The nationwide tally of coronavirus positive patients crossed 26,000 on Saturday with fresh cases getting detected in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and the national capital among other places, but the government said the daily growth rate has dipped to 6 per cent and some states began relaxing some lockdown conditions by allowing more shops to open.
At least 56 more deaths have been reported since Friday evening — the highest so far in a span of 24 hours — to take the death toll across the country to at least 779, according to the Union Health Ministry figures.
However, a PTI tally of figures reported by various states and union territories, till on 10 pm, put the nationwide death toll at 824, and the total number of confirmed cases at 26,194.
In its evening 5 pm update, the Union Health Ministry had said 24,942 people have tested positive while more than 5,200 have recovered — giving a recovery rate of over 20 per cent. It also said the rate of daily growth in new cases has fallen to 6 per cent, which is the lowest since the country crossed 100 cases.
On a positive note, the Delhi government said it has seen encouraging results from the plasma therapy trial on more patients. Karnataka also began similar trials on Saturday, while Rajasthan said it was also ready to conduct these trials.
The Delhi government said it will implement the Home Ministry order on opening of shops in the national capital, but Maharashtra ruled out any immediate relaxation saying the lockdown guidelines will remain unchanged in the state till May 3. Gujarat, on the other hand, decided to follow the directive, while Assam said it will take a decision on Monday. Haryana and Nagaland also said they will implement the relaxations.
Amid rising coronavirus cases in the national capital, with 111 new cases during the day taking its tally to 2,625, a top official in the Delhi government’s COVID-19 committee has, however, suggested that the lockdown in the national capital will have to be continued till mid-May for the epidemic curve to flatten.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to interact with various chief ministers on Monday, April 27, where some clarity is expected on the lockdown and further course of action on the COVID-19 situation. Before that, Modi’s monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio broadcast is scheduled for Sunday.
Maharashtra saw its tally of positive cases rising to 7,628, followed by over 3,000 in Gujarat. Rajasthan has reported more than 2,000 cases, while Madhya Pradesh is also nearing this mark. Madhya Pradesh has crossed 1,900 while Tamil Nadu have more than 1,800 cases and Uttar Pradesh is also nearing that mark.
In Andhra Pradesh, the tally crossed 1,000 and new positive cases included frontline healthcare professionals.
Of the total 779 COVID-19 deaths also, Maharashtra accounts for the highest number of 323 fatalities, followed by Gujarat (133), Madhya Pradesh (99), Delhi (54), Rajasthan (33), Andhra Pradesh (31), Uttar Pradesh (27) and Telangana (25).
Uttar Pradesh, where at least 177 new cases emerged and two more died during the day, has decided to ban all public gatherings till June 30.
West Bengal also reported 38 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking its total to 541. At least 18 people have died in the state, a health department bulletin said.