- Over 3,00,000 people in quarantine across country are being monitored
- How many people test positive during lockdown will decide PMs next move
- So far, India has 10,363 coronavirus cases, including 339 deaths
Over 3,00,000 people in quarantine across the country are being monitored and how many of them test positive for coronavirus during a strict lockdown over the next week will be critical in deciding the government's next move. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to extend the lockdown without any easing of restrictions for now is driven by the strategy to track those isolated in the red zones or those worst hit by COVID-19, according to senior government officials.
India has 10,363 coronavirus cases, including 339 deaths.
The Home Ministry says, based on data gathered by its 24X7 war room, that as many as 3,23,000 people are in isolation either at home or in government facilities.
"With these statistics, India needs to gear up in its fight against Covid-19 on war footing. All states have unanimously agreed to extend the lockdown down period and we hope in next two weeks we would be further isolating new clusters," a senior government official told NDTV.
The lockdown has helped the government identify containment zones, he says. "State authorities along with police officials are working round the clock to identify any more clusters," he adds.
Maharashtra tops the list with 66,311 people isolated in various parts of the state and Uttarakhand is the second to have most in quarantine. It has 373 in isolation wards and 55,793 in home quarantine, which takes the total in the hill state to 56,166. So far, the state has 35 coronavirus cases.
Rajasthan has the third highest number of people in quarantine - 35,843 - followed by Uttar Pradesh with 31,158 people. The home ministry says 8,836 in the state are lodged in various state-run isolation wards and 22,322 have been asked to stay home.
Uttar Pradesh was the first to announce over 100 containment zones.
Haryana has 16,224 people quarantined in various containment zones. So far, 978 are in isolation wards and 15,246 in home quarantine.
Jharkhand and Delhi have almost the same numbers. Jharkhand has 15,548 persons in quarantine while the national capital has 15,327. Delhi has reported 1,510 cases of COVID 19, second highest in the country after Maharashtra, including 28 deaths.
West Bengal has only provided data of 95 coronavirus cases and 329 in quarantine to the centre.
Kerala, which has been applauded for its response to the virus and for significantly slowing down infections, has 375 coronavirus cases. Over 800 are under observation.
Gujarat has 14,204 in quarantine, Bihar has 11,998, Punjab 10,064 and Jammu and Kashmir has 9,598 people in isolation.
Based on the number of cases over the next week, the government will finalise areas that are virus hotspots and those emerging as ones. Sources say 370 of 718 districts have been identified as COVID-19 affected and data of cases from these areas is being closely monitored.
The government will evaluate every town, district and state until April 20 for how effectively the areas have managed to fight infections during the lockdown, said PM Modi in his address. Areas less likely to turn into a hotspots may be allowed to open up certain essential activities from April 20.
"We will have to keep a close and strict watch on the places which run the risk of becoming hotspots," the PM said, adding, "The creation of new hotspots will further challenge our hard work and penance. Hence, let us extend the strictness and austerity in the fight against corona for the upcoming one week."