The government on Sunday directed all district heads to ensure seamless functioning of pharma units making devices and medicines, while the education minister said a decision on reopening of schools and colleges will be taken on April 14 after a review of the coronavirus threat in an indication that the 21-day lockdown could be lifted as scheduled.
Also Sunday, eight Malaysian citizens who attended a Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamuddin here were caught by immigration authorities at the IGI Airport while trying to flee the country on a special flight arranged for the stranded travellers.
The Health Ministry said the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 83 and the cases climbed to 3,577 in the country on Sunday after 505 new infections were reported in the past 24 hours.
The active COVID-19 cases stand at 3,219, while 274 people were either cured or discharged and one had migrated, the ministry stated. However, a PTI tally based on figures reported by states directly showed at least 126 deaths across the country, while the confirmed cases reached 4,111. Of them, 315 have been cured and discharged.
According to the Health Ministry data, Delhi has reported the highest number of confirmed cases at 503.
Asserting that there was no evidence that coronavirus was an airborne infection, the Health Ministry also said the rate of doubling of COVID-19 cases in India is 4.1 days currently, but if the cases linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation would not have happened, it would have been 7.4 days.
“If it was an airborne infection then in a family – whoever has a contact – they all should come positive because they are living in same surrounding as the patient and the family is breathing the same air. When someone is admitted in hospital, other patient would have got exposure (if it was air borne) but that is not the case,” an official of the Indian Council of Medical Research said.
Unsure of what turn the COVID-19 pandemic will take in India, various key ministries and departments have cautiously started to chalk out re-emergence plans and strategies to come out of the 21-day nationwide coronavirus lockdown. Globally, the pandemic has claimed more than 65,600 lives and inflicted over 12 lakh people.
The focus of the central and state governments currently appeared to be on two key aspects – continuing with efforts on a war footing to contain the fast-spreading virus, and working on exit and “staggered re-emergence” from the lockdown.
Ensure seamless functioning of pharma units: Centre