Health workers working at a medical store wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits during the extended nationwide lockdown imposed to mitigate the spread of coronavirus; on April 25, 2020.
Health workers working at a medical store wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits during the extended nationwide lockdown imposed to mitigate the spread of coronavirus; on April 25, 2020. |Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS

India reports 45 more COVID-19 deaths, number of confirmed cases spikes to 26,496

By Sonny Abraham/NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, April 26, 2020

India today reported 45 more coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths, raising the toll to 824, and 1,554 new cases of infection since yesterday evening to take the total so far to 26,496.

Figures released by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare this morning showed that the 45 new deaths included 22 in Maharashtra, the worst-hit state, followed by seven in Madhya Pradesh, six each in Gujarat and Rajasthan, and one each in Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

The total of 26,496 cases includes those who have died as well as 5,804 patients who have recovered, which meant that the number of active cases in the country stood at 19,868 as of this evening, up 915 since yesterday evening. The recovery rate of patients so far is 21.90%.

Of the total of 26,496 cases so far, Maharashtra accounted for the highest at 7,628, followed by 3,071 in Gujarat, 2,625 in Delhi, 2,096 in Madhya Pradesh, 2,083 in Rajasthan, 1,821 in Tamil Nadu, 1,793 in Uttar Pradesh, 1,061 in Andhra Pradesh, 991 in Telangana, 611 in West Bengal, 500 in Karnataka, 494 in Jammu & Kashmir, 457 in Kerala, 298 in Punjab, 289 in Haryana, 243 in Bihar, 94 in Odisha, 67 in Jharkhand, 48 in Uttarakhand, 40 in Himachal Pradesh, 37 in Chhattisgarh, 36 in Assam, 33 in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, 28 in Chandigarh, 20 in Ladakh, 12 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 111 foreigners, the Ministry said.

Meanwhile, the 13th meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) was held here yesterday under the chairmanship of Health Minister Harsh Vardhan to take stock of the COVID-19. Among others, it was attended by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep S Puri, Nityananda Rai, Minister of State for Home, Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping and Chemical & Fertilizers and Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Health & Family Welfare.

The GoM was informed that all districts have been asked to follow and further strengthen their contingency plans to combat COVID-19. It was also briefed on the state-wise details of dedicated COVID-19 hospitals along with the adequacy of isolation beds/wards, PPEs, N95 masks, drugs, ventilators, oxygen cylinders etc.

The meeting was informed that domestic manufactures which have been identified earlier have already started the production of PPEs, masks etc., and adequate quantity of the same is available. As on date, more than 1 lakh PPEs and N95 masks are being manufactured every day in the country. There are at present 104 domestic manufacturers of PPE and three making N95 masks in the country. In addition, production of ventilators vide domestic manufacturers has also started and orders have been placed for more than 59,000 units through nine manufacturers.

GoM also reviewed the testing strategy and availability of testing kits across the country along with the strategy for hotspots and cluster management. GoM was briefed about the number of public and private labs presently testing for COVID-19 along with the number of tests that are being conducted every day through this network of labs.

GoM was apprised that around 92,000 NGOs, SHGs and civil society organisations are working and contributing by providing food to the migrant workers across various States/UTs. These NGOs are supported by the States by allotting fund from SDRF funds and by FCI which is providing the foodgrains at subsidized cost.

GoM was also informed that a national level meta-data of health workers, NSS, NYK, NCC, doctors etc., has been prepared and shared to all the States, Districts and other officials, to mobilise the resources/volunteers (COVID warriors) to much needed locations. There is presently data for more than 1.24 crore human resources on the dashboard and it is continuously being updated with addition of new groups and sub groups as per specialization.

The GoM was apprised that as of now the death rate is around 3.1% while recovery rate is more than 20%, which is comparatively better than most of the countries and may be taken as a positive effect of the lockdown in the country along with the cluster management and containment strategy. The average doubling rate of cases in the country is 9.1 days, as of now.