Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have jumped in India to 28, as Union Government officials and state-level authorities urge calm.
At the time of writing, 28 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in India, with 25 active cases. The initial three cases were reported among students in the state of Kerala, who had returned to India after studying in Wuhan, the capital city of China’s Hubei province where the COVID-19 outbreak originated. All three students recovered from the virus.
India reported fresh cases of COVID-19 earlier this week, with the national capital Delhi and the Telangana state capital Hyderabad recording cases. Subsequently, in the Rajasthan state capital Jaipur, an Italian tourist tested positive for COVID-19. An additional 22 cases of COVID-19 have now been confirmed, sixteen of which came from Jaipur. Of these patients, fifteen are Italian tourists and one is an Indian national. Six new cases of COVID-19 have been reported, all of which belong to the family of the Delhi patient in Agra, Uttar Pradesh whom he visited prior to testing positive for the disease.
State and central government authorities are on a war footing against the virus. In Delhi, the state government has established isolation wards across 25 hospitals, designating 230 beds for the same. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reporting “the central government and Delhi government will work together because it is a dangerous illness which has spread with great speed in whichever country it has entered. We need to work together to ensure that it does not spread.” He is to chair a state-level task force to monitor cases of COVID-19 and tackle its outbreak in the national capital, as the state government works to procure 3.95 lakh N95 masks.
In Rajasthan, at least 215 people are believed to have come in contact with the Italian tourists who have tested positive for COVID-19 according to state health minister Raghu Sharma. The state government has issued purchase orders for 50,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, five lakh N95 masks and five lakh triple-layer masks to help individuals safeguard themselves from contracting the virus.
In the neighbour states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana, numerous measures are underway to control cases of COVID-19 following the detection of a patient in Telangana – a software engineer who had travelled from the Karnataka state capital Bengaluru. The Karnataka state government has reserved more than 2,300 beds in isolation wards in both publicly- and privately-run hospitals. Telangana has reserved more than 3,000 beds in isolation wards to counteract the virus. In addition, individuals who have come into contact with the confirmed patient are being sought out and some referred to quarantine facilities. Earlier this week, Telangana state health minister Etela Rajender announced a Rs 100 crore fund to tackle COVID-19.
In the case of Andhra Pradesh, health minister Alla Kalikrishna Srinivas has appealed for calm among the populace. “People of Andhra Pradesh need not panic about coronavirus; there is no virus in the State,” he said. “ Some baseless rumours are spreading, but people should not believe them. Our Chief Minister is holding a review on this matter every day. [The] state medical and health department is on high alert.” The state has taken preliminary measures to ward off cases of COVID-19, he noted. These include “setting up isolation rooms also as per the suggestions of the Central government. Isolation rooms will be set up in places like Visakhapatnam, Tirupati, Kurnool, Kakinada, Nellore, etc. The government is providing masks as well.”
The Government has said that screening for cases of COVID-19 has covered more than six lakh people across 21 major airports. Travel restrictions have been imposed against those travelling from multiple COVID-19-affected countries. Screening is underway across “twelve major seaports, and 65 minor seaports” in addition to the 21 major airports according to Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan earlier this week.
Numerous high-level officials, including Prime Minister Modi, Chief Minister Kejriwal, former Union Health Minister and BJP President Jagat Prakash Naddah and Union Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah, have decided against attending forthcoming Holi celebrations owing to the rising cases of COVID-19. Modi explained his decision by stating “experts across the world have advised to reduce mass gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID-19.”
Officials continue to appeal against panic in the face of COVID-19. “India is well prepared and has taken all precautionary steps to contain the spread of COVID-19…I request everyone to take all important measures to prevent this,” Shah tweeted. “Some basic self-preventive measures are as simple as, washing your hands and practising good hygiene.”
Vardhan, who chaired an emergency meeting today, has appealed to the public on Twitter to “Help Us To Help You.” Among the steps he suggested were reading basic safety measures, sharing information, and contacting the helpline number (011-23978046) or the email address ([email protected]). Vardhan also will forego attending Holi celebrations.
Prime Minister Modi has also urged calm. Yesterday, he tweeted “there is no need to panic. We need to work together, take small yet important measures to ensure self-protection.”
At the global level, cases of COVID-19 number at 94,244 at the time of writing. The death toll stands at 3,220, whilst 51,193 individuals have recovered. As such, the remaining active cases of COVID-19 number at 39,831. Of these, 33,059 (83 percent) are of individuals in mild conditions. The remaining seventeen percent active cases of COVID-19 (numbering at 6,780 infections) are of individuals in serious or critical condition.