Coronavirus Updates: India Total Cases Rise To 724, Including 66 Cured
Migrant workers board rickshaws to return to their villages after a 21-day nationwide lockdown was imposed by the government in wake of coronavirus pandemic, at Gandhi Nagar in East Delhi, Thursday, March 26, 2020. (Source: PTI)

Coronavirus Updates: India Total Cases Rise To 724, Including 66 Cured

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India has a total of 724 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of Friday morning, according to data provided on the Health Ministry website. This includes 66 cured and 17 who succumbed to the respiratory illness. Total number of cases have tripled in the last one week.

This marks the entry into India’s third day of the 21-day mandatory lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While there is a general decline in the number of new cases detected, this is not the time yet to be relaxed about the situation, Joint Health Secretary Luv Agarwal said in a press conference on Thursday. “We are in the local transmission stage currently. We will notify if we find traces of community transmission.”

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman yesterday announced a slew of measures while to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The RBI today, announced another set of measures including deferment of loan payments for three months.

Meanwhile cases around the world reached 5.32 lakh, while the death toll crossed 24,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 1.2 lakh of the confirmed patients have recovered.

Track latest updates on how the coronavirus situation is evolving in India here:

Also read: Kids Largely Spared by Virus, Making Them ‘Covert’ Spreaders

Kendriya Vidyalaya Schools To Be Used For Isolating Potential Cases

All Kendriya Vidyalaya school buildings will be used for temporarily quarantining likely Covid-19 cases.

Department Of Biotechnology Asked To Look At Covid-19 Vaccine

The Indian Council of Medical Research has asked India's Department of Biotechnology to look at the development of a vaccine for Covid-19, Chief epidemiologist RR Gangakhedkar said in a press conference.

ICMR is also keeping a watch on the thirty scientific groups that are working on developing a vaccine. Out of these thirty, five are going for animal toxicity studies, he said. "We have indicated our willingness to go for vaccine trials if they pass out animal studies for Indian population," Gangakhedkar said.

India Likely To Join WHO's Solidarity Trials

India is likely to join World Health Organisation's Solidarity trials that are aimed at generating robust high-quality data for Covid-19 treatments, according to Indian Council of Medical Research's Chief epidemiologist RR Gangakhedkar.

"We didn’t participate earlier, because our numbers were small," he said at a press conference today. "We are also making effort to develop indigenous diagnostics."

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom had announced the solidarity trials last week where a number of countries would come together to study which treatments were the most effective in combating the Covid-19 infection. The trial also provides simplified procedures that would enable even hospitals that are overloaded to participate.

Ten countries having, so far, joined the Solidarity trial: Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand.

Government Looking At Indigenous Manufacturing Of Masks

The government is in touch with indigenous manufacturers who can produce personal protective equipment like face masks to fix the shortage that healthcare workers are facing in India.

Joint health secretary Luv Agarwal said that earlier the cloth used in PPEs was primarily imported and the disruption of the global supply chain has caused issues with availability.

The government is now looking at Indian manufacturers who can fill that gap. "Hopefully, we should be able to manage the situation," Agarwal said.

He added that the government has also identified various buyers of N95 masks across India.

Health Ministry Says Shortage Of Ventilators Being Addressed

The health ministry today said that the government is addressing the shortage of ventilators in the country by starting procurement from state-run firms.

A procurement of 10,000 ventilatoris have started from one of the PSUs, joint health secretary Luv Agarwal said in a press conference. Bharat Electronics Ltd. will also provide 30,000 ventilators in the next one month, he said.

The health ministry has also asked states to prepare isolation beds and dedicated hospitals for Covid19. A national task force has been constituted to deal with the virus outbreak.

Agarawal noted that in the last 24 hours there have been 75 new cases of coronavirus in India and four deaths have been reported. Majority of the deaths were elderly patients suffering from comorbid conditions like hypertension, heart disease or diabetes.

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