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Central government says no community transmission yet


New Delhi

Fighting the COVID-19 crisis on a war footing, the government on Monday reported 92 new confirmed cases of infection and at least four deaths across India but maintained it was still in the local transmission stage.

The Supreme Court, however, cautioned that fear and panic are becoming a bigger problem.

The government also said there was no immediate plan to extend the 21-day lockdown period, which entered its sixth day on Monday, while the Indian Army dismissed as “fake” social media posts about a possible emergency declaration next month.

Over 2,000 delegates, including from Indonesia and Malaysia, attended the Tabligh-e-Jamaat congregation in Nizamuddin West in Delhi from March 1-15, officials said on Monday as the south Delhi neighbourhood was virtually sealed following fears that some people may have contracted COVID-19.

However, some good news came in the latest update from the Union Health Ministry which said the COVID-19 is still in local transmission stage in India and it took 12 days for cases of infection to rise from 100 to 1,000 at a rate of increase slower than some of the developed countries.

Addressing the daily press briefing on the actions taken, preparedness and updates on COVID-19, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health Lav Agarwal said 92 new cases and four deaths due to coronavirus have been reported in India since Sunday, taking total cases to 1,071 and the number of deaths to 29.

Agarwal attributed the slow pace of rise in cases in India to people’s participation in strictly following the social distancing guidelines and the collective preemptive actions taken by the Centre in tandem with state governments.

Delhi Police and CRPF officials and medical teams went to the locality late on Sunday night after reports that a large number of people were showing symptoms of the disease, the officials said. At least 100 people were also tested for the disease. The results are expected on Tuesday. The entire area, which includes residences and the headquarters of the Tabligh-e-Jamaat, a Muslim religious organisation, was virtually cut off. 

The worldwide tally of deaths has crossed 34,600, with more than 25,000 people dying in Europe. Globally, more than 7,28,000 people have been detected positive so far, out of which nearly 1,42,300 have recovered, as per various reports.

The government had to clarify that there was no immediate plan to extend the 21-day lockdown amid fears that shutdown of businesses across the country to counter the spread of the virus may trigger severe economic and social distress. The Indian Army also clarified that no effort is being initiated to rope in services of retired personnel, the National Cadet Corps and the volunteers enrolled under the National Service Scheme in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

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