Coronavirus India Updates: Total Cases Cross At 21,700; Death Toll At 686
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India inched closer to 22,000 on Thursday evening with ten days remaining for the nationwide lockdown to end.
India reported 1,229 new cases over the last 24 hours taking the total in the country to 21,700, according to the health ministry's update at 5 p.m. In the last 24 hours, 365 people recovered while 34 have died.
The ICMR, however, has a different number. By 9 a.m. on Thursday, India had 21,797 confirmed cases, the apex medical research body had said earlier. The mismatch between numbers of the health ministry and ICMR has been a constant feature of the pandemic.
While it took 76 days for India to report its first 10,000 cases, the next 11,000 have come in just eight more days.
Globally, over 2.6 million cases have been confirmed and reported while deaths exceeded 183,000.
Track latest news updates and developments on how the coronavirus situation is evolving in India here:
India Adds 1,229 New Cases
India added 1,229 new cases over the last 24 hours taking the total cases to 21,700.
- Active cases: 16,689
- Cured/discharged/migrated: 4,325
- Deaths: 686
Source: Health Ministry (As of April 23, 5 p.m.)
Gujarat Conducting 3,000 Covid-19 Tests Everyday: Official
As many as 3,000 coronavirus tests are being conducted in Gujarat everyday and there is no plan to reduce it, a senior official said on Thursday while dismissing rumours that the state government has reduced Covid-19 testing.
The Gujarat government has also decided to declare the figures of coronavirus tests and deaths only once in 24 hours, instead of the present practice of providing the details twice a day, state principal secretary (health) Jayanti Ravi told reporters in Gandhinagar.
"We have not reduced the tests to detect coronavirus cases. We are conducting 3,000 tests everyday in Gujarat. Out of these, 2,500 samples are collected from across the state while 500 samples are of those who are already quarantined or admitted to hospitals," she said.
The official was responding to questions on rumours about less number of Covid-19 tests being done in the state.
"Till now, we used to share tests and death figures once in the morning and then in the evening. To avoid any duplication of data, we will now share the details only in the evening. The figures will reflect all the tests conducted across the state during 24 hours," she said.
Till Wednesday, the state reported 2,407 coronavirus cases and 103 deaths.
The official said the number of Covid-19 cases have increased significantly because of the intensive surveillance and testing in areas which have been declared as hotspots.
Asked where Gujarat stands in terms of Covid-19 cases and deaths, she said "this is not a competition".
She said majority of the coronavirus victims who died were either aged or suffering from other ailments, like heart disease and high diabetes.
Indians Among Worst Affected Ethnic Groups In England
People of Indian origin in the U.K. have emerged as the worst affected ethnic group from the coronavirus pandemic, according to an official data on Covid-19 deaths in hospitals across England.
Figures released this week by the National Health Service England show that of the 13,918 patients who died in hospitals till April 17 after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, 16.2 percent were of black, Asian and minority ethnic background and those identifying with Indian ethnicity made up 3 percent of that.
This was followed by Caribbeans as the second-largest ethnic group affected in the Covid-19 death toll at 2.9 percent, followed by Pakistanis at 2.1 percent.
The data, only a limited snapshot of the U.K.-wide Covid-19 tests, follows the British government's announcement of a review into the coronavirus death toll disparity among the BAME population.
"We have seen, both across the population as a whole but in those who work in the NHS, a much higher proportion who've died from minority backgrounds and that really worries me," said UK health secretary Matt Hancock while launching the review last week.
The proportion of deaths among BAME groups is much higher compared to their roughly 13 percent make-up of the total population.
A further breakdown shows Covid-19 deaths among those identifying with white ethnicity at 73.6 percent and mixed ethnicity at 0.7 percent.
Of the 16.2 percent BAME figures, those of Bangladeshi ethnicity are at 0.6 percent, any other Asian background 1.6 percent, African 1.9 percent, any other black background 0.9 percent, Chinese 0.4 percent and any other ethnic group 2.8 percent.
"The government must take every necessary step to address this devastating disparity and protect all sectors of the population equally and now," said Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, Council Chair of the British Medical Association, the doctors' union lobbying for the review.
"It also means taking vital steps now to protect our BAME communities until we can develop a detailed understanding of the threats they face. This could include that those at greatest risk, including older and retired doctors, are not working in potentially infectious settings," he said.
Meanwhile, an analysis of the Covid-19 death toll data for NHS workers, which stands at 69, also reveals a higher proportion of BAME casualties – including the death of Dr. Manjeet Singh Riyat, the UK's first Sikh emergency medicine consultant, this week.
The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin recently announced a new academic tie-up with the Imperial College London to set up a research forum to delve deeper into this disparity within the medical profession in the UK.
"This research has the potential to give data required to delineate vulnerable groups in the pandemic and give clear advice on how to reduce the impact on the BAME population," BAPIO president Dr Ramesh Mehta said.
The new study also aims at establishing a new research database as a national resource for the scientific communities to support other studies to improve the future wellbeing of NHS healthcare staff.
According to experts, the reasons behind the disproportionately high coronavirus mortality rates for the ethnic minority population of the UK is likely to be down to a complex set of factors, including greater propensity among some ethnicities for heart disease and diabetes, specific vitamin deficiencies, the lack of social distancing measures within multi-generational family setting or a genetic predisposition.
The government's review is aimed at collating enough data to look into measures that would minimise the risk for these communities.
ICMR Reports 21,797 Total Cases
Creating a divergence between it’s own reported data and the Health Ministry data, the Indian Council of Medical Research reported there were 21,797 confirmed Covid cases in India as of 9 a.m. today.
So far total of 5,00,542 samples from 4,85,172 individuals have been tested, it said in a press release.
Total Covid Cases In India Rise To 21,393; Death Doll At 681
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India rose to 21,393 cases with 1,409 of them being added in the last 24 hours.
- Active cases: 16454
- Cured/discharged/migrated: 4258
- Deaths: 681
India saw 388 recoveries and 41 deaths in the last 24 hours