The centre has added new symptoms of COVID-19 in a document published for use by health professionals as a reference. "Loss of smell and taste" has been added to a list of nine other symptoms in the document "Clinical Management Protocol: COVID-19".
The other symptoms are fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, expectoration, myalgia, rhinorrhea, sore throat and diarrhoea.
The Health Ministry in the document says direct person-to-person transmission occurs through close contact, mainly through respiratory droplets that are released when the infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
"These droplets may also land on surfaces, where the virus remains viable. Infection can also occur if a person touches an infected surface and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth," the document says.
Those who are over 60 years are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. Those with underlying non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiac disease, among others, are also at high risk, the Health Ministry said.
The centre said it is pursing some "investigational therapies". No vaccine has been developed to fight COVID-19 so far.
"...Use of these drugs is subjected to limited availability in the country as of now. Currently, these drugs should only be used in a defined subgroup of patients," the centre said. The medicines are remdesivir, which can be taken under emergency; convalescent plasma therapy, tocilizumab and hydroxychloroquine.
The top medical watchdog in the US had added new symptoms of the highly infectious coronavirus to a list of known ones on April 28. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, which tracks diseases globally and whose officials are directly involved in advanced laboratory work, had said new symptoms include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache and new loss of taste or smell. These symptoms were not among the ones listed on the World Health Organization's FAQ webpage at that time.
The CDC says its list of symptoms is not all inclusive and people must consult doctors for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to them.
India has recorded the highest single-day jump of 11,458 fresh cases, pushing the total number of cases to 3,08,993, the latest data from the Health Ministry shows. India has the fourth-highest number of coronavirus cases among 10 nations worst-hit by coronavirus.
The death count rose to 8,884 with a single-day spike of 386 fatalities. Maharashtra, the worst coronavirus-hit state in the country, has crossed the one lakh-mark after it reported 3,493 cases on Friday. Delhi's tally of coronavirus infections crossed the 36,000-mark as the number of deaths due to the disease climbed to 1,214, authorities said.