COVID-19 updates (Updated daily): PM to address nation at 10 am tomorrow | Rapid testing kits from China delayed

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK IN INDIA (updated 13th April 2020)

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April 4, 2020 | Number of cases: 2902| Number of deaths: 68

Citizens participating in the Prime Minister’s call to switch off their electrical lights and light a lamp or candle to show solidarity during the coronavirus outbreak have been advised to keep other appliances (such as computers, fans, ACs ) on to avoid disruption in the power grid. 

The PM had called for the nation to come together by turning off lights and lighting a candle or a ‘diya’ on April 5th at 9 pm for 9 minutes. This raised concerns over the sudden, massive drop in demand that such an exercise may trigger, leading to destabilization of power grids.The power ministry however has issued a clarification that the call is to switch off only the lights in residences and does not extend to other appliances, gadgets or even street lights. It also said that  the Indian grid was robust enough and had adequate measures in place to handle the variation in demand that would result from the switching off of lights in homes alone.

Another advisory issued on the same event advised citizens to not use hand sanitizer while lighting a lamp as they are flammable and could cause accidents or burns. 

The Health Ministry has come out with a recommendation that healthy people wear homemade masks in the midst of the nationwide COVID-19 outbreak. The recommendation is limited to healthy individuals as those who are unwell or the health workers coming into contact with those who are unwell just wear protective masks of a higher quality such as the N95 mask. The homemade masks can be made using cloth. A similar advisory was put out by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) of the USA which urged healthy individuals to cover their nose and mouth with fabric or cloth masks. The scramble for masks at the beginning of the outbreak has resulted in a shortage of masks for health workers.

A colony in Panvel where Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) employees reside has become a hotspot for coronavirus in Mumbai with ten security personnel and a staff member testing positive. The personnel were all deployed on duty at the Mumbai international airport. A total of 146 members have been placed under quarantine. After the first five jawans tested positive all the members of the camp were tested as they had been deployed at the airport prior to the suspension of international flights on March 22. They were all involved in screening of passengers at the airport. The eleven members are currently being treated at the MGM hospital in Kalamboli.  

After the Prime Minister’s meeting with the Chief Ministers of various states and the discussion of a staggered lifting of the lockdown, the health minister of Maharashtra had stated that there is a possibility of extension of the lockdown which currently is set to end on April 14. The minister said that the lockdown in places like Mumbai may extend for a few more weeks. 

There are currently 26 deaths in the state and a total of 490 cases. More than half the cases in the state are from Mumbai. The state has created containment zones to combat the spread of the virus with areas that have seen many positive cases being cordoned off from the rest of the areas. The containment zones will see intensive screening for symptoms of COVID-19 and further testing. 

Prime Minister Modi held a meeting today, with various Empowered Groups tasked with handling different aspects of the fight against COVID-19. The meeting took place via web conferencing. In the meeting the PM took stock of the country’s preparedness to tackle the outbreak, surveillance, hospital capacity and creation of adequate isolation wards. The officials were also directed to ensure adequate availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers in the frontlines.

Last updated, April 4th, 6:00 pm

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