India's tally mounts to 13,835; 452 deaths so far

A woman cop asks beneficiaries to follow social distancing guidelines as they wait in a queue to collect ration from a government store during the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, at a village near Chandigarh, Friday. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: The total number of coronavirus cases in India on Friday evening reached 13,835, including foreign nationals, with 11,616 active cases, the Union Health Ministry said.

The health ministry said, in its daily update, that 452 deaths have been reported in India so far, with the highest – 194 – getting reported from Maharashtra, followed by Madhya Pradesh, where 57 deaths have been reported so far.

"A total of 1,766 patients have been cured and discharged," it said.

Maharashtra remained the worst hit state with total number of positive cases rising to 3,205, followed by New Delhi at 1,640 cases, Tamil Nadu at 1,267 cases and Rajasthan at 1,131 cases, according to the health ministry data.

At a daily media briefing about updates on COVID-19 situation, Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal claimed that India has been doing better than many other countries on the outcome ratio, which is the number of recoveries from coronavirus infection versus the number of deaths.

"If 80 per cent of the patients in India are recovering and in 20 per cent cases deaths are being reported, then by that standard India has been doing a little better than many other nations on the outcome ratio," he said.

"Before lockdown, the doubling rate of coronavirus cases was three days. Going by the number of cases in the last seven days, the doubling rate has been 6.2 days. In 19 states and Union Territories the doubling rate is less than the national average," he said.

The health ministry official also said the average growth factor of cases from April 1 has been 1.2, whereas in the preceding two weeks -- between March 15 and 31 -- it was 2.1, that is a decline of about 40 per cent.

This decline of 40 per cent was due to increase in testing, including that of cases with severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and influenza-like illness (ILI), Agarwal said.

He also informed reporters that 1,919 dedicated COVID-19 hospitals and COVID health centres with a capacity of 1.73 lakh isolation beds and 21,800 ICU beds have been readied across the country till now.

Five lakh rapid antibody testing kits, which arrived from China on Thursday, are being distributed to states for districts with high burden of infection, he said, adding RT-PCR kits are being manufactured indigenously.

"We are aiming to make 10 lakh kits by the month of May. We are also working on rapid antibody test kits and by next month we will be able to make 10 lakh such kits," Agarwal said.

A capacity to manufacture 6,000 ventilators each month has been created at scientific institutes, he added.

Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar said 3,19,400 COVID-19 tests have been conducted so far in the country.

"Out of these, 28,340 tests were conducted on Thursday, of which 23,932 were done at 183 laboratories under ICMR network and the rest at 80 private labs," he said.

More than 2.14 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 143,744 have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

COVID-19, which stands for Coronavirus Disease 2019, is the name of the disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the Coronavirus family with crown-shaped spikes on its surfaces. The name of the disease was given by the World Health Organisation.

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