NDMC firefighters spraying disinfectants in a residential area during the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, in New Delhi on April 15, 2020.
NDMC firefighters spraying disinfectants in a residential area during the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, in New Delhi on April 15, 2020. |IANS

India reports 40 more COVID-19 deaths, 1540 new cases of infection

By Sonny Abraham/NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, April 20, 2020

India today reported 40 more coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths, raising the toll to 559 so far, and as many as 1540 new cases of infection in the past 24 hours, taking the total so far to 17,656.

Figures released by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare this evening showed that the 40 new deaths included 12 in the worst-hit state of Maharashtra, nine in Gujarat, five in Andhra Pradesh, four in Madhya Pradesh, three each in Rajasthan and Telangana, and two each in Delhi and Karnataka.

Of the total of 559 deaths so far, Maharashtra accounted for the highest number at 223, followed by 74 in Madhya Pradesh, 67 in Gujarat, 45 in Delhi, 21 in Telangana, 20 in Andhra Pradesh, 17 in Uttar Pradesh, 16 each in Karnataka and Punjab, 15 in Tamil Nadu, 14 in Rajasthan, 12 in West Bengal, five in Jammu & Kashmir, three each in Haryana and Kerala, two each in Bihar and Jharkhand, and one each in Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Odisha.

The total of 17,656 cases includes those who have died as well as 2,842 patients who have recovered, which meant that the number of active cases in the country stood at 14,255 as of this evening.

Of the total of 17,656 cases, Maharashtra accounted for the highest at 4,203, followed by 2,003 in Delhi, 1,851 in Gujarat, 1,485 in Madhya Pradesh, 1,478 in Rajasthan, 1,477 in Tamil Nadu, 1,176 in Uttar Pradesh, 873 in Telangana, 722 in Andhra Pradesh, 402 in Kerala, 395 in Karnataka, 350 in Jammu & Kashmir, 339 in West Bengal, 233 in Haryana, 219 in Punjab, 96 in Bihar, 68 in Odisha, 44 in Uttarakhand, 42 in Jharkhand, 39 in Himachal Pradesh, 36 in Chhattisgarh, 35 in Assam, 26 in Chandigarh, 18 in Ladakh, 15 in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, 11 in Meghalaya, seven each in Goa and Puducherry, two each in Manipur and Tripura and one each in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.

The total number of cases includes 77 foreigners, the Ministry said.

As announced earlier, lockdown restrictions were eased from today in non-containment areas. Containment areas in hotspot districts will not be given any relaxation, the Ministry said.

States and Union Territories may impose further additional measures according to local requirements.

Hotspots are areas with large COVID-19 outbreaks or clusters with a significant spread, where more cases have been reported or where the doubling rate of cases is less than 4 days. Within hotspots, local administration demarcates containment zones and buffer zones to control disease spread.

Within containment zones, activities shall not be permitted within a strict perimeter control except for essential services. For places where selective relaxations are granted, States / UTs / District administrators must ensure that strict compliance of existing lockdown measures is done and preparatory actions as per SOPs related to social distancing are being followed in offices, workplaces, factories and establishments, the Ministry said.

As this is a rolling criteria, if cases come to some places, then these places can also become part of the red zone and containment zone. For the containment zones, they should strictly implement lockdown measures so they can gradually return to normalcy. Relaxation areas also have to follow and adhere to all SOPs of social distancing to ensure that all preparatory actions are being undertaken, it said.

The Ministry said that, cumulatively, 2144 dedicated COVID-19 hospitals have been identified at both Centre and State levels, which include 755 dedicated COVID hospitals and 1389 Dedicated COVID Health Centres (DCHC).

According to the Ministry, the doubling rate of COVID-19 cases calculated using growth over the past seven days indicates that India’s doubling rate for the week before the lockdown was 3.4 days and has improved to 7.5 days as on 19th April, 2020 (for the last seven days).

The 18 States/Union Territories that have shown improvement in doubling rate as compared to the national average, as on 19th April are: Delhi - 8.5 days, Karnataka- 9.2 days, Telangana- 9.4 days, Andhra Pradesh- 10.6 days, Jammu & Kashmir - 11.5 days, Punjab- 13.1 days, Chhattisgarh - 13.3 days, Tamil Nadu- 14 days, Bihar- 16.4 days, Andaman & Nicobar Islands - 20.1 days, Haryana - 21 days, Himachal Pradesh - 24.5 days, Chandigarh - 25.4 days, Assam - 25.8 days, Uttarakhand - 26.6 days, Ladakh - 26.6 days, Odisha - 39.8 days and Kerala - 72.2 days.

All COVID-19 patients in Goa have been discharged from hospital after recovery, and now Goa has no active case.

Three districts - Mahe (Puducherry), Kodaggu (Karnataka) and Pauri Garhwal (Uttrakhand) have anot reported any fresh cases during the last 28 days. There are now 59 districts from 23 States/UTs that have not reported any fresh cases during the last 14 days. The six new districts in this list are: Dungarpur & Pali in Rajasthan, Jamnagar and Morbi in Gujarat, North Goa in Goa and Gomati in Tripura.

The Ministry said 14.75% of the total cases have been cured and discharged from hospitals so far.