, five in Delhi, three in Gujarat, two in West Bengal, and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu.

Of the total of 305 deaths so far, Maharashtra accounted for the highest number at 149, followed by 36 in Madhya Pradesh, 25 in Gujarat, 24 in Delhi, 11 each in Punjab and Tamil Nadu, nine in Telangana, seven each in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, six in Karnataka, five in Uttar Pradesh, four in Jammu & Kashmir, three each in Haryana and Rajasthan, two each in Jharkhand and Kerala, and one each in Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha.

The 705 new cases reported since yesterday evening has taken the total number of cases in India to far to 9,152, as of this morning.

This number includes the deaths as well as 857 patients who have recovered, which meant that the number of active cases in the country stood at 7,987 this morning.

Of the total of 9,152 cases, Maharashtra accounted for the highest at 1,985, followed by 1,154 in Delhi, 1,075 in Tamil Nadu, 772 in Rajasthan, 564 in Madhya Pradesh, 516 in Gujarat, 504 in Telangana, 483 in Uttar Pradesh, 427 in Andhra Pradesh, 376 in Kerala, 245 in Jammu & Kashmir, 232 in Karnataka, 185 in Haryana, 152 in West Bengal, 151 in Punjab, 64 in Bihar, 54 in Odisha, 35 in Uttarakhand, 32 in Himachal Pradesh, 31 in Chhattisgarh, 29 in Assam, 21 in Chandigarh, 19 in Jharkhand, 15 in Ladakh, 11 in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, seven each in Goa and Puducherry, two each in Manipur and Tripura and one each in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.

Meanwhile, all indications were that the Government will extend the three-week nationwide lockdown, that was imposed on March 25 to contain the spread of the pandemic, by two weeks, with or without some relaxations in some areas.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a video conference with the Chief Ministers of all States on Saturday to consider various options in this regard and several of the participants felt that the lockdown should be extended till the end of this month in order to flatten the curve.

The 21-day lockdown, imposed to contain the spread of the virus, will end on April 14 unless it is extended.

Meanwhile, various state governments have started announcing containment measures such as complete sealing of localities which had been identified as "hotspots" of coronavirus infections.

The Delhi government, for instance, announced on Wednesday that it has sealed several coronavirus hotspots across the city and all movements in these areas are completely barred.

In Uttar Pradesh, the state government on Wednesday decided to seal hotspots of COVID-19 infection in 15 districts.

Some states have made wearing of face masks compulsory for people when they step out of their homes for any reason.

The Odisha Government on Thursday extended the lockdown in the state till the end of April and urged the Centre to do likewise. Punjab announced on Friday that it was extending the lockdown in the state till May 1. Two other states -- West Bengal and Maharashtra -- have also decided on Saturday in favour of a two-week extension.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked all States to implement the lockdown guidelines in letter and spirit to ensure smooth movement of inter- and intra-state cargo, trucks and workers and functioning of warehouses and cold storage plans.

This follows reports that trucks carrying essential and non-essential goods are being detained in some places; workers needed for operation of manufacturing units of essential goods, and other exempted categories are not getting authorizations/ passes for their movement; inter-State movement of goods and personnel related to above two categories is getting impeded as passes/ authorizations issued by authorities of one State/ UT Government are not being respected by the authorities of other States/ UTs; and operations of cold storage and warehouses are not being allowed.

"Such restrictions, with regard to activities specifically permitted by MHA, have the potential of creating shortages of essential commodities," the MHA said.

The MHA has also written to all States and Union Territories (UTs) asking them to ensure compliance with the Supreme Court's directions on welfare of migrant labourers housed in relief camps.

The court had directed that adequate medical facilities besides proper arrangements for food, clean drinking water and sanitation be ensured for migrant workers at relief camps/shelters across the country. Further, trained counsellors and/ or community group leaders belonging to all faiths should visit the relief camps/ shelter homes and deal with any consternation that the migrants might be going through.

The court had also observed that the anxiety and fear of the migrants should be understood by the police and other authorities, and that they should deal with the migrants in a humane manner. Further, the State Governments/ UTs should endeavour to engage volunteers along with the police to supervise the welfare activities of the migrants.

NNN

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