‘In last 24 hours, 354 new cases, 8 deaths’: Top points from health ministry presser

Explained: The ‘Bhilwara model’ of ‘ruthless containment’ to stop the coronavirus

Jodhpur: Women, wearing masks, look out from a window of their house during the complete lockdown imposed in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, in Jodhpur, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (PTI Photo)

As of Tuesday, 4,421 positive cases have been reported and 326 people discharged so far, said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. "In the last 24 hours, 354 new cases, and 8 deaths have been reported," added Agarwal, while addressing a routine media briefing on the coronavirus situation in the country.

Meanwhile, following requests from several state governments and experts, the Centre is considering extending the nationwide lockdown after its ends on April 14 in order to stem the transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), government sources said.

“A lot of state governments as well as experts are requesting the Central Government to extend the lockdown. The Central Government is thinking in this direction," sources said.

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Here's what the health ministry said in the press briefing today: 

- Cluster containment strategy working in Agra, Mumbai, Pathanamthitta, Bhilwara. Technology being used such as real time tracking of ambulances and projections: Lav Agarwal

- Facilities for COVID-19 patients have been divided into three groups, care centres, health centres and hospitals depending on the status of patients: Lav Agarwal

- Ministry of AYUSH has issued guidelines today on how to boost immunity with Ayurveda: Lav Agarwal

- So far 1,07,006 COVID-19 tests have been done, 11,795 tests in last 24 hours, of which over 2,000 in 59 private labs: Dr R R Gangakhetkar ICMR,

- Cabinet secretary has already issued a clarification denying extension of lockdown. It is true that states are asking for extension, as and when decision is taken after discussions, I will let you know: Lav Agarwal

- I urge you to go by what I am explaining to you, any speculation will create confusion. If something changes we will tell you: Lav Agarwal

Earlier today, Congress president Sonia Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting a series of “austerity measures” to divert funds for battling the coronavirus outbreak. She asked the Prime Minister to suspend the Rs 20,000 crore Central Vista beautification and construction project and impose a complete ban on advertisements on media for a period of two years.

The Prime Minister had spoken to Gandhi on Sunday seeking her party’s cooperation for the measures that his government is taking to contain the coronavirus outbreak. He had also asked her to give suggestions to meet the COVID-19 challenge.

In another crucial development, within hours of US President Donald Trump warning India of retaliation, New Delhi has quickly moved to partially lift the ban on the the export of Hydroxychloroquine — the anti-malaria drug that Trump has repeatedly touted as a “game-changer” in the fight against COVID-19. Trump has hinted there would be retaliation if India does not lift its ban on its export.

Speaking from the White House during the coronavirus taskforce briefing, Trump said that he would be “surprised” if New Delhi doesn’t send Hydroxychloroquine after his phone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week.