Indian Official said that 400 people who attended the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz event in south Delhi's Nizammudin area last month have tested positive for the deadly novel coronavirus
According to a Union health ministry official ,this figure has added significantly to India's total number of cases and can go further up as the states across India continue to trace and test those who attended various events at Markaz between March 1-15.
The new additions to positive cases also included several healthcare workers and those who came in contact with the virus through the local transmission. The novel coronavirus outbreak has also taken a toll on the medical staff in terms of security. Several cases were reported on Thursday where the health care workers were attacked. In one case nurses at a UP hospital reported indecent behaviour by the isolated suspected patients.
At the government-level, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held a meeting with chief ministers of all states across India to discuss the Covid-19 outbreak. During the meeting, he urged the states to come up with a common exit strategy to ensure staggered re-emergence of the population to at the end of 21-day lockdown period on April 14.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will share a video message with people on Friday amid a nationwide lockdown to combat the coronavirus outbreak. "At 9 AM tomorrow morning, I'll share a small video message with my fellow Indians," the prime minister tweeted, without divulging the subject of his message.
He is also expected to urge people not to panic and follow lockdown guidelines for the remaining period as well. Friday will be Day 10 of the lockdown.
11 deaths due to coronavirus on Thursday
India lost at least 11 lives to novel coronavirus on Thursday. Maximum deaths were reported from Telangana, where three people, who had attended a religious congregation in Delhi's Nizamuddin, died due to Covid-19, taking the state's total toll to nine. All coronavirus casualties in Telangana had attended the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz event in Delhi in March.
National capital Delhi also reported two cases of deaths and the deceased were linked to the Nizammudin Markaz cluster. Meanwhile, the toll in Madhya Pradesh also went up by two. A 54-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman died of Covid-19 in Indore.
Meanwhile, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Gujarat each registered one death. A 67-year-old man from Ambala died at the PGIMER in Chandigarh soon after testing positive for novel coronavirus on Thursday.
In Punjab, Bhai Nirmal Singh - 62-year-old Padma Shri awardee and former 'Hazuri Raagi' at Golden Temple -died in Amritsar.
In Maharashtra, a 67-year-old Covid-19 patient has passed away. He was also suffering from Tuberculosis.
The figures announced by various states, including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi, showed nearly 500 positive cases getting detected on Thursday -- taking the total to 2,511 . A majority of the new cases are linked to the congregation held in Delhi's Nizammudin area last month.
In the total tally, about 400 Covid-19 positive cases have been found whose epidemiological linkage can be traced to the Tablighi Jamaat cluster, said the Union Health Ministry, which asserted there was no evidence to widespread community transmission and 20 existing and 22 potential hotspots have been identified across the country.
A Home Ministry official said while 9,000 Tablighi Jamaat members and their primary contacts have been quarantined till now across the country due to "massive efforts" to check the outbreak, the Centre has written to all states and union territories that "the lockdown measures should be implemented in letter and spirit".
In its latest update, the Union Home Ministry put the consolidated nationwide tally at 53 deaths and 2,069 confirmed cases of infection, including 55 foreign nationals.
Several states including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala reported a significant rise in the number of positive cases.
In an earlier incident in Bihar, four policemen were injured when a group of people owing allegiance to Tablighi Jamaat assembled in a village in Madhubhani district allegedly attacked them as the men in uniform admonished them for defying the ongoing lockdown, a senior official said.
World Bank approves USD 1 billion emergency fund for India to fight against novel coronavirus
The World Bank on Thursday approved a plan to roll out USD 1 billion emergency fund for India to fight against novel coronavirus. It part if a USD 160 billion aid the global bank has announced to help countries deal with the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The board of the Washington-based development lender announced the first set of fast-track crisis funding, with an initial $1.9 billion going to projects in 25 countries, and operations moving forward in another 40 nations, the bank said in a statement.
"We are working to strengthen developing nations' ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and shorten the time to economic and social recovery," said World Bank President David Malpass.
In addition, the World Bank's private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, is providing $8 billion in financing "to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs."
Meanwhile, India Today TV sources said that the finance ministry was also planning to announce a second stimulus package to help the Indian economy sustain shocks during the epidemic.
PM Modi interacts with CMs
Prime Minister Modi interacted with chief ministers through a video conference and told them to focus on Covid-19 containment measures -- testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine -- and said it was imperative to work on a war footing, identify hotspots, encircle them and ensure that the infection does not spread out.
According to an official statement, PM Modi also pitched for formulating a common exit strategy to ensure "staggered re-emergence of the population" once the 21-day nationwide lockdown ends on April 14.
Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said the prime minister has urged states to manage the coronavirus crisis at the district level.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla also wrote to all chief secretaries of the states and union territories to action against those violating the lockdown or making false claims under the Indian Penal Code and the Disaster Management Act.
Bhalla said those violating these laws can be punished with jail term of up to two years and fine.
India To Allow Domestic Flights From April 14
However, hopes of the lockdown getting removed, at least partially, after its 21-day period rose further after Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said airlines are free to allow ticket booking for flights after April 14. He also said resumption of international flights will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on which countries they are coming from, after the 21-day lockdown ends.
Separately, Air India also said it has got approvals from Indian and Chinese authorities to operate cargo flights to Shanghai and Hong Kong to get medical supplies.
World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said there had been a "near exponential growth" in new cases over the past five weeks and a doubling of deaths in the past week alone.
"In the next few days we will reach one million confirmed cases and 50,000 deaths," he said, while asking Africa and Latin America to be ready for a wider impact.
Source: India Today