India has seen 549 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, said the ministry of health and family welfare, government of India, indicating that the number of new cases continues to remain elevated for the ninth day in a row.
India started finding a high number of new cases on April 1, nearly a week after the pan-India lock-down to control COVID-19 began.
While the initial spurt was caused by detection of cases related to a religious event that took place in Delhi between March 13 and 16, the latest cases are mostly related to other sources, which is a cause for worry.
Today’s tally of 549 takes the total Coronavirus cases in India to 5,734.
Out of these 5,734 cases, 166 have died, while 473 have recovered. In other words, 26% of the patients who have seen resolution have died, while 74% have recovered.
Still, the recovery ratio so far in India is far better than what has so far been seen in places like the US and Italy, where it is only about 60%.
However, this ratio is well below the recovery percentages seen in countries like Germany, where about 95% of the resolved cases have recovered and only 5% have died.
The national ratio is also well below what is seen in a state like Kerala, where 97% of the resolved cases have resulted in recovery and only 3% have resulted in deaths.
Out of the 166 deaths, 17 have taken place in the last 24 hours, explained Luv Agarwal, joint secretary in the ministry of health and family welfare said as part of his daily update.
Meanwhile, an unofficial, crowd-sourced tally of COVID-19 patients in India put India’s total Coronavirus cases at 6,237, out of which 1,297 have been detected in Maharashtra.
Kerala is so far the only state where the number of COVID-19 patients has started to be stable or to decline. The number of active COVID-19 cases has remained in the 255-265 range in the state for nearly a week.
NO SHORTAGE OF EQUIPMENT
Luv Agarwal also said there was no shortage of equipment, including personal protection equipment or PPEs.
There have been many complaints and reports that nurses in some of the front line hospitals are not able to procure PPEs to secure themselves.
The alleged shortage even led to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan writing to his Delhi compatriot requesting that all nurses be provided equipment to ensure their safety. Thousands of nurses from Kerala work in places like Mumbai and Delhi.
Delhi’s health minister Satyendra Jain too has been saying that he expects PPE kits from the central government to reach his government soon.
Luv Agarwal said the central government is on top of the situation, and that people should not have any fears on this account.
“Orders for 1.7 crore PPE kits have been place,” he said, adding that the government has identified 20 domestic manufacturers for supplying these kits.
He, however, accepted that there was a scarcity of PPE kits in the initial stages as these kits were mostly imported. Over the last two months, he said, the government has facilitated local manufacturing of such packs.
Luv Agarwal also said the central government has placed an order for 49,000 ventilators.
He also said the Indian Railways has converted 3,250 train coaches into isolation wards for use in an emergency. A total of 5,000 coaches will eventually be converted, he said.
Luv Agarwal also said that the government is willing to sell grains and other food ration at subsidized rates to NGOs and charitable organizations if they are willing to distribute it to those who need it.
The joint secretary to the government of India also warned against people administering anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine by themselves. The drug has been in the news after US President Trump warned of ‘retaliation’ in case India continued to block the export of the drug.
“It is only for contacts and for doctors interacting with live cases,” Agarwal warned today, and pointed out that the drug causes cardiac events and should not be taken by ordinary people as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.
The health ministry official also said that the center has dispatched high-level, multidisciplinary central teams to all the major affected states for co-ordination, except Kerala, where the number of new cases has fallen to single digit levels.