An overcrowded bus with migrant workers returning home amid COVID-19 outbreak, seen during complete lockdown in the country in a bid to curtail the spread of coronavirus, in Kolkata on March 23, 2020.
An overcrowded bus with migrant workers returning home amid COVID-19 outbreak, seen during complete lockdown in the country in a bid to curtail the spread of coronavirus, in Kolkata on March 23, 2020. |Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS

India reports 73 new coronavirus cases, taking total to 433

By Sonny Abraham/NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, March 23, 2020

India today reported 73 new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) since last night, taking the total number of persons infected by the disease across the country to 433 so far, even as more states put in place full or partial lockdowns in a bid to contain the spread of the global pandemic that has claimed more than 13,000 lives worldwide.

In India, seven people have died due to the virus so far -- two in Maharashtra and one each in Karnataka, Delhi, Punjab, Bihar and Gujarat.

Of the 73 new cases, 15 are in Kerala, 11 in Gujarat, 10 in Telangana, 7 each in Karnataka and Maharashtra, 5 in Haryana, 4 each in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, 3 in West Bengal, 2 each in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, and 1 in Chandigarh.

Of the total 433 cases, Maharashtra accounted for 74, followed by 67 in Kerala, 33 in Karnataka, 32 in Telangana, 31 in Uttar Pradesh, 29 each in Delhi and Gujarat, 28 in Rajasthan, 26 in Haryana, 21 in Punjab, 13 in Ladakh, nine in Tamil Nadu, seven each in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, six each in Madhya Pradesh and Chandigarh, four in Jammu & Kashmir, three in Uttarakhand, two each in Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha, and one each in Chhattisgarh and Puducherry.

The 433 cases include 393 Indians and 40 foreigners. Apart from the deaths, the total includes 24 people who have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals, of whom one foreigner has since left for his country.

Of the 24 persons who have recovered since late January, five are in Delhi, three each are in Kerala and Rajasthan; nine in Uttar Pradesh; two in Karnataka and one each in Tamil Nadu and Telangana. Of them, one foreign national has returned to his country.

Meanwhile, many cities and towns across India wore a deserted look as total or partial lockdowns have been declared in various states in a bid to contain the spread of the virus by breaking the transmission chain.

Delhi, Rajasthan, Kerala and Telangana are among the states that have ordered a complete lockdown, though essential services are exempted. By evening, more and more states and districts were announcing similar measures.

Yesterday, all of India observed a "People's Curfew" and stayed indoors in response to a call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

As the number of new cases continues to rise, a sense of urgency has come in and 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.

In a major decision, the Indian Railways on Sunday cancelled all passenger trains in the country, including suburban rail services, till midnight on March 31. Goods trains will, however, be exempted.

Similarly, the Government has also decided to close down metro rail services on all operational networks across the country till March 31.

At a meeting with Chief Secretaries of all States to review the situation, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, it was decided that Inter State passenger transport will also be suspended till the end of this month.

The Centre has advised State Governments to issue appropriate orders to allow only essential services to operate in the 75 districts which have reported confirmed cases or casualties relating to COVID 19.

The State Governments may expand the list depending on their assessment of the situation. It was noted that several State Governments have already issued orders in this regard, an official press release said.

Most offices have asked their employees to work from home, schools and colleges are closed, 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 week, urged people, except those performing essential services, to stay at home.

International flights to India have alreay been banned, a ban on domestic flights will come into effect from midnight tomorrow.

States have also been advised to minimise travel by buses and other means of public transport.