India recorded its biggest single-day spike in new coronavirus cases on Friday.
The government on Friday announced a two-week extension of the nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Announced on March 25, the lockdown will now go on till at least May 18. However, it announced several relaxations especially for districts which have been categorised as Green or Orange zones, indicating no or low number of COVID-19 cases.
On Friday, the government said the number of coronavirus or COVID-19 "Red Zones", across India have dropped by around 23 per cent in 15 days, from 170 on April 15 to 130 on April 30. However, all four major metro cities - Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai - have been classified as Red Zones.
In the same period, the number of "green zones", or districts reporting no new coronavirus cases in the last 21 days, also dropped from 356 to 319, while the number of "orange zones" increased - from 207 to 284, according to the Union Health Ministry.
"The districts were earlier designated as hotspots / red-zones, orange zones and green zones primarily based on the cumulative cases reported and the doubling rate. Since recovery rates have gone up, the districts are now being designated across various zones duly broad-basing the criteria. This classification is multi-factorial and takes into consideration incidence of cases, doubling rate, extent of testing and surveillance feedback to classify the districts. A district will be considered under Green Zone, if there are no confirmed cases so far or there is no reported case since last 21 days in the district," the Health Ministry said on Friday.
Emphasising that the list is "dynamic", the government said it will be revised on a weekly basis or earlier and communicated to states.
The centre also added that while states may designate additional red or orange zones as appropriate, they cannot relax any classification that has been made by the Union Health Ministry.
India recorded its biggest single-day spike in new coronavirus cases on Friday, with 1,993 being reported in the past 24 hours; this includes 73 deaths. The total number of cases in the country has crossed 35,000 with 1,147 deaths.