The number of coronavirus cases in India has risen to 10,815, including 353 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s update on Tuesday evening. So far, this is the largest spike in cases in 24 hours.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the ongoing nationwide lockdown to control the fast-spreading disease will be extended till May 3.
With 2,377 Covid-19 cases and 160 deaths, Maharashtra is the worst-hit state in India. Delhi has 1,510 cases of coronavirus and 28 deaths. More than 1,100 cases have been reported from Tamil Nadu, while Rajasthan has reported 879 cases. Madhya Pradesh has 730 cases of coronavirus.
At the Centre’s daily press briefing, Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said that more than 600 hospitals in the country have been earmarked to treat Covid-19 patients. “We have a capacity of 1,06,719 isolation beds and 12,024 ICU [intensive care unit] beds have been reserved for Covid-19 patients,” he said.
Speaking about the extension of the nationwide lockdown, Agarwal said that all districts will be evaluated for the extent of Covid-19 spread on April 20 and then the decision to lift or continue restrictions will be made.
The Indian Council of Medical Research has so far tested 2.31 lakh samples for Covid-19, head scientist Dr R Gangakhedkar said at the press briefing. “Yesterday [Monday], 21,635 samples were tested,” he said. “Out of these tests, 18,644 were done in ICMR’s network of labs.”
Gangakhedkar added that ICMR is acquiring more testing kits. “We have placed an order for about 33 lakh RT-PCR [Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction] testing kits,” he said. “The consignment of 37 lakh rapid testing kits is expected to arrive very soon.”
The Centre said that the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package to provide relief to the poor amid the lockdown was being monitored at the highest level. “More than 32 crore people have been given direct cash support of Rs 29,352 crore under the package,” Finance Ministry official Rajesh Malhotra said at the press briefing. He added that Rs 14,946 crore has been transferred to over seven crore farmers as the first installment under the PM Kisan scheme.