More than 2,000 people have died due to coronavirus in India.
India reported 3,277 new coronavirus patients in the last 24 hours and 128 deaths linked to the illness that brings the total number of cases in the country to 62,939, including 2,109 deaths, the Union Health Ministry said today. At least 50 per cent of these cases have been reported from five major cities - Delhi, Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra, Ahmedabad in Gujarat, and Chennai, Tamil Nadu's capital. The Indian Council of Medical Research or ICMR, the nodal body for COVID-19 testing, has partnered with a biotech firm - the Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) - to develop a fully indigenous vaccine for the virus, news ageny PTI reported. The vaccine will be developed using the virus strain isolated at the ICMR's National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, a statement by the top medical body on Saturday said. Coronavirus is spreading fast across the world yet no antiviral drug or vaccine are currently available while many countries continue the search for a cure.
Here are the top 10 developments on coronavirus cases in India:
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The government on Saturday revised its guidelines for mild COVID-19 cases. No Reverse transcription PCR or RT-PCR tests - conducted to detect the presence of pathogens in the body - will be done for coronavirus patients showing mild symptoms before they are discharged, the Union Health Ministry said. The revised guidelines come amid a surge in COVID-19 cases that has increased the burden on hospitals.
Kerala is under a complete lockdown today, the state government has said, adding that nothing will be allowed to open except essential services. "With a view to prevent the spread of COVID-19, improve the quality of life, reduce the carbon emissions, protect the environment and greenery of the state... Sundays will be observed as total shut down days until further orders," the Kerala government said in a statement on Saturday hours after announcing that the southern state has achieved a flat curve.
Two Indians, who were a part of the batch of 363 brought back from Abu Dhabi and Dubai via special Air India flights that landed in Kerala on Thursday, have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Saturday. One of the infected individuals is being treated in Kozhikode, while the second is receiving treatment in Kochi, the government added. The southern state had also reported the first three coronavirus cases in the country.
Maharashtra - the country's worst-hit state, reported 48 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours on Saturday, its biggest single-day spike in the number of deaths. The state also crossed the 20,000-mark with 1,165 fresh cases, taking the total number of cases to 20,228 with 779 deaths. Of the 48 deaths, 27 COVID fatalities were reported from Mumbai, nine from Pune, eight from Malegaon, and one each from Pune district, Nanded and Amravati.
An Uttar Pradesh doctor, 58, who was the first COVID-19 patient to receive plasma therapy in the state, died of a heart attack on Saturday. His condition had improved drastically after receiving the treatment, a Lucknow hospital said in a statement, adding he tested negative for the virus on Saturday. Last month, the central government had warned about use of plasma therapy - that involves transfusion of plasma from a convalescent coronavirus patient to a critical patient - for coronavirus treatment.
Aarogya Setu, the government's mobile application developed to track COVID-19 patients, has emerged as a powerful tool to curb the spread of COVID-19, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has said, adding that it helped alert authorities about more than 650 hotspots across the country and over 300 "emerging hotspots" which could have been missed otherwise,
The Health Ministry will send its teams to 10 states with surging coronavirus cases that will help the state health departments implement containment measures in areas affected by the pandemic, the government said on Saturday. The teams, consisting of a senior Health Ministry officer, a joint secretary-level nodal officer and a public health expert, will be sent to Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
567 foreign nationals - lodged in quarantine centres in Delhi after attending a congregation of an Islamic sect in March - should be handed over to the police if they test negative for coronavirus, a senior Delhi official said in an order on Saturday. "567 members of Tablighi Jamaat (in Delhi) are foreigners. Those who have tested negative and are still living in Delhi quarantine centres, must be handed over to the Delhi police as per the Union Home Ministry's order," Delhi's Divisional Commissioner said in an order.
Worldwide, the number of novel coronavirus cases surpassed four million-mark on Saturday, There are now at least 4,001,437 cases of coronavirus around the world, with 277,127 deaths.
The United States has been the hardest-hit country, with 1,305,544 cases and 78,618 deaths. Europe is the hardest-hit continent, with 1,708,648 cases and 155,074 deaths.