People wearing masks as a precautionary measure against coronavirus (COVID-19), in Patna, Bihar on March 20, 2020.
People wearing masks as a precautionary measure against coronavirus (COVID-19), in Patna, Bihar on March 20, 2020. |IANS

India reports 63 new cases of coronavirus, total rises to 236

By Sonny Abraham/NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, March 20, 2020

India today reported 63 more confirmed cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in different States and Union Territories since yesterday, taking the total number of infected persons across the country so far to 236.

"Total number of confirmed cases so far in the country as on 20 March 2020 at 11:30 PM including foriegn nationals is 236," the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on its website.

The number includes four deaths and 23 patients who have recovered and been discharged from hospitals since late January.

In the evening, the Ministry had put the number of active cases in the country at 196, based on information received from the states till 5 pm.

The four deaths have been reported from Kalburgi in Karnataka; Delhi; Mumbai in Maharashtra; and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district in Punjab -- all senior citizens who also had other medical issues. Three of them had travelled abroad to COVID-affected countries while one of them had come in contact with an infected person.

The new positive cases reported since yesterday are in Telangana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

Of the 23 persons who have recovered since late January, five are in Delhi, three each are in Kerala and Rajasthan; nine in Uttar Pradesh; and one each in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. Of them, one foreign national has returned to his country.

As the number of new cases continues to rise, the Central Government, the State Governments, Local bodies, Corporates and other organisations have taken a slew of measures to prevent the spread of the virus through social distancing and other means.

Many offices have asked their employees to work from home, schools and colleges are closed in many parts, cinemas, shopping malls and other such places where people gather have been shut down, and cultural and sporting events have been cancelled.

The Government has advised senior citizens and children below ten years of age to remain indoors and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a broadcast to the nation last night, urged people, except those performing essential services, to stay at home for the next few days as far as possible.

He also urged people to observe a "Janata Curfew" (People's Curfew) from 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday, March 22 and there was a hint that more such measures would be needed in the coming days and weeks.

International flights to India have been banned from March 22 and, within India, the Government has announced various disincentives for travel by railways and airlines. States have also been advised to minimise travel by buses and other means of public transport.