- India recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases on Friday
- Cases linked to the Tablighi Jamaat have been reported from 17 states
- More than 1,000 people have tested positive who attended the event
Here is your ten point-cheatsheet on coronavirus cases in India:
On Sunday the Prime Minister spoke to two former Presidents and Prime Ministers and all senior opposition leaders, including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The phone calls came roughly two weeks after he ordered a three-week "total lockdown" to control the spread of the virus - a lockdown criticised by the opposition who had not been consulted on the matter. Sources said the calls were part of an outreach on the lifting of the lockdown.
The Health Ministry released details of an aggressive plan to counter the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including options to declare buffer zones and seal off high-risk areas for as long as a month. The strategy is meant to contain the highly contagious virus within a defined geographical area by early detection of cases and breaking the chain of transmission. The containment will be eased if no new cases are reported from the area for at least four weeks after the last confirmed test.
In its daily press briefing on Sunday the Health Ministry said the rate of doubling of novel coronavirus cases would have been 7.4 days instead of the current 4.1 had the Tablighi Jamaat not taken place. Thousands attended an event in a 100-year-old mosque complex in south Delhi last month, in defiance of health warnings, before dispersing across the country. Over 1,000 COVID-19 cases have been linked to that event, including several deaths, and more than 22,000 have been quarantined. A case has been filed against Jamaat chief cleric Maulana Saad, who is wanted by the police but has said he is in "self quarantine" and six others under the Epidemic Disease Act.
Eight Malaysian citizens who were about to board a special flight to their home country were caught at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport on Sunday. Sources said all eight had attended the Jamaat event and been hiding at different places in the city before attempting to flee. The event was attended by a number of foreigners - the Home Ministry has identified 960 of them (their tourist visas have been blacklisted) and promised strict action.
Madhya Pradesh's Bhopal has become the second district in the state, after Indore, to order a shutdown of all shops except those selling medicines and milk. Under the terms of the PM's "total lockdown" grocery shops and vegetable vendors are allowed to function. Bhopal city has 15 confirmed COVID-19 cases and Indore 128. Overall the state has 179 cases of the virus and 11 people are dead.
In a first-of-its-kind massive drive to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Tamil Nadu government has deployed 16,000 trained workers to go on a door-to-door screening across Chennai. The trained workers - armed with personal protective equipment - will submit daily reports and monitor the state capital's residents on a 24x7 basis.
Regional airline Air Deccan announced on Sunday that it is ceasing operations until further notice; all employees are on sabbatical without pay. This is the country's first aviation company to take this extreme step amid a crisis that has virtually paralysed the sector. Domestic and international flights have been suspended till April 14; they had originally been stopped till March 31. However, cargo flights, offshore helicopter ops, medical evacuation flights and special flights permitted by the DGCA are still operating.
Assam health authorities have identified 111 people who had contact with a COVID-19 positive businessman. The patient, a resident of Guwahati's posh Spanish Garden locality, had a Delhi travel history, but reportedly got the virus from a local "silent carrier". The search for the spreader has been launched and the residential area is being sanitised. The state has witnessed a spike in the number of coronavirus cases with 25 of its 26 cases linked to the Jamaat gathering in Delhi.
On Saturday US President Donald Trump spoke to Prime Minister Modi asking for India to allow export of hydroxychloroquine tablets to treat COVID-19 patients. India had halted sale of this drug, and its variations. As on Sunday, the US reported over three lakh cases and 8,000 deaths. Also on Saturday the Prime Minister spoke to Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro to discuss bilateral cooperation, multilateral institutional framework and the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent days PM Modi has also spoken to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Israel President Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the viral outbreak.
According to news agency Reuters, the government has already begun working on ways to jumpstart the Indian economy once the lockdown is lifted. Although nothing has been finalised, if a package is announced, it will be the third major initiative for the economy. This includes the Rs 1.75 lakh crores announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.