The central government on Friday said that the lockdown has helped avert 54,000 deaths and 20 lakh cases of Covid-19. The Centre’s statement, quoting a study, came on the day when India’s positive cases tally reached 1.18 lakh and toll climbed to 3,583.
The government study said that the number of Covid-19 cases averted due to the lockdown is in the range of 14-29 lakh, while the number of lives saved is between 37,000 and 78,000. The government imposed the nationwide lockdown from March 25 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and it is currently in its fourth phase.
On Friday morning, the Union health ministry said that India registered 6,088 new cases and 148 deaths in the last 24 hours. Among the new positives were Congress leader Sanjay Kha, who confirmed the news of social media.
The government has said that the cases of Covid-19 will peak between June 21-28. Meanwhile, 22 opposition parties came down on the Modi government for its alleged failure to protect the economy and lives during the pandemic.
Over 6,000 new Covid cases in one day
India recorded the highest single-day spike in the novel coronavirus cases on Friday morning, with more than 6,000 new cases of infections taking the country tally to 1.18 lakh.
Registering an increase of 6,088 cases and 148 deaths in the last 24 hours, the total number of coronavirus cases in India stood at 1,18,447 on Friday morning.
However, a tally of figures announced by different states and union territories, as of 9.20 PM, put the nationwide tally much higher at 1,22,656, the death toll at 3,634 and recoveries at more than 51,000.
According to the latest bulletin on Covid-19 put out by the Union health ministry, the total number of cases in India includes 66,330 active cases with the death toll at 3,583.
As many as 48,534 people recovered so far, the Health Ministry stated. The recovery rate stood at 40.97 on Friday.
On Thursday morning, India had reported 5,609 new coronavirus cases which had taken the country’s overall count to 1,12,359. According to the Union health ministry, 45,300 Covid-19 had recovered in India till Thursday morning.
Maharashtra continues to remain the worst-affected state due to coronavirus in India with over 41,000 cases.
After Maharashtra (41,642), Tamil Nadu tally stood at 13,967 cases and Gujarat at 12,905. As of Friday morning, Delhi registered 11,659 cases of coronavirus.
Rajasthan has confirmed 6,227 cases of which 3,485 people have recovered while 151 patients are dead, Madhya Pradesh reported 5,981 cases including 2,843 patients recovered and 270 patients dead.
Uttar Pradesh has 5,515 positive cases, while Kerala has 690 coronavirus cases. Ladakh has confirmed 44 coronavirus cases and 1,449 people have been infected by the virus in Jammu and Kashmir.
Congress leader Covid positive
Congress leader Sanjay Jha has tested positive for coronavirus. Taking to Twitter, Sanjay Jha said that he has tested positive for the infection for which he was asymptomatic. The Congress leader also said that he would be under home quarantine for the next 10-12 days.
In the tweet, Sanjay Jha has requested to not underestimate the transmission risks of coronavirus. “Do not underestimate transmission risks, we are all vulnerable,” Sanjay Jha said.
“I have tested positive for Covid-19. As I am asymptomatic I am in home quarantine for the next 10-12 days. Please don’t underestimate transmission risks, we are all vulnerable,” Sanjay Jha said in a tweet.
I have tested positive for Covid_19 . As I am asymptomatic I am in home quarantine for the next 10-12 days. Please don’t underestimate transmission risks, we are all vulnerable.
Do take care all.
— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) May 22, 2020
Dividents of lockdown
A joint study by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation and the Indian Statistical Institute found that around 20 lakh novel coronavirus cases and 54,000 deaths were averted due to lockdown, Secretary Pravin Srivastava said. The number of Covid-19 cases averted due to the lockdown is in the range of 14-29 lakh, while the number of lives saved is between 37,000 and 78,000, the official said.
“Like the number of cases, the growth rate of number of Covid-19 deaths too has fallen significantly due to the lockdown, marking a notable difference between pre-lockdown and post-lockdown situations” Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, and Chairman, Empowered Group 1, said at a media briefing on the Covid-19 situation.
“We are fully confident that the lockdown, with full public cooperation, has reaped rich dividends,” Pravin Srivastava, Secretary, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation said.
Addressing the press briefing on Friday, joint secretary in the health ministry Lav Agarwal said 48,534 Covid-19 patients, which is about 41 per cent of the total cases, have recovered so far. As many as 3,234 patients have recovered in the last 24 hours, he said’
The Covid-19 mortality rate has dropped from 3.13 per cent on May 19 to 3.02 per cent as focus was on containment measures and clinical management of cases, Agarwal said.
An ICMR official said 27,55,714 tests for Covid-19 have been conducted till 1 pm Friday with 1,03,829 tests done in one day. Over 1 lakh tests for Covid-19 have been done each day for the last four days, the official said.
Coronavirus cases to peak in country between June 21-28: Study
Another study has predicted that India may witness COVID-19 cases peaking between June 21 and 28 with maximum daily positive cases to be around 7,000-7,500 in this period.
The study has predicted that confirmed COVID-19 cases reported daily will show a rising graph till the end of June. “A clear downward trend in the confirmed cases is likely to be observed each day from the second week of July,” Nandadulal Bairagi, a senior professor of Jadavpur University who was involved in the project said. With measures in place and increased testing, a gradual flattening of the trajectory is expected within October, the researcher said.
The study used deep machine learning algorithms along with a mathematical model for analysing and forecasting the COVID-19 pandemic in India. “We divided the population of a designated geographical area into seven compartments based on the epidemiological class of Covid-19 and WHO prescribed minimum requirements of infection prevention and control (IPC) strategy to reduce transmission,” he said.
Bairagi said, the total number of infected persons since the outbreak of coronavirus in the country “will touch the five lakh figure in first week of October and it will then start showing a perceptible declining trend.”
Opposition slams Centre for ’empty grand gestures’
Congress and 21 other opposition parties on Friday trained their guns against the Modi government at Centre for its alleged failure to save economy or lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Leaders of 22 parties, including Congress, TNC, Shiv Sena and others, held a meeting via video conferencing on Friday. In a joint statement after the meeting, the parties said that while they back the Union government in its efforts to beat the pandemic, it has failed “in discharging its responsibilities in a timely, effective and sensitive manner”.
“Grand announcements have been made but they do nothing meaningful to alleviate the sufferings of people and address the pressing concerns of farmers and farm labour, of migrant and other workers, of trade, commerce, MSMEs and industry. In fact, the Union government has unabashedly usurped powers vested in the States undermining the constitutionally guaranteed federal democracy,” the joint statement said.
In the meeting, the opposition parties drafted 11 demands to be put forward the Centre. The list included demand of direct cash transfer to people, free distribution of additional food grains, free transportation for migrants, annulment of new labour laws, immediate procurement of the rabi harvest, among others.
MHA permits some categories of OCI cardholders to return to India
Minor children born to Indian nationals abroad have been allowed to return. OCI cardholders who seek to return to India on account of family emergencies like death will also be allowed to return.
Couples will be allowed to return to India, in cases where one spouse is an OCI cardholder and the other is an Indian nation. But they need to have a permanent residence in India.
University students from India, who are OCI cardholders and have their parents living in India can also return to India.
Therefore, the travel restrictions imposed on these categories of OCI cardholders will not apply anymore.
Mumbai allows home delivery of liquor
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has allowed the home delivery of alcohol in the areas outside the containment zones. With 27,068 cases of Covid-19, Mumbai is the epicentre of the pandemic in the country.
The city municipal corporation has said that only sealed liquor bottles can be delivered. E-commerce platforms may be used by liquor shops permitted to do home delivery. No over the counter liquor sale is permitted from shops in Mumbai.
RBI boost to economy
The Reserve Bank of India on Friday slashed interest rates, extended moratorium on loan repayments and allowed banks to lend more to corporates in an effort to support the economy which is likely to contract for the first time in over four decades.
The benchmark repurchase (repo) rate was cut by 40 basis points to 4 per cent, Governor Shaktikanta Das said announcing the decisions taken by the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) that met ahead of its scheduled meeting in early June.
Consequently, the reverse repo rate was reduced to 3.35 per cent from 3.75 per cent.
The RBI supplemented the interest rate cut by extending by three months the permission given to all banks to give a three-month moratorium on payment of monthly instalments on all outstanding loans, providing relief to home and auto buyers as well as real estate sector where construction activities are already at a standstill.
The moratorium on interest on working capital was also extended by three months.
Also, interest accumulated for the six-month moratorium period can be converted into a term loan, Das said.
Andhra Pradesh launches mega restart package for MSMEs
As part of lockdown exit plan, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy announced a mega boost for MSMEs and launched Rs 1,110 crore restart package on Friday.
The government immediately releasing Rs 450 crores as the first installment which would benefit nearly 98,000 units which employ more than 10 lakh people who were having hardship due to the lockdown.
Tamil Nadu not for resumption of flight service from May 25
With the spike in Coronavirus cases weighing heavily upon it, the Tamil Nadu government is not in favour of restarting domestic air services connecting cities in the state till this month-end and might take up the matter with the Centre, an official said on Friday. As the union civil aviation ministry gears up to resume the services from Monday, Tamil Nadu wants the plans deferred for now.
Officials in the State Secretariat said that the stand taken by Chief Minister K Palaniswami against resumption of regular air services till May 31 remains. “The government may take up the issue with the Centre,” an official said.
The immediate concern of the government is to screen all the passengers arriving to the state and keep track of the infected, if any.
The sheer volume of passengers at the airports would make the health machinery concentrate more on the inbound visitors, officials said.
Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine moves to next stage of human trial
University of Oxford researchers working on a vaccine to protect against coronavirus on Friday confirmed that they are moving to the next level as they begin recruiting over 10,000 people for the second phase of human trials.
The first phase of the trial began last month with 1,000 healthy adults aged 55 and under as volunteers. Now more than 10,200 people, including over 70s and five to 12-year-olds, will be enrolled in the study, to see the effects on their immune system.