India reported 11,458 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours on Saturday morning, taking the total count to 3,08,993. This is the highest single-day spike so far. India is now the fourth most-affected country in the world. The country’s toll is currently 8,884.
The Centre on Saturday added anosmia, the loss of sense of smell, and ageusia, an accompanying diminished sense of taste, as symptoms of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The other symptoms are fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, body ache, sore throat and diarrhoea.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met senior ministers and officials on Saturday to review India’s response to the coronavirus situation.
Home Minister Amit Shah and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan are expected to meet Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at 11 am on Sunday, to discuss the national Capital’s preparedness to deal with the rising number of cases. Later in the day, they will meet the city’s mayors.
As of Saturday evening, Maharashtra continued to be the worst-affected state in India, with 1,04,568 cases and 3,830 deaths. Tamil Nadu, with 42,687 cases and 397 deaths was the second most affected.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Saturday that the state government has decided to reduce the rates of the coronavirus tests conducted by private laboratories from Rs 4,500 per test to Rs 2,200. Testing is free at government laboratories.
The Centre on Friday informed the Karnataka High Court that it is not mandatory for a person wishing to travel by rail or air to download the contact tracing Aarogya Setu app on their mobile phones. Instead, passengers can fill a self-declaration form to undertake travel, it added.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday continued his attack on the Narendra Modi-led government over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak and the surge in the number of cases around the country. Sharing some graphs showing the rise in Covid-19 cases during the four phases of the lockdown, he said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The graphs appeared to show that the curve had not flattened.
Globally, the coronavirus has infected over 76.93 lakh people so far, and killed more than 4.26 lakh people, according to the Johns Hopkins University. However, more than 36.5 lakh people have recovered.
China on Saturday closed the Xinfadi market, the country’s largest wholesale market for meat and vegetables in Beijing after a cluster of coronavirus cases centered around it sparked fears of a new wave of the infection. Eleven other neighbourhoods in the vicinity of the markert were also sealed, and all tourism and sport events were cancelled.