Confirmed Covid-19 cases up by a record; Govt says outbreak under control

NEW DELHI, Apr 24: Nationwide cases of confirmed coronavirus infections rose on Friday by over 1,750 – the maximum for a day – to nearly 23,500 with several states, including Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat, detecting new patients, even as the government said the outbreak is under control and the tally could have reached 1 lakh by now without a nationwide lockdown.
Government officials also credited a robust surveillance network and various containment measures for the spread being “under control,” along with the lockdown which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 March.
Separately, several medical experts said the prevailing restrictions have been crucial in preventing a situation similar to the US or Europe, but cautioned that a “bigger challenge” awaits the country when it gradually move towards exiting the nationwide lockdown.
Some scientists also warned that the trajectory of Covid-19 cases could have plateaued and might even fall for some weeks after the lockdown is lifted but India is likely to see a second wave in late July or August with a surge in the number of cases during the monsoon.
According to a PTI tally of figures announced by various states and union territories, the number of confirmed cases has reached 23,577, with at least 743 deaths, while nearly 5,000 patients have recovered and have been discharged.
In its 5 pm update, the union health ministry put the nationwide tally of confirmed cases at 23,452 – showing an increase of 1,752 since Thursday – along with 723 deaths.
The previous highest single-day increase was of 1,540 cases on 20 April.
According to the ministry, the number of active Covid-19 cases stood at 17,915 as 4,813 people have recovered and one patient has migrated, which translates into a recovery rate of 20.52 percent. The total number of cases includes 77 foreign nationals.
Since Thursday evening, at least 37 deaths have been reported, of which 14 fatalities are from Maharashtra, nine from Gujarat, three from Uttar Pradesh, two each from Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telengana, and one from Karnataka, ministry data stated.
Overall, Maharashtra alone has reported 283 deaths, followed by 112 from Gujarat, 83 from Madhya Pradesh, and 50 in Delhi.
The home ministry, in the meantime, flagged that the Covid-19 situation is especially serious in some major or emerging hotspot areas, including Ahmedabad, Surat, Hyderabad and Chennai. It also said that violations of lockdown measures reported in some parts of the country pose a serious health hazard to public and may lead to the spread of Covid-19.
Officials at the government’s daily press briefing on the Covid-19 situation, however, sounded confident that the fight against the deadly virus outbreak was progressing well and the nationwide lockdown was a timely step.
NITI Aayog member VK Paul said the lockdown has been effective in slowing the rate at which Covid-19 cases is doubling in India, and it now stands at 10 days, as against three days on 21 March.
Paul, who is also heading one of the empowered groups set up to deal with the Covid-19 crisis, said the curve has begun to flatten. (PTI)