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India sees over 6,000 COVID positive cases in a single day

New Delhi: The nationwide tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose by a single-day record of over 6,000 on Friday to move closer to 1.2 lakh with a large number of people testing positive in across states, even as the government asserted the overall count could have been as high as 30 lakh but for the “rich dividends” of the nationwide lockdown.

Globally, 51.3 lakh people have tested positive for the deadly virus ever since its emergence in China last December, while nearly 3.3 lakh have lost their lives.

Reeling off various studies, government officials also said up to 2.1 lakh more people could have died in India if the lockdown had not been implemented as “a timely, graded, proactive and preemptive public health measure” to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its 8 am update, the Union health ministry put the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at 1,18,447 across India with an increase of 6,088 in 24 hours since Thursday 8 am, while the death toll rose by 148 to 3,583. It also showed 48,534 recoveries so far.

However, a PTI tally of figures announced by different states and Union territories, as of 6.40 pm, put the nationwide tally a bit higher at 1,18,920 and the recoveries at more than 49,000.

India has been under a lockdown since March 25, but several restrictions have been eased in the ongoing fourth phase, which began on May 18 and is scheduled to end on May 31, to help revive economic activities.

The Union health ministry officials and members of COVID-19 task forces, however, cited various studies to prove its point that the unprecedented shutdown has paid “rich dividends” in the fight against the pandemic.

The lockdown in India has been a timely, graded, proactive and preemptive public health measure to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and has been part and parcel of the government’s overall strategy, Dr V K Paul, member (health), NITI Aayog, and chairman of a key empowered group, said at a media briefing on the COVID-19 situation.

Like the number of cases, the growth rate of COVID-19 deaths too has fallen significantly due to the lockdown, marking a notable difference between pre-lockdown and post-lockdown situations, he said.

At the briefing, Pravin Srivastava, secretary, ministry of statistics and programme implementation gave model-based estimates on COVID-19 cases and deaths which have been prevented due to the lockdown.

Citing a model by the Boston Consulting Group, he said the lockdown saved between 1.2-2.1 lakh lives, while the number of COVID-19 cases averted is between 36-70 lakh.

Sonia berates govt over COVID crisis

New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi came down heavily on the government over the COVID-19 situation in the country on Friday and alleged that it has abandoned any pretence of being democratic and forgotten the spirit of federalism. Addressing a meeting of 22 Opposition parties convened through video-conferencing to discuss the situation arising out of the coronavirus pandemic, she alleged that the government is uncertain about the criteria for enforcing lockdowns and has no exit strategy from it. Gandhi said the government has “cruelly ignored” scores of migrant workers and the 13 crore families in the bottom half of the population as no financial relief has been provided to them. PTI

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