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COVID-19: All eyes on Modi’s announcement on lockdown extension status

NEW DELHI: With only a day left for the 21-day nationwide lockdown to end, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to make an announcement extending it any time now. During his video-conference meeting with chief ministers on Saturday, most states had demanded that the restrictions continue till the end of the month to stifle the pandemic.

According to sources, the Centre is likely to recommend the extension of lockdown in hot spots and red zones while easing it in areas where the risk is lower.

Some states like Maharashtra have already embraced the approach. Maharashtra, the worst-affected state, has carved the state into three zones — red, where the risk is the highest; yellow, where the risk is medium; and, green where the risk is the lowest. Mumbai is part of the red zone list. Telangana, Maharashtra, Punjab and Odisha have already extended the lockdown in their respective territories till April 30. 

According to the Union health ministry’s bulletin released at 5 pm on Sunday, the number of confirmed cases in India stood at 8,447, while 765 people recovered from COVID-19 and 273 succumbed to the disease. The update said 918 cases and 34 deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours. The Centre on Sunday said the government is adequately prepared for the management of novel coronavirus cases.

Addressing the daily press briefing on Sunday, Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the Union health ministry, said,

“This is a pandemic and numbers can be exponential. Our effort is to take advanced steps.”

Meanwhile in Punjab, a police patrol party came under attack as they tried to stop a group of Nihang Sikhs who violated the lockdown rules. The group turned violent when their car was stopped and attacked the police with swords and iron rods. In the brutal attack that followed, the hand of an Assistant Sub Inspector was chopped off with a sword.

1.86 lakh samples tested: ICMR

According to ICMR, 1,86,906 samples have so far been tested across the country, of which 7,953 have been found to be positive. In the last five days, 15,747 samples were tested per day and 584 of those were positive per day

There are a total of 601 dedicated COVID-19 hospitals across the country with 1,05,980 beds as on Sunday, the Union health ministry said. According to the ministry, the current estimated requirement is 1,671 beds

40 vaccines are at various stages of development

Over 40 vaccines are under development but none has reached the next stage, according to ICMR.

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