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In a letter to chief secretaries of all states/union territories, the Health Ministry indicated a change in criteria governing coronavirus hotspot classification - a "red" district, or one with over 15 confirmed cases, will be declared "green", or virus-free, if no new cases are reported in 21 days. Previously, the number of infection-free days was set at 28.
414 districts have been affected by the novel coronavirus so far, government data has indicated. This figure has dropped marginally from 430 districts reported on April 22, but the increase in number of "green zones", or virus-free districts, is likely a cause for concern. Maharashtra remains the worst-affected state with over 10,000 cases and 14 "red" zones. Among states Uttar Pradesh has the most "red zones" with 19.
At the other end of the spectrum, the northeast and the south of the country appear to have had the most success in containing the COVID-19 virus, with states like Assam (30), Arunachal Pradesh (25) and Odisha (21) reporting the most number of "green" zones.
Seven metro cities - Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Pune - and Delhi have been listed as "red zones", with Delhi and Mumbai alone accounting for over 10,000 cases.
The "red-orange/green zone" system of classification to map COVID-19 hotspots was proposed by the government last month, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met 13 chief ministers to review the lockdown. It is meant to identify least-affected districts and enable concerned state governments to re-start economic activity in those areas. "Red zones", or districts where the number of cases doubles at less than for days, will continue to see a strict lockdown until they transition to "green".
On Friday, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah met with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to discuss steps to boost the economy, PM Modi and Mr Shah met with Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri today to discuss post-lockdown strategies. Restarting the deeply distressed aviation sector and passenger trains was one of the main agendas. Commerce and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal attended both meetings.
Also on Friday the first "special train" was run by the Railways to return 1,200 migrants from Telangana to Jharkhand. This was a day after the centre said stranded people who displayed no coronavirus symptoms would be allowed to return to home states. Following this several states asked for special trains citing distance and logistical difficulties. At 6 pm a second "special train" - from Kerala to Odisha - is scheduled to depart. All trains will be disinfected and passengers will be expected to follow social distancing protocols.
New guidelines to fight COVID-19 which will give considerable relaxations to many districts will come into effect from May 4 when the nationwide lockdown is set to expire, the Union Home Ministry said on Wednesday. Details of the new measures will be communicated in the days to come, the Home Ministry spokesperson said on Twitter.
Several states in the northeastern and southern parts of the country have taken the lead in containing the spread of the virus. The growth rate is down to nearly zero in the northeast and under three per cent per day in Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Haryana where cases are taking well over 20 days to double, government data showed. Ten days ago, the rate at which the coronavirus infection was doubling across India was eight days and now it has improved to 14 days.
Across India the number of coronavirus cases has crossed 35,000, with 1,147 deaths linked to the virus. 1,993 new cases were reported over the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said this morning, with 73 deaths also reported in that time. The country's recovery rate - the share of people who have been discharged from hospital after treatment - stood at 25.36 per cent, the ministry added, noting that a total of 8,889 patients have recovered so far.
|State||Red Zone||Orange Zone||Green Zone||Total|
|Andaman And Nicobar Islands||1||0||2||3|
|Dadra And Nagar Haveli||0||0||1||1|
|Daman And Diu||0||0||2||2|
|Jammu And Kashmir||4||12||4||20|