The number of COVID-19 cases, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, in India crossed 40,000 marks on Sunday evening.
The death toll due to the pandemic meanwhile has reached 1,306.
With 2,487 positive cases and 83 fatalities due to COVID-19 since Sunday morning, the total tally of the novel coronavirus cases has reached 40,263, while 1,306 people have lost their lives, India’s Federal Health Ministry said.
Across the country, 10,887 patients have recovered so far, pushing the recovery rate at 27 per cent.
According to top health research body — Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) — 1,046,450 samples have been tested until Sunday morning.
A nationwide lockdown imposed on March 25 is underway in India to contain the pandemic.
In the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, life in India has come to a standstill, which badly hit economic activities.
Sunday marks the 40th straight day of the ongoing lockdown likely to end on May 17.
The government has divided the districts across the country into three zones — red, orange and green.
The zone classification determines the severity of infection in the respective district and the kind of restrictions it has been placed under.
Red zone means a hotspot, where the cases are increasing, orange zone refers to the place where no new cases are reported over the past two weeks and the green zone is the area where no case is reported since the past 21 days.
“Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan, urged the people of India to observe the extended period of lockdown 3.0 (till May 17) in letter and spirit and treat it as an effective intervention to cut down the chain of transmission of COVID-19,’’ a statement issued by the health ministry said.
Health experts said extending the lockdown postponed the spread of COVID-19 and the real challenge would be how to tackle the pandemic after restrictions are lifted.
“I have been saying if more tests are carried out, more cases would add up.
With lockdown, India only postpones the speed of spread of novel coronavirus,’’ renowned virologist T Jacob John, said.
“The day lockdown is lifted, the spread will begin.
“There will be more transmission, which would mean more cases and more deaths.’’
A study carried out by local TV network Times Network, in partnership with global consulting firm Protiviti, has predicted the COVID-19 epidemic could peak in India by the middle of May and gradually peter out after that.
According to the study, India could see the number of confirmed cases crossing 75,000 around May 22.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to economic devastation and millions of people, mostly migrant workers, losing their jobs in India.
Many of the labourers have returned to their homes but others are stuck in cities waiting to return home.
The federal government, with the cooperation of states, has begun the process of ferrying stranded passengers, mostly migrant workers and students, back home.
On Friday, a special train brought 1,200 migrant workers from Telangana to Jharkhand amid the nationwide lockdown, officials said.
Officials said the stranded passengers are first screened for symptoms and social distancing guidelines are strictly followed while making them board the trains.
Thousands of migrant workers, students, businessmen and others had been left stranded in other states following the abrupt lockdown.
With a halt on economic activity because of the lockdown, thousands were left without jobs, money, food or shelter.
As per estimates, about 10 million migrant labourers are stranded across the country.
With the suspension of passenger trains, the Railway Ministry only allows goods trains to ferry the supply of essentials.
Meanwhile, the ongoing ban on domestic and international flight operations has been extended until May 17, in accordance with the continuation of the nationwide lockdown.
Indian army, navy and air force on Sunday showed solidarity with the country’s medical staff fighting COVID-19 by a series of activities across the nation.
The latest gesture by the armed forces is the third massive display of gratitude to health workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first show of gratitude to health workers was called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging people to clap for COVID-19 warriors from their balconies.
It was followed by a show of solidarity with turning off lights and lighting candles. (Xinhua/NAN)