Assessing lockdown: PM Modi to discuss with Chief Ministers on April 11

Maitri Porecha New Delhi | Updated on April 09, 2020 Published on April 08, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Covid-19 cases in India double in five days

With a rapid increase in novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to have a virtual meeting with Chief Ministers of all States on April 11 to chart out the future course of action on the 21-day lockdown.

In a virtual meeting with floor leaders of all political parties in Parliament on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said that a decision on lifting the lockdown would be taken after consulting the Chief Ministers.

The priority of the government is saving each and every life, Modi said. He added that the country is facing serious economic challenges due to Covid-19, and the government is committed to overcoming them.

‘Make tests free’After the meeting, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said he had urged the Prime Minister to make the tests free.

“It’s inadequate now. The number of tests has to be increased,” the former Union Health Minister said. The Opposition also raised the issues faced by migrant workers, industrial workers and farmers. Political leaders also demanded a special finance package for States.

The leaders also demanded a change in the education calender as entrance examinations are yet to take place. They demanded protection of the supply chain, particularly of pharmaceuticals.

CPI(M) leader in the Rajya Sabha Elamaram Kareem said the Centre should ensure there is no job loss, or salary reduction.

Maharashtra has recorded 1,018 confirmed cases, almost 19 per cent of all cases in the country, with 79 recoveries, and 64 deaths. R Gangakhedkar, head, infectious diseases, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said: “As far as Maharashtra is concerned we cannot decide on absolute numbers, as death numbers are so small. It can be a chance event. Also, we cannot say that the numbers are significantly high.”

While on April 1, Maharashtra had 302 cases according to day-wise line list data, this spiked to 1,018 on April 8, a jump of 70 per cent. Mumbai, with 642 cases and 40 deaths as well as Pune with 130 cases and 8 deaths, have borne the brunt of Covid-19 in the State.

Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said: “Under the containment strategy, for instance, in Pune central region, a door-to-door survey was being taken up in an area of 33 sq km, where all persons with co-morbidities like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart ailments and so on as well as those with a travel history were being checked.”

He added that with the lockdown and social distancing, there is a focus on early identification of patients. An analysis of State and Central data reveals that Maharashtra comprises 17 per cent of all tests done across the country, which, as on April 8, stood at 1,21,271 samples.

As of April 7, State data reveal, 20,877 samples were tested in Maharashtra and 868 cases were confirmed positive, which means the rate of positive samples comes up to 4.16 per cent. According to ICMR data, with 5,274 confirmed cases in India from 1,21,271 samples tested, the rate of positive samples comes up to 4.34 per cent. This means that Maharashtra is not recording a higher rate than the national rate of positive samples.

As for mortality, Gujarat with 165 cases and 13 deaths (7.88 per cent), Punjab with 91 cases and 7 deaths (7.69 per cent), Maharashtra with 1,019 cases and 64 deaths (6.29 per cent), Madhya Pradesh with 229 cases and 13 deaths (5.68 per cent) and Himachal Pradesh with 18 cases and 1 death (5.55 per cent) are the top five States, with death rates of more than 5 per cent. “Deaths are more in patients with co-morbidities. Also they are more amongst elderly,” maintained Agarwal.

Punya Salila Srivastava, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, said ₹1,000 to ₹6,000 worth cash benefits had been disbursed to two crore workers stranded due to the lockdown without wages. “This amounts to up to ₹3,000 crore in total as well as 29 lakh workers being provided food,” she said.

Published on April 08, 2020

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