More than 20,000 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported, including fourteen confirmed fatalities in India.
The number of confirmed cases globally number at 489,547 worldwide with 22,150 deaths from COVID-19 at the time of writing. In India, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases stands at 716.
Globally, there are 349,789 active cases as 139,758 people have recovered from the disease in addition to the 22,150 deaths from COVID-19. Of the currently-infected COVID-19 patients, 332,021 (95 percent) are in mild condition with 17,768 people (five percent) in serious or critical condition.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted India to undertake drastic measures, with a 21-day lockdown now in force compelling people to shelter in place and not leave their homes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement in an address to the nation earlier this week, terming the stringent measure “a necessary step in the decisive fight against corona pandemic.” Modi emphasised the importance of social distancing as a means of curbing the spread of COVID-19, stating the lockdown translates to “a total ban on venturing out of your homes.”
India’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has been praised by the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to India Dr Henk Bekedam, who said “India’s response to COVID-19 has been comprehensive and robust. Massive efforts have been made towards prevention and containing the spread, including strengthening surveillance, laboratory capacity, contact tracing and isolation and risk communications.
“The Prime Minister’s call for social distancing has received widespread community support across the country. It is vital that we come together in solidarity and help in breaking the chain of transmission and flattening the curve.”
However, WHO officials have also emphasised that a lockdown in isolation is unlikely to be sufficient in curbing COVID-19. Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, who acts as the WHO’s technical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic, asserted that “what we don’t want is to get into a situation where you have a lockdown and then you lift it and then you have a resurgence, then you have a lockdown, and you have this endless cycle.”