AGENCIES, New Delhi: According to the Union health ministry’s report on Friday afternoon, India reported 724 new COVID-19 cases and 23 deaths in the last 24 hours. The ministry’s website showed that coronavirus cases climbed to 13,835 in the country and there were 452 fatalities. Meanwhile, 1,766 people have been cured or discharged so far.
Maharashtra recorded 3,205 cases and 194 deaths. Delhi has 1,640 coronavirus infections, and 38 deaths. Tamil Nadu, which accounts for most of the ‘red zones’, has the third-highest number of cases at 1,267. The southern state has reported 15 COVID-19 deaths.
Telangana has 743 cases, Uttar Pradesh continues to register a higher number of positive cases and now the number stands at 846 with 14 deaths and 74 cured. In West Bengal, the health ministry website showed the number of coronavirus cases were 255, whereas CM Mamata Banerjee said the active cases in the state as on Friday were 162. So, the discrepancy between state and Centre continues.
Government data shows the 170 districts across the country which have been identified as coronavirus disease hotspots are home to about 37% of India’s population and Tamil Nadu has 22 of its 37 districts in the ‘red zone’.
However, the Centre’s conditional relaxations amid a nationwide lockdown to fight the coronavirus outbreak to focus on providing relief to the rural sector and daily wage labourers to kick-start sections of the economy from April 20 will not be applicable to these hotspot districts.
The hotspots, where nearly 453 million of India’s 1.21 billion citizens live, account for about 23% of the over 730-odd districts and are spread across 29% of the geographical area of the country, an analysis based on Census 2011 data shows.
Meanwhile, India has begun trials using the antibody-rich blood of patients cured of the coronavirus disease, with doctors turning to a pool of people who have recovered from the infection to test their antibodies as a potential cure for those fighting the disease.
Apart from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), at least two hospitals have applied to test the effectiveness of the therapy in Delhi, the protocols have been defined for these tests.